Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hard 8 BBQ- Coppell, TX

This was written right when I returned from lunch with a group of coworkers. We went to Hard 8 B-B-Q in Coppell off Freeport and Bethel School Rd. It was good but a bit more expensive than I prefer to pay for lunch. You order your food by the pound and then are the sides are a la carte. I got a couple of K-Bobs – sirloin, bell pepper and onions with some sort or rub on it – it was all very good and did not disappoint. I also got an ear of grilled corn, which was quite dry, and a cup of potato salad. It was good but not cheap- it cost me $15 dollars. I mean I don’t have a problem paying that much for dinner or if I am with my wife, but to pay that much for lunch is a little ridiculous. But over all it was delicious and savory. I finished it all- well, I take that back. I finished everything but half of the ear of corn – it was just too dry.

The place is a cool place though. As soon as you drive up you can smell the smoker. When you walk up, the lines to the open pit smoker are outside. Well, I think they roll up the plastic windows kinda like one of those folding glass walls, which gave it an authentic BBQ feel. So you walk up to the 4’ x 8’ pit smoker and they have all the meats displayed for you choosing. They have rib eyes, shish-k-bobs, veggies, pork, brisket– of the sliced and chopped kind- smoked potatoes, sausages, whole and half chickens and too many other things to list. We had a group of about 11 and the tables are long picnic tables with stools secured to the ground, which make it hard to add more people to the table, so we had to split the group. We ended up sitting outside because we got there around 12:35 and the early-bird lunchers were still there. Even though it was hot outside, they had plenty of large industrial fans going so it wasn’t too bad, though I did have to keep an eye on my napkins so they would not fly away. Over all a good experience. Someone who's not that big of a BBQ fan may actually like it though because they have other things than just meat (grilled veggies) and most of the food is not already drenched in BBQ sauce (you put your own on) and of course there are desserts like good ol' cobbler and ice cream. Real good down home cooking!


Overall Rating = 7 of 10
Food quality = 7 my medium shish-k-bobs was more on the well side
Atmosphere = 7 (reminds me of an expensive Dickey’s)
Service = N/A (had to get everything yourself)
Price = $$-$$$

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Bronx- Dallas TX

We were feeling a bit adventorous with this one. We came across The Bronx when perusing for a new restaurant experience. The Bronx hit all our requirements- reasonably priced, causal, and easily accessible. Its location off Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs puts it right in "the mix" of Uptown. It's a bit removed from the main hussle and bussle from the bars and nightlife, but is only a short walk or drive (if you're lucky enough to come across a parking spot). We parked directly behind the restaurant on a residential street, and had a short walk through the parking lot of the glamorous Warwick Melrose Hotel, which was peppered with Porsches, Mercedes, and various foreign luxury cars. But enough about that...

As we approached The Bronx, we were relieved to see there was no wait- and it was 8:00 on a Friday night. But don't let that deter you- it's a hidden gem that apparently not many people have come across. There were no pretentious Dallas types at all. The dark wood booths are warm and inviting, and creek and moan just like you'd expect them too. The dim lighting is interupted only by an intriguing neon red sign over the bar, which is centrally located between the front dining room and back room. Which, by the way, do NOT get stuck back there. They tried to seat us back there at first- as we passed the row of empty booths up front, we found ourselves in the hot, crowded, and not-so-charming "back room." We immediately asked to sit up front in a booth, which there was an abundance of. So anyways, sit in a booth, or on the roomy patio which is a great spot for people-watching, especially in such a colorful neighborhood as this.

Ok, now about the food. After the waiter told us he had never opend a bottle of wine before, and he clearly hadn't by the way he worked the opener, we were ready to enjoy our bottle of moderately priced pino grigio. We split a dinner salad with The Bronx's house dressing. It was more like dressing with a side of lettuce. They could have gone MUCH lighter on the dressing, even though I usually pour it on thick, and THIS was too much for me! The tangy flavor of their house vinagrette would have been more enjoyable if used less generously. I ordered the grilled chicken with white wine sauce and mushrooms. The chicken was too "mushy" for my liking, as it looked more boiled than grilled. The flavor was good- it was some concoction of white wine and lemon. The chicken was served on a bed of angel hair pasta, which I always enjoy, and there were assorted "grilled" veggies on the side. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with this selection, but I would give The Bronx another chance and order something else next time. There were plenty of different options. Aaron ordered a New York flank strip. As expected with any flank steak, the meat wasn't the most tender, but he still liked it. He ordered it medium rare, and it was probably slightly over cooked. His side of mashed potatoes did not disappoint. There were also a few spears of unseasoned brocolli that reminded us of Bennigin's....eww. To end the meal, we were persuaded by our server (who was very friendly and had great timing) to order the bread pudding. It was everything bread pudding should be! Sweet, warm, gooy, and so many layers of flavor!

The tab was not too bad. The total came to about $60- and that included a bottle of wine, a dinner salad (which we shared), two entrees, and one dessert. Oh, and I almost forgot that we also got coffee! So all in all, a very reasonable price. The Bronx has a very low-key, relaxed feel and the dark wood thoughout gives it an English pub feel. Next time, I'd like to sit on the patio and watch the passers by. The Bronx- overall great atmosphere (in the front room at least), great friendly service, and the food could have been better, but I am more than willing to go back and try something else!


Overall Rating = 8 of 10
Food quality = 5 my entree was not very impressive
Atmosphere = 9 great place to people watch outside, and warm and cozy inside.
Service = 8 can't believe our server had never opened a wine bottle before!
Price = $$-$$$