Not too long ago however, I got word of some new staff and smoking techniques being employed in the kitchen. Foodiebuddha essentially dispelled these new additions from being any sort of improvement in his review of DBA. So again, I had no desire to return. Then I received this somewhat shilly email the other day:
They asked to be featured.
I had to do a little promoting myself, right?
Not one thing has changed.
So, I went back with my BBQ brethren, Xerxes, and we re-tried DBA. It's important to remember DBA, if you're going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. And you didn't. Again.
Right off the bat our server and makeshift host was just... intense. He was very quick and jolty and even when ordering our drinks or telling us about the specials, it was slightly discomforting. Fortunately, he was training a new girl who took care of us for most of the remainder of our visit, but I was still a little off-put from "Cokey McCokerson."
Cokey immediately told us they had an appetizer special, fried jalapeños, and that they were only a dollar, so we ordered them. These were OK. The batter was pretty tasty, but eventually the spice started to get to us when we had downed about 75% of the order. We didn't finish these.
For the main, I ordered a two meat plate ($15) with pulled pork, brisket, the grilled cream corn, and fried corn (I know, two corn sides... but how often can you get fried corn on the cob). Xerxes went the two meat route also and got baby backs (an extra $2), pulled pork, onion rings, and fried corn.
DOA. Our plates were Dead. On. Arrival. The plates were lacking (tons of empty space) and the portions were meager. In addition to the lack of food, my brisket was more like briquette. Seriously it looked just like briket. It was black and solid as a rock. With enough force, you could actually chip the plate with this "meat."
The pulled pork wasn't dry like my first visit, but it was mushy. Overcooked and not nearly smokey or seasoned enough. The briquette, I mean brisket, was pathetic. I had a tough time cutting through it with a knife and the entire thing literally crunched in my mouth. And not potato chip crunch. I'm talking gravel. Frankly if I were the server, I would have taken it back upon seeing it. Xerxes said the ribs (4 bones) showed some improvement but he was hardly blown away by them. Also, like our first visit, none of the meat came out even warm. Seriously, is that too much to ask for?
Table-side are 3 sauces: Sweet, Hot, and Mustard. The Sweet and Hot taste exactly the same and are of a pretty watery consistency. They rely heavily on Carolina vinegary flavor, but just don't quite achieve any sort of great BBQ taste. The mustard sauce is pretty good if you like that sort of thing but in the end, just tastes like some high quality mustard.
While I'm afraid DBA cannot be saved, the sides truly are their saving grace . On my first visit, I had some of the best sweet potato fries I'd ever had. This time I really enjoyed both of my sides again. The creamed corn isn't creamed, but features charred corn kernels mixed with some sort of sweet cream sauce. It was darned good, but served luke warm. The fried corn is just battered and fried so you can't really screw that up, but it's only half a cob. Corn costs next to nothing. Why can't you guys serve the whole cob?! Xerxes onion rings were on point too - some of the better ones I've had anywhere.
Seriously DBA, spend some more time on perfecting your food, and less time on your PR marketing machine. Shilling reviews as much as you have really loses you credibility among many of the influencing members of the market you're trying to pull. Emailing different blogs and Yelp members is OK but you gotta have something to back up your (false) claims of awesomeness.