Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Boston’s an interesting town for barbecue. You can do a decent job with it and please a lot of people, but there are enough Southern transplants around that if you don’t get it just right, if you don’t respect the proper traditions, there will be plenty of complaints. A new contender has just jumped in the mix: Sweet Cheeks, led by chef/owner Tiffani Faison, the second place finisher of Top Chef’s first season. Sweet Cheeks might have what it takes to earn respect from Boston’s Southerners and will most likely please casual barbecue enthusiasts.
We arrived at 7 p.m. on a Thursday night to a packed house. Our party of eight had a couple no-shows, resulting in strangers being given the last two seats at our table, a high eight-top by the bar. Many of the tables are long and communal when necessary. (By the looks of it, it’s probably almost always necessary.) The space — previously home to the Fenway location of Cambridge, 1. — is characterized by rich wood paneling and rustic wood plank tables. To the right, you can peer into the stainless steel kitchen; on the far right, you can catch a glimpse of Tootsie, the nearly 5,000-pound meat smoker (named for Texas pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz). Large cans full of mismatched utensils, bell jars for drinks, and metal trays for food round out the ambiance.
Read the rest of my article over on CBS Boston.