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RG's BBQ Cafe - Pitmaster Robert Gadsby's Ribs and Barbecue in the old Bar-B-Que House on Route 1 in North Laurel - Closed

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You have a high-end chef trying to lay low in Laurel -- dishing up barbecue that is very worth the drive to U.S. 1.

 
You'll know them because it'll be the only hole-in-the-wall dining room that shows the Food Network.
 
You'll also know them for the food. Smokey, seared spare ribs, light corn bread, and the best collard greens that I remember eating.
 
photo(443).JPGThat was my first platter, and it only suggests more good things to find on that menu. RG's BBQ Cafe is a new restaurant in the U.S. 1 building that used to be the Bar-B-Que House. It's the same casual spot with counter service and a small dining room. But it's a new operation.
 
It's an operation run by Robert Gadsby -- former executive chef at the Biltmore Hotel in LA and a 2007 contestant on Iron Chef America. I had noticed the new signs, but Gadsby seems to be running a low-key operation with a Groupon, but no new Web site.
 
He's not going low on the food. My $14 platter centered on spare ribs -- meaty ribs with a firm bite and smokey flavor. It was a huge half rack, but the side dishes were the real shock. Generous portions of special food. Corn bread with full flavor and the lightest texture. Collard greens cooked to perfect tenderness and an earthy tone.

If you're honest, you'll admit that the best part of many collard greens is the meat. I'll dig around good greens to find a burnt end or some other pork. But RG's greens may be vegetarian. At least, I didn't see any meat. I just forked up greens. It takes real talent to make something that simple taste so delicious. I ate dinner watching Chopped on the television, and I'm sure that my meal beat everything in the show.

I'm excited to eat more at RG's BBQ Cafe. An acquaintance stopped there yesterday and got a special bacon-wrapped quail. He loved it. This is on my way home, so I'll work through the pulled pork, the baby back ribs, maybe the burger. There are hot dogs, which I would normally skip but might be special if they're done like the collard greens.

Gadsby is the chef who appears to be taking over the Venegas Prime Filet in Fulton.
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Toogs   

Ate here tonight, and it appears to be the same delicious food from BBQ House. Same guy cooking too; I don't know if that is the pitmaster.

One new addition is a brand new deck in the back that basically doubles the available seating. I'd love to say the view was better than your typical bucolic Laurel setting, but on a beautiful night it was a nice place to eat. Add a couple of bottles of beer and this would be off the chain.

Also it appears my old expired BBQ House groupons were converted to this establishment automatically, but my friend expensed it so I didn't find out!

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Pool Boy   

Has anyone been to RG's BBQ on the southbound side of Laurel (extreme north Laurel, before Rt 1 gets split with a big median filled with businesses). I've heard good reports but it suffers from inconsistency. I have heard the BBQ sauce is worth the price of admission alone and that might make we wander by and try it.

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Pool Boy   

OK let's see.....

The 'rare' pit beef sandwich I am told is very good (I got no bite!).  The cole slaw is somewhere between 'meh' and 'fine'.  The cornbread is quite good - lighter than you think, and very tasty. The onion rings are....weird. Very under seasoned (salt, anyone?). The batter reminds me of onion rings you buy frozen in a bag. Perhaps they suffered because we got everything as carryout and had an 8 minute drive home. The sauce they came with reminded me of...duck sauce. The rings were better dipped in the BBQ sauce for sure.

And then the ribs.

I like ribs. All sorts of ribs, especially if they are pig ribs. These were tasty, but lacked uniform smoke flavor. There were some bits that got a good dose, and others that never saw a puff. Some bits were outlandishy pure congealed fat, while others were pure muscle meat. Luck of the draw? Not sure. But some of the bits where it all came together were superb - fat, crust, meat - yes! But these sections were fleeting. And, if you're going to serve me up a fattier rib, make SURE that you get me a good crust on that area and render it down. Plus, the meat was falling off the bone - but I can forgive that far more easily than some BBQ rib purists. To me, I am not so picky as long as I get flavor, smoke, a crust, and a nice fat/meat ratio.

Oh, and do NOT sauce my ribs unless I ask you to. Not even a little. If I ask for sauce on the side, you should KNOW that I want to introduce the sauce at my own desired pace - not your's.

Still, there is enough here to make me want to at least try some more. The cornbread alone is worth the price of admission.

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ad.mich   

I had a rare pit beef with tiger sauce here that was very good although the tiger sauce didn't have much mayo if any in it... it primarily prepared horseradish. I'm into pit beef for the beef though, so that wasn't a big problem for me.

The sides I had were forgettable (beans) and downright not good (a gluey mac and cheese).  I'd go back but next time I'd get a pit beef sandwich and a pit beef sandwich.

Can't speak the bbq because I'd heard too many warnings of inconsistency.  The pit beef can play though.

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dracisk   

Per the Googles this placed closed, seemingly in April 2016. Many recent one-star reviews on Yelp (I tend to put more stock in one-star Yelp reviews than 5-star Yelp reviews) and a reference to an experiment with a Caribbean menu. Wonder what happened.

Side note: I had a hard time finding this thread. It's not in the Maryland Dining Guide (ETA: it's in the Baltimore Dining Guide under North Laurel and Scaggsville, but Laurel is in the Maryland Dining Guide), and I couldn't find it via various searches. I eventually found a link to it in the Dining in Beltsville and Laurel thread.

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DonRocks   
On 3/22/2017 at 0:33 PM, dracisk said:

Side note: I had a hard time finding this thread. It's not in the Maryland Dining Guide (ETA: it's in the Baltimore Dining Guide under North Laurel and Scaggsville, but Laurel is in the Maryland Dining Guide), and I couldn't find it via various searches. I eventually found a link to it in the Dining in Beltsville and Laurel thread.

[I apologize for the difficulty you had. I remind people of this every few years: Laurel is the one place that's my gadfly. Four counties converge here: Montgomery, Prince Georges, Anne Arundel, and Howard (if I recall, the latter three intersect at one point, in the middle of the Patuxent). I lived in Laurel a long time ago, and remember driving out to try to find this point, but don't quite remember why I couldn't get to it. Anyway, Howard and Anne Arundel Counties are in the Baltimore Forum, and Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties are in the Washington DC Forum, so Laurel gets divided up - geographically, most of it falls within Prince Georges County, so most of it will be in Washington, DC, but places like RG's - on Route 1 north of the Howard County line, are more like Savage or Jessup, and fall under the Baltimore jurisdiction.

I realize this isn't pretty, but the Forums are divided by county, not city. Another guideline: Any Maryland counties touching the Chesapeake Bay (which include Calvert and St. Mary's Counties) fall within Baltimore. I know some people don't like these guidelines, but as long as you know they exist, you can at least work with them.

Good news: I'm paying someone to comb through the Dining Guides, and making sure things are current (adding maps for every restaurant, too) - the Baltimore Suburbs quite possibly need more work than any other Dining Guide we have, so that will be fairly high on the list. Given that (in theory) this Guide extends all the way up to Talbot and Cecil Counties, it covers an enormous expanse of territory.

If you think about it, Maryland may be the most strangely shaped state in the entire nation, so it's going to be problematic. I want Baltimore to have its own forum and identity (instead of being lumped in with Washington, DC), and I've gone against the grain for over twelve years trying to make it viable.]

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