This could be subtitled “Uncle Dogg’s Eatery”, because apparently, this master chef is kin folk to the Snoop, and you might guess there is some connection by the 10′ portrait of Mr. Dogg when you walk in the front door.
Makes no never mind to me, I could never figure out why the guy is a celebrity, but I can say that about most “celebrities” these days.
I’m not a rib guy, but if you are a regular reader, you know that. You also know Mrs. BDB loves ribs, but she wasn’t along for the ride. There will probably be less and less about her in these posts, she’s going all organic vegan, maybe she’ll start her own blog!
I ended up at Reo’s because watching an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives the previous day, I had developed a craving for a pulled pork sandwich, watching head clown Fieri gobble one down somewhere in the Southeast. I love pulled pork, and actually had developed a pretty-fair one made at home on a smoker, prior to leaving Louisiana for the glorious Northwest. They key to great BBQ is low and slow, and there were many nites in swamp land where I would tend the back yard smoker for 12 hours, next to the pool, under the starry skies, accompanied only by the croaking bullfrogs.
Reo makes a fine mess o’ smoked pulled pork, and the sandwich comes in three different sizes, regular, medium, or large. The waitress explained menu questions in detail, including that the different sizes don’t mean a change in bun-size, but rather, quantity of meat, with the bun-filled for the regular, slightly overflowing for the medium, and gianormously overflowing for the large. We opted for mediums, and all sandwiches (beef, pork, chicken, sausage), come with one of a dozen choices of traditional Southern sides, either hot or cold. These run the gamut from collard greens, to gumbo, mac n cheese, fries, hush puppies, and so on.
One of my fellow diners went with the mac n cheese, the waitress spoke of it so highly. I opted for the fries, tho normally I would choose greens, we’ve cooked up a pile of greens at home from the garden this summer, and I know Dogg’s uncle couldn’t beat Mrs. BDB’s prep of that dish!
The food came quickly, and the servings were ample, as promised. The meat was overflowing the buns, and the smoke odor was thick and pleasant. Caramelized bits of sauce could be seen ringing the meat, but the sandwich was served ‘dry’, not bathed in sauce like some proprietors have a tendency to do.
The meat was tender and smokealicious. The bun bakery fresh and soft, but ample enough to keep the meat in its place. The fries were hot, crispy, salty, and also overflowing the plate.
Reo’s offers a full range of typical southern cuisine, with ribs as the highlight, brisket, chicken, and of course the sandwiches and sides. No beer or wine on site, that might be a drawback for some diners. I will definitely be back.
There is a kind of funny sidebar to the story. Reo’s moved to its present John’s landing location from a different area neighborhood, and a great many locals complained about the smoke generated from Reo’s outdoor smokers (photo left). They complained to the city, state, neighbors, media, any one who would listen. Portland is funny about stuff like that. Citizens and governments alike are good at making large issues out of nothing, instead of constructively working towards making the city a better place in areas that matter.
The end result was the agencies couldn’t find any law that had been violated, but in a neighborly fashion, Reo installed giant stacks on his cookers so the smoke would drift away from local homes and commerce. Funny, I’d PAY to have someone pump that delicious smoke in to my house!
Update, 11/2016. They relocated to the other side of the river sometime back: 4211-4225 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97213
Reos Ribs Review