Sunday, December 31, 2017

Q39 in Kansas City, Missouri

Q39 brisket sandwich
Happy New Year!  Today I visited Q39 for lunch.  It was my first time visiting this restaurant and I decided to visit the original location near Westport.  Q39 opened in April of 2014.  

According to their website,"Rob Magee got hooked on cooking at an early age and took his skills to the highest level with a degree from the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America. Working his trade in some of the finest kitchens across the country, he would always make it a point to honor the tastes of whatever region he was in. So when he moved to Kansas City, he naturally became obsessed with mastering the glories of KC barbeque.

While still working as executive chef for Hilton, he assembled a competition team in his spare time called the Munchin Hogs.  They didn’t just enter contests for fun, they ascended to the highest level of competitive barbeque in events across the country against the toughest teams — the real major leagues. Over a ten-year span they won a whole array of competitions and national championships. And Rob never tired of learning, honing  his skill as an explorer of tastes and flavors, devising original sauces and rubs, always experimenting further and always using only the finest scratch ingredients. Competition barbeque is distinctive in that it’s all about serving food to finicky judges at its optimal window of perfection. Techniques for maintaining moisture, for example, had to be mastered that go far beyond the capabilities of most barbeque joints."  To read more, check out their website.

Q39 has received the most "buzz" among barbecue places in Kansas City since Joe's KC arrived on the scene.  The most asked question I get as a barbecue blogger is whether or not I have tried Q39 and what I thought of it.  I purposely put off going for a while so I could try a lot of other places first, but I decided to visit today to see if it lived up to the hype.

I arrived around 11:15 on Sunday, about 15 minutes after they opened.  This is a traditional sit-down restaurant where they seat you and you are served by a waiter or waitress.  There are two bar areas and I decided to sit at one of the bars.  The restaurant was a little more than half full when I arrived and by the time I left the line was out the door waiting for a table.  This place does quite the business!

I was waited on instantly by the bartender.  He was very nice and went over the menu for me even though I already knew what I wanted.  I have heard the wings were good here, so I wanted to try them as well as the brisket.  So I ordered the wings, which are Chipolte BBQ, and a brisket sandwich.  

Over time I've seen a lot of posts on Facebook from people asking for recommendations of who has the best wings in Kansas City.  Almost every time at least one person says Q39.  Because of that, since I love wings, I was always curious and wanted to try them here.  While the wings were decent, they were very messy, fatty and chewy.  If someone tells you they are the best wings in Kansas City either they are crazy or they haven't eaten wings at very many places.

Q39 wings
I finished the wings off and a couple of minutes later my brisket sandwich was delivered.  I received it about 20 minutes after I ordered.  The sandwich is served on a bun with thick cut, neatly trimmed slices of brisket.  Their sauce is served on the side.  I took my first bite and was disappointed that the meat was just lukewarm.  The meat was tender and had a nice crunchy bark on it, but I didn't find the it very flavorful.  I removed a piece of brisket from the sandwich so I could try the sauce.  The sauce was pretty decent.  Just a bit sweet, but not overpowering.

Overall I was a bit disappointed.  I've seen people online and in person rave about this place, but it didn't live up to the hype for me.  Don't get me wrong.  It wasn't bad.  But it wasn't a place  I would rave about and tell my friends they have to try.  Guess I've been to too many good barbecue places already that I was a bit numb to Q39.  If you serve me a barbecue sandwich that is room temperature or just lukewarm, sorry, I'm not going to give it a great review.  These are just my thoughts.  I'm interested to hear what my readers think about it.

Just a side note.  This restaurant is very loud.  They cram as many people as possible into the dining room.  A few times the bartender was talking to me and I couldn't hear him because it was so loud.  If you're looking for a nice quiet lunch or dinner, this probably isn't the place to go.

This is number 33 on my quest to find the best barbecue in Kansas City.  Four more visits and I reach the halfway point.  I'm wondering if there is anyone out there that has either tried doing this or has actually visited every barbecue restaurant in town?  If so, I haven't heard of it.  I'm going to try to visit every place within a years time.  My first visit was June 8th, 2017.  I'll have to pick up the pace if I'm going to do it, but I think I can.

Thanks for reading.  Till next time....

2 comments:

  1. Personally, I liked Q39. My food was hot & well prepared.
    Many of the people I know have been on this quest to try every BBQ joint in Kansas City. The problem with this journey is that once you think you've tried all of them a new opens up or you stumble across a restaurant that you were not aware of. I'm obviously a lot older than you, so you've missed some of the great ones from a bygone era. Just like I missed some of the legendary places before my time. I'm a traditionalist & I still prefer Gates & Bryant's over all others. Good luck with your adventure.

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    1. Thanks. It's definitely difficult to hit them all. A handful have closed their doors since I started last year and a handful of others have opened up. I believe the more the merrier!

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