Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dave is Here

We don't eat out very often but when we do, casual chain restaurants are infrequently a consideration due to a higher likelihood of being met with mediocre food and lukewarm service. There are a handful of establishments that we feel consistently stand out from the pack and, as a result, patronize at least yearly -- Five Guys, bd's Mongolian Grill, Famous Dave's, and Longhorn.

A visit to Famous Dave's, our favorite rib joint, was long overdue. On our last visit, we tried boneless chicken wings basted in Wilbur's Revenge sauce.

Yes, boneless wings.

Frequently, chicken skin is prepared floppy, chewy, and fatty tasting so I am generally not a fan of wings as skin and bones pretty much makes up 90% of those silly pieces. Uh, no thanks.

Back to Wilbur's Revenge. I won't claim to be a heavyweight champion when it comes to spice level, but I am not a wimp. I've never felt the desire to get into a Scoville-peen contest but would "rank" myself at around the 70th percentile. Wilbur's Revenge was spicy, but not unbearably so. It teetered just at the threshold where flavor almost didn't matter because my taste buds felt like I had been licking a cheese grater for 20 minutes.

After that experience, we decided that on our next visit, we would try the boneless wings with Pineapple Rage sauce ($9.49) because the graphic listed it as one chile pepper notch below Wilbur's Revenge, and a pineapple-habanero sauce was intriguing. Being rather weary of all things pineapple being dubbed "Hawaiian," I was also glad it wasn't called "Hawaiian Hottie."

365-207 Pineapple Chicken
Day 207/365

One pepper notch difference seemed to amount to 50% less heat. The sauce was not challenging in the heat realm; however, the flavor was addictive. As one would expect, the sauce sits on the sweet side of the fence with an appropriately smoky caramelized flavor.

Perhaps not as cool as their grilled peppery flatbread with smoky salmon spread, which is an absolutely stunning dish, I would definitely order the Pineapple Rage boneless wings again.  

As usual, I was undecided on what to order for my entree. Bug suggested the 2-meat combination ($14.49). When I scanned the meat choices, beer-battered cod stood out. Have I always been stuck on ordering beef brisket and other red meat items to not have noticed they serve cod, or has it just been that long since our last visit?

365-207 Brisket Cod
Day 207/365

Not one to miss an opportunity to savor their amazing smoky, tender, and saucy beef brisket, I ordered the brisket and cod with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.  Bug eased his Memphis dry rub baby back ribs and beef brisket fix ($19.99) with cole slaw (pineapple and horseradish) and potato wedges.

The cod was all right, but I squealed when I tasted the tartar sauce. The chunky bits of pickle had me a-smilin'.

This time of year, the corn on the cob is expectedly frozen, so I took a bite and enjoyed my rare taste of corn, two bites of the garlic mashed red potatoes, three bites of the cod, bit off the top of the corn muffin, and donated the remainder to Bug while I stole 3 potato wedges from him expressly to dunk them and the mushy-but-tasty broccoli into the tartar sauce along with my slices of brisket. Yum!

- Cassaendra

Famous Dave's
26410 Great Northern Shopping Center
North Olmsted, OH 44070
Tel: (440) 777-0200

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