Friday, May 06, 2011

Gator Q BBQ Wings & Things-High Springs,FL

As promised after an earlier unsatisfying visit, I made a return trip to Gator Q. I was  looking forward to hopefully being able to upgrade their rating. To that end, I ordered a combo of chopped pork and five of the smoked chicken wings that had gotten my attention when I sampled them on my first visit. I paired these with sweet tea, sweet potato fries and mac and cheese. Again, my order was ready quickly and brought to my table.

The sweet potato fries were hot, just crisp on the outside and soft inside. They were delicious and definitely the best part of my meal. The mac and cheese was also good, and I liked their home-brewed tea. The meats, which should have been the star of the show, were quite disappointing. My chopped pork was dry, barely warm and had little flavor. The wings I had been looking forward to were not even warm. Although they had a good smoke flavor and were thoroughly cooked, they must have forgot or not tried very hard to reheat them. I was not even able to finish the meats. I contemplated bringing this up to the owner when he came by and asked how my meal was, but he disappeared before I could answer.

Gator Q BBQ Wings & Things on UrbanspoonThis was not the way I envisioned my second visit turning out, but with the lack of attention shown for one of their signature items, there is no way I can improve my rating.


Previous review from August 2010:

I had this place in High Springs on my list to try for quite a while, ever since it had been recommended to me by a friend. So, I pulled in for a weekday lunch and gave it a shot. As you might expect by the name, the inside is all orange and blue:

But my mission was to sniff out good barbecue, not judge team colors. After finding out this was my first visit, the friendly man behind the counter (who I later figured out was the owner) offered me a sample smoked wing and explained that all their meat was slow smoked over black oak. The wing was very good, one of the best I've had. I went for the pork sandwich with potato salad.

My order came quickly, not surprising since I was the only one there. The pulled pork was piled high on the bun. It had good flavor, though not as exceptional as the wings. As I ate, I began to notice a slight odor of something bad. I couldn't tell exactly where it came from, but there was definitely some spoiled food somewhere that hadn't been cleaned up. Meantime, the owner, apparently with no help, was cooking, manning the counter, changing light bulbs in the restrooms, stopping at my table to check my progress, and now he was covered in sweat. My meal itself was good, and my sense of taste was satisfied. Unfortunately, the sights, sounds and smells conspired to ruin the experience for me. The fairness side of my brain would like to give them another chance, but the protective side says "No, don't go back". We'll see what happens.


UPDATE 12/22: The owner has left a comment explaining that the odor I noticed was most likely from an overfilled gas tank. I will take their word and go ahead and give them another try when I have a chance.


Brette said...

I am the owner of Gator Q and I am glad that you enjoyed the majority of your visit to our BBQ joint. We take great pride in NOT being anything other than a hole in the wall, let your hair down, place to sit a spell and enjoy some good food. Your header mentioned sweet tea- I hope you enjoyed ours as it is brewed fresh and sweetened with made on the spot simple sugar. I hope that you do give us another chance- in looking at the post date of your comment, we did have an incident in August when our gas company overfilled our tank (right outseide the back door, all lines lead into the shop) and my husband remembers that the entire shop smelled like rotten eggs. Since we don't actually keep fresh eggs for anything on site, it's obvious that wasn't from our food. Regardless, I am sorry that you had an unpleasant aromatic expereince, but I can assure you that whatever you smelled was not spoiled food. We appreciate your giving us a try; we're glad your friends enjoy us enough that they reccomended us to you, and we hope you give us another shot. We know we can't please everyone, but that won't stop us from trying.

Caleb said...

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your explanation and I will definitely give you another try when I'm in the area.