gabriels fire.jpg
Forget vegetables, get a side of the meaty beans at Gabriel's Fire.
From the outside, Gabriel's Fire looks more like a diminutive dive bar than


Gabriel's Fire is Totally Worth the Meat Sweats

gabriels fire.jpg
Forget vegetables, get a side of the meaty beans at Gabriel's Fire.
From the outside, Gabriel's Fire looks more like a diminutive dive bar than a restaurant. There's one small window, the front door and nothing more. Once inside however, the aroma of smoke and meat instantly convince you that you are indeed at the recently relocated, and much loved BBQ joint Gabriel's Fire.

Brothers Gabe and Monty Slimp relocated their smoke-shack from Ballard to Mountlake Terrace in the fall of 2011. The building has housed many failed restaurant ventures in the past, but if The Fire ever moves, it will be because they need a larger location to accommodate the steady stream of regulars. There are only a half-dozen tables, plus 10 seats at the bar. They're open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and while lunchtime is relatively slow, there can be a wait for a table at dinnertime.

The ala carte meat options--beef brisket, pork shoulder, pork spareribs, and chicken--are sold by cooked weight. They all get a generous dose of a mildly spicy dry-rub mixture, before doing time in the smoker. A ½ pound of spareribs for $7 got me nearly three meaty ribs with a nice crust and sauce on the side. Ten different sauce options are available, and all are made in-house. There's a tangy but traditional BBQ sauce, a Carolina sauce with more pepper and vinegar, teriyaki and Thai-inspired sauces and a several hotter sauces, whose heat level is illustrated on the menu with rankings between two and five chili peppers.

Sandwiches range from $6-10 (for big appetites, there's a $25 "Gutbuster" on the menu), and are served on warm sandwich rolls from Grand Central Bakery. If they run out however, you might get your sandwich on a basic grocery store bun. Don't be disappointed! The sandwiches here are not about the bread, they are about the meat, people. The bun is merely a vehicle for filling options such as beef brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken. Your choice of sauce is mixed with the meat and while the sandwiches look a little dry at first, after one bite juice will be dripping down your arm. You can get sandwiches with coleslaw, cheese, onions and other toppings added, but I'd recommend getting a couple of side dishes instead.

For sides, there are fresh-cut fries or creamy coleslaw for $2 and mild but meaty beans for $3. Other sides include sautéed seasonal greens, macaroni salad, potato salad, or green salad ($2.25 each), and mac n' cheese ($3.50), or gumbo ($4). Save room for dessert--sometimes made by the brothers' mom--including black bottom pie, cheesecake and bread pudding.

A couple of TVs behind the bar predictably play sports, while Monty runs between the register, kitchen, taps, and tables. Service can be a little slow, since Gabriel's Fire does a brisk take-out business, and it's currently just a two-man operation. If you're famished, start off with one of the handful of appetizer options, like chicken wings, Texas eggshells (aka potato skins) or jalapeno poppers. Beers on tap come from two local breweries, the Big E in Lynnwood and American Brewing Company in Edmonds. And it wouldn't be a BBQ joint without sweet iced tea.

Gabriel's Fire 5803 244th St. SW., Mountlake Terrace, 425-697-4119. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Follow Voracious on Twitter and Facebook. Follow me at @sonjagroset.

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