BJs Brewhouse and Restaurant
Several locations in the US
1159 Southcenter Mall (Location visited)
(WARNING: This post is equivalent to NC-17. Proceed at YOUR OWN RISK!!!!)
Yesterday, I mentioned about fast food chains trying to outdo each other. But, do we food bloggers try to outdo each other as well? I have the hunch that some food bloggers try to avoid interaction with others; however, those who stick together, well, some friendly rivalry can’t be denied. After Sherman went to Zakkushi and got a bukkake… soba, that is, I was wondering if I could out do that post. So, when I was in Seattle/Tukwila, I thought I could go for a BJ… Burger, in BJs Brewery, that is…
This place is quite similar to a lot of sports bar like restaurants but with dining areas segregated from the bar sections. Probably because I haven’t been to Cactus/Joey’s/Moxie’s/Prestons and similar type restaurants, I might not be able to draw much similarities; however, if I compare it to some locations of White Spot, well, it is still not the same. Probably because the “bar” area mas more “grand” compared to our offerings? Hmmmm…. To make it even more interesting, they had a patio like section where it faces outside, meaning there is sunlight. Guess where I chose to seat?
Now, drawing yet another comparison to Cactus, Milestone or Prestons, here, the wait staff are dressed like a wait staff rather than something that you might wear if you were going to a party. Regardless, I won’t say much about service, as I was the only person in that area, aside from the waitress who was checking between the main dining area and the patio in and out the whole time.
As for the food, well, here is where I ran into a big roadblock – I didn’t really know what to order! It follows a menu type similar to that of places like Cheesecake Factory but, unlike that visit, where I went with others, this time, I was by myself, which meant I had to get the most of this visit. While I could have gone for a BJ… BJ burger, that is, I am not sure if that would have satisfied me. Instead, I went back and forth through the menu and eventually settled for an entree and some small sides. Then, that is when I realized “I am not in Canada anymore…”
Tomato and bocconcini salad. Aside of the fact I wanted something “salad” (though, of course, the fact it has bocconcini might discredit that), it wasn’t that much the issue of the salad. The “issue” was the cost: $3. Nope, no typo here! For $3, I got this plateful of tomato and bocconcini. Granted, it wasn’t cherry tomatoes or high end bocconcini, it was the amount that hit me in the head. How the !%^&*!@#$ they expect to generate profit if they charge $3?! This in Vancouver can be easily $6 in some restaurantS! But, OK, prices aside, it was your basic salad and the raw onions gave it a different twist so that was fine. Some basil would have done wonders but, not complaining, it was… Yes, $3!
Side number 2 was mac and cheese. Again, I wasn’t expecting this bowl. While I admit the salad above had its good points, I can’t say much about this mac and cheese. OK, there was some “crumbling” on the top but it didn’t really work as it didn’t have a crispy texture. And, then, it wasn’t really elbow macaroni (not that it mattered that much but purists will have a say…). The bacon would have worked really well; however, if it wasn’t because of the sauce, which made it soggy. Then, there is the sauce itself. See, I don’t care if it has tons of different cheeses; rather, I prefer a sharp taste. As Mijune told me once, for this type of application, I seem to prefer a simply cheese sauce not necessarily a “gourmet” multi-cheese type one. I guess I can be simple at times…. But, regardless, this one was bland so it really didn’t work for me. Still, for $4…
This is a side salad that comes along with my entree. I also had the option for Caesar or a wedge; however, I wasn’t up for (more?) cream on my face, not to mention I already had my share of dairy in the bocconcini and mac and cheese. It is an extremely simple salad and, while it could have done better in terms of type of ingredients, again, it was “free” so not much to say about.
I will have to admit that, at that point, I was starting to get full already and I haven’t even received my entree! And here it is.
I went for a rack of ribs plus chicken – in the case of the chicken, I specifically asked for the dark meat. Why? Because it is more flavourful! While the skin was crispy and the meat wasn’t dry at all, some sauce would have been helpful. As for the ribs, while I ended up licking some fingers, the meat itself wasn’t as tender as it could have been. But, given the type of restaurant, I would have assumed they don’t necessarily have a BBQ to cook these and rather they are boiled/braised and then finished on a grill. If we use that as a guideline, it still need some work as not much penetrated into the meat inside. Still, it kept some pork goodness so, I will you take it for what it is. Notice I haven’t mentioned a word about that potato. I won’t even go into it. First of all, I declined any cheese or bacon (I was originally thinking on eating it but not with these) so you might not get it plain as seen in the picture. But, after the size of the previous dishes, there was no way in hell I was going to eat it. OK, just so that I can say I tried it, I stabbed it with the fork and tried some (it was completely bland). Come to think about it, I am not sure if I would have wanted to eat the whole thing had I not ordered the sides, anyway.
At this point, you thought I would have thrown in the towel, right? (Even the waitress thought I was satisfied at that point!) Nope, just for kicks, I asked for the dessert menu. I originally was up for pies but, alas, they didn’t have any. Instead, they had a dish called pizookie. I guess that would be a portmanteau of pizza and cookie. And, to make it more enticing, it is served with a snowball… I mean, scoop of ice cream.
The portion served is NOT the regular portion but the small serving (which is served in its trio). I guess the waitress though I couldn’t have space for more… Regardless, I didn’t finish it, I barely had half of it. In the end, that sort of shows I am not that much of a desserts person…
After settling the bill and walking around the mall (hey, I wasn’t going to turn around and go to sleep, would I?), I found this. C’mon, do you really think I would have gone to this place? But, still looking for other alternatives, there were some usual suspects, like the Cheesecake Factory and Olive Garden, among others. Given the type of competition in the area, I am sure some people will be enticed by the ridiculous portion sizes (bigger is better?). As for me, BJs didn’t blow me away nor it sucked so I will leave it at that.