My mother-in-law was in the mood for both pizza and ribs. We wracked our brains for a place that would offer both items, and Kirsten suggested BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. A national chain restaurant is the kind of place I normally avoid, but it did check boxes for both ribs and pizza, and I agreed to sign on for the upcoming culinary adventure.
BJ’s is expansive, loud, and full of activity. Servers zipped in and out of the kitchen as a constant stream of food headed one way, and empty dishes the other. TVs surrounded the warehouse-like dining area, streaming a mixture of playoff basketball and hockey. We were seated at a booth and handed menus that resembled small books. The first eight pages were devoted to craft beers, wine, cocktails and homemade sodas (we tried all four flavors to confirm that they are all delicious). The next 11 pages were full of almost every eating category, ranging from appetizers, steaks and ribs, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, chicken with beans and rice, salads, and pasta dishes. Our server, who was wonderful, understood our plight and periodically checked on us while my wife and mother-in-law were paralyzed with indecision. The choices were overwhelming, and it took 20 minutes to page through all of the options.
On Tuesdays during happy hour (6 – 7 p.m.), appetizers are half-price. We ordered root beer glazed ribs (to check box one on the list of reasons we chose BJ’s), and an appetizer combo. Five baby back pork ribs slathered in a homemade root beer barbecue glaze were served with a side of sriracha slaw. The ribs were tender, and the glaze was a nice mixture of smoky and sweet. The slaw component was mayo-heavy, lacked heat (though my MIL disagreed and proclaimed it to be spicy), and was thoroughly underwhelming.
The appetizer combo paired spinach and artichoke dip with three fried items (mozzarella sticks, avocado egg rolls, and Santa Fee spring rolls). The spinach and artichoke dip had large chunks of artichokes and spinach suspended in gooey cheese, but the chips did not hold up well to dipping. The avocado egg rolls were mushy messes, the mozzarella sticks were crunchy but otherwise standard chain fare, but the Santa Fe spring rolls were quite nice. Crisp on the outside, and full of a mixture of chicken, black beans, red peppers, cilantro, sweet corn, jalapeños and jack cheese, they were my favorite of the appetizers.For more on BJ’s read the full review on Tallahassee.com.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: