Earlier this week I told you about my mini weekend getaway to Detroit.
Given our planned proximity to Slows Bar B Q over the weekend, I felt it was my duty as a food blogger to eat there and report back. I have, at times, felt like an inadequate “foodie,” (annoying term, I know) when others have raved about this place and I had nothing to add to the conversation. How had I not yet been to this place with a cult-like following that is a mere 40 minutes from my home!? Major slackage.
Anyways, on Michigan Ave. in Detroit one will find Slows. Park in the “secure” lot behind the bar across the street for three bucks.
Find the door. That in itself is quite a feat. If you’ve been, or go, you will know what I mean.
I had heard rumors of 1-2+ hour waits, any day, any time. We arrived a little after 2:00 PM on Saturday afternoon, on our way to check into our hotel. We were told the wait would be between 1.5 – 1.75 hours for two people. Without blinking, I agreed, gave the hostess my name, and was instructed to check back in 30 minutes for a flashing beeper
We found an area to chill near the bar and hostess desk, people-watched, read the crazy-awesome beer menu, and tried to look patient and non-threatening to the hostess to win brownie points.
Apparently it worked.
Twenty minutes later (we still hadn’t checked in to ask about obtaining a beeper at this point), the hostess approached us and asked if we’d be interested in joining an eight-top table with a party of six. We declined, thanked her for the offer, and said we didn’t mind waiting a while longer for our own table.
Apparently, she liked our style, because about two minutes later we were seated at our own table. So our 1.5-1.75 hour wait was only about 25 minutes. SCORE. Maybe Slows plays a psychological game with their patrons? Only the strong survive.
It was just too early for me to partake in any day-drinking, despite the killer beer offerings, with a long night ahead, so the huz and I both ordered a fresh-squeezed lemonade. Reminds me of going to the carnival.
We were seated in this nifty room to the right of the main dining room. Awesome vibe and décor, right? Check out that ceiling.
Then our table was FILLED WITH FOOD.
So here’s the deal. You know what they say. I went big and didn’t go home.
The Big Three: Sliced Brisket,
Pulled Chicken, and Pulled Pork. I was confused when served non-pulled chicken after the menu promised pulled chicken, but the chicken I had was still quite good.
Best to Least Best:
- Pulled Pork – favorite!!!
- Sliced Brisket – yums
- Chicken – good
Aaaand, the dear huz. As I predicted (I know my man), he ordered the Half and Half entrée, which includes half a chicken and half a rack of ribs. I tried a bite of the spare ribs and they were indeed quite killer.
The huz said the following: “The ribs were smoky and really good. Probably in the top three ribs ever. The chicken was juicy with crispy skin. Went well with the apple barbecue sauce.”
And, the obligatory sauce discussion.
The Offerings, from least favorite to best:
- Sweet – fine, nothing special.
- NC (North Carolina, I assume) – thin bright red, vinegary sauce.
- Apple – super yum.
- Spicy – moderate heat, fairly thick, nice spice – loved it.
And now, the sides! Honestly, the sides served with barbecued meat are my favorite part of the meal.
Obviously we both had to order the Mac ‘n’ Cheese, given all the hype I had heard over this stuff. It was great. I loved the browned, baked cheddar atop the pasta shells. The creamy macaroni and sauce were absolutely delicious, but my personal preference when it comes to mac ‘n’ cheese is more of a stove-top variety, with a more viscous sauce. Regardless, this mac ‘n’ cheese was the bomb, just not the “BEST I’D EVER HAD,” as I’d heard others declare. With that said, of all the food on our table, this was the only dish that I polished off on the spot at Slows. No leftovers.
The Sweet Potato Mash was a side dish belonging to the huz. I actually prefer unsweetened sweet potatoes, so these were sweeter than I would prefer, though I loved the texture. The huz loved ‘em.
We ordered on extra side, an order of cornbread to split. It was nothing special. Tasted like Jiffy.
So, to wrap it up, we had an awesome dining experience at Slows. The meats were the stars of our meals, with the pulled pork and spare ribs standing out. The mac ‘n’ cheese deserves the hype it has been given. The other three sides we tried were fine, but not stand-outs.
I’m tempted to not include comparisons to other BBQ joints in my review, but I just can’t help it. I’m going to make a really bold statement here and declare that I actually prefer Satchel’s to Slows’ food, overall. At least based on numerous visits to Satchel’s in Ann Arbor, and this single visit to Slows’ in Detroit. (Red Rock in Ypsi is right up there too, though!) I realized that might be a rather controversial statement. I can now say that Satchel’s has my favorite BBQ (pulled pork!). With that said, Slows’ food is still awesome and I’d jump at the chance to go back. This is a compliment because Satchel’s is also amazing!
Service was adequate. We were never left wanting anything, but at the same time never felt we received an “above-and-beyond” service experience. It’s crazy busy in there though, so you’ve totally got to cut at least a little slack.
Atmosphere is cool. Definitely my scene. If I ever opened a bar, I’d hope to include many of the same design elements featured at Slows, including the track lighting, reclaimed wood, and exposed brick. Also, the beer menu is really exciting, and on my next trip to Slows I hope to take advantage of their numerous offerings on draft.
Now go wipe that drool off yo’ face, foo!