Monday, June 14, 2010

Restaurant Review: Jim Dandy's Family BBQ- Cincinnati, OH

I’m in Cincinnati tonight finishing up a three days stint of teaching summer reading classes, and I went out to eat at the closet non-franchised restaurant from my hotel: Jim Dandy’s Family BBQ.  I know next to nothing about BBQ, and most people are so vehemently opinionated about BBQ that I’m almost afraid to weight in here.  So BBQ fans out there, let me know by what criteria you judge a good BBQ joint.  Jim Dandy’s did not disappoint me, yet I’ve lived too far North most of life to claim any authority on the matter.
 I ordered the pulled pork sandwich combo ($8.50).  The pork was juicy, tender and nicely smokey.  I chose the mild sauce instead of the hot sauce.  I think that was a mistake because I found myself wanting more heat; however, if I had ordered the hot I’d be eating Tums by the handful right now.

I was impressed with the many choices of sides: red beans & rice, baked beans, coleslaw, collard greens, green beans, mac & cheese, potato salad, apple sauce, bead pudding, and Saratoga chips.  I had collard greens, which were tangy—and as I understand it—cooked respectably in the Southern style, which is to say the greens were cooked down within an inch of their life.  The result: greens that nearly melted in my mouth.  But what I’ll be craving after I leave Cinicinati is the Saratoga chips.  These are housemade potato chips seasoned with Dandy’s proprietary rub—giving the chips just the right hint of spice.  Plus, they're just a bit thicker than commercial potato chips giving them a very satisfying toothiness.  Comparing Dandy’s chips to BBQ-flavored Lays like comparing a Twinkie to Julia Child’s crème filled yellow sponge cake.   The meal came with a little square of cornbread, which was moist and heavily tasted of milk and butter with a sweet finish.
Jim Dandy’s also seems to have a pretty simple, take on things.  Here’s their slogan:
 Work hard.  Play harder.  Count your blessings.  Eat Jim Dandy's BBQ.  Love God, Country, Friends, and Others Madly!

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