North Carolina Barbecue Comes To Hong Kong
Last night I went with a few friends to check in on 85 South. Perhaps it was an off night or perhaps it was due to the fact they were having a fundraiser for the Philippines, and they were distracted but I likely won't be returning.
Dinner was a set menu due to the fundraiser - ribs, pulled pork, cole slaw, and your choice of mac and cheese or fries. Provided drinks were either lemonade or sweet tea.
The Good The cole slaw was actually very good and I'm not even a cole slaw person. They prepared it by chopping the cabbage to small bits so that it could be scooped with an ice cream scooper. This may have been the highlight. Fries were cooked to order and were of the steak fry variety. These were also pretty good.
The Bad Both the ribs and the pulled pork were disappointing. The ribs had a dry rub on them that lacked any type of distinguishing flavour. Dry is also the word I'd use for the meat. They were certainly not "juicy" as had been described. As for the pork, it was properly pulled and not as dry. What made them both disappointing is the fact that they lacked any hint of smoke whatsoever. Not sure how you can call it BBQ if there is no real smoke involved. Sauces provided were Eastern (vinegar), Southern (mustard), and Western (tomato). Kudos for trying to appease all palates but I think I would have stuck with one and made it better. Each one had its deficiencies.
The Ugly The attitude from one of the staff members. Being a "soup nazi" like the guy behind the register is not the way to win fans - especially when your food is missing its intended target. It's for this reason that I didn't stop and chat with them. Would have loved to have found out how they were actually cooking the meat. Also, why is an Arnold Palmer more expensive than either the lemonade or the sweet tea? Do you really need to charge more to just mix the two ingredients. Inexplicable. There is only one beer on tap - San Miguel. I could see no bottles on offer.
So...long story short. None of the people in the dining party thought they would return. The food was bland and the attitude was off-putting. Not sure either one of those is easily corrected.