Photos by Andrea Farr, Words by Bri Garret
For all of you missing a good home cooked meal, there’s a solution by the name of Soulfire.
Located in Allston, 5 minutes from Boston University’s West Campus, Soulfire is as conveniently located as it is authentic. Even East campus residents will find the extra 15-minute hike well worth it for all this place has to offer. On top of all of this, the gem won’t even put a dent in your wallet – the bill was just $25 for my roommate and I, for a meal that I would have spent much more on.
Our dinner consisted of everything we love about a Sunday family dinner, with traditional BBQ flavors and every type of comfort food you could ever desire. If I had closed my eyes while biting into the mouth-watering rib I ordered, I would have been able to faintly hear the laughter and conversation of my family during one of our gatherings on a beautiful spring day. That’s how authentic this place is.
My roommate and I decided to order everything different from one another to get a true feel of what the menu had to offer. Staying true to my favorites, I ordered a single spare rib, a side of mac and cheese, and of course some rice and beans. My roommate, a lover of sandwiches, ordered pulled pork on a roll with baked beans and a side of fries.
As hungry and anxious as we were to get our food, the ambiance of Soulfire kept us very entertained, easing our grumbling stomachs and watering mouths. The restaurant is very spacious and offers a variety of seating-- a mixture of regular square tables and bar seating with elevated stools. I loved their play on a backyard BBQ theme; checkered picnic tablecloths created the illusion of being in a backyard on a sunny day.
The interior truly caters to every type of person who enters the doors; everyone has something to listen to or look at. The paintings of numerous soul artists like James Brown hang on the brightly colored walls like inspirations for the soulful, flavorful food that exits the kitchens. On top of that, upbeat music lurks in the background, loud enough to enjoy but low enough to still have conversations-- a perfect balance for diners, in my opinion. I found myself tapping along to the beat as we chatted about a very appropriate topic: Easter dinner. If that’s not enough entertainment, there’s a giant screen mounted in the middle of the main wall of the restaurant, for diners looking to catch the score of the latest game. It’s an environment truly reflecting the feel of a home, giving it major points in my book.
And this is all before the food even came out.
I could smell it a mile away, and seeing my waitress walking out with my dish in her hands was the best feeling I had all week. My food arrived with a very simple presentation. It was arranged on parchment type paper that matched the pattern of the tablecloths, letting the food shine and speak for itself. But the flavors were anything but simple.
Upon biting into my ribs, I was welcomed with tender, buttery meat that melted in my mouth with every chew. If that’s not enough, I had four different sauces to raise the flavor even more: Pitboss, Soulfire, Sweet, and Fiery. I didn’t think I could love the name enough, but the Soulfire sauce was my favorite, just like the restaurant was quickly becoming. The combination of tomato, pepper, and tangy vinegar taste made the Soulfire sauce a perfect accomplice to my meat. As a lover of all things spicy, I also enjoyed the Fiery sauce, but in less generous amounts.
Although the ribs were the star of the show, the rice and beans and mac and cheese are just two of the many options available that are just as tasty, especially for those who are vegetarian or aren’t craving meat. As traditional as Soulfire is, it does add some unique spins to some very common dishes, like the addition of crumbled barbeque chips as a garnish to the mac and cheese – a touch that gives an already loved dish even more of an edge and even better texture.
With such a variety of choices of their menu, my dinner was just one example of how Soulfire takes BBQ and comfort food to a whole new level, satisfying not only meat lovers, but anyone who loves a good home cooked meal.
So even for BU students who are from South Carolina, California or even out of the country, a comforting meal is just a few minutes away from campus.
182 Harvard Ave