March 15, 2009

I walked the line. And it wasn't good.

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The RiverWalk in San Antonio is beautiful, lined with historic buildings, fancy hotels and restaurants that tickled my nose with tempting aromas. After our water taxi tour of the RiverWalk, we were pretty hungry. We walked along the sidewalk, looking for something to fill us up.

We were suddenly hit with the desire for barbecue and ended up at County Line Barbecue. The manager took us to our table. "This is the best seat in the restaurant," he said, "it just needs to be wiped down." Okay. Great. He stopped and looked at me. I mean, okay, we'll take it. I said, as it got a little awkward. He handed me the menus and silverware to hold. "Well you are just the perfect customers," he said as he slowly pulled out a cloth to wipe down the table. He was just plain odd. Finally he walked away and I was glad.

"Is this a chain?" Amie asked. Unsure, I googled it on my my BlackBerry. Yes. A chain it was. We didn't give up hope. It was still possible for it to be good.

I am no barbecue connoisseur, so Amie told me that I should order baby back ribs, to get a true barbecue experience. I did, and ordered black eyed peas and mashed potatoes as my sides. The waiter brought us hot bread and honey butter while we waited for our food. The bread was dark wheat, chewy and pretty darn good.

The waiter returned to tell me that they were sold out of the mashed potatoes. So, I substituted the mashed potatoes with potato salad. When the food got to our table, it looked the part. Shiny and red ribs, waiting to get all over my face and hands.

I cut off the first rib and bit into it. It took some serious effort with my teeth to pry the meat off the bones. It tasted okay. Kind of like the sweet, peppery barbecue sauce was trying to disguise the tough meat. Amie reported the same for her beef ribs.

The black eyed peas tasted like nothing. Which is odd, considering that I could see pieces of onions and peppers in with them, but it appeared that the flavor had been boiled completely out of them. The potato salad was okay. I've had better. Many times.

As I attempted to gnaw my way through the ribs, the slickness of the sauce triumphed several times and twice the rib got away from me. Once on the table, once on my lap. I looked like I had been in a fight with my dinner.

I had to go wash up after that. I headed to the bathroom. There was a line. Then, a blonde woman with fake fingernails, calico denim vest and a ton of make-up walked out. "There's shit all over in there," she said with a Texas drawl. "And the other one doesn't work." Okay then. I think I'll pass. If there's one thing that grosses me out, it's a nasty bathroom in a restaurant.

As we walked out, a waiter with shoulder length hair was carrying a tray of food out to a table. His hair was literally in their food.

I'm afraid I can't recommend this place at all. Tomorrow we're headed back to Austin in search of some real barbecue.

County Line Barbeque on Urbanspoon


Hey, It's Ansley said...

Salt Lick! Salt Lick! Salt Lick!

Kate The Great said...

I spent a week in San Antonio with my fambly last summer. We had kids with us, and we wanted to go to the place along the Riverwalk that was oozing with beautiful, live jazz, but they didn't have a kid's menu. We ended up at Rainforest Cafe. Meh.

And it was the only restaraunt we ate at all week. For the rest of the week, everyone looked at me like I was crazy when I said I was hungry around dinnertime. I was bummed. I wanted to try authentic restaurants.

shizuokagourmet said...

Dear Lizzy!
I've always wondered about facilities in restaurants "abroad".
Now, I start to understand why my foreign friends advised me to point out that Japanese restaurants are generally super-clean (and hi-tec these days).
On the other I once watched a TV programme on a famous country pub i Ireland. The owner all suit and necke tie would put on plastic gloves and clean the toilets every hour (and not let anyone do it!). No wonder the pub was considered one of the very best in Ireland!