Here’s well-made downhome food, served in decorator-rustic surroundings in an upscale neighborhood. The Germantown Commissary has barnboard walls choc-a-block with old tin signs, wind-up telephones and vintage advertisements. Many of its tables wobble as much as those in a juke joint and the air has the unmistakably seductive aroma of a working smoke pit.
It is best known for ribs, which truly are first-rate: crusted with sauce, scented by hickory, meaty as hell with enough chew to provide maximum flavor. You can order them by number of bones, from five to twelve (a full rack), or as part of a half-and-half plate with another barbecued meat. We suggest the latter, because it would be a crime to come to the Commissary and NOT have pulled pork. It is shoulder meat, pulled into slightly-more-than-bite-size strips and hunks, some edges crusty, some parts velvet-soft. You can also get the meat chopped, which is OK, but deprives your tongue of the pleasure of worrying those long strips of meat you get when it’s pulled.
For dessert, there are smokehouse classics: banana pudding with softened vanilla wafers in the custard, and tongue-soothing lemon ice box pie.