You go to Memphis, you eat ribs. That’s just what you do. Now I sound like a Geico commercial.
Friday night David and I went out for ribs at Charlie Vergos’ Rendevous, considered by many to be the best place for authentic Memphis barbecue. That description works for me.
The Rendevous is on 2nd St, which is a main thoroughfare in town, but you have to walk around the back and down an alley to get in–I thought I was going to have to know the password, too.
The restaurant has been here for many years, and is decorated in totally eclectic style. There are football helmets, long guns, collections of liquor bottles and glass Budweiser Clydesdales. In fact, there is just stuff everywhere you look. The red checked tablecloths carry out the theme, this is a weird, funky, fun joint.
I went for the classic–pork ribs. This is the small portion, and it was plenty. Memphis style is a dry rub, so the meat is not dripping with sauce, although there are two kinds of sauce on the table to suit you tastes. The flavor is serious and meaty, not all sweet and vinegary like the wet rib places. The cole slaw is not mayo based, but tart and spicy hot. I was a happy camper.
David had the lamb, which was even better. The rub enhances the lamb without overpowering it. Definitely worth a try.
Another benefit of the dry rub:
There isn’t much in the way of variety at the Rendevous. You can’t get un-sweet iced tea, so I had to have a beer. They have a moderate selection and I chose a Fireside pale ale from the Memphis Made Brewing company. Since the last beer I had was in Germany over a year ago, I’m not much of an expert but it tasted good to me.
You’d think they would have a selection of desserts to finish off such a manly meaty beery meal, but you’d think wrong. Eat your ribs, drink your beer and hit the road, Jack. What the hell, prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is fun and the food is good. What more do you need?
From there we went a few blocks down to the famous Beale Street to see the crowds and listen to some blues, The cops block off the street every night, there are bars cheek by jowl for two or three blocks each with live music blasting out, people celebrating life, stores selling mementos and tchotchkes, street performers busking and bars that sell booze right on the street, like New Orleans. BB King’s blues hall is on the first corner, to set the tone of one of the great music streets in the nation.
And that was the end of a very long day. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.