If Miss Havisham went through an Alice In Wonderland phase, the resulting parlor would look something like FB. Named after fictitious owner Frank Barron, the shadowy lounge is filled with oversized chairs, mirrors, clocks, and candelabras. Matching the madcap furnishings is a lively menu that trumps the greasy pub food of yore. QBG—or Quality Bar Grub—is the brainchild of chef Jimmy Gibson, who turned out years of dazzling menus as corporate chef for steakhouse kingpin Jeff Ruby. You’ll still find chicken wings, grilled cheese, and something resembling a BLT, but Gibson adds the element of surprise. Chicken wings get a pomegranate–ghost chile glaze; the B-A-T Grille subs avocado for the lettuce; and the Hot & Gooey Grille tops its four cheeses with crunchy Cheetos. When I bit into the house cured tuna tacos, I met an unexpected but totally welcome hunk of seared tuna topped with grapefruit. And while pasta salads risk being a bland carb-fest, you’ll get a potent dose of garlic, smoked bacon, and parmesan in the cold pasta salad carbonara. Gibson winks at global cuisine with a few exotic menu items, such as the Cazadores Tequila chocolate truffles (above). The standout—both in looks and taste—is Ode To Sung, Oh, with its white kimchi, quail egg, and grilled skirt steak. Club kids gravitate here on weekends to pose 12-deep on the big yellow chair and play throwback arcade games in the basement bar, but a Tuesday night with FB’s craft beer menu and their unironic soundtrack of ’70s and ’80s classic rock will suit me just fine.
126 W. Sixth St., Downtown
Originally published in the November 2011 issue.