Of the many alluring restaurants that line Broad Street in downtown Augusta, Georgia, Knuckle Sandwiches is the most inconspicuous. An extremely narrow storefront with a cramped kitchen in back and a handful of little tables up front (plus sidewalk seating), it is an unlikely place to find food that reflects high culinary standards and creative panache.
Foremost, the PBR-B-Q: beer-battered shoulder pulled into velvety clumps that radiate smoky flavor, all the more delicious for the fact that the meat includes endless strips of dark, flavorful bark that are variously chewy, crisp, and fatty. At a time when BBQ parlors around the nation have gotten on the burnt-ends bandwagon, these ribbons of supreme succulence set a benchmark.
To go with that PBR-B-Q (or any sandwich), you get French fries. Lightly battered, highly seasoned, and glowing with pepper punch, they are a joy to crunch into. On the side, a ramekin of white ranch-like sauce complements them well. Spicy Thai chili sauce that accompanies sandwiches also makes a fine French fry dip.
Meat in the Philly cheese steak isn’t typical shaved beef. It is hunkier ribeye, each distinct piece a deliriously satisfying bite. The fully-dressed package includes sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms and comes topped with a blanket of melted Swiss or cheddar cheese. The only quibble I have with this sandwich (and the others) is the bread. It’s a toasted length of hero roll — perfectly serviceable as a conveyance device for the superb ingredients it contains, but not in its own right a baker’s triumph.
Other always-available sandwiches include a zesty bisected devil dog topped with jalapeno cole slaw, a beef burger, grilled cheese, grilled chicken, and a portobello “garden burger” with spinach and goat cheese. Wings are available with Thai chili glaze or southern fried. Non-sandwich daily specials include tacos, stew, gyros, and Friday-only dessert pies.
Note the unusual hours of operation: Knuckle Sandwiches is closed Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, open for lunch Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday, and open until after midnight Wednesday through Saturday.