Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Adam's Rib: OPEN for bidness

Adam's Rib
9148 Santa Fe Trail Drive (west of 87th and Antioch, east of the JoCo library)
O.P., KS

JoCo's newest barbecue restaurant opened this morning for business, and by chance I ended up becoming one of their first customers.

Any time I come across a new place that does BBQ, I am compelled to try it. Every place does their thing a little differently, which is always intriguing. (Ditto for pizza joints.)

Once I saw the main sign go up a while back, I've been drive-by stalking it about once a week to see if it was open. I hadn't planned on driving that direction today, but after seeing Owen anoint spare ribs as the bracket-busting champion of meats, my Pavlovian salivation dictated that I ditch my previous plan of getting a salad at Hy-Vee. I figured I'd check to see...

The little garage-sale-sized "Now Open!" sign brought a smile to my face. Game on.

Upon walking in the door, I was greeted warmly by an enthusiastic cashier. It took me a few minutes to figure out what I wanted, because the menu was interesting: all the normal brisket/burnt end/rib offerings, plus things like BBQ Nachos and Pacific Island Ribs. They also have a huge list of sides.

I settled on a Rib & Brisket platter with beans. Yeah, I knew it was way more food than I needed for lunch, but these three things (along with sauce) are what make or break a BBQ place for me.

I ordered at one register, then paid at another. I think the logistics will probably necessitate a change once they get busy, since people will be lined up out the door really quickly.

The second register is where I found out the place had been open all of an hour. As in, it was their first day.

They offer one size of fountain drink: 32oz. Bravo, I say. They have Strawberry and Fruit Punch at their fountain station; I know a lot of people dig those with BBQ.

They called my name, and there was my food. A huge hunk of pork ribs (three of them, I think) and big, thick slices of brisket, alongside a pickle spear, 3 slices of white bread, and a styrofoam container of beans.

I dug into my side first. The beans were THICK--about the consistency of a hearty chili. There were big hunks of brisket in there. They had a nice, sweet finish. I really enjoyed them, and I normally prefer spicy/smoky to sweet.

The ribs were huge, but I ended up having to sacrifice a portion of them...they were just too fatty. Not the intramuscular "marbling"-type fat, but big hunks of nothing but fat. Don't get me wrong; the sheer size of the portion kept me feeling far from shortchanged, and I know ribs are a long way from chicken breast on the leanness scale anyway.

My issue with the ribs was that they were somewhat "undersmoked". I had a few bites that didn't have much flavor and needed sauce. But they were cooked perfectly--just the right texture.

The brisket was cut into big, thick sheets, which is how I prefer it. It always seems juicier and smokier that way. Good stuff.

The sauce definitely hits the sweet notes harder than the spicy ones, but I liked it even given my aforementioned preferences.

Overall, the food was solidly above-average, even on this first day of operation.

But what will make the restaurant succeed, in my opinion, is the quality of people running the show. I had two different employees check on me, including the owner Hope. She wanted to know what I honestly thought of the food, and she was very receptive. More than that, she's passionate about what she's doing, and she's got friendly people staffing the place. I smiled a lot when I was there, and how often can you say that about lunch?


LC said...

Crazy! I ate lunch there today, too, but had no idea it was their first day open. I just called on a whim to see if they were open yet. I think overall it was pretty good stuff, but the pulled pork had a somewhat strange sweetness to it and my "large" sandwich was far from it. The buffalo chips that were described as "really really spicy" were hardly anything more than flat-cut seasoned fries. I agree with you, the ordering/payment system is a bit of a cluster F. I'll head back in a few weeks when they get some of the kinks worked out. Until then, I'm perfectly fine with Bates City or OK Joe's.

Unknown said...

Good review, I'm put off only because that buildings previous residents all were rather horrible. I hope this place does better.

And I love Strawberry soda with my Q.

Unknown said...

I saw that a couple weeks ago and was also wondering when the heck it would open. I'll have to check it out next week. Maybe they'll fix some of the kinks by then.

JJSKCK said...

Small friggin' world! We probably saw each other, because it wasn't that crowded. I was by myself reading the paper, wearing a black shirt and about 5 days of stubble. Thanks for the info on the other dishes.

I can vouch that the people running the place and working there are doing their best--I'm rooting for them, to be honest. The location can't be all bad; J. Barleycorn's was there for ages and it pretty much blew. The place is way more inviting than it was...nice and clean without being pretentious.

Yeah, the kinks were pretty minor, and operationally the only thing I see changing is the register arrangement. You'll see when you get there. I'll definitely go back in a couple weeks to see how things are going; I've got to put some space between my BBQ lunches.

Unknown said...

Wasn't Adam's Rib the name of the restaurant on M*A*S*H that they order bar-b-q from in one episode?

kcmeesha said...

How much?

JJSKCK said...

Indeed it is.
Sick and tired of having liver and fish for an 11-day stretch, Hawkeye, driven near to insanity, starts a riot in the mess tent. He and Trapper then orders spare ribs and sauce from the best place he ever had them, in Chicago. Trapper calls a woman he spent a weekend with to pick up the ribs, and then they get choppered in. Unfortunately, right as they're sitting down to eat, wounded arrive, and Hawkeye is forced to postpone sinking his teeth into his beloved ribs.

Great question, and it was something I forgot to mention: a regular sandwich, fries, and drink will set you back over $9 after tax. That is certainly a concern, especially with other BBQ places able to get you in and out for $6 or $7. My guess is they'll end up with a lunch special before too long.

The DLC said...

Oh Jeez. I work down the street so this just means I'm gonna get fat.

Thanks for the update, I'll probably check it out tomorrow.

Plainshoneybadger said...

I have been waiting for this place to open since the last place disappeared like a silverfish. I went there when it was Barleycorn's and it was horrific. I walked in the place, asked if they ever at any point boiled their ribs and they said no. At that point, I called my Dad to see if he wanted to check out a new barbecue place. He was game so off we went. The atmosphere was clean, dark (lighting and decor-wise) and friendly. I loved the fact that when I went to wash my hands, the hot water was instantly hot and the paper towels were auto dispensed.

On to the food; I got their short end equivalent which were meaty rib tips per their menu, a side of onion rings and a side of potato salad. Dad got the Pork Spare Ribs platter, baked beans and french fries.

The rib tips were fairly tender but bland. I purposely got them without sauce to see what the deal was with the meat and seasoning. The smoking process only left a suggestion of smoke and the dry rub seasoning was not fully realized. One plus was that they weren't overly salted. Dad's ribs were a little better, had sauce on them but were tough. They brought out the wrong side, didn't bring the onion rings or the potato salad. But that was okay with me because their staff was new, they were really nice and life goes on. The baked beans were too sweet and "ketchupy" tasting for me but I loved the consistency; thick with chunks of meat. The potato salad was almost like smashed potatoes which I LOVED because I had hard potato salad. However, it wasn't well seasoned. I took it home to put some pepper, onion and garlic powder in it. The onion rings were good.

Four people came to our table in rapid sucession and asked how we were doing and if they were the best ribs we had ever tasted. They weren't but they weren't the worst. Hope came by and chatted for a minute which was really nice. We shared some honest feedback both positive and negative. I will be going back to try their brisket and chicken. I don't care for the sauce because its too sweet for me, even their hot sauce.

I really hope they get the hitches worked out quickly because they are really nice people. The ribs could use a really good tweaking and I'm hoping their other items are really tasty. Its hard to find good friendly service and they have that part down. I would encourage people to give them a try because barbecue is personal and unique.

JJSKCK said...

Thanks for weighing in, Sherri.

Undersmoked/seasoned, a little on the bland side, nice thick beans, and super-friendly people. Sounds like everyone had a similar impression, and it also sounds like everyone is rooting for them.