Once Britain, Twice Shy

Barbecue baby back ribs were yet another strange preparation. A full rack was roasted unbasted in the oven, then served with a mesquite-flavored condiment on the side. In Memphis "dry" barbecue is a specialty, the ribs rubbed with herbs and slow-cooked until the meat falls off the bones. But these were just plain mishandled, dry, flavorless, and burned in spots so they crunched like bacon. The accompanying steak fries were another failure, some so crisp no potato was left in the center, others so soggy they could have used an umbrella.

Vegetables are served with all entrees. On one visit a melange of squashes, red pepper, and string beans was steamed and fresh, rescued from flavorlessness by a squirt of lemon. Another time, though, the same arrangement had been sauteed in enough butter to thicken one's blood.

We were pleased with dessert, a homemade, creamy tiramisu, and with our choice of wine, a robust Round Hill merlot chosen from the mostly California list. But that wasn't nearly enough to rescue this garden from the weeds.

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