Where: Leon's World's Finest Bar-B-Que, 55th and Broadway, Galveston Island, 409-744-0070
What $13 Gets You: Leon's dinner plate gives you a generous serving of meat (your choice of brisket, ribs, two types of links, or yard bird) and two sides for just $9. (Two-meat plates are $12, and three-meat plates are $15.) The single plate is more than enough for two people. During our visit, we ordered the brisket, which was excellent. There was lots of flavor, and while the meat was fall-apart tender, there was still plenty of substance to it. You can order your brisket extra-lean, but our regular serving seemed plenty lean already.
Leon's bar-b-que sauce (in the red squeeze bottle on your table) is tangy, with just the tiniest hint of sweet after bite. The perfect "not too thick, not too thin" consistency, it's very tasty. A little goes a long way, so give it a try before you slather it on.
The side order of potato salad was unremarkable, but not so the deceptively spicy rice. It looked sweet and innocent, with bits of celery and green tabasco peppers peeking through the creamy rice, but packed a real wallop. Our waitress told us its heat factor varies from day to day (depending on the cook's mood), and that our serving was on the mild side. If that's true, then only the bravest tongues should try it when it's in the hot range.
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We suggest you add desert. There's rum cake ($2 per slice), tea cake ($2.50 per slice) and pecan or sweet potato pie (both $2.75 per individual-size four-inch pie). We had the sweet potato. Obviously homemade, it had a thick crust and smooth filling. There was a speck too much nutmeg for our tastes, but it got eaten just the same.
Leon O'Neal, owner and namesake of Leon's World's Finest Bar-B-Que, has been serving up North Carolina-style barbecue on Galveston Island for almost 20 years. The tiny restaurant (there are just six tables) has long been a favorite with locals and visitors alike. And while it may be a stretch to call it the world's finest barbecue, it certainly holds its own.
Insider tips: If you find yourself staying at a Galveston hotel, take advantage of Leon's free delivery (for orders of $30 or more).
Recommended: A strong yes. (And don't be surprised if you find yourself driving down to the island for a plate of Leon's finest - it's good stuff.)