Bobby Q's is a joint in the heart of Westport's chichi Main Street shopping area. From the street’s easy-to-miss alley entrance, you pass a hanging pig in the faux outdoor hallway to get to the main door. The rustic space has lots of wood and exposed beams. Dining areas on two levels are both decorated with framed music-themed posters, with butcher paper covering the tables.
I first heard about Bobby Q's when they were profiled on the Food Network. The angle: a successful salesman quits his job to follow his dream, gambling that there's a market for a barbecue restaurant in suburban Connecticut. So far, at least, it looks like the gamble paid off.
Ribs here include babybacks—I applaud that they’re listed separately on the “Grilled Specialties” section—and St Louis cut. Rounding out the barbecue roster are pulled pork, sliced brisket, burnt ends of brisket (limited availability), sliced turkey, pulled chicken and smoked sausage.
Beyond barbecue, the diverse menu here seems to have something for everyone. Among the appetizers are wings, fried onions, spinach dip, a few quesadillas and Texas toast. I didn’t see chili. There are four different wraps with chicken or vegetables and five variations of burgers. Sandwiches include the usual suspects, plus a brisket Reuben, a steak sandwich and a “BBQ Sloppy Joe” with brisket and pulled pork. There are eight different salads, and that’s before counting the options to add smoked meats.
For a Wednesday lunch I tried a two-meat combo ($16.95) with ribs and pulled pork. The menu claimed that you’d never find their barbecue drowning in BBQ sauce and they delivered on that promise. The ribs did have some dried sauce from repeated basting in with the spices on the crust. They were cooked to the perfect tenderness, with the meat easily pulling off the bone only when I bit into it. Although the meat was pink, I didn’t taste much smoke. The overall flavor of the ribs was pretty good, though, and I liked the pronounced crust. The pulled pork, arriving with a dab of house BBQ sauce, was less pink and less smoky than the ribs. Although somewhat moist, it had less bark and flavor than the ribs, too.
There were three sauces on the table, all pretty good. I liked the bold and spicy the best.
Combo plates include cole slaw (decent, though not memorable) and your choice of 1 other side. I tried the baked beans, a New England version kicked up with smoke and bits of what looked like burnt ends. The beans were tasty, and by far the smokiest item on the plate.
The bottom line: Hard to say, based on one lunch visit. I wasn’t wowed, but it was good. My take so far: competent, definitely-better-than-average suburban barbecue, no more, no less. I can’t see anyone not liking it, but I can’t see anyone raving that it’s the best barbecue to be had. They're definitely worth a trip back, though, so maybe they'll wow me next time.