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.
Lovey’s also has a truck. It has been renamed since I wrote the review below.
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.
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Lovey’s BBQ Hog Mobile Truck.
A few months ago I had the opportunity to visit Lovey’s Marion Street location and write a review. In addition to the main site and Lovey’s Blue Dot Diner, owner Roger LeBleu also has Lovey’s BBQ Hog Mobile Truck. The truck brings the flavours of the restaurant onto the street, albeit with a somewhat limited menu.
This year the truck has been out on the street less than in the past. However, you can usually find out when it’s going to the street by checking out Lovey’s Facebook page. Without further introduction here are my thoughts.
The pricing at Lovey’s BBQ Hog Mobile Truck is quite reasonable. Prices range from $4.00 for the tornado potatoes up to a high of $17.00, but the high is for a full slab of ribs. You can get a half slab for $10.00 and everything else is under the $10.00 mark. Portion sizes are also more than adequate. 4.5/5
As I stated earlier the menu at the truck is limited compared to the dine in menu, but there are still a variety of options to choose from. As one would guess the menu is meat heavy, but there are several meat dishes to choose from. 4.5/5
Overall, the quality at the BBQ Hog Mobile Truck is quite close to the dine-in experience although my ribs were a little on the overcooked side and starting to dry a little. The pulled pork is the same, and the tornado potatoes are well cooked. 4/5
The food came in containers that are easy to carry, but that aren’t covered. The Tornado Potatoes were a pleasant surprise in that I never had to worry that the potato would fall off of one side of the stick when I was biting on the other. 4/5
Service was friendly and efficient, I got my order in a reasonable time. 4/5
Lovey’s BBQ Hog Mobile Truck Overall:
If you can’t make it over into St. Boniface, taking the time to check out the BBQ Hog Mobile Truck when it makes its way onto city streets is a pretty good alternative. Give this place a try next time you see it parked on the street, or at a weekend event. 4.25/5