Happy Hour Hunt: Q American Barbeque

Q American Barbeque
4029 North Miami Avenue, Miami Design District
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 3 p.m-7 p.m.

At this new, sleek Design District beauty, Buds and PBR drafts were $3 and wells were $5. I was quite impressed by how many actual items were on the happy hour food menu in the $2-$5 price range. Our orders included dry rubbed spare ribs, NC pulled pork slider, pit roasted Southern fried chicken, French fries, and a brownie with whipped cream and oatmeal cookies. For this particular taste test, I brought along a friend from Memphis; meaning, she knows her BBQ.

What worked: The ribs were tender but didn't have much flavor on their own (the place provides three topping/sauce varieties on the side.) The slider had an onion bun that was fantastic; it also came with cole slaw on top, which was good, but we hoped for something messier and oozing with taste. The seasoned fries were quite tasty, crisp, and not even slightly greasy.

What didn't work: Peanuts were brought out to the bar after the happy hour was over and even worse, they were presented in just regular glasses (can we get a tin can or something?) The fried drumstick made me feel as though I had attended the Renaissance Fair and ordered a large turkey leg. It also tasted like something from Wing Stop (which is not exactly bad, I just expected something different.) The sauces were a bit watery, the brownies tasted like there were too many eggs in the batter, and the oatmeal cookies seemed like sugar cookie mix with an accidental touch of oatmeal. And can one really have brownies and cookies at a BBQ place without an ice-cold scoop of vanilla ice cream on top?

In the end: If you're looking for a dive bar, BBQ spot to lick your fingers and smack your teeth, this is not the place. And for a happy hour, the drink specials are weak. If you're searching for upscale barbecue, though, and don't want to unleash your inner carnivore, then by all means, pay em' a visit.

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