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Thread: California > Mountain View: QBB - Quality Bourbons & Barbecue

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    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    California > Mountain View: QBB - Quality Bourbons & Barbecue

    QBB - Quality Bourbons & Barbecue
    216 Castro Street
    Mountain View, CA 94041
    650-969-1112
    https://www.eatqbb.com/

    Mrs. TVWB and I visited QBB for lunch yesterday. Opening in September 2017 and located on busy Castro Street, QBB is a nice addition to the dining scene in Downtown Mountain View. Parking is tough, but you'll be rewarded for circling the block a few times with some very good barbecue.

    The narrow, shotgun-style restaurant is laid out simply, with reception counter up front, dining tables arranged in a matrix, then a small bar with kitchen/service area in back. Old Edison-style bulbs provide the room lighting and are a bit dim, in my opinion. At first glance, you'd think that "QBB" is just "BBQ" in reverse, but when you walk in the door and take a look at the bar, you know immediately that someone here has a fixation on bourbon. "QBB" stands for "Quality Bourbons & Barbecue" and those items are listed in that order for a reason. In fact, when you are presented with the menu, you notice there are two pages of barbecue followed by four pages of bourbons and bourbon flights. So if you're a bourbon lover, this is the place for you. If you like barbecue, even better.

    I'm not a bourbon lover, nor is Mrs. TVWB, so we stuck with the barbecue. As is our habit when visiting a new joint, we tried to sample as many of the meats as was reasonable. We ordered a plate lunch with spareribs, baked beans, house pickles, and white bread, and another plate lunch with brisket, creamed corn, house pickles, and cornbread muffin. On top of that, we ordered 1/3 pound samples of pastrami and pit beef and a full order of mac & cheese. I had an IBC root beer in a bottle, Mrs. TVWB had a locally brewed Heffeweizen on-tap.

    All meats were served nice and hot, which was really appreciated given that my last BBQ adventure at a joint in San Francisco featured tepidly temperatured meats. Portions were a good size, especially the mac & cheese which was actually an entree in and of itself. Unfortunately it doesn't come in a side order size.

    The prime brisket we got was cut from the point section, fall-apart tender and moist, almost as if braised and pulled with juices from the bottom of a serving pan. It would not pass the brisket pull test in a KCBS barbecue contest, but had great, rich brisket flavor without tasting like pot roast. I'd like to try the brisket again and ask for both lean and fatty and see what happens.

    The spareribs were very meaty and "restaurant tender" without totally falling off the bone--very nicely done. The pit beef was mixed with house barbecue sauce and had pickled onions on top...I can imagine how good it would be if ordered as a sandwich. The pastrami came with a side of stoneground mustard and was quite good, but Mrs. TVWB and I disagreed on the taste. I felt I was tasting something unusual and unexpected in the pickling spices or rub that gave the meat an unusual flavor, whereas Mrs. TVWB thought there was something missing from the flavor profile, perhaps not as much coriander or black pepper as expected. Regardless, it's good stuff but not my favorite meat on this visit.

    The creamed corn was fabulous when piping hot, but eat it quickly because it starts to solidify as it cools. It's very rich and creamy with a strong pepper flavor that I liked. The baked beans have bits of barbecue meat in them and the flavor was good, but totally overpowered in flavor by the rich meats we were eating. We took home the leftovers; perhaps with a clean palette they'll have a more outstanding flavor. The cornbread muffin was delicious, with little bits of corn inside and served with what tasted like a maple butter on the side. The house pickles were crunchy and delicious and served in a little pile of other pickled veg including carrots, onions, and peppers.

    A neat little treat was a small boat of pit-popped caramel corn delivered to each table. I'm a sucker for caramel corn, and this confection was served hot and dusted with QBB rub and smoked salt. What a delicious and thoughtful gesture for diners!

    After we finished lunch and packed up our leftovers, I introduced myself to pitmaster Ryan Pang. He's a CIA graduate and has been working in the local restaurant scene for years, including a stint at the well-known South Bay barbecue chain Armadillo Willy's BBQ. Ryan has also been a KCBS barbecue competitor and the walls are adorned with trophies from contests including the prestigious Santa Anita Park BBQ Championship and the defunct Oaktown Throwdown. Ryan's barbecue has also won People's Choice awards at the Santa Clara BBQ Championship, so he's the real deal when it comes to 'que.

    Ryan invited me into the kitchen to see the small Cookshack pit and the larger Southern Pride pit they use to make all the barbecue. I don't remember exactly what was cooked in which, except that I do remember brisket was smoked in the Cookshack and I saw half chickens in the Southern Pride. Ryan had a busy staff in the small galley kitchen cranking out meals for the busy lunch crowd, so it looks like business is pretty good so far at this relatively new joint.

    All the barbecue meats can be had on a plate, in a sandwich, and in increments of 1/3, 1/2, and 1 pound. There are a variety of other sides, salads, and a single dessert--a bourbon/bacon/maple flan. Something we didn't try but probably should have was the housemade sausage. Ryan makes it using pork and leftover brisket trim and seemed to be really proud of it. Maybe next time.

    Prices are kind of high but typical of Calfornia barbecue joints using quality ingredients like prime brisket, paying a decent wage, and all the other things that make the cost of living so high in the Golden State.

    Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Mountain View craving some good barbecue!

    Here are some pics. Enjoy!





















    Continued...

  2. #2
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    You weren't kidding about the bourbon! Looks like some really good food, too!

  4. #4
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    The bourbon and barbecue are both legit! Says the guy who knows nothing about bourbon, except that there are a lot of them available at QBB!

  5. #5
    TVWBB Gold Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    Looks like a cool joint. Thanks for the excellent review!
    22.5 WSM, 22.5 OTS, Smokey Joe, Genesis 1000, Smokenator 1000, Old Country Pecos, Thermapen, Smoke, Maverick ET-732, Igrill 2

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    TVWBB Fan Donna Fong's Avatar
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    Great review Chris. Ryan Pang is the real deal. He's been cooking on the circuit for many years. One of the things that distinguishes him from most of us is that he is classically trained and knows how to cook a very wide range of cuisines. So when Ryan hands me something to eat at a contest, I eat it because I know it will be delicious. Much of the time, it isn't barbecue and I am thankful because at the end of a contest, that's not what you want. Best of luck to Ryan. We will have to go over and dine. Thank you Chris.

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