The Nodding Donkey (Dallas, TX)
My wife was working all night, which made this the perfect opportunity for some bachelor dinner time. The Nodding Donkey is just a short walk from my apartment, so I wandered over to score some grub.
The Nodding Donkey is by no means a "barbecue joint," but rather a sports bar and grill. Even so, their menu has a couple of barbecue options, so I thought it was worth a review. It has your typical bar atmosphere and sporty aesthetic, with large flat screens blasting all the major sporting events of the day. There is also a decent sized dining area in addition to the big wrap-around bar. I was dining alone, so I took a seat at the bar.
I started with an order of their Homemade Jalapeno Skins. For my entree, I selected the BBQ Brisket Grill Cheese that I had my eye on for some time now.
My Jalapeno Skins came out first, and I was actually kind of impressed with the plating. The bacon had a great crispiness to it. There wasn't just a ton of heat to this dish, which was a little disappointing. I dissected one and discovered that the entire jalapeno vein had been removed, so that's probably the reason for the missing spiciness. The accompanying dipping sauce added a nice creaminess and a little heat, but it was still pretty mild as far as jalapenos go. The chorizo and Oaxaca cheese they were stuffed with was a welcome change from the typical cream cheese jalapeno poppers.
After much anticipation, my BBQ Brisket Grill Cheese finally arrived. The homemade skin-on fries were nice and crispy and had just the right amount of salt. My sandwich was a slightly soggy on the bottom, which I just attributed to the barbecue sauce. I was pretty excited for the Texas Toast. It was a little hard to pinpoint the brisket flavor with all of the gooey, melty cheese, but the sandwich had a great taste to it nonetheless. The brisket was also fairly tender. Here again, there was very little kick from the pickled jalapenos inside. The barbecue sauce tasted pretty good and was a nice combination of sweet and tangy, but wasn't overly sugary. I also appreciated that the sandwich wasn't drowning in sauce, despite its soggy bottom.
The Nodding Donkey could really benefit from ensuring that their jalapeno-laced menu items actually have some spiciness to them. Overall though, I was pretty happy with my meal. If the game is on and you want to try something beyond the usual barbecue offerings of pulled pork and potato salad, The Nodding Donkey is worth a stop.