Fire it up!
Don't pass up that venerable Detroit barbecue joint a second time
Published: February 2, 2011
Vicki's is open 4 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Parks Old-Style Bar-B-Q
7444 Beaubien St., Detroit; 313-873-7444
Tucked away from East Grand Boulevard on the edge of New Center and the old North End, Parks Old-Style is in an old diner between Custer and Horton streets, on the east side of Beaubien. The former diner's seats and tables remain, although they're also cordoned off by the Plexiglas as if in a museum — which caused some chuckles.
Parks' trimmed ribs, $19.90 a slab, stand out because of their flavor. The vinegar is strong enough to hit not just your nose but your eyes as well if you get close enough. But if you can get past that, you'll find subtler flavors, including mustard and perhaps cayenne. Some of us found that this vinegar sauce works best on the small end of the slab, where you can gnaw on the crunchy cracklings. One of our group, already familiar with Parks, suggested giving it a warm-up in an oven to release some of the vinegar. One thing is sure: If you object to vinegar sauces, you may simply want to bathe Parks' slabs in some sweeter sauce to tamp down on the acidity.
If the response to the ribs was mixed, the reaction to Parks' sides was enthusiastic. Parks may not have greens, black-eyed peas or cornbread, but they have baked beans, peach cobbler that's sweet but not overpowering, and a very cheesy mac 'n' cheese. But best of all was Parks' coleslaw; instead of the customary paper cup of slaw doled out from a GFS tub, Parks' slaw shines: Appealing to look at, speckled with celery seed, full of flavor, and with a slightly al dente consistency to the cabbage.
Parks is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, and 2-10 p.m. Sundays; closed Mondays.
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