In the old Acme Rubber Stamp building, with reclaimed barn wood in a chevron pattern on the walls, and a peek here and there of brick, Bitterroot is cool without trying too hard. Here, you’ll dive into a plate of spicy buffalo chicken livers ($8) (why didn’t someone think of this sooner?) and sip a creamed old fashioned ($9): bourbon, vanilla sugar and walnut bitters in a lowball. Take your time, sing along to Hank Williams on the stereo, and then the brisket will arrive, smoky and tender, yielding easily to a fork. The half-rack of pork ribs (pictured) hit the spot dead on; they require just a slight pull to bring the meat off the bone ($16/$29). And there’s a burger ($12) that’s worth a visit in its own right: gloriously indulgent with bacon, blue cheese and soft, sweet onions on a pretzel roll. The chicken is great, too, and the sides don’t slack, especially the rich and porky baked beans ($3) and the bright, crunchy slaw ($3). Really good barbecue...in Ballard? We didn’t believe it ’til we tasted it, either.
Open daily, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Ballard, 5239 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.588.1577; bitterrootbbq.com