Pig Iron Bar-B-Q
5602 First Ave S, 768-1009
Mon-Fri 11 am-3:30 pm, closed Sat-Sun.

You'd expect a barbecue joint marooned among the warehouses west of Georgetown, just a couple blocks from the worn-looking La Hacienda motel, to be pretty down-home--maybe with a nice older lady wearing a hairnet behind the counter and heaping Styrofoam plates of meat. Not so at Pig Iron: The staff is of the hip, hot variety and the food comes in only medium-huge portions on cool-looking tin trays, with sides nested in matching cylinders. The jelly-jar water glasses and old-school beverage selection (cans of Old Milwaukee, Green River soda) seem meant with a little irony, while the prison rodeo poster is spotless.

So even though no one's calling you "honey"--the hospitality's still fine, and the pulled pork (sandwich, $6.95; plate with two sides, $9.75) is almost falling-apart tender, with crisped edges here and there. The house barbecue sauce, slightly sweet and slightly hot, lives in a little pitcher on the table so you can load some more on. The bird on a sliced turkey sandwich ($6.95) is perfectly moist; all you might wish for is a little skin to liven up the softness of the meat and squishy white bun. Catfish (sandwich, $6.95; plate, $9.75) strays way into the nouvelle realm, with surprisingly excellent results; it's not fried but "bar-b-q'ed," with the sweet white flesh made all melty goodness, and it's drizzled with a creamy/peppery "slather" sauce.

Sides ($2.25-$2.75) are generally standup; the potatoes may be called "mashers," but they're nice and smooth, and the gravy's brown and plain and salty and good. Creamed corn, flecked with red pepper bits, is a sweet little dish of heart attack. If you like your cornbread dressing unfussy and on the dry side, you're in luck. And the innovation of sweet potato fries is just as great as the Ramones playing on the sound system. Innovations in Barbecue