Last Friday I had the chance to go for supper with Anna Coleshaw-Echols and Lori Morton, two of my blogging friends. The occasion was an invitation to Lovey’s BBQ and Smokehouse on Marion Street. As a matter of full disclosure, our meal was provided gratis, but the review that follows is my own thoughts and I wasn’t asked to make any particular comments.
This was not the first time I have been to Lovey’s. I’ve been to the restaurant for a sitdown meal, and I have stopped at the truck for Pulled Pork Poutine as well.
For our main meal we ordered the Voyageur platter. The picture below doesn’t do it justice. It is listed on the menu as serving four, but a family of six would feel well fed and you could even stretch it to feed a family of eight. If your family of eight was like the one I grew up in, you might even get a second meal. The Voyageur platter comes with St. Louis style ribs, chicken, beans, coleslaw, slow smoked beef brisket, and garlic fries. These are the options we chose, but there are a couple of others you can substitute.
You’ll notice that although it’s called a platter, it takes a platter and a couple of other dishes to get all the food to the table.
While we were waiting for the platter to arrive, we tried some of the available sides. We tried the pulled-pork poutine, deep-fried pickles and extra-spicy chicken wings.
I didn’t manage to photograph the pulled-pork poutine, either in the serving dish or on my plate. It would be the favourite of the Lovey’s B-B-Q dishes in my books, although this one didn’t seem to have as much cheese as the previous one I tried. Deep-fried pickles are a southern delicacy that even after trying them a second time are something that I don’t understand the appeal of. However, the one’s at Lovey’s are made with a decent size piece of pickle which means that they hold their texture well and are not reduced to mush. The chicken wings were moist with a smoky taste and a nice little bit of char on the skins, but they weren’t spicy, let alone extra-spicy.
Once we’d enjoyed our sides, the platter arrived at the table. One of the things that surprised me was how lean the food was. Despite the fact that the meal looked like it should arrive with an A.E.D. there is not a lot of excess fat on the meat. As owner Roger LeBleu explained, they have their ribs specially trimmed for them, as well the cooking process also removes a great deal of the fat.
One of the things that I like about the food at Lovey’s is that nothing is overdone. The beans have a measure of firmness to them, the meat comes off of the ribs, but isn’t messy, the coleslaw is crisp, and you don’t find a half a bowl of water at the bottom of the dish. Even better, the meat is well sauced but never to the point of becoming goopy(that last one’s a technical term).
Alongside of the pulled pork, the beans would be one of my favourite dishes. As I said, I like the fact that they are firm and not mushy. They also come with a sauce that has a nice little kick to it. The hot sauce in the beans is noticable, but as an undercurrent rather than as the dominant flavour.
Much like the chicken wings, the chicken that came with the voyageur platter was moist and tendered and nicely sauced, again with a slight bit of charring that helped make it nice and crispy on the outside. The brisket was nicely seasoned, but I would have preferred to be slightly less cooked than it was.
I washed my meal down with a Hog Spit Lager. This Lager is specially bottled for Lovey’s BBQ and is a nice crisp and light beverage choice to accompany an admittedly heavy meal.
One of the things that you notice when you are at Lovey’s is that Roger, the owner, takes time to meet and talk with everyone who comes into the restaurant. Along with that there is a very friendly staff, who will take your order, which is placed at the front counter of the restaurant.
There is a real emphasis placed on customer service at Lovey’s. This is reflected not only in the dealings with the customers, but also in the loyalty card program, which gives a good return on money spent. Plus, Lovey’s has another card which is good for use as a fundraising tool. If you haven’t been to Lovey’s, you definitely need to go. If you have been to Lovey’s, you need to go again.