BY ARDIE A. DAVIS
The Kansas City Star
Although Q39 is new, pitmaster/chef Rob Magee is no stranger to the barbeque pit and the restaurant industry.
Magee has cooked award-winning competition barbeque for more than a decade. He is a Culinary Institute of America graduate with more than 30 years experience in restaurants. Magee can deliver consistently delicious competition quality barbeque, creative sides and desserts in a high volume environment.
I counted 26 craft beers, eight draft beers, 11 white wines and 16 red wines in Q39’s full service bar inventory. The beer and wine menu is varied enough to inspire Magee and co-owner/spouse Kelly to train the wait staff as cicerones and sommeliers.
I’d love to see the pairings Flying Saucer’s Kellen Duryea, Boulevard’s Neil Witte, Master Sommelier Doug Frost and Chow Town’s Dave Eckert would come up with.
Brisket with Free State Ad Astra Ale or 3 Girls Red Blend Wine? Pulled pork with Nebraska IPA or Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc? Spareribs with Bells Oarsman Ale or Seven Sinners Petit Syrah? Chicken with Mother’s Doozy or Dark Horse Chardonnay?
Cicerone and sommelier service could make Q39 the Chez Panisse of barbeque.
Our party of four shared two Judges Plates of pork spareribs, brisket, apple brined pulled pork and sides of house-cut fries with chipotle ketchup, apple coleslaw, onion straws and white bean cassoulet.
The apple coleslaw is a hit with fans of sweet coleslaw. The onion straws and fries are top notch, and Magee’s white bean cassoulet rivals the best in France.
We gave the brisket and pulled pork the highest scores you can give at a Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) sanctioned competition. The ribs got top scores from three of us, but I knocked off a flavor point. Although tender and beautiful, the sweet seasonings overpowered the natural umami of the meat and crossed out any smoke flavor. That said, most KCBS Certified judges would give Q39 ribs high scores. Magee knows what judges like.
Our desserts were delicious and entertaining: cheesecake with caramel/chocolate sauce, and doughnuts with chocolate sauce and raspberry sauce. The doughnuts arrived with a spicy barbeque sauce instead of chocolate sauce.
When my friend Jerry tasted one dipped in barbeque sauce, he said, “This tastes like barbeque sauce.”
“No, Jerry,” Gretchen and Dianne insisted, “it’s chocolate sauce!”
Unconvinced, but on the strength of their insistence he tried another.
“Still tastes like barbeque sauce!”
Dianne and Gretchen tried the raspberry sauce first and loved it. When they tried the “chocolate” sauce they both exclaimed, “This is barbeque sauce!”
We called it to the attention of general manager Ronnie Martinez, who politely removed the doughnut platter and returned soon with fresh donuts, real chocolate sauce and apologies for the mix-up. We shared a good laugh with Martinez and thanked him.
As one who likes barbeque sauce on many foods, including ice cream and cantaloupe, I’m OK with the doughnut and barbeque sauce pairing, but Jerry, Dianne and Gretchen say, “No way.”
The Q39 waitstaff is friendly, knowledgeable and competent. Managers truly care about customer satisfaction and are attentive to details. Q39 is worth your time and money. I wish Rob and Kelly Magee and staff the best.
There’s a lot more on the menu I want to try. I’ll be back.
Q30 is located at 1000 W. 39th St., just west of Southwest Trafficway.
Ardie Davis is an iconic figure in the barbeque community. He founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS’s Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on numerous food shows and writes for a variety of barbeque-related publications. He is also the author of a number of barbeque books, His most recent release book is “America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards.”