Friday, January 19, 2007

Dining critic candidate No. 15

There are few subjects in American food as contentious – and delicious – as barbeque. If you’re from the Carolinas, you’ll argue that the only way to enjoy REAL barbeque is with a vinegar-based sauce that may include a shot of hot sauce or yellow mustard. If you’re from Texas or Kansas City, you’ll swear that REAL barbeque is ruined by anything but the local tomato-based sauce that can be both sweet and tangy. You get the picture….the list of local and regional biases goes on forever. The great news is that truly good barbeque can be made in any style – and enjoyed by all.


This brings us to the Front Range Barbeque in Old Colorado City. Open for the past several years, the restaurant is located in an old house across from Bancroft Park just east of the main retail/restaurant strip on West Colorado Avenue. The interior is pleasant, with polished wood floors, subdued lighting and a small bar. In warm weather we like to sit outside in the patio and watch the world go by.


The menu offers the usual family restaurant fare – burgers, salads, kids’ menu, etc. – and it’s all good stuff – but, as the name indicates, barbeque is what to come here for. First the wings…smoked just long enough to impart the flavor of hickory, then fried and doused with either teriyaki or hot & tangy sauces. I’ve been a wing addict for years, and trust me – these are among the very best – if not the best - in town. Another terrific starter is the firey shrimp & crab fingers – an unusual and tasty seafood appetizer that works well with ranch or bleu cheese dipping sauce.


The entrees are uniformly good, with the consensus favorites being fork-tender brisket, pulled pork and ribs. These dishes, along with the smoked sausage, are the real deal. Each item is smoked at low temperature (what barbeque fans call “low & slow”) long enough to break down the connective tissue in the meat, resulting in moist, tender, falling-off-the-bone flavor. All are offered as sandwiches or full plates with two homemade side dishes, which include terrific red beans & rice, mashed potatoes & gravy, spicy slaw and a nice cool cucumber, onion & tomato salad.


If you have room - good luck – you can finish up with one of four homemade desserts, including a slice of great pecan pie or apple crunch with vanilla ice cream. The only real flaw here is the service. Though friendly, the servers are uniformly slow. We had to wait too long for menus and drinks, then for the check and credit card processing. We mentioned the problem to the owner, and he said he’ll do what it takes to rectify the problem.


Portions are generous, the quality of the food is consistent and the prices are very reasonable. Next time you have a yen for some authentic and flavorful barbeque in a family-friendly atmosphere, check out the Front Range…I promise that you’ll enjoy it.






The Front Range Barbeque

2230 West Colorado Avenue

632-2596

Credit Cards: MC, VISA

Smoking: In bar area and on patio

Reservations: Available but usually not necessary

Beverage Service: Full bar


Food ***1/2

Service **

Atmosphere***

Pricing/Value***


Overall***



Rating system:


**** As Good As It Gets

*** Very Good

** So-So

* Pretty Poor

Zip Stay Away

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kansas City barbecue...can't beat it. Where can I buy Gates barbecue sauce here in Colorado Springs? I'm homesick.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Submission Reviewer said...

Very good food description, reasonable atmosphere and location description, and overall good coverage detracted from by poor writing style and excessive usage of the "-". Pricing described in vague terms and hours not even listed.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

FYI. "submission reviewer" is not associated with the Gazette.

10:23 AM  

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