FOOD REVIEW: The Charred Rib
Patch recommended: Extremely well priced with a wide range of dining specials including late night, early bird and nightly drink specials.
There may be nothing more sacred to the heart of a patriotic foodie than good barbecue.
Something about slow-cooked meat basted in secret sauce just screams red, white and blue. I never pass up a chance to sample some highly-praised barbecue.
When it came to my attention that right here in Timonium we have a rib house claiming to have "The World's Best Baby Back Ribs," needless to say I took it upon myself to check out The Charred Rib.
Located just off Ridgely Road, The Charred Rib is easy to find. With a massive marquee, The Charred Rib takes no chances in letting its customers get lost.
The bar and dining room are dimly lit and decorated more like a waiting room than a restaurant.
On the hopes that the budget went to the kitchen and not to the front of the house, I stuck it out. I'm thankful I did.
The menu at The Charred Rib provides fairly simple, straightforward offerings. One unusual item was an onion loaf made of a giant knot of onion straws served as a sinister block of fried goodness.
The restaurant caters to many different customers with a variety of specials: early bird discounts, weeknight bar specials, late night fare and the seldom-seen beer and wine carryout menu.
When a restaurant boasts "World's Best" at anything you can be sure that I'm going to give the speciality dish a try.
I've spent some time in St. Louis and Kansas City, cities that are far better known for acclaimed ribs than, say, Timonium. To me, the ribs at The Charred Rib do not hold a wet nap to those top rung ribs. But, I have to give the Charred Rib a pass on its marketing hyperbole.
Is it the best barbecue I've ever had? No. Are they even the best in town? Maybe.
But once I tasted the ribs I concluded that they were so good that comparisons no longer mattered. In fact everything we tasted was good. I wish I could have some sophisticated, philosophical critique to offer, but when it comes down to it, The Charred Rib does nothing more than offer simple, tasty meals that are well prepared.
With so few barbecue joints to compete with in the area, The Charred Rib can set the local market price. Luckily they did so fairly. A half rack of ribs costs $13. For only a few dollars more, the kitchen offers combos with such items as Louisiana shrimp, crab imperial or roasted chicken.
And what is a rib dinner without a nice cold beer? The Charred Rib has a great selection of bottled and draft brew and a decent wine list. You can, of course, also forego the rib experience and chose from a number of other classic, reasonably-priced American items.
Given the ostentatious display outside, I really thought I wouldn't like this place. But I left the Charred Rib satisfied and I think you will too.