BROOKLINE – Crab Rangoon stuffed and sealed to order. A Fred Flintstone sized leg of lamb. Dozens and dozens of skewers to share. There are so just so many WOW dishes at Wow Barbecue.
With locations in Malden, Providence and Brookline Village, Wow Barbecue is setting the standard when it comes to all things served on a stick. It is all the brainchild of Steven Liu, who began his skewer-serving empire out of a food truck in 2013.
When his tasty Asian handheld treats became super popular, he decided that a brick and mortar spot was a must. He outfitted his Brookline location in a traditional Chinese style with stone walls with Cantonese characters, a thatched roofed bar, and booths to cozy into – all shipped in from abroad.
“We want people to come in and experience something that’s truly authentic. Every single piece of brick and furniture that you see in this location, they’re actually all shipped directly from Beijing, my hometown.”
Any trip to Wow Barbecue should start with some Chinese barbecue skewers, and luckily, there are 32 to choose from.
“All the skewers are made by hand. Some are pre-marinated and some are not. The seasoning itself contains maybe 20 different ingredients to give it a very rich flavor,” Steven explained.
There are all sorts of options from grilled corn or cabbage, to succulent squid, tasty pork belly and even crackly chicken skin.
“We skewer the skin on a stick and then we put it on the flat top and grill for about a minute or two to give it a very crispy taste to it. It’s crunchy. It’s not super oily. It’s this really crispy taste. Almost like a chip.”
The must try has to be the lamb. This staple of the Wow Barbecue menu is cooked slowly and evenly for a heavenly taste in your mouth.
“What makes it great is – while you are grilling the lamb skewer – the fat seeps into the lean meat and the fat becomes crispy on the outside,” Steven explained. “Even though it’s a piece of lamb fat, it doesn’t taste very fatty. It’s kind of like bacon. ”
While they are known for their skewers, there is a huge authentic Cantonese style menu to go along with them.
There are delicious Pot Stickers, pan seared and steamed so they’re soft on top and crunchy at the base; outstanding Crab Rangoons, stuffed in house and fried until golden and spicy; and Dan Dan Noodles you’ll want to dig your chops sticks into. But the app you’ve got to order brings a bit of the west to the east, in the form of the Cola Wings, which feature addictive chicken smothered in a marinade of cola and General Tso sauce.
“We actually open a can of coke and then put it into a pot and then boil it down because Coke is a little bit sweet. The General Tso chicken sauce is sour. You do get that sweet and sour taste,” Steven said. “It’s delicious. You’ve got to try it.”
If you are looking for something to share, there’s an entire section designed with larger plates to feed the table. There are options like Chili Crab spiked with chilies and lotus root; the Sichuan Whole Fish; and the Spicy Hot Pot, loaded up with pork belly and seafood. Any trip to Wow Barbecue should include the perfectly prepared Beijing Duck, a dish that is interactive and incredibly tasty.
“We actually give you wrapped veggies and a sauce,” Steven explained. “You take the wrap and then you brush the sauce onto the wrap. Then you would do maybe two pieces of duck, scallions, cucumbers. Then you just wrap it and eat everything at the same time.”
Equally as hands-on is the Grilled Whole Lamb Leg.
“We actually make it a very interactive experience. We provide the buns where you can put the meat in. We provide assorted vegetables, where you can really pick and choose what you like to eat with the lamb leg.”
Whether you go for something big to share or something small for yourself, you will definitely be WOWed at Wow Barbecue.
You can find Wow Barbecue at 320 Washington Street in Brookline, and online at wowbarbecue.com.
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