This last quarter, I’ve been pretty swamped with school so Cherry and I didn’t have a whole lot of opportunity to go out and try new spots. However, last night we were both itchin’ for some BBQ and wanted to head to our favorite spot, which to our sad surpise changed their hours and were closed… enter, Willie’s Taste of Soul. Located on Rainer Ave South between Walden and Estelle, Willie’s is a locally own and operated BBQ restaurant that grabs your attention with their big and bright neon sign atop their entrance. One thing they also advertise is selling locally famous “Heaven Sent Chicken” from Ezell Stephens formally of Ezell’s Chicken.
These ribs were extremely tough and chewy! I can’t say I’ve had the best BBQ around the world, but I believe I have a good enough gauge to judge when BBQ is bad… and sadly these made that mark. I’m not sure how they cook the ribs these tips came from, but however they do it, it’s not working! I had to forcefully gnaw the meat off the tendon and bones when trying to take a bite – and forcefully is not an ideal adjective to use when describing how to eat food… let alone BBQ! It’s as though they just boiled some raw tips and drowned them in sauce. Had I not used my He-Man grip, I may have accidentally flung a piece of meat across the restaurant. We chose the medium sauce which brought some heat, but had no depth in flavors. I could see the struggle on her face trying to make it through. Oh yeah, and Cherry found a hair in the sauce… yummy!
jerk chicken dinner with greens, mac & cheese, cornbread $14.95
The jerk chicken dinner came with two sides and a piece of cornbread – which was average. The greens weren’t bad – cooked well, but a little salty for my taste and I would have preferred some spice. The mac & cheese was good with rich flavors of cheese and had some nice browning around the edges. This was the first time I’ve had jerk chicken, so I don’t have a true flavor comparison. However, I do know that Jamaican jerk spice is supposed to be bold and spicy – this was not. The spice level was very mild and nothing stood out. The chicken itself was very dry and tough to eat – absolutely no tenderness or juiciness. I struggled through this plate too.
I won’t beat around the bush in saying the food was bad and I would not recommend this restaurant. The service was also extremely slow! There was a 6-top and a 2-top already seated and waiting for food at the time we ordered. I understand a 6-top can slow things down, but waiting over 30-minutes is not acceptable – it’s not like BBQ is made to order, its already cooked! One thing I noticed was a woman placing a carry-out order right after us. She got her fried chicken within 10-15 minutes of placing her order… and I’m assuming she ordered BBQ because she had to wait another 40-minutes for the rest of her order to be ready! I don’t doubt that the fried chicken she got first must’ve been close to cold! Now having had BBQ here as well as R&L, Uncle Mike’s and the Barbeque Pit, (just to name a few in Seattle), make me realize just how good Pooky and his barbeque is! I think the only keeping this place afloat is being tied to Ezell Stephens. Cherry insisted I quote her in saying, “This was the worst meal I’ve had in my life!” I’d agree with her.