Texas barbecue is the star at Rub


August 30, 2006|By SLOAN BROWN

Yee haw. Texas has come to Baltimore. South Baltimore, that is. And by "Texas," we mean Texas barbecue.

You may know co-owner/co-chef Michael Marx's last venture, the New American turn on Mexican fare, Blue Agave. Marx sold the Federal Hill restaurant last September. Now, he's partnered with friend David Long, who long has owned a motion-picture catering company in Austin, Texas. Together, the two have created Rub.

Yep, that's the name of the new restaurant that just opened at Light and Wells streets. Rub reflects the difference between Texas barbecue and the barbecue you'd get in Kansas City or the Carolinas. Instead of marinating and cooking in a sauce, Marx says, Texas barbecue uses a dry rub and a slow smoking process. That slow cooking keeps the juices in the meat.

"The other big difference besides the dry rub is that everywhere else, 98 percent of barbecue is all pork-based. In Texas, it's cattle. The beef brisket is our shining star," Marx says.

Brisket has star billing on Rub's menu, along with the description that it's been slow-smoked for 12 to 14 hours with a red Tabasco chile-based rub ($15). Other entrees include Texas flat ribs (half rack $13, whole rack $22) and slow-smoked ham ($12), chicken ($14), beef sausage ($11) and turkey breast ($11). You also can get combo plates.

On the list of sandwich choices: chopped beef ($9), brisket ($9.50) and smoked bologna ($8).

"Bologna is a very localized concept. Anything that can be smoked in Texas, they'll smoke," says Marx. "I wouldn't ordinarily order a bologna sandwich, but it's actually great. The whole kitchen [staff] tried it, and thought, `Wow!' "

Marx says partner Long wanted to create side orders that would, on their own, keep customers coming back. Each goes for $2.50, including: mac 'n' cheese, made with American, jack and cheddar cheeses, milk, cream and roasted garlic; pinto beans with onion, garlic, bacon, brisket, tomato and serrano chile; Texas Corn Pudding; and sweet potato fries seasoned with salt, Tabasco powder, garlic and onion.

The dessert menu has treats like peach buckle ($5); banana pudding surrounded by Nilla Wafers ($4); and a spiked root-beer float made with homemade root beer and a shot of bourbon ($7).

The Texas theme is also all over the restaurant itself. Marx says he and Long gutted two buildings to open the space up. A big wrought-iron gate leads to some outdoor seating (weather permitting) where folks sit at tables made from Jim Beam bourbon barrels.

Inside, you'll see a huge wagon-wheel-shaped chandelier over a dining area that seats about 32. Many of the chairs and booths feature big cutouts of a Texas star.

Upstairs is a 74-seat dining room, which can be used for private parties and business luncheons - complete with Texas motif and a setup for PowerPoint presentations.

Rub, 410-244-5667, is at 1843 Light St. Its main dining hours are scheduled to be 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, with a lighter menu available until 11 p.m, and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a late-night menu available until 1 a.m.

Passing of Peerce's

In the restaurant obit column, add longtime Dulaney Valley fine dining institution Peerce's Plantation. The restaurant was bought by Monarch Services Inc. in 2001, renovated and reopened in September 2003.

But it seems Peerce's never regained its old luster and appeal. According to documents Monarch filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Peerce's Plantation lost money every quarter since it reopened. So the company shut it down earlier this summer.

When contacted, Monarch president and chief executive officer Jackson Dott called himself a "simple businessman" who had "nothing to add" to what his company had stated in its SEC reports. RIP.

If you have information regarding a local restaurant's opening, closing or major changes, please e-mail that information to sloane@sloanebrown.com or fax it to 410-675-3451.

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