Small Bite: Blackstrap BBQ

Photograph by Kristin Teig

Photograph by Kristin Teig

Boston’s newest barbecue joint has much to recommend it: a pair of East Coast Grill alums at the helm, staffers who seem genuinely delighted that you showed up, and a roster packed with comfort-food standards including made-from-scratch baked beans, solid mac ’n’ cheese, and the best brisket and burnt ends in town. The small, sunny dining room is anchored by a gargantuan, multicolored blackboard menu, the size of which would be overwhelming if the servers weren’t so happy to interpret it all. And then there’s Blackstrap’s unlikely location — Winthrop Center, which just adds to its charm.

Like Blue Ribbon, another cheerful barbecue operation, Blackstrap takes a pan-southern approach: mustard and vinegar sauces from the Carolinas; molasses-spiked Kansas City–style baby backs; and a Texas-style spice blend for the brisket. The pork ribs on one visit had a savory rub that formed a promising crust over the smoke-tinged meat. Alas, the insides were dry. The coleslaw was also a downer: all slaw, no seasoning. Lastly, all of the fried foods could use some finessing to lower their grease levels. But we’re rooting for this place. Its motto is “BBQ = Love + Happiness,” and the glitches notwithstanding, that love shines through.

47A Woodside Ave., Winthrop, 617-207-1783,