Nosh Box

Last summer the buzz began on the foodie message boards: Psst, hot new barbecue place in town, pass it on. So, often burned but ever hopeful, off we went to see if the Steel Pig was indeed the greasy grail at the end of the barbecue rainbow. Well, no, not in our book. Incredibly well hidden in what appears to be a former body shop off Aurora (but approachable only by the back way, off Roy east of Tower Records), the Pig has got funky atmosphere to burn, nice loud music, and tats and dreads on the staff, but the barbecue, to our taste, is bland: overcooked and undersauced. A lot of visitors give the breaded catfish filets high marks; again, we thought they were flat. But one item knocked us out at every visit, and makes the Pig a must-visit place: The barbecued half chicken ($10) is brown and fragrant and done just right. It comes with two sides (we recommend the beans and rice) and cornbread. The on-site dining amenities leave a lot to be desired, but no matter. Pick up half a dozen portions of chicken, take 'em home, and feed the crowd something worth eating. The Steel Pig Barbecue, 603 Roy St., 206-213-5870. LOWER QUEEN ANNE. Noon-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

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