RE: ribs & bbq in Chicagoland
Wed, 07/7/04 4:28 PM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Freddy's Rib House on Sheffield near North Ave. Again, as I don't eat pork, I can't comment on the pork ribs. But Pat Bruno of the Chicago Sun-Times likes them. There are also beef ribs, which I mean to try sometime. I love the barbecued chicken here. Great flavor, crispy skin. And the "moejoe" potatoes, which I can't really describe except to say they're unique and wonderful.
Has anyone else tried this place?
Here's Bruno's review (now three years old):
In the city; bruno's bites
Freddy's 'arrival' heralds one of the best rib joints in town
25 May 2001
Chicago Daily Herald
Ribs have been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. For a while I couldn't figure out why that was. But then it hit me like a bag of bones. I was experiencing a food flashback. It had to do with my visit to Bone Daddy, a nifty rib joint on Ogden Avenue, back in February. I was definitely in need of a barbecue fix. I mulled over some of the more interesting possibilities: Leon's, Robinson's, Carson's, Twin Anchors. Any of those would have satisfied my sudden lust for good barbecue.
Then I got hit again. For the past few weeks, I was making regular trips to Home Depot on North Avenue for a home project I was working on, and my route took me right past Freddy's Rib House on Sheffield. I figured that each time I drove past Freddy's, some kind of subliminal message was being trans-channeled into my brain: "Eat ribs, eat ribs, eat ribs."
I had eaten at Freddy's a year or so ago. I liked the barbecue, but I didn't get hit with the thunderbolt. This time the thunderbolt hit me. Freddy's has evolved. Freddy's has arrived. I would definitely place Freddy's in my top five places to go for good barbecue and all the fixings.
Those "fixings" happen early in the game. A basket of incredibly good mini corn muffins arrives. Watch out, these are addictive. Even before I ordered, I downed three (or was it four?) of those gems.
The question of what to order looms large here. Under the "Ribs" section of the menu, the choices are expansive. Freddy's is one of the few barbecue joints around that offers not just baby back ribs but St. Louis-style pork ribs and beef ribs as well. The menu also includes barbecued chicken, steak, prime rib and whitefish. Of course there are sandwiches and a host of side dishes to ponder while you're at it.
One issue that needs to be addressed right now, though, is that potato. On the menu it is listed as "That loaded side, Freddy's Monster." No hyperbole there. That baked potato was practically a mutant; a giant one-pound Idaho potato that was almost as big as a toaster. The potato was split, and filled with loads of butter (sour cream, bacon bits and chives also were available). And none of that would have meant a hill of beans were the potato not baked right. Not the case. This spud was great-tasting, meaty, chunky, luscious and most pleasing.
I might as well cover some of the other sides sampled while I am at it. I polished off with relish the ravishing and deeply flavored baked beans. I thought the addition of peanuts to the crunchy, not overdressed, coleslaw was an inspired move. The "moJoes," cubes of fried potatoes, were tasty but dried out. The only time I eat corn- on-the-cob is in August and early September, so I did not go there.
Now to the main barbecue dishes. Baby back ribs were very good. These were flavorful ribs, the tender, tasty meat not quite falling off the bone. I like a zippier flavor, so I doctored up the ribs with some of the spicy barbecue sauce on the table, and that got my rib- tasting buds to where they should be. A full slab goes for $16.95.
In fact if I could have only one choice of ribs here, I would probably opt for the St. Louis-style ribs. Smoky-tasting and terrific, the pork meat fell away from the bone at the touch of my fingers. A full slab is priced at $15.95. So good were they that another time I ordered the St. Louis ribs and barbecued chicken combo (go for the 50-cent upcharge for all-white meat). Now things were really cooking. The ribs and the chicken rode atop a rubble of those moJoe potatoes, but the star of this platter was the fine ribs and that meaty, tasty chicken.
If you like your meat in slabs, you should seriously consider the jumbo beef ribs. Smoked to tender, juicy perfection, those ribs, the net of which ran up there around 2 pounds, gave new meaning to the famous words, "Where's the beef?" The answer: right in front of me, big time, and oh so good.
Ribs and chicken dishes come with french fries or moJoe potatoes and coleslaw.
There are appetizers to consider, but you might be biting off more than you can chew. However, the spinach dip (a flavorful melange of creamy spinach laced with Monterey Jack cheese and a cutting of artichoke hearts) that came with chips would be a consideration for, say, a party of four to munch on while having a beer.
On the salad side, the Caesar is just OK. A better choice would be the spinach salad, a fully flavored and pumped-up combination of leaf spinach, tomato, hard-boiled egg and bacon. A flavorful and warm bacon-enhanced dressing added the final touch.
Lunch might call for a sandwich or two. The chopped barbecued beef (according to the menu this is smoked and seasoned chuck roast laced with barbecue sauce) came on a toasted bun and was big, bold and very tasty. Good, but even better was the pulled pork sandwich, which I strongly recommend you get with the tangy coleslaw piled on top.
At a barbecue joint, desserts are an afterthought to my way of thinking. However, I did try the Heath Bar cheesecake. I think it was sitting in the kitchen for a while before the waiter picked it up. Not so great.
After a few visits to Freddy's Rib House, my need for a rib fix has been fixed. Now, for some reason, I am getting a taste for neighborhood Italian. Stay tuned.
GRAPHIC: An impressive range of barbecue with plenty of flavor to go 'round.
Freddy's Rib House
1555 N. Sheffield Ave.,