January 30, 2012

Fort Reno Provisions

"You can take the girl out of the South, but you can't take South out of the girl."

Especially when it comes to barbeque, folks. Promise.

When you are raised on Memphis barbeque there are very few options outside of the South that maintain the proper, seasoned, Southern integrity of the piggy. (Very similar to how I feel about eating guacamole outside of the Southwest.) Most attempts rarely comes close.

But when asked to join two friends this weekend at Park Slope's newest eatery, Fort Reno Provisions, I promised myself that I would be open to what this little spot had to offer.

Fort Reno Provisions is a rather small space, but it is maximized to the fullest with no details overlooked. Between the charming atmosphere and the "come as you are" vibe that you feel as soon as you open the door, you're definitely excited to sit a spell and eat up.

I knew we were off to a good start: a simple menu, key side-dishes, and a separate bar with perfectly-paired libations.

The three of us decided that hands-down, we needed ribs and pulled pork, and we had to try all of the side dishes. With my being gluten-free as of late, I had to leave the biscuits and the mac-n-cheese to my pals (all while trying to not be filled with envy as typically I would have had those just for myself!) We made our stop at the bar, all settling on our own beer of choice and waited for just a few minutes for our food.

Our meal was presented in a fun, family-style fashion with the meats taking center stage, surrounded by individual crocks of the sides. I'm a firm believer that good barbeque is all about the meat on its own, and from the first bite of the pulled pork, I was very pleased, and may have even felt a glimpse of that Southern accent come back.

Now ... although the meat must stand alone, I'm also a girl who must have made available to her a hearty amount of homemade sauce ... and you Southerners know exactly what I'm talking about. My friends at Fort Reno present a delicious one, but when you're ready to dig in to barbeque Southern-style, a little more sauce really does go a long way with the guests.

We ordered a 1/4 slab of ribs - and they were very, very tender. Ribs are an art in and of themselves, and Fort Reno really did make magic happen. There is no question that these folks have the know-how where the preparation of authentic, smoked meat is concerned. Bravi, tutti!

For sides, my only disappointment was the beans. Although the idea was spot-on, the execution not so much. They simply weren't flavorful enough for my taste, but I confess that I am very used to a much richer sauce. Out of the three of us, the beans got two thumbs down, and one thumb up.

The mac-n-cheese was simple and delicious according to my friends - it looked perfect with a dusting of bread crumbs atop the shells with a combination of cheeses, and my gluten-free self shed a proverbial tear knowing that I couldn't partake in its creamy goodness.

Collard greens were voted high on our list as well, and always nice to see them appear on a well-edited menu.

We were all extremely thrilled with the cole slaw -- it was delicious. Growing up accustomed to pulled pork sandwiches covered in cole slaw on a roll, this cole slaw was perfectly balanced: not too sweet, not to tart. It is one of the reasons I will make sure Fort Provisions becomes acquainted with my address as they ... deliver.

The homemade biscuits smelled like heaven, and my pals were in love. Each one of us wanted a side of honey to be on the plate with the fresh butter. With no desserts on the menu, it would have been a perfect way to close the meal.

The big Dinosaur might be coming 'round the bend, but folks, you need to take shelter at Fort Reno. There is no doubt this nook is going to become a neighborhood jewel, because behind such simplicity, there is well-rooted confidence - I hope they become your friends real soon as well!

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xx JN

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