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TheBarbecueFiend's Recent Reviews
This is a very new location for Reo's Ribs, so a lot of the interior is still under construction. It looked like they had borrowed most of their tables and chairs (which say "Mi Casa Su Casa" on them) from the Mexican restaurant next door. I didn't mind, since I came for the ribs not the ambiance. There is a big stage area in the works, which will probably make this a very hip spot once it's all finished.
There's not really a menu other than the small paper ones at the register, but I'm sure that's in the works too. Reo's doesn't have combos available other than their big 5-meat platter. I wasn't quite that hungry, so I made my own rib platter with a la carte items: 2 spare ribs, 2 baby back ribs, hush puppies, and potato salad. Even though all of these items were listed with a la carte prices on the menu, the woman at the register seemed utterly confused by the whole thing, but we got it sorted out just fine.
For some reason the meat was taking longer than expected, so they brought out the sides as appetizers. I usually eat them first anyway, so I was fine with that.
The mashed potato salad was mustardy, but interestingly sweet at the same time. Sugar seemed to be more prevalent than the mustard actually. There was a good crunch from the pickles, and a nice spice blend. I liked it a lot. As for the hush puppies, they were fried fresh and had a good crisp crust. These weren't quite as dense as your typical hush puppies. They were also fairly spicy from the jalapenos scattered throughout, which gave them a good punch. Their sides were definitely tasty, but it was the ribs that brought me to this place.
My duo of ribs came covered in a thick, shiny glaze. I'm used to Central Texas style barbecue, but these ribs still looked delicious. There was a nice crust to them, with very juicy and tender meat underneath. The baby backs were almost falling off the bone (though not overcooked), while the spare ribs had good meat retention. The sugary sauce was really nice actually. Reo sells it by the bottle, and it's easy to see why. I'm not usually a big sauce eater, but I liked it a lot. Despite all the sauce, you could still taste a pronounced smokiness. Both varieties were tasty, but the spares were my favorite of the two.
They were having a little birthday celebration for Reo while we were there. Nothing fancy, just a simple gathering of his friends and employees. Reo came over and asked if we wanted cake. Yes please! Having birthday cake with Snoop's uncle was definitely the highlight of my experience here, and it's something that I'll always remember.
After we finished our meal, we ended up talking to Reo outside for a few minutes. He was extremely friendly, and very nonchalantly exclaims "Snoop's my nephew!" According to Reo, Snoop comes into his restaurant from time to time, along with Katt Williams and Mike Epps. Despite the obvious celebrity-related reasons to eat at Reo's, the food was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it.
UPDATE (June 8, 2015): Reo's Ribs is currently closed, but they are looking for a new home in the Portland area. Godspeed, Reo.
Wagon Wheel was a little farther off the interstate than I'd hoped for, but after six hours of driving I was in dire need of sustenance. I hoped the 'que would at least be halfway decent. I ordered a 2 Meat Plate of brisket and pork ribs, with potato salad and pinto beans on the side.
The potato salad had a decent crunch from the veggies, although it could have used more pickles. It was overly mustardy, making all of the black pepper completely unnecessary since I couldn't taste it anyway. As for the pinto beans, they were absolutely disgusting. It was like a runny bean dip of sorts and had a really weird taste.
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2013/12/wagon-wheel-bar-b-que-odessa-tx.html
It was getting fairly late, and my wife and I made a last-ditch effort to find dinner before hunger turned me from Jekyll to Hyde. Bread Winners is one of the more recent restaurant additions to the mall, so we thought we'd give it a shot.
We were both thoroughly famished, so I insisted on an appetizer of hummus and pita to start things off. The hummus was really fresh and creamy. The pita triangles were warm, fluffy, and delicious. This was a nice start to the meal.
I was really excited to see ribs as part of their dinner selections. Done and done. I ordered the St. Louis Ribs, which come with green chile mac & cheese on the side.
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2013/06/bread-winners-bakery-cafe-dallas-tx.html
Today I decided to see how Bluebonnet Bar-B-Q at the Lakewood location of Whole Foods measured up. Bluebonnet felt more like an actual barbecue spot than a grocery store. They had a real knife man cutting all of the meats to order, but I was still pretty disappointed by the use of heat lamps.
The overpowering "Eat! Eat! Eat!" coming from my stomach got the better of me. I ordered a 3 Meat Combo: garlic pork sausage, St. Louis-style pork spareribs, and sliced beef brisket. All of their combos come with two side dishes, and I settled on potato salad and bbq beans.
The potato salad was pretty tasty. Dill isn't exactly my favorite herb, but it gave the potato salad a good amount of flavor, coupled with a pleasant sweetness from the cream. As much as I enjoyed the potato salad, the beans were my favorite of the two. The jalapeno and onions mixed in added a good crunch and a big kick of spiciness.
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2013/06/bluebonnet-bar-b-q-dallas-tx.html
You'll find Dixon's BBQ within the Whole Foods Market in Lake Highlands. Grocery store barbecue didn't sound all that appealing, but I decided to give it a try anyway. Dixon's is basically set up as self-serve barbecue sitting under heat lamps for God knows how long. They're open from 10:30-9:00, and I'm not sure how often they replenish the meats. I wasn't optimistic.
I decided to sample their pork spare ribs, pork and beef garlic pepper sausage, smoked buffalo wings, and pulled pork. Chopped beef and beef short ribs were also available, but neither looked particularly appetizing. At the last minute I uncovered some sliced beef brisket, and I decided to add on a few slices of that for good measure.
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2013/06/dixons-bbq-dallas-tx.html
A friend of mine told me that I could find some great barbacoa tacos down in Lakewood at the Super Mercado Mexico, and he was right. Although they have tacos and tortas every day, you'll only find barbacoa and menudo options available on Sabados y Domingos (Saturdays and Sundays).
It took a while for a gringo like me to figure things out, but I got it squared away in the end. It took every ounce of my Spanglish to place my order, but I'm about 90% certain that I asked for two Cabeza de Borrego Tacos (sheep's head) and two Tacos al Pastor (think pork shawarma).
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2013/06/super-mercado-mexico-dallas-tx.html
I've never had Hawaiian barbecue anywhere other than Hawaii itself, so I wasn't sure exactly what I'd find in the land-locked city of Plano, Texas. L&L didn't have the overly-touristy Hawaiian atmosphere that I was expecting. Not quite so enjoyable were the employees both in the dining area and behind the counter who were loudly slurping down big bowls of kimchi.
I ended up ordering a BBQ Mix Plate: BBQ Beef, BBQ Ribs, and I substituted in some Kalua Pork for the BBQ Chicken that's supposed to come on the mix plate. Their entrees automatically come with steamed rice and macaroni salad.
The macaroni salad was pretty bland and forgettable. It was basically just macaroni and mayonnaise, like a coleslaw with pasta instead of cabbage. The rice was just plain, steamed white rice, and was as equally forgettable as the macaroni salad had been.
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2013/06/l-hawaiian-barbecue-plano-tx.html
Boo-Ray's is kind of like a blue-collar version of Razzoo's, which is more or less a blue-collar version of Pappadeaux. Throw some peanut shells on the floor, and this place could have easily been a Logan's Roadhouse.
I ordered up a half-rack of their Baby Back Ribs, which the menu describes as "slow cooked over mesquite wood with Boo-Ray's special BBQ sauce." The ribs automatically come with sweet potato fries and green beans on the side.
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2013/06/boo-rays-of-new-orleans-fort-worth-tx.html
Jake n' Boo's is located inside a small antique shop in "downtown" Rosebud, which is a little odd to say the least.
I had eaten lunch just a little earlier, so I only wanted to grab a light snack. I settled on their sausage wrap. I had wanted two since they're only $2.00 each, but apparently they only had enough sausage left for 1 1/2 sausage wraps. I wasn't exactly sure what I had just purchased until I hopped back into my truck and unwrapped the tortilla.
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2013/03/jake-n-boos-backdoor-bar-grill-rosebud.html
When you walk in to Woody Creek, there is a short maze to get from the door to the counter for no apparent reason. Oddly enough, they had 90's alternative rock blasting through the speakers. Although I enjoyed eating lunch to Collective Soul, it seemed a bit out of place here. They also have a small stage in one corner, so there must be live music from time to time.
I ordered up a 2 Meat Plate of hot links and bologna, with potato salad and baked beans on the side.
The baked beans were sweet and a little spicy at the same time. They might have come from a can, but still tasted good nonetheless. The potato salad looked like a big scoop of ice cream. It definitely needed some crunch to break up the creaminess of it all, and maybe a little paprika too.
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2013/01/woody-creek-bar-b-q-fort-worth-tx.html
Five Guys has a pretty basic setup. No specialty burgers or any of that. I snagged a bacon cheeseburger, plus a regular-sized drink and a small order of fries. Shockingly, this ran me nearly $15! Just the fries and drink alone were over $5. Wow, those are clearly Vanderbilt prices. Everything comes in paper bags. I wish they had trays for dine-in customers.
I liked the hand-cut style fries. I'm not sure whether they gave me twice as many as I ordered, or whether the "little" size is double the amount that the fry cup holds. Either way, I had enough for a full cup and the entire bottom of my bag.
The burger was exceptionally thick, probably because the cheese was stuffed between two patties. The plain old sesame seed bun was nothing special. Most of the flavor here came from the bacon, so I was glad to have it. My burger was decent, but still only stood near the top end of the fast food spectrum.
Five Guys was certainly a filling and decently-satisfying meal, but at these prices I doubt I'll be back.
My wife has been to Samurai a few times with work friends, but this was my first time going in. Normally I'll get way too much sushi. Today, however, I held myself back quite well. I got a Palm Beach Roll and an Alaska Roll.
I absolutely loved the mango and kiwi on the Palm Beach, and tempura just makes everything better. The Alaska Roll was also great, mostly because it was so simple: just avocado and fresh salmon.
Samurai gave us great, quick service. It's really close to my office, so I'll definitely be back.
Peg Leg Porker has been on my to-do list ever since returning to Nashville. It's only a short drive from my office, making it the perfect choice for lunch.
Peg Leg's building is a great setup for barbecue, complete with traditional counter-service ordering. The friendly ladies working the counter were lighthearted and very welcoming. They have tons of awards displayed very prominently in glass cases, as well they should. In the back is a well-stocked bar, which looked like a great option for happy hour.
With no multi-meat combos on the menu (or beef for that matter), I was torn between ribs and pulled pork. In the end, I went with a Pulled Pork Platter and decided to save the ribs for another time when I wasn't wearing a shirt and tie. For my sides, I picked potato salad and smoked green beans.
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2015/05/peg-leg-porker-nashville-tn.html
Chef Gordon Ramsay is one of my all-time favorite celebrity chefs. When my dad and I were planning a trip to Las Vegas, I jumped at the opportunity to try my third of his restaurants.
Gordon Ramsay Steak has a rather lively atmosphere, with hopping music. From the very beginning, the hostesses were extremely friendly and welcoming. Our server also did an amazing job. We never had to wait for a drink or anything else.
All of the appetizers sounded incredible, but we settled on the Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras. This dish is served with herbed goat cheese pop-overs, gooseberry jus, and pickled ramps. It was phenomenal! The velvety texture of the foie gras and the crunchy nuts complimented each other beautifully. The popovers were also the perfect vehicle to tie everything together, and the gooseberry jus added just the right amount of sweetness. It was a real pleasure to eat.
I love when a restaurant brings actual sample steaks by the table to demonstrate the different marbling in the various cuts of meat. Each one of them looked phenomenal, but I picked the American Wagyu 8-ounce eye, wrapped with Mangalista pork. I also got it topped with bearnaise for good luck. The steaks come a la carte, so we added the Demi Roasted Bone Marrow and the Mac & Cheese to our meats.
The bone marrow was buttery and was a great addition to the meal. I absolutely loved the demi glace. The mac and cheese was even better. The combination of blue, cheddar, and parmesan cheeses was amazing enough already, and the truffle added another dimension entirely. I also enjojyed the English peas mixed in.
Unfortunately, we forgot to leave room for dessert. Oh well, something to look forward to next time.
We were out and about in Green Hills, and a burger and fries sounded great for lunch. Burger Up is fairly close by in 12 South, so we headed on over.
Honestly, the forced communal seating was pretty uncomfortable. I have a hard time enjoying a meal while sitting right next to strangers. Our only other option was to wait, since they were pretty busy even at 1:30pm on a Monday. I decided to try and make the best of things and just suck it up. Our waiter was friendly and gave us good service, despite how busy they were. Although, the process of paying our check took three times longer than it should have, so go figure.
We started with some of their Fried Mac & Cheese Bites, accompanied by a honey dijon aioli and their housemade maple ketchup. The mac is pretty garlicky on its own, which I liked. The bites were very crispy, like a hushpuppy. Their maple ketchup didn't really taste like maple or ketchup, but it was good and added an interesting sweetness. I honestly liked the honey dijon aioli more though.
For my main course, I got the Lamb Burger, which comes with Boursin cheese, red onion, arugula, and a honey mint dijon aioli. Their burgers also come with handcut fries. There were so many fries that they were spilling off my plate. They were great, especially with our leftover honey dijon from the mac and cheese. I ordered my burger medium, since the prospect of dried out lamb is pretty unappealing. The meat itself was a little bland, but it was juicy and cooked well. The Boursin and the red onion was a good combination, but there wasn't much flavor from the aioli and no mint that I could pinpoint.
Burger Up was decent enough, but I expected better.
I had originally planned on a trip up to Richardson to try a new barbecue joint, but with the snow and ice covering most of DFW, we decided on something nearby instead. Jonathon's sounded perfect.
It's usually a pretty busy brunch spot, but the snow slowed things down enough that we got a table right away at 10:15am. I'm glad we got there early, because by 10:45am the line was out the door. Jonathon's is inside a renovated house, which gives it a really cool atmosphere.
As if there was any other choice, I picked the Fried Chicken and Waffle: chicken fried chicken, a Belgian waffle, and Chef Jon's famous peppered gravy. Everything was awesome individually, and even better combined. The chicken was juicy and had a great batter, while the waffle was super fluffy. Their cream gravy was also delicious and tied everything together quite nicely.
Barbecue will always be my first love, but Jonathon's was an awesome consolation prize.
This is the kind of barbecue joint that takes reservations, and they're highly recommended. The smell of delicious pit smoke permeates every inch of Lambert's. If you aren't hungry when you walk in, the aroma will change that quickly.
Lambert's is a smaller restaurant with a very cool downtown Austin feel to it. The interior seems like a renovated house, even though the exterior suggests otherwise. Upstairs they have a fantastic bar and music stage (it's Austin, after all), but nothing was hopping this early. We had a very friendly waiter who, in addition to being knowledgeable about the meats, had great advice on beer pairings.
I wanted to save room for a meat-tastic entree, but I couldn't resist trying their Deep Fried Boudin Fritters for an appetizer. Besides the obvious, the boudin fritters come with crispy fried shishito peppers and a grain mustard dijonaise. The soft boudin was both prepared and cooked perfectly. As good as they were on their own, the dijonaise added a nice zest to the fritters. I also loved the crispy batter on the shishitos. These peppers have a sweetness reminiscent of a bell pepper, with a heat level somewhere around a pepperoncini. Every bite of this dish was outstanding.
Read my full review: http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2015/03/lamberts-downtown-barbecue-austin-tx.html
We came to Dal Toro for breakfast, mostly since the places I really wanted to try only have brunch on Fridays. I wouldn't have minded, but my dad is more of a traditional breakfast kind of guy. Oh well, I figured Dal Toro would be just as good, right? Wrong.
My halfhearted latte wasn't hot enough, and it came in a basic coffee mug. Disappointing.
I ended up ordering the Shrimp Omelet, which the menu describes as shrimp, avocado, smoked salmon, and feta. It sounded tasty enough, though somehow lacked any real flavor. I was hoping the avocado would be inside the omelet, but no such luck. Unless you manage to get a forkful of feta in each bite, this omelet is pretty bland. I suppose it was ok enough for breakfast, but not overly satisfying.
Our waitress wasn't just too friendly either. She only checked on us once the whole time. Multitasking clearly is not her forte. When we had finished eating, we sat for about 15 minutes without anyone clearing our plates (and no, they weren't busy this early in the morning), and then she just slapped down the check without asking if we wanted anything else or any refills. Maybe she was just waking up, who knows.
In a city full of fantastic food and impeccable service, Dal Toro falls flat.
Since there were quite a few things on today's to-do list, we didn't want to spend just a ton of time eating breakfast. We had some nicer dinner spots lined up, so Grand Lux seemed like a decent pick for a quick start to the day.
I found several delicious sounding menu items (like red velvet pancakes), but we opted for the buffet to save time. As I almost always do, I loaded up on the breakfast meats. The ham was a little dry, but the bacon made up for it. The sausage was actually surprisingly good. Despite our time-saving intentions, the waiter was a bit slow. They were fairly busy, but still.
Next time I think I'll order off the actual menu.
Since we were staying in The Palazzo, I figured it would be easiest to dine in the hotel our first night in Vegas. SushiSamba sounded like a really interesting fusion of Brazilian, Peruvian, and Japanese cuisine.
Inside I found a very lively, posh atmosphere. There was great music playing, giving it more of a club ambiance than that of a restaurant. I also liked the graffiti paint job on the walls. Our waitress was tremendous, and the manager came to check on us periodically too. They definitely aren't lacking in the service department. All in all, this was a really enjoyable place to eat dinner.
We decided to go tapas style and order a bunch of different things to try. My dinner companion didn't have any preferences, so I ordered two small plates (Seared Wagyu Beef and Salt and Pepper Squid), two kinds of Sashimi Tiradito (Kanpachi and Tuna), and two samba rolls (Samba Strip roll and Sasa Handroll).
Our small plates came out first. I was excited to try the Seared Wagyu Beef, which comes with a ponzu gelee, honshimeji mushrooms, and a truffled tofu crema. The meat was amazingly tender, and I liked the acidity of it all. Even the mushrooms were very flavorful. The Salt and Pepper Squid was also very good. It comes with dry miso, shichimi, sea salt, crispy garlic, and smoked soy. This dish was definitely spicy. It was like calamari, but way better.
Next up was the sashimi tiradito. The Kanpachi (amberjack) comes with yuzu, sea salt, and black truffle oil. It was absolutely packed with flavor, and I enjoyed the saltiness of it. The Tuna is served in a ceviche-style bath of Granny Smith apple, serrano peppers, and lime. It was beautifully sweet and spicy at the same time.
We were getting a little full, but we still had two samba rolls to go. The Samba Strip roll is a combination of Maine lobster, mango, tomato, crispy rice, soy paper, and peanut curry. I absolutely loved the mango in there, which paired nicely with the peanut. The Sasa Handroll was very different from what you might expect sushi to be. It comes with shrimp tempura, quinoa, shishito, cilantro, spicy mayonnaise, and red onion wrapped in some sort of cone. Our waitress suggested we get two, since it's not very conducive to sharing. I agree. The Sasa roll was a little difficult to eat, but well worth the effort.
I didn't think we had waited very long for our dinner at all, but nonetheless the manager thought so, and to make up for it she brought over complimentary green tea sorbet pops for dessert. To put it mildly, they were amazing!
SushiSamba was absolutely top notch all the way around.