While there is no shortage of Japanese-style barbeque restaurants in Tokyo, if you’re looking for what an American might call a BBQ joint, you’re down to about a handful – some of which will charge you and arm and a leg.
That was why we were happy we stumbled upon DC BBQ, a friendly spot that opened up last year near Azabu-juban Station. We knew we were in for something good when we could catch the heady aroma of roasting meat as we made our way up the stairs to the restaurant.
The big-screen TVs and the spacious seating area give DC BBQ a bit of a sports bar feel, which can be a nice taste of home, even if you aren’t normally the sports bar type. The restaurant doesn’t put on airs and just lets the food do the talking – and the food has plenty to say. Our meal began with some traditional favorites: coleslaw, mashed potatoes, and maybe our favorite of the sides and appetizers: a three-cheese macaroni and cheese, with just the right amount of Bechamel to give the whole affair a bit of sweetness, and finished in the oven for a crispy top.
Before we moved on to the main course, we were served DC BBQ’s signature Classic Wedge Salad and a bowl of their Tortilla Soup. In comparison with the pint-sized arrangements of green you’ll find at many restaurants in Japan, the Wedge Salad green offers plenty to enjoy, accompanied by a tangy blue cheese sauce and homemade bacon chips. Meanwhile, the Tortilla Soup is a hearty, spicy dish that walks a tasty line between Tex-Mex and Southeast Asian.
This was all prelude, of course, for that magic trio of letters that brought us in the door: B, B, and Q. DC BBQ’s full combo includes beef brisket, pork spareribs, pork belly, chicken, pork shoulder, and they included a monstrous beef short rib just for good measure. The restaurant has its own pit room, where a 600kg, four-meter-long, iron BBQ oven does its smoky work. The oven is nicknamed “Zoe,” (we’re not sure if it’s a House of Cards reference, but maybe we’re just pining for the new season) and after 12 hours of slow smoking, everything came out of that oven tasting great: the pork was succulent and richly flavored, the chicken was juicy, and the beef ribs – which can often end up dry if they’re not done right – were tender and delicious.
In lieu of dessert – which did look tempting – we decided to split a DC Burger. That extra portion made the walk back to the station a little more leisurely than usual, but we didn’t regret it. There were a few things on the menu had us tempted for our next time back: Buffalo Wings, BBQ Brisket Chili, and the restaurant’s homemade (and crispy!) bacon. If you live in the area, a lot of their menu – including their BBQ offerings – are available for take out.
For more information about DC BBQ, visit www.dc-bbq.com.