When the scent of BBQ is in the air it’s hard to fight the craving for roast beast. That’s how I got lured into Q, an up-scale BBQ joint in the Gold Coast. The tantalizing scent of BBQ on north Dearborn seems to make Q a welcome addition to the neighborhood, but I had to sample the menu to see if the food lived up to the smell.
I’m happy to report that it does not disappoint. Chef and Partner Lee Ann Whippen is apparently a known champ in BBQ competitions throughout the country for her baby back and St. Louis ribs. The St. Louis ribs are indeed standout — they’re meatier than your typical rack of full or baby back ribs, and in this case, fat proves to be a good thing, adding to the smoky favor without being too grisly. The pulled pork is excellent as well — tender, moist and cooked to perfection. I tried the chicken too, and although it was good, it wasn’t as exceptional as the other two. All BBQ dishes are served with three different sauces — a mild sweet sauce, a vinegar sauce, and a spicier sauce — that you can add to your dish or mix together to suit yourself.
The BBQ may be the central focus at Q, but the other accompaniments on the menu can’t and shouldn’t be overlooked. The baby greens salad served with smoked grape tomatoes and cornbread croutons is a creative spin on your traditional mixed greens, and hits the spot. So does the BBQ garlic shrimp and polenta starter. The only thing that fell short side wise was the mac and cheese. It looked gorgeous and had a satisfying crunch on top, but tasted bland. Be sure to save a little room for cobbler at the end of your meal though. Although the flavors are sure to change seasonally, right now Q’s serving up a mean apple cobbler in a cast iron skillet (always a good sign) topped with cinnamon ice cream.
The wine and beer list isn’t overwhelming and is well thought out. I enjoyed a Carmenère for the first time because it paired so nicely with the meat.
Unlike the counter service you’ll find a Smoque, or the down-home music-focused feel you get at Smoke Daddy, the decor at Q is swank and invites you to sit and stay awhile. The spacious low lit dining room is filled with simple clean-lined furniture, and there’s even an upstairs room that can be rented for private parties (but unfortunately there’s no elevator). There are large flat screen on the walls that are a tad distracting, but they also make Q a good place to catch a sporting event or two. All in all, it’s worth a visit.
1160 N Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60610
Check out our review of Smoque and Smoke Daddy.