Friday, January 06, 2006

Restaurant Review

Box Bar & Grill
777 West Ann Arbor Trail
Plymouth, MI 48170
(734) 459-7390

Linda and I decided to head on over to the Box Bar & Grill in downtown Plymouth tonight. We generally go out to eat at least once during the week and after several days of playing catch-up at work following the holiday break we looked forward to a nice stress free dinner.

We've eaten at the Box Bar & Grill several times during the past year, but up until now I've never really considered eating bbq there, but tonight I decided to try out the beef brisket entree with a side order of baked beans and something they affectionately call Bubble and Squeak comprised of a mixture of sauerkraut, bacon bits and bite sized potatoes.

The restaurant is decorated with a festive arrangement of beer signage and mirrors in honor of the 650 different varieties of beer (give or take a few) listed on the menu. They serve 41 verieties of draft beer and an assortment of other beers from around the world including beers from all over the U.S., Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Thailand, Holland and England. I did not order one, but an English beer called "Fiddler's Elbow" caught my eye as I glanced through the list. I'm not a big beer drinker, but it's the most extensive list and variety of beer I've ever seen.

The restaurant was busy with Friday night diners, but the waitress seated us within a minute of our arrival. We were seated in a booth near the rear of the restaurant in one of the side alcove's adjacent to the main dining room. From our location we couldn't view the big screen or any of the smaller televisions, but we were there to eat anyway. When we watch television, we usually prefer our own sofa anyway.

The food menu lists four bbq dishes including a southern pork sandwhich, a brisket sandwich, and entrees for bbq pork and bbq brisket. The menu said the brisket is slow smoked for 16 hours and mentioned that they use hickory smoke, if I remember correctly. I didn't try the pork, but if it's anything like the brisket, I'm kind of glad.

The brisket was served in wide slices (greater than pencil width), sliced perpendicular to the grain and lightly sauced. I searched and searched for signs of a bbq rub, but didn't find any. The brisket was also absent of a discernable smoke ring or bark of any kind. It was not tender enough to cut it with the edge of my fork, but did tend to flake apart if "mashed" with the fork. The thin layer of fat through the middle of the brisket slice might have made cutting it more challenging, but I definitely expected a brisket "cooked for 16 hours" to be more tender.

Most of the brisket I cook at home (10-13 lbs Certified Angus Brisket trimmed and cooked whole) do not take anywhere near 16 hours to cook thoroughly and usually come out very tender. Pehaps the brisket was over cooked. It definitely wasn't over smoked because I didn't taste any detectable smoke flavor whatsoever. The two slices I had, were "dry" and lacking "moisture".

In our next visit to the Box Bar & Grill we'll stick to the usuals: steak, salad, hamburger, etc. and leave the bbq to other folks.

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