Posts Tagged ‘ bbq ’

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.


Hill’s Top BBQ

This past Saturday, I went home to visit family, and my Dad determined that we should go out to grab some dinner. We ended up going to what is clearly his new favorite place to eat: Hill’s Top BBQ in Bartlett, NH. It’s on the right off of Rt. 302 if you are on your way from Conway Village towards the turn for Story Land.

Entering the parking lot, all you can smell is the delicious aroma of smoked food. That’s good because it’s been smoking all day. Your mouth should start watering immediately. Going inside, its a fairly small place with a dining room, and an 8 person bar (tops). The staff, and owner are all extremely nice, and friendly in a rare way. My Dad knows all of the staff, but they treat new comers with the same welcoming and courteous manner as he gets. They’re just good people. Down to the food. Our meal started off with a drink. I got my “yuppie beer”, a Shipyard Pumpkinhead, and my Dad got his standard Bud Light. This was followed by friendly conversation from our waitress who is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

To start the meal, we got an appetizer sampler. This was an amazing assortment, with fried green beans, onion rings, mozzarella stix, buffalo wings, homemade maple cornbread, served with bleu cheese, and BBQ ranch dressings. A perfect start to the meal, and dangerously filling for my Dad, stepmom, and I.

On to the main course. I grabbed my favorite standby: pulled pork with coleslaw and fries. I should mention that this is some special Pulled Pork. It is not covered in BBQ sauce. Actually, it isn’t served with any BBQ sauce on it at all. On the table is a six pack of the restaurants different homemade BBQ sauces. Their all great, but my favorite is definitely the smoky. THe pulled pork was tender, full of flavor, and falling apart. In other words, it was perfect.

My Dad, the brave soul decided to get the pick 3 platter with brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. This was a stack of meat. His favorite is the brisket, and he swears by it. I was fortunate enough to try the ribs off his plate. I know what I’m getting when I go back. Like everything, they didn’t have any sauce on them, and as I scarfed them down, it never even occured to me that they should. They were full of a rich smoky taste that left me wondering where they had gone. A definite must have.

My Stepmom went after the Prime Rib. It comes in a King, and smaller Queen size which she got. Still, that is a big hunk’o’beef. I managed to snag a bite, and it was so full of flavor: smoky and beefy in a perfect balance.

What does all this add up to: this is the place to go if you’re up in the Bartlett/Glen area of New Hampshire. The foods great, and the service is better. The one warning is to look out for crowds because this place is HOT!!