Wednesday, February 8, 2012

R Place

23254 FM 1155 E
Washington, TX 77880
Open F-Sat 11-9, Sun 11-6

The road seems to end right at the doorstep of this renovated historic building. Just before you run into the joint, hang a right as the road makes an abrupt turn, and the parking is on your left. Large letters outside read "H. A. Stolz Groceries", but it now houses R Place restaurant. If it looks familiar, you may be a Daytripper fan. The interior is part preserved general store, and part refined art-clad dining room. The long bar completes the inviting feel, but you'll want to walk right through to the back doors if the weather's nice. A number of picnic tables sit beside the barbecue pits and the open grate grill used for Saturday night steaks. From here you can see the site where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed just over the low fence that marks the boundary of the adjacent state park.

We waited at one of these outdoor tables while our sampler plate was prepared. A heaping plate of ribs, brisket and sausage came out as we mulled over the dessert options. The smoked meat smacks of the well meaning results of a barbecue hobbyist. Ribs were well smoked, but the seasoning was too thick to allow a good crust to form. Another hour on the smoker would have rendered out the fat and aptly tenderized the meat, but what we got was tough and chewy. Brisket suffered the same fate. It was seasoned well and had a great looking crust and smokering, but the tough meat with unrendered fat just needed more time on the smoker. Sausage has decent seasoning and was a cut above Eckrich, but lacked adequate smoke.

Any deficiencies in the meat were quickly forgotten when the large bowl of peach cobbler came to the table. Homemade cinnamon ice cream (it wasn't clear if it's from scratch, or if they mix in the cinnamon flavoring into Blue Bell vanilla) was the perfect complement to the warm cobbler, and between three men who were about proteined out, it didn't last long. I would honestly make the drive here again just for dessert. I guess I'd try the barbecue again, if only because it was obvious they were trying. Hopefully they can work out some of the kinks we found on this day.

Rating **

1 comment:

Mike said...

I tried this place on an unexpectedly busy Friday afternoon during spring break and generally agree with your review except my Ribs went the other direction and were over smoked to the point of being a bit mushy. All the meat had good seasoning and smoke, I thought. I loved the ambiance of the place and I also loved the fact that after providing the generic "pretty good" answer to how the food was, he asked again for a real answer because he wanted real feedback. Oh, and when asked, he told me the yummy cinnamon ice cream does come from Blue Bell, but they only sell it in the big containers. I really wanted this place to be good because it looked like a great fun dive. He also holds Sat night dinners with a fixed menu and music that might be a fun experience too.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.