Tim Carman, formerly of the Washington City Paper and now of the Washington Post, wrote an excellent story on Mr. P and his bbq operation. For background, check the story here. The menu, written on a hodgepodge of white boards and scraps of paper, features bbq, fried fish, and an assortment of sides and desserts.
B didn't need to look at the menu. He was a man on a mission. He came for bbq pork ribs and a few minutes after arriving, we were headed home with a weighty styrofoam container packed with rib goodness.
Since I like side dishes as much as ribs, I took their suggestion to order the mac and cheese and brown sugar yams.
And because I am the biggest softie in the entire world when it comes to dessert (and kindly old bbq men in a bus), we came home with one of each dessert on the menu: carrot cake, mini sweet potato pie, and peach cobbler. After hearing that the other desserts would be lonely if I only took home the carrot cake, I crumbled like the topping on the peach cobbler. As B rolled his eyes, I happily snatched the bag of desserts and made my way back to the car.
Since B is the rib expert, I'll let him tell you whether they are worth a trip to a sketchy parking lot. What I'll tell you is that you won't find a nicer set of folks in town. Even if I didn't like the food (I did), I'd go back just to pay them a visit.
Second Thoughts from B
It was a cold and rainy night, and J was still suffering from the post red-eye cross-country flight from the night before (as was her 5am chauffeur). Where we went to dinner - or was it technically lunch? - would be our outing for a day that was otherwise consumed by naps, laundry, and football. But where to go?
I stumbled to the computer to find something that would be appetizing and a bit of an adventure (and not require complete cognitive function). Turning to Yelp, I scanned their list of highly reviewed DC restaurants and knew immediately that I hit the jackpot with Mr. P's Ribs.
I have no idea who Jason H. of Arlington, VA is, but wherever you are, thank you.
"This place is called Mr. P's Ribs for a reason. It is not Mr. P's Chicken and waffles or Mr. P's Hot Dogs and Lemonade cart. Review the place for what they are known for. This is the best NC barbecue you will get in DC."
Your words were my guiding light, and the reason we came home with 10 pounds of ribs.
I've spoken before of my love of ribs and bbq in general. I'm happy to report that Mr. P lived up to his reputation. While the lousy weather killed their business (which probably meant that we didn't get ribs straight out of the smoker), the sauce was exactly how I like it: sweet and tart with a touch of kick. It was smoky and complex and pour down your throat good.
Mr. P is not about anything other than food that tastes good. Translation: don't go there if you're counting calories. The mac and cheese was more like cheese and cheese, and the brown sugar yams could have passed for pie. But like the good Sir Jason of Arlington proclaimed, get ye to Mr. P for thyne ribs which hath been touched by the hand of our Lord, and ye shalt be blessed.
Seriously though, you won't find nicer folks (in a bus or anywhere) and you won't find a better deal for quality bbq in the District. $38 at Mr. P's provided enough food for two dinners (I'll do the math for you: 4 full meals). All you have to do is be up for an adventure and seek the man in the bus in the Safeway parking lot. Like Tom Boddett, he'll leave the light on for you... provided that his generator is up and running.*
*We got to meet Mr. P himself because, as the lights kept flickering on and off, he exited the bus to get more gas for his generator.