Chow, Baby: Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A Hill of Beans, Please

There’s a pretty interesting backstory to the newly resurrected Pit Barbecue (702 N. Henderson St.). But you can ask one of the friendly counter guys about that, or read it on the back of the menu, because Chow, Baby wants to spend its limited space raving about the Pit’s pinto beans (side $1.50). Man, these are some fine beans. Tender but firm, long-simmered, with a peppery sauce as thick and rich as a good stew. They could possibly be the greatest beans ever in the history of the world.
The Pit’s small dinner plate ($8.95) comes with one meat and two sides, so theoretically you could also have fresh-fried onion rings, or zingy potato salad, or housemade coleslaw. But that seems a waste of prime bean real estate. Just make some room on the plate for heavily rubbed, crispy-outside/moist-and-meaty-inside ribs ($12.95/lb) and very spicy blackened hot links (sandwich $4.85). These magical beans even salvaged the only weakness at Chow, Baby’s visit, sliced brisket ($11.95/lb) that was exquisitely smoked and ringed but a little too dry. No problem: We got juicy flavor to spare.
And the beans fit perfectly into their kitschy-Western surroundings. There are paper towels on the table for wiping beans off your cheek, checkered tablecloths for eating spilled beans off of, and scattered cowboy boots in which beans can be hoarded for later. It’s as if, despite recent inhabitants like the revolución-themed Zapata’s and the too-cool-for-this-neighborhood Trinity Bistro, this rustic 1940s building was built for the express purpose of housing a barbecue joint called Pit Barbecue. Which, as a matter of fact — oh, go get the story in person. It comes free with the beans.
A Totally Excellent Discovery
Anyone who was also Saturday-night-dateless throughout the early 1990s knows what was stuck in Chow, Baby’s head as it walked into Wing World (6931 Baker Blvd., Richland Hills). Sing it loud: “Wing World! / Wing World! / Party time! / Excellent! / Woo woo woo woo!” Party time at Wing World must be sometime other than 3 p.m on a weekday, but the “excellent” certainly applies. Being the only customer present, Chow, Baby had delightful owner Tanya Lewis’ undivided attention, in the form of tastings of most of the dozen wing flavors. This actually didn’t help Chow, Baby decide anything, because even though the sauces aren’t made in-house (“Food service / Food service / Bland premade food products [powdered mashed potatoes being the classic example] delivered by a big truck / Blasphemous”), these were good to great. “Orange ginger” actually smelled like ginger, with secondary notes of orange and no whiff of fake-food chemicals. Chow, Baby had that on its lunch special ($5.99) of five meaty wings with nice crackling skin plus a big side of battered-not-breaded okra, all fresh-fried by Tanya’s mama. Truly excellent.
Chow, Baby took home 20 wings ($11.99) in four sauces; the first to disappear was the tangy sweet-and-sour Asian plum, then the popping-fresh garlic parmesan. The Golden Wing, a honey mustard, at first was a little too pungent for Chow, Baby’s taste, but mellowed nicely by midnight-snack time. Only Stubb’s Wicked Inferno (yes, that Stubb’s) didn’t live up to its name, as Chow, Baby still has its tongue. But let Tanya set out some samples for you. You’ll find your dream flavor. Oh yes. You will.

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