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Friday, February 17, 2012

The Dancing Pig: The Joy of Ribs Hits the Castro

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 3:30 PM

The St. Louis style pork ribs alone are worth a visit. - ALEX HOCHMAN
  • Alex Hochman
  • The St. Louis style pork ribs alone are worth a visit.
Alex Hochman
The St. Louis style pork ribs alone are worth a visit.
​Open barely a week, the Castro's Dancing Pig BBQ already has a mostly neighborhood crowd happily piling in, ordering up beers, cocktails, and -- as only San Franciscans can do -- white wine to go with platters of smoked meats. Though still getting used to their surroundings and a quirky iPod Touch-based POS system, servers couldn't have been nicer when we visited, and they were well informed about the menu.

Not quirky at all was a half-rack of St. Louis style pork ribs ($14.95 with two sides), fleshy and delightfully messy as the result of a balanced, barely sweet barbecue sauce. Both the faint flavor of smoke and a touch of heat were able to shine through. Our tablemates, including a 9-year-old, brawled for these ribs down to the last speck of charred crust. On the side, a small pan of creamy macaroni and cheese arrived gratin style with a light smattering of breadcrumbs. Baked beans were sweet and meaty, a nice foil to the ribs.

Fried pickles are rare around these parts. - ALEX HOCHMAN
  • Alex Hochman
  • Fried pickles are rare around these parts.
Alex Hochman
Fried pickles are rare around these parts.
A generous portion of crispy, greaseless tart fried pickle chips ($4.95) made a perfect starter, so much so that we were still picking at them at the end of our meal. Not as stellar was a small pile of cold, rubbery brisket ($15.75). Even a dab of strangely metallic tasting chimichurri sauce, served on the side, couldn't bring it to life. That aside, we look forward to returning to Dancing Pig and are already sharpening our elbows in preparation for another rib brawl.

The Dancing Pig, 544 Castro (at 18th St.), 529-9727 (phone not working yet)

Follow Alex Hochman at @urbanstomach. Follow us on Twitter at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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