First Look

Rock 'N' Roll Ribs Debuts in Coral Springs

Coral Springs' newest Rib joint, Rock 'N' Roll Ribs, finally debuted last Thursday night, and boy, was it ever rockin'. The place was packed on Friday night -- the sizable party I was with had to wait for a table for nearly 45 minutes for the restaurant to clear out. Not that we minded: the staff was friendly despite being weeded and consistently came out front to check on us. And once we were seated, they took care of us in epic fashion while co-owners Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden and local guitarist Rick "Moby" Baum walked the room to shake hands and shoot the shit. (Read our exclusive, full interview with McBrain and Baum here.)

Though the tiny rib joint was slammed, the staff made sure to set us up with frosty buckets of beer and (for the wait) complimentary orders of RnR's crispy onion rings. The huge rings were semi-spicy and flecked with seasoning, and the sauce they came with was full of chili and garlic. A bucket of import beers, in our case Blue Moon, cost only $13. As we washed down the rings with beer we watched videos of McBrain performing with Maiden in front of tens of thousands. At one point McBrain came around and turned the volume down slightly on the sound system next to our table. "Don't want it to get too loud," he said. We assured him loud was good.  

For our table, we ordered a wide swath of the menu: Full racks of baby back ribs and spare ribs ($15.95 and $18.95); a foot-long hot dog stuffed with pepper jack cheese, wrapped in bacon, and served with sides of caramelized onions and meaty chili ($8.95); and two orders of "drummer's dozen" (that's 10) wings served with a side of "Run to the Hills" hot sauce ($6.95 per order). Everything is served on wide metal discs covered in wax paper, and portions are generous.

Let's start with the 'cue. Even outside of RnR, you can smell the smoke wafting from the grill in the open kitchen. Baum and company finish their ribs on the grill, caramelizing the sauce to the surface in the process. Because of this, the overwhelming flavor of the ribs is from the grill, not from wood smoke like in purely traditionalist barbecue. You taste that char when biting down into either the baby backs or the spares. Both are of the extraordinarily tender variety, in as much as they fall from the bone with ease. I actually preferred the texture of the spare ribs, however, since the meat had a slightly firmer texture. And if I had any complaint about the grilling method, it would be that the grill was probably running a little hot due to the kitchen rushing to accommodate the full house. That in turn caused the sweet sauce RnR coats their ribs with to become nicely charred in spots but too runny and thick in others. A lighter coating and a slower turn on the grill would fix that, which I'm sure will come in time for RnR.

The "Moby Death Dog" (that's the bacon-wrapped foot-long) was stellar. The dog itself was flavorful and completely covered in crisp bacon. I scooped a bit of chili and onions onto my half of the unit and the sweet flavors cut the salty bacon nicely. Although the kitchen really stuffed the inside of that dog with pepper jack cheese, I thought more cheese on top couldn't hurt too. Hey, why not go for broke. The wings were essentially average buffalo-style arms and flats, though they were large and meaty.

Most dishes come with sides at RnR, and I sampled some nicely fried, house-cut french fries, fresh Cole slaw, and sweet baked beans. The Texas toast accompanying each plate was great, and I find myself making impromptu sandwiches out of rib meat, slaw, and fries.

The restaurant itself is small, but well-decorated, with black walls covered with Iron Maiden memorabilia, guitars, drumsticks, and awards. The open kitchen is the focal point, which is attractive and decked in stainless steel. And there's a good mix of booths, high-tops, smaller tables, and a central wooden table that's split into four with a thatched divider. At one section of that table, two hungry rock fans attempted to take down "the Appetite of the Beast," a $50 smorgasbord of one-and-a-half racks of ribs, a pound of pulled pork and beef, half a chicken, and a heaping of fries, beans, Cole slaw, corn on the cob, and Texas toast. These two big dudes pounded it down -- practice, no doubt, for their next visit, when they hope to do it solo (if you eat it all by yourself, it's free).

All told, Rock 'N' Roll Ribs has enormous potential. It's a fun spot with a great vibe and unapologeticly robust food, and looks like it might be a busy destination for quite some time.

Rock 'N' Roll Ribs

4651 State Rd. 7, ste. 1, Coral Springs 33076


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John Linn