Saturday, May 25, 2013
Reo's Ribs (Portland, OR) - CLOSED
My wife and I had been planning a West Coast roadtrip for a few months now. When I discovered that Snoop Dogg's uncle Reo owned a barbecue joint in Portland, I couldn't resist!
This is a very new location for Reo's Ribs, so a lot of the interior is still under construction. It looked like they had borrowed most of their tables and chairs (which say "Mi Casa Su Casa" on them) from the Mexican restaurant next door. I didn't mind, since I came for the ribs not the ambiance. There is a big stage area in the works, which will probably make this a very hip spot once it's all finished.
There's not really a menu other than the small paper ones at the register, but I'm sure that's in the works too. Reo's doesn't have combos available other than their big 5-meat platter. I wasn't quite that hungry, so I made my own rib platter with a la carte items: 2 spare ribs, 2 baby back ribs, hush puppies, and potato salad. Even though all of these items were listed with a la carte prices on the menu, the woman at the register seemed utterly confused by the whole thing, but we got it sorted out just fine.
For some reason the meat was taking longer than expected, so they brought out the sides as appetizers. I usually eat them first anyway, so I was fine with that.
The mashed potato salad was mustardy, but interestingly sweet at the same time. Sugar seemed to be more prevalent than the mustard actually. There was a good crunch from the pickles, and a nice spice blend. I liked it a lot. As for the hush puppies, they were fried fresh and had a good crisp crust. These weren't quite as dense as your typical hush puppies. They were also fairly spicy from the jalapenos scattered throughout, which gave them a good punch. Their sides were definitely tasty, but it was the ribs that brought me to this place.
My duo of ribs came covered in a thick, shiny glaze. I'm used to Central Texas style barbecue, but these ribs still looked delicious. There was a nice crust to them, with very juicy and tender meat underneath. The baby backs were almost falling off the bone (though not overcooked), while the spare ribs had good meat retention. The sugary sauce was really nice actually. Reo sells it by the bottle, and it's easy to see why. I'm not usually a big sauce eater, but I liked it a lot. Despite all the sauce, you could still taste a pronounced smokiness. Both varieties were tasty, but the spares were my favorite of the two.
They were having a little birthday celebration for Reo while we were there. Nothing fancy, just a simple gathering of his friends and employees. Reo came over and asked if we wanted cake. Yes please! Having birthday cake with Snoop's uncle was definitely the highlight of my experience here, and it's something that I'll always remember.
After we finished our meal, we ended up talking to Reo outside for a few minutes. He was extremely friendly, and very nonchalantly exclaims "Snoop's my nephew!" According to Reo, Snoop comes into his restaurant from time to time, along with Katt Williams and Mike Epps. Despite the obvious celebrity-related reasons to eat at Reo's, the food was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it.
UPDATE (June 8, 2015): Reo's Ribs is currently closed, but they are looking for a new home in the Portland area. Godspeed, Reo.
11140 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, OR 97266