Win/Fail Fridays: Yay for Blackstrap BBQ, Nay for City Table

Welcome to Win/Fail Fridays, where executive editor Donna Garlough mouths off about her latest dining-out adventures.

This week’s WIN: Fallback BBQ at Blackstrap

I have so been looking forward to the opening of Sweet Cheeks in Fenway: Oak-smoked brisket served on trays, communal tables, giant Nutter Butters. So when I heard it had opened late last week, I made a beeline for the place, thinking it’d be the perfect place to waste a Sunday afternoon; unfortunately, it was closed.

Considering Sweet Cheeks’ opening nights brought serious crowds, that they decided to take Sunday off was forgivable. But once I got my heart set on ‘cue, nothing but ‘cue would scratch the itch. So we piled back into the car and headed to Winthrop’s Blackstrap BBQ, an out-of-the-way spot I hadn’t hit in far too long.

It was a good move. The ribs were nicely smoked, with great spice and a terrific bark; the burnt ends were saucy and tender. And the mac and cheese? Subtly spicy and oh-so-rich. But what really bowled us over was the service. You’d think we were long-lost pals of the guy behind the register, who fell all over himself to make every patron in the place happy. More lemonade? No problem! Need a high chair for your tot? Got one right here. Can I bring some sauces to your table? Careful, that one’s hot. And why don’t you let me wrap that up for you to take home?

I didn’t think they made people this friendly anymore. But if you spent your days minding a smoker, wouldn’t you be kind of jolly, too?

This week’s FAIL: Cold eggs and ham at City Table

I’ll keep this one short. Power breakfast at the Lenox hotel. Eggs Benedict with limp asparagus, a too-soft English muffin, flavorless hollandaise, and bland breakfast potatoes. And the eggs themselves? They’re supposed to be poached, runny, and warm — not boiled so long they’re soft-cooked, then served at room temp. I ate them, but I didn’t enjoy them, Sam I am.

Stay tuned for next week’s Win/Fail!