THE PLACE: BJ’s Barbecue is in the large center at the corner of North McCarran Boulevard and Prater Way in Sparks.
THE LOOK: Windows encompass the entire west side of the building, letting in lots of natural light. Framed pictures of fish and other classic and rusty memorabilia rest on the wooden walls. My friend and I sit in a corner dedicated to fishing.
THE MEAL: It’s Monday and just one of those days. There are plenty of items less than $10, but one catches my eye — and for all the wrong reasons.
Shoe-string french fries. Pulled pork. Cheddar cheese. Barbecue sauce. Sour cream. Chives. One behemoth pile of lunch.
Any other day, I’d flinch at the notion of ordering this high-calorie “Crazy Ass” lunch special, but today — oh, what the heck.
A fork is required for these fries with some crunch. They aren’t salted, which is good because that means they don’t steer any flavor away from the pork and barbecue sauce. The sour cream is interesting because I’ve never seen it paired with barbecue, but it works.
The pork is nicely textured and delicious.
Beside this pile of goodness are two ribs soaked in BJ’s signature sauce and a pulled pork slider.
I like these sides because I get to try something new and have a small sample of ribs, ones that I have to wait in line for at the annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off.
The rib meat falls off the bone, as it should, and the slider is on a small wheat dinner roll. This special offers enough food to make you reassess your afternoon work schedule to accommodate a nap.
My friend eyes the pulled pork as well, but in sandwich form, and by ordering it as a lunch special, she gets a drink and a side included, all for $8.25. She chooses the southern baked corn — and chooses right. The niblets are sweet, not soggy, and full of buttery flavor.
KUDOS: The place has quite the loyal lunch crowd; the service is fair, and the food comes out quickly. The affordability is a definite plus. My plate is $10.50, but my friend has plenty of options to keep the total bill less than $20.
In a world where almost everything is marked up, it’s nice to see a place that values value — not always an easy task with barbecue.
QUIBBLES: The shoe-string french fries taste fine, but I think larger, thicker, regular-cut fries would be better for soaking up pork juices and their wonderful sauce.
ALTERNATIVES: BJ’s has all the proper and traditional barbecue items: chicken, beef brisket, hot links and the like. Next time, though, I’ll get the meatloaf. You can order it as a sandwich for lunch or with two sides for dinner, with both options less than $10.
Other non-barbecue-sauce items include wings, chicken strips, turkey and a bread pudding with bourbon pecan sauce. BJ’s has a fish fry on the
RETURN TRIP?: How’s next Monday sound?