I was in Lake Oswego yesterday afternoon for work-related reasons that I won’t detail here as my boss reads this and he already knows how I feel about yesterday’s excursion. Oldest Daughter lives in the area, so she took advantage of me being in town to take be out to dinner for my birthday, which was earlier in the week. And yes Pigdog, I know. I’m old. Get over it.
So we end up at Famous Dave’s in Tualatin. I’ve heard good things about this chain, but had never been to one and figured I might as well give it a try. It isn’t often I find myself down in that neck of the woods, but since there is an Apple Store and REI right around the corner it would be nice to have somewhere to go and get some BBQ when we are out and about and I don’t feel like cooking.
We ordered their Famous Feast for two and went with the brisket, spareribs, and chicken option with potato salad and BBQ beans for the sides. The food arrived quickly and was accompanied by some corn on the cob, a couple of corn muffins, and their Famous Fries in addition to the other sides. Plenty of food for the two of us…
I was pleasantly surprised that the food was all cooked properly. The ribs were meaty, separated from the bone with a bit of a pull, and left a nice bite mark. If I had been judging them in a comp, I would have given them high marks for appearance and texture. The flavor profile was a bit on the salty side, but overall they were pretty tasty. The brisket was nice and moist, had a nice smoke ring and smokey flavor, but the portion size was a bit smaller than I would have hoped for. The chicken was very good, with a crispy bite-through skin and very nice flavor. The white meat was a bit on the dry side, but overall it was very good considering the number of people they were cooking for and the challenges inherent to a restaurant.
Overall the sides were pretty good. The Famous Fries were excellent and lived up to their name. The corn was disappointing (boiled) but I’ve come to expect that from just about any restaurant I go to; I’m spoiled from years of cooking it in the husks on the grill. The tater salad and BBQ beans were above average, and the corn muffins tasted like the cornbread we make at home from a mix. No complaints there.
The service was excellent. Our server was prompt, friendly, took the time to explain the sauces, checked up on us frequently, and didn’t rush us out the door at the end of the meal even though there were people waiting for tables.
As for the sauces, they were ok. A couple of them had a pronounced paprika flavor; certainly more than I cared for. They were all a bit on the salty side, but I have certainly had far worse, and at least they were different that what you would find in your local supermarket. The good news was that the meat was good enough without the sauces, and about the only thing I really ate the sauce on was the fries.
Would I go there again? Sure, if I was in the area and looking for a good BBQ meal at a decent price. Would I drive over an hour just to go there as a destination? Probably not. They were good, but they aren’t Phat Matt’s…