It's been quite a while since we've taken a look at the Nashville barbecue scene. There have been quite a few new places to open, and also a few to close, since the last installation of our 21 part, two year exploration of Nashville barbecue. I hope to try to take a look at as many of these new places as I can in the near future.
Stone House Q opened on the west side in late 2011. It's on the fringe of Sylvan Park, though it feels decidedly more connected to the blue collar pulse of Charlotte Avenue. True to its name, the restaurant is located in a restored old stone house, with a spacious deck on the front and side.
Stone House Q is the result of a partnership of restaurant industry veterans, who did extensive barbecue-related research before settling on the formula for Stone House Q. So how's the barbecue?
The pulled pork sandwich looked impressive - squishy bun, lots of meat, lots of bark. But I was frankly disappointed. Texture was a little drier than I like, and I found the meat to be underseasoned and relatively bland. Any flaws were greatly aided by Stone House Q's excellent barbecue sauce, which might be the best I have found in a restaurant. I chose the hot, which was legitimately hot, but had enough sweetness to play well with the heat.
Though there were some flaws with the pork shoulder, I found nothing to complain about with the ribs. Stone House Q offers both baby backs and spares.
The baby backs were especially great. They were perfectly cooked - very tender, but not falling off the bone. The flavor is excellent, with no sauce required. The generously applied rub yields a great savory-sweet-peppery blend of flavors, and a kiss of smoke adds a perfect complement.
The spare ribs were also excellent. Again, the tenderness was spot on, with the meat just barely clinging to the bone. Again, there was no sauce needed. The rub and the smoke do all of the talking.
It's good to have a new barbecue joint on the west side. If you'll remember, in our report on the west side in 2009, there was only one active local restaurant - Paradise Ridge - and it has since closed. Pig & Pie finally resurfaced on White Bridge Road, but it too quickly closed.
I look forward to returning to Stone House - not only for the barbecue, but for the side items. It's not usually our practice to include side items, beverages or desserts in our barbecue reports, but I've heard that the sides at Stone House Q are outstanding. Here's wishing them success!
Disclaimer: Please note that these reports are based on particular servings of barbecue at a particular day and time. Barbecue can be prone to fluctuation. Your experiences may vary.