Some call this “tablecloth BBQ”. They usually don’t mean it in a nice way. I don’t think you need to be cooking in a dirt floor shack with an old pit to produce tasty BBQ. Case in point, Lamberts Downtown BBQ. Their slow roasted meats have an updated twist on old-style “Q”: Brown Sugar and Coffee Rubbed Brisket, Maple and Coriander Crusted Pork Ribs, Achoite and Lime Rubbed Chicken (Combo plates $12-$16). A trio of house made sauces come on the side. Unlike some other BBQ places that don’t even have forks, Lamberts has a full menu for those who prefer to munch on things that didn’t have hooves: Deviled Eggs, Green Chili Queso, Broiled Oysters, Soups and Salads.
My personal favorite is the Pulled Smoked Pork Cuban sandwich ($11). Stop me if you already know the details. Chunks of tangy, sweet pork on a grilled Ciabatta roll with crunchy pickles and gooey Jack cheese. Dangerously good. I get a side of Jicama and Carrot Slaw, to cut the richness of the pork. They don’t mess with it too much, which is the way I like it. Crunchy and bright.
Lamberts serves a very respectable house margarita ($10, ouch). Nice balance, not too sweet or tart. I could easily order two or three more, but my accountant counseled me otherwise. But, on the other hand, this drink looks pretty lonely.
They couldn’t have picked a cooler location. The Schneider Brothers building, standing stoically in the changing face of downtown Austin. New structures sprouting around and over it. It’s a perfect fit. Sophisticated, thoughtful BBQ in a historic setting.