182 Harvard Avenue
Allston, MA 02134
How to get there:
Train: MBTA Green Line “B” Branch to Harvard Avenue Station
Bus: MBTA #66 via Harvard Avenue
Soul Fire is one of Boston’s best barbecue spots, if not THE best barbecue spot the city has to offer. Featured on the Food Network, this Afro-soul-themed southern comfort food restaurant has sizable portion, but you get much more than what you pay for. Everything is cooked to order, mostly from scratch and the meal sizes are very filling. Each bite of anything, and I mean ANYTHING, on their menu will send you to another place. They offer such tasty entrees as chopped and sliced beef brisket, pulled pork, fried chicken, chicken tenders, turkey breast, fried fish, and pork ribs. Their appetizers include fried macaroni and cheese cubes, chili cheese fries, corn dogs, and a delectable Soul Fire chili. Side orders include mashed potatoes, rice & beans, potato salad, and oh-so-delicious collard greens (if cooked properly, which these are). A typical meal will run you about $10-20 depending on how many meats you choose to order and the type of platter. Rib platters cost more than chicken platters, but everything comes with two side orders and some corn bread. Let’s not forget the 5 choices of barbecue sauce: Pitboss, Soul Fire, Sweet, N.C. (for North Carolina), and Fiery. Each sauce has more vinegar, more spice, or more molasses than the others, and each goes well with certain food items.
My favorite appetizer is the fried mac and cheese because it’s the goodness of a creamy mac and cheese inside a nice crispy but not too oily batter. A small serving is 2-3 cubes while a large serving is 4-7 cubes. My entrees of choice are usually the chicken tenders, the sliced brisket, and the pulled pork. I always put sweet sauce on the brisket and N.C. sauce on the pulled pork, so as to have a taste of North Carolina and Tennessee on the same plate. Sometimes I would put Pitboss on everything, but I reserve it for the chicken tenders. I usually go for the mashed potatoes with gravy on top and some butter for that rich, smooth texture, and the mac and cheese by itself for that taste and texture that I grew up with when my family made it at home on the stove top. Soul Fire’s mac and cheese is made with tiny pasta shells, creamy mild chedder cheese, and crumpled barbecue potato chips. As much as I do not enjoy collard greens, this restaurant makes them soft and a bit sweet, unlike most places that overcook them and give off an awful stench. As far as dessert, the award goes to their cheesecake, which has the consistency of whipped cream and not overly sweet, though do not sleep on the fried dough, with its fluffy but not too flaky texture and that cinnamon/honey/sugar combination that is nothing short of divine.
Here’s the part that I really like: It’s close enough to transportation that you can go in and stuff your face to then come out and roll your way back on to a “T” bus or Green Line train back home. The restaurant is in between the block, so you can’t see the Green Line trains go by, but if you like buses, the #66 Harvard Avenue crosstown bus runs frequent enough so you can see and ride buses all day or all night. I would only use the #66 when I am coming from an area with no subway service or the other side of the subway network south of South Station; the 66 is a great crosstown route from Dudley Square. On its way from serving Dudley Station on the Silver Line and Ruggles Station on the Orange Line, the #66 hits every single Green Line Branch (B, C, D, and E) before it hits Soul Fire and then continues across the Charles River to Harvard Square on the Red Line. No matter what part of the Boston area you are in, Soul Fire is easy to get to. If the #66 gets caught in traffic on Harvard Avenue, as it almost ALWAYS does, there’s a Soul Fire location on Huntington Avenue, served by the Green Line “E” branch and the #39 Huntington Avenue crosstown from Copley Square.