Vicki Paris Goodman
Naples Rib Company has been on my radar for years. But Sam and I live in Bixby Knolls, which sometimes seems like the other side of the world from Naples. Consequently, we had never set foot in the place. Our loss.
We ventured over to the restaurant on a Friday evening. Big mistake not to have made a reservation. (Who knew?) We were lucky to wait only 10 minutes for a table. With no reservation, forget about a booth.
The restaurant was dimly lit but casual. People were chowing down. Families abounded. Couples appearing to be on dinner dates were in the mix among the many larger parties. The atmosphere was one of a happenin’ place. Yet the ambience was warm, comfortable, and inviting.
The menu was extensive, with all the requisite items one would find at a barbeque “joint.” There were St. Louis-style ribs, baby backs, beef ribs, chicken, a variety of steaks, tri-tip, prime rib, sandwiches, meal-size salads, and seafood, not to mention numerous combos for those like me who just have to sample a few items.
Well aware that our eyes are frequently “bigger than our stomachs,” Sam and I resisted the tempting appetizers, like the Fresh Grilled Artichoke and Deep-Fried Zucchini, and just ordered our dinners. Such self-restraint!
Our very competent and friendly waiter, Martin, pronounced “mar-TEEN,” arrived promptly to take our beverage orders and answer our first-timer inquiries.
After a brief period of uncertainty, I chose the Baby Back Ribs and One-Quarter Chicken combo– the one for smaller appetites ($17.99). It was not small. There were four delectable, meaty, and oh-so-lean rib bones, and a large barbeque chicken breast with wing attached. The ribs were excellent, especially after dunking them before each bite in the very good accompanying barbeque sauce. And how the restaurant manages to prepare such tender and moist chicken white meat is a mystery, one for which I was grateful.
The plate had arrived with my chosen side dish of wonderful crunchy, slightly sweet cole slaw plus a corn cobbette and slice of pineapple. A surprisingly nice mini cornbread loaf, which was mildly sweet with a cakey consistency, was also included. I was quite happy.
Sam had ordered one of the night’s specials– the Filet Kabobs ($19.99). Sitting atop a “vegetable-infused” bed of rice pilaf were two hefty skewers of large, perfectly cooked filet mignon chunks layered between slices of peppers, onions, and mushrooms. There must have been 12 ounces of steak there. It was just delicious, and the steak was as tender as could be.
For his side dish, Sam had opted for the macaroni and cheese, and what mac ‘n’ cheese it was! Sharp and creamy, it was just delicious– perhaps among the best I’ve tasted. Sam’s dinner also featured the corn cobbette, pineapple slice, and cornbread loaf.
As for Martin, he was on top of things, checking up on us often. He took excellent care of us.
Well, by putting off our first visit to Naples Rib Company for so long, Sam and I have been missing out on some mighty fine barbeque. But better late than never, I guess. We had a very good time. We certainly won’t wait another decade before returning. There are too many other tempting menu options to try.
Naples Rib Company is located at 5800 E. 2nd St. on Naples Island in Long Beach. Phone (562) 439-7427. Open seven days a week. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 4pm to 9pm; Friday, 4pm to 10pm; Saturday noon to 10pm; Sunday noon to 9pm. Reservations are highly recommended on Friday and Saturday evenings. Visit ribcompany.com.