About a month ago, I was driving through Ballard, and I noticed a small building with a neon sign that caught my attention. I decided that when I had the opportunity, I would swing by and check the place out. This past weekend ended up being the opportunity. So, on my way home, I decided to swing by and check out the Viking.
The Viking is a small place nestled under some trees on 24th Ave. NW in Ballard. In the window is a sign that let’s people know that the Viking has been serving Ballard since 1950. There is also a sign that caught my attention that said “Fresh Smoked Meats, Ribs and Chili”. Now I’m a big fan of the fine dining experience, but at my roots, there is nothing like a great burger or barbeque. So, I felt compelled to try any place that is advertising it’s smoked meats in the window.
Walking in, I noticed that the Viking is the quintessential neighborhood bar. The bartenders greeted many of the patrons by name, knowing what they liked to drink. In the back was a shuffleboard table, and various softball trophies lined the wall. I picked out a seat at the bar, and ordered myself a Manny’s. After taking a sip, I checked out the menu which was a single sided sheet. I was going to order dinner when I noticed that everything on the menu was available for takeout. I’m not opposed to eating by myself at a restaurant, but since I’d been traveling for a little while, and had a nice comfortable couch waiting for me, I decided that taking it home with me would be a good idea. So, I finished my Manny’s, ordered a second, and placed a to-go order for a Number One (beef brisket sandwich) and an order of two ribs. In less than the amount of time it took me to finish my second beer, my dinner was brought to me. I paid the bill (only $25 with tip), and headed home.
On the drive home, the smell of the barbeque sauce was intoxicating. By the time I got home, my mouth was watering and I was excited. I got situated and opened up the two different boxes. I decided the first place to start was the brisket sandwich. Biting in, I was pleasantly surprised. The barbeque sauce was a tangy, not too spicy sauce with a strong tomato taste, and just a hint of sweet. I would say that it was more of a Texas style sauce in my limited barbeque experience. The brisket was good too, very flavorful, though a tad less smoky than I’d hoped for. The whole thing was served on an onion roll that soaked up the sauce, and was the perfect amount of messy.
After a couple bites of the sandwich, I set it down, and turned my attention to the beef ribs. They were coated in what appeared to be the same barbeque sauces as the brisket. Biting in, the flavors definitely exploded in my mouth. The meat was very flavorful, and again complemented nicely by the barbeque sauce. The ribs were very good, and honestly a bit unexpected coming from the little place in Seattle. Compared to the Kansas City Ribs that I had, the spice rub was a little less powerful, and they weren’t quite “bite clean off the bone”tender, but I was very pleased.
The Viking was a great little find for a neighborhood bar with great food. I will definitely be back, especially because there is a Southern Style pork sandwich that I absolutely want to try.
Final Verdict – 3.5 Stars