BBQ? Ish.

This weekend, Denise and I went to a BBQ place in Port Coquitlam instead of taking our usual 40 minute drive out to the place where we usually go. Wilbur & Sabastian’s Smokehouse and Bistro is in a little plaza across the street from where I used to live. The reviews for it were mixed, but its overall score was a 4/5 on Yelp. We’ve been meaning to give it a try for some time now, but we usually have bbq for supper, not lunch and W&S only has pulled pork on the lunch menu, not the supper one for some reason.

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For our starter, we got the grilled farmer’s sausage with cornbread. It was a mild sausage, brushed with a light tasting bbq sauce. Not bad.

The cornbread was very moist and more like a sponge cake with cornmeal and chunks of corn in it than any other cornbread that I’ve ever had before. Even Denise, who normally doesn’t eat cornbread, was tucking in to it. Not bad at all.

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First up on the main dishes is Denise’s pulled pork sandwich with a side of skin-on russet potatoes with accompanying roasted garlic mayo dip and a ramekin of house made coleslaw.

We both tried to order a pulled pork sandwich, but the server said that there was only enough for one order left. I guess they only make enough pulled pork to get them through the lunch period and once they’re out, they’re out. As it was, if that was one order’s worth of meat, they’re ripping off their customers. The sauce was very subtle and delicate allowing for the pork flavor to come to the forefront. Well, I’m assuming that’s what was intended. There really would have had to have been quite a bit more meat in there for the pork flavor to come through. Very little pulled pork in the sandwich. What pork there was though, was very tender and juicy. Just could have used a real portion is all.

The coleslaw was inedible. It looked great, but was virtually tasteless except for a strong bitter aftertaste. The chips were nice when dipped into the roasted garlic mayo.

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Due to the shortage of pulled pork, I ordered a bacon cheddar burger with a side of chicken and vegetable soup and another ramekin of that coleslaw.

When the server was listing off the soups, she mentioned a cream of vegetable and a chicken and veggie soup. I guess she meant that both were cream soups. I was expecting something completely different. If I had known it was a cream of chicken, I would have gone for the side salad instead. Oh well. On a cold day, a bowl of soup is welcome. At least it would have been if it had any taste. I would have assumed that there was something wrong with my tongue, but I could taste other things (like the sausages and cornbread). The soup was like a thick, warm, hmmm…  I guess “liquid” fits here. Heh. I did something I never do; I added salt to my soup to give it some flavor.

I cut my burger in half in exchange for half of Denise’s pulled pork sandwich. Don’t know if she got the majority of the burger or if the patty just was really small. Fairly tasty, but that was mostly the chunk of bacon on top. I found there was something missing in the taste profile and couldn’t place it until almost the last bite. There was no tomato and no tomato based sauce of any kind, be it ketchup or bbq sauce. I guess when Denise asked for no tomato on her pulled pork sandwich, they followed through with my burger too. :/ Disappointing.

When I went up to the cash to pay, I mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of the coleslaw. This got the two servers talking about coleslaw and other salads, and the superiority of house made slaw over stuff that comes in a bucket, like the garbage from Memphis Blues. I had to agree that the slaw at Memphis Blues wasn’t that great either, but I can at least eat it when I add in some bbq sauce and vinegar (which are at every table). That got one of them talking about another bucket salad served at Memphis Blues (who she thinks is their only competitor), the potato salad. Never having had it, I couldn’t comment, but did offer the following story:

When I first moved to BC back in 1996, my roomies and I were walking around Gastown in downtown Vancouver in our first week. I was approached by this guy carrying two large containers of potato salad under his arms asking me if I’d like to buy them. Uhhh… no thanks. I’ve been offered many things on the street, from sex to drugs to cheap jewellery, but never would have thought to put potato salad on that list of street merchandise. Smile

Despite the good reviews that Wilbur and Sabastian’s has gotten, I’m afraid I won’t be returning. Their presentation was great, but the taste just wasn’t. In the end, taste wins out. Unless we find something closer, we’ll be going to Memphis Blues for our bbq from now on.

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