Burnt Ends on a Bun -- Gates Bar-B-Q, Kansas City, MO
For a city renowned for its barbeque, said joints are strangely absent from Kansas City's Best Thing I Ever Ate list.
|"What Are You Doing in Kansas City? Eating BBQ?" "No, Happy Hour Crawls"|
In fact, the only BBQ joint featured was Duff Goldman's favorite, Gates Bar-B-Q, home of the burnt ends on a bun from the ORIGINAL episode.
|Nothing Like Walking Along a Highway in Search of Some Charred Meat|
One would think that, as the first ever dish he chose to be featured on the program, it would be especially outstanding.
|No Pressure, Gates|
One would be wrong.
After all, this is Duff that we're talking about, and his taste in BTIEA meals has been, with a few notable exceptions, mediocre at best.
|And Downright Terrible at Worst|
Let's just say that his preferences at Gates are not his finest culinary moment.
|Like the BBQ Version of Fast Food, Without the "Fast" Component|
Ironically, while Joe's Bar-B-Que -- that of the "it's located in a gas station" fame -- seems to be by far the most well-known of Kansas City's meaty enclaves, Gates makes Joe's look downright gourmet.
|Take Your Gallon with a Side of Ribs|
The restaurant itself resembles a run-down Pizza Hut, with dimly lit dining rooms and workers that, despite the sign at the entrance proclaiming "entering the smile zone!" are more adept at yelling than grinning.
|More Like "Gates, Where Smiles Go to Die"|
We order one burnt end sandwich, which comes with pickles and Gates sauce, and after a single look at the concoction, we are not optimistic.
|Sloppy Joe on Steroids|
The meat resembles a chunky version of pulled pork, and thanks to the whole "burnt end" bit (which, we acknowledge, is the whole point), it feels like chewing on a mouthful of stray fish bones.
|Doesn't That Sound Appetizing?|
The sauce completely overpowers the taste of the beef, which would be fine if it tasted like anything more than acidic ketchup.
|Not Doing Much for Your BBQ Reputation, Kansas City|
We end up consuming a hearty portion of five bites each before throwing in the towel, and much like all of our other experiences in Kansas City, nobody seems to care about our displeasure.
|Guess What, Kansas City? We Don't Care Either|
And so, Vodka and Mezcal leave the Midwest with a distinct feeling of "meh," certain only that, if nothing else, at least we'll always have Cleveland.
Gates Bar-B-Q's Burnt Ends on a Bun: 2 stars