Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Joint

I ate at a lot of restaurants in New Orleans. Fancy places, oyster bars, gastropubs, you name it. But one of our favorite meals was the most unlikely one, at a hole in the wall in a questionable neighborhood.

On our last night, we went to Vaughan's to see Kermit Ruffins play. We were there for the better part of two hours before we learned he wasn't actually playing that night. And Vaughan's isn't a bar you'd go to for any other reason. It was smoky, grimy, cash only, and the building looked like it would fall apart with a strong wind. You had to be buzzed in, for goodness' sake, you couldn't even just walk right in. Anyway, disappointed, I didn't want to have wasted the cab ride all the way out to the edge of the Ninth Ward (yes, that Ninth Ward), so we decided to walk two blocks down to The Joint for a second dinner.

My sister had recommended this place; otherwise it would never have occurred to me to go inside. This building was similarly ramshackle, with a bunch of mismatched chairs out front, with an open dumpster to the side, with empty 40s of malt liquor scattered around. Classy. But man, it smelled good. So we went inside to tackle the barbecue.

Best. Barbecue. Ever.

And I don't say that lightly, having lived (briefly) in Memphis. I had the ribs, my husband had the pulled pork, we both got Abita beers and ate until we were sweating barbecue sauce. Then I got a piece of homemade peanut butter pie to go (I had it for breakfast the next morning), only because I was too full to eat it there. The ribs were tender, juicy, and I had to debate for a couple of days whether I liked them better than the dry rub ribs at Rendezvous, but eventually these won. Cheaper, too.

So if you're going to New Orleans, go to The Joint. Eat the barbecue. Ignore the neighborhood. If you're there on a Thursday night, go to Vaughan's and see if Kermit Ruffins is playing. Otherwise, go to Bacchanal and see what they have going on. But go.

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