Bacon-topped brisket seems gratuitous. Really, how much could sufficiently tender and smoky cuts of beef benefit from extra fat and salt? Briskets, a newish cart in the Q-19 pod, has unleashed that crossbred beast. It does feel a little decadent, but the thick strips of bacon—the cart's one twist on otherwise very traditional and very good barbecue—justify themselves as more than a gluttonous gimmick. This taxi-yellow cart makes only its titular dish, using an electric smoker that chars wood chips as the meat slowly cooks. Spatter on bourbon barbecue sauce, then top with bacon, and you have the bulk of the menu. The meat and a sweet sauce work well together, offering layered flavors suggestive of a Bolognese ragu—especially when served atop one of the springy house-baked ciabatta rolls. The cart does three types of brisket, and while they were out of the Dijon and apple-glazed variety on our visit, the wood-smoked and old-fashioned pot roast varieties really impressed, as did a vegetable-freshened black bean salad and the lightly crusted and slightly piquant mac and cheese that's exactly as you'd expect from a high-end barbecue joint. The flaky biscuits, which come with a squeeze pack of honey, are good but not a showstopper. Given the brash headliner, they're well placed in a role of quiet support.
- Order this: Wood-smoked brisket sandwich on ciabatta, with mac and cheese ($7.50).
- Iâll pass: Roasted garlic mashed potatoes, which didnât have much flavor beyond starchiness.
EAT: Q-19 cart pod, Northwest Quimby Street and 19th Avenue. 11 am-2 pm Monday-Friday.