Restaurant Review: Famous Dave’s

So, in with all of the other festivities of this past weekend, we tried to slip in an early, mini birthday party for my friend Kyle since his is kind of getting swallowed by wedding-zilla this coming weekend. As such, I tried to get creative, and bought him the ingredients to a drink named after his favorite superhero: Green Lantern. We also decided to see where he wanted to go for dinner. To our surprise, the answer was Famous Dave’s.

Now, Kyle and his fiance (no next weekend isn’t their wedding) have raved about Famous Dave’s for some time. Needless to say, with that amount of praise, I thought I was in for a treat. Boy was I wrong.

Famous Dave’s is like the Applebees of BBQ. It’s a chain, so I took my excitement for good BBQ with a grain of salt.  Going in, I ordered a fairly standard combo. I got their chopped pork, and “rib tips” with sides of coleslaw, beans, corn, and a cornbread muffin. Lets tear into this meal, and I don’t mean by eating it.

First up is the chopped pork. This was actually one of the highlights of the meal. It is your standard dry pulled pork that had most likely been smoked, or cooked in the usual way. It came served on top of a thick piece of toast which was a nice twist. What was not so nice was the mountain of BBQ sauce that was dumped on top, completely obscuring any pork flavor that might have been had. If you’re going to go through the trouble of serving a dry-style chopped pork, and offer BBQ sauce on the table, why not let the diner sauce it to their own liking? WHY?

Next up are what Dave’s calls rib tips. These were what I was most excited for going in, and what ended up ruining my meal in the end. They’re described as “tips, slathered with Rich & Sassy® BBQ sauce, fire-grilled, then chopped into tender, bite-sized piece.” Where was that on my plate? What I got were chunked ribs with huge sections of cartilage, and bone to work around for scraps of rib meat that was so coated, and smothered, oh wait, slathered in BBQ sauce that I think I might have had more fun drinking straight BBQ sauce. These were just a bad time. I like meat off the bone, but heaping chunks of nasty cartilage through the entire thing killed it for me. If I pay for meat, I want meat.

Whew, okay moving on from that rant. What was left were the sides. The slaw, and beans were average restaurant fair, leaving the corn and cornbread as the highlights. The corn had a good smoky taste, and the cornbread muffin was sweet and warm. Yes, I’m saying that the best part of a $15 BBQ meal was a muffin and half ear of corn.

So what does all this mean? I don’t care who’s birthday it is, I’m not wasting my time and money at Famous Dave’s again when there’s a much better institution, from what I’ve heard, down the road. Next time I’ll try KC’s Rib Shack.

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