The buzz surrounding Brand BBQ Market is that a trained chef is whipping up barbecue for gourmands. It's an intriguing idea, but the food here isn't actually all that fancy.
There are a few out-of-the-box menu items, like pulled duck, pork belly confit and a couple seafood appetizers (we don't raise no crabs on our farm, ya hear?), and Brand has also extended an olive branch to vegetarians by including tofu and portobello mains.
But for the most part, this is a regular barbecue joint. The menu centers around a septet of proteins, including the aforementioned duck, pork belly and non-meats, as well as pulled pork, brisket, chicken and baby back ribs, and each is accompanied by your choice of sauce, which range from the vinegar-based Brand Signature to one made with Southern Comfort and peaches. If you're not into building your own meal, each of the individual wall-mounted chalkboards describes a meat and provides a sauce suggestion.
Maybe the most important thing to know about Brand is that it's a sandwich restaurant. With the exception of the non-sandwiches (chicken and ribs), entrees are available as either a "sandwich" or a "platter," but the latter just means the sandwich comes with cole slaw and a side. And you might as well order the platter so you can try the burnt ends macaroni and cheese or the bourbon creamed corn, although you may want to stay away from the soggy fries.
While the setting - well-buffed wood tables and benches lining each wall, Delta blues playing over the speakers - is a sleek update of the traditional barbecue setting, it's still firmly in the casual realm. The best non-gourmet aspect of Brand, though, is the surprisingly affordable prices, which is made all the more appealing by the fact that it's BYOB.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Alexander Hough