Another hot summer day goes by in New Orleans with the oven set to an even 250 degrees for some New Orleans BBQ. What is wrong that sentence? Keyword: OVEN. Is it so hard to buy a smoker when you own an establishment that has the word BBQ in it? I've always grown up thinking that BBQ = smoked meat. Never in my life did BBQ = BBQ sauce. Well New Orleans is living up to it's Oven baked name quite nicely with Bywater BBQ.
Located in the Bywater neighborhood in New Orleans, Bywater BBQ lives up to every hipsters stereotype from a quip waiter to a neat yet cluttered yet clean yet old atmosphere. My first alarm went off when I saw everything on the menu from Pizza to Red Beans and Rice. I felt like I was in the Harrahs Casino Restaurant. I quickly glanced at the BBQ page and ordered the 4 meat platter as I drank my Andygator on tap (big plus).
While you are about to hear the same old song and dance from me, I will step out on a limb and say, this is the best oven baked BBQ that I have yet to taste in New Orleans. The brisket and the pulled pork melt in your mouth, the white meat on the chicken is as juicy as the dark, and the ribs are nice and succulent.
The sides were incredible. Homemade and baked penne style macaroni and cheese and a red skin style potato salad that has more vinegar than usual (a good thing). I give these sides a 5 out of 5.
Now to give a restaurant something I'm good at...criticism. When you are doing Oven Baked BBQ (OBBBQ), obviously the flavor you get comes from the sauce, not the meat. You need to have a damn good sauce when you are doing OBBBQ. Their sauce was very tangy and tasted more like a heightened ketchup. Due to the fact that there was no smoker in this process, the meat did not have that crunchy sear on the outside that we all love so much. You would almost think that these people might be the kind of people that boil their meat before they bake it...you know who you are. The meat was so tender...but a little too tender...almost slimey. For a 19$ entree of a four meat platter, I expect someone to roll me out of there in a wheel barrel. Unfortunately, I was able to walk out just fine.
We ended the meal with a Brownie ala mode with cheese cake ice cream that put me in a coma.
Overall: I give the sides and desert 5 out of 5 stars. However this is not a BBQ joint. They do not smoke their meats, their sauce is a glorified ketchup, and BBQ makes up about 10% of their menu. While I will come back many more times, I will never get the BBQ again.
Lesson learned; Don't let the BBQ name make you think you are getting real BBQ.
Bywater Restaurant and BBQ will be receiving a 3 out of 5 stars.