Forgive the hideous photo which in no way reflects the quality of our meal at Chicago Williams. It's just, the place was dark, my phone is a little old, you get the picture. Right?
The scene: Saturday afternoon, a few weeks ago. My husband and I had unexpectedly come into some unplanned babysitting hours. Suddenly, a thought. Dinner out! A date! It didn't take long to decide on where to go. Marguerite had, weeks earlier, said that Chicago Williams was among the best BBQ she'd ever had. (!) Visions of cold drinks and smoky meat danced in our heads. The last good BBQ we'd eaten was on the book tour, at Hill Country in DC. We called up, reserved a table and headed east.
At Chicago Williams, you order at the bar from a blackboard. There are platters and sandwiches and sides to choose from and the bartender will, in a pinch, help you decide. (The ribs are non-negotiable, he said, and he was right. He nudged us towards mashed potatoes, we settled on cole slaw instead.)
We ordered a platter that included three meats (pulled pork, ribs and chicken) and two sides (baked beans - our Kryptonite - and cole slaw). We'd reserved far too last-minute to get a coveted table outside and instead were seated together with a few other people at a communal table. As we waited, deafening music played. I know I sound like an old lady, but it sort of drove me nuts. I could barely hear my husband talk. Just a few decibels lower would have helped, but Chicago Williams is not the kind of place where you ask them to turn down the music. You just think to yourself: next time I'm sitting outside.
Our food came served on a plastic tray lined with a sheet of wax paper. The ribs were, in fact, delicious. The chicken was really good (even better the next day!). The pulled pork was good, too, though a little on the dry side. I like a saucy pulled pork myself. The cole slaw was heavy on the mayo, but suitably refreshing. The only miss were the baked beans - semi-crunchy and missing that oozing, melty, sticky quality that makes baked beans one of the best things on earth to eat.
Still, the BBQ was really solid. We both so enjoyed our meal. And the atmosphere, loud music notwithstanding, was fun. I'd say it's a particularly great place to go with a group.
Chicago Williams BBQ
Hannoversche Strasse 2
Tel: (030) 280 42 422