The skill of the person at the smoker is the critical element of any barbecue restaurant but side dishes are important, too. At Boss’s Slow Smoked BBQ in Henderson, they bring a lot to the party.
Mama’s Mac N Cheese ($3.99, in a combo with beverage) was a fine interpretation of a comfort-food staple. The firm pasta was blanketed by a velvety blend of cheeses and, best of all, cubes of tomato were mixed in for an offbeat but complementary touch. The large serving was enough for sharing or as an entree on its own.
Though the oil could have been a tad fresher for the fries ($3.99), the large, crispy-edged, thick sticks with skin-on ends and fluffy interiors were quite tasty, served with a slightly tangy sauce.
Raw cabbage doesn’t offer much in the way of flavor, so it’s left to the seasoning to determine the success of a cole slaw. The generous component of celery salt in Boss’s ($2.99, in a combo) amped up the flavor considerably. The cabbage was crisp, the dressing creamy, for a fresh counterpoint to the smoky meats.
But the meats are of course the real draw for a barbecue joint — especially in this case, because Boss’s found a degree of local fame even before it opened, thanks to a parking-lot smoking operation whose aromas drew in passing motorists. Tri-tip is a West Coast favorite that’s been slow to find its way to Las Vegas barbecue spots but it’s on the menu here. A tri-tip sandwich ($9) was served on a salad-plate-sized bun hefty enough to support the pile of tangled shreds of meat. Smoked beef is often a lot drier than another barbecue standard, pulled pork, but a good dose of sauce went a long way toward alleviating that.
The delicately crispy smoked chicken leg quarter ($5) with burnished skin was flavorful and juicy, and showed off the smoker’s barbecue prowess.
The chicken was the source of some confusion because the only versions listed on the menu were a pulled-meat sandwich, smoked-meat salad or a whole chicken ($12), but the woman behind the counter offered the quarter when the whole one was ordered.
Service was quite good. An employee zips to the front as soon as the door to the counter-service spot opens, and food is brought to the table instead of requiring pickup.
The bulk of Boss’s business seems to be takeout but the interior seating is comfortable enough, with spacious tables, sturdy chairs and sports on TV.
And anyway, it’s more comfortable than the parking lot.
If you go
■ Boss’s Slow Smoked BBQ, 2895 N. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson; 702-683-6656
■ The essence: Good sides, slow-smoked meats.
Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.