3139 M Street N.W.
Reviewer's Comments: I wasn't planning to eat at Old Glory, an old favorite of mine, but
the wind was from the South that day, and as I caught a whiff of the smoke wafting up
Wisconsin Avenue, well maybe two whiffs, I changed my mind.
If your idea of a perfect BBQ joint includes mis-matched furniture, a crumbling formica
floor, and a couple of toothless good 'ol boys tending the pit, you're likely to be
disappointed. Old Glory is related to J. Paul's, an upscale yuppie bar on the other side
of M Street, and has the same kind of upscale decor. The bar is a massive piece of wood
from an old hotel, supporting the world's largest collection of bourbon. Patrons who have
sampled the entire bourbon list qualify for a brass plaque, noting their entry into the
bourbon hall of fame. Bar stools are extra wide, to support those "Q" loving
So how's the food, you might ask? Let me begin by saying that the boys know how to
"Q". A collection of trophies won at Memphis in May stands above the front door.
Unfortunately, knowing how to cook and producing fine "Q" in a commercial
setting are different issues. I always order the combination plate, and to be totally
honest, there's not a hint of smoke taste in any of it except the ribs, which are finished
on a big fire in the open kitchen. Although the pulled chicken, pork shoulder, and brisket
are tender, moist, and tasty, there is no evidence of a smoke ring, bark, or BBQ rub
anywhere. However, that's not the end of the story. The side dishes are absolutely
fantastic, from the corn muffins with real kernels of corn, to the flaky biscuits, to the
creamed succotash, to the lumpy mashed potatoes. The six pack of sauces on each table are
nice too: East Carolina, Lexington, Charleston, Memphis, Kansas City, and East Texas. My
only complaint is that the sauces come in bottles equipped with nozzles designed for
pouring liquor, so the sauces tend to be thin. Overall, I really like Old Glory. The
bartenders are friendly, there's a nice selection of beers on tap, and of course the
bourbon collection is beyond reproach. Too bad the meat isn't better.
Reviewed By: Bruce Baker ( email@example.com ) on 4/18/98.