OK Dave’s

July 11, 2013

Famous Dave's sample feast (from their website).

Famous Dave’s sample feast (from their website).

I won’t go so far as to say Famous Dave’s Barbecue lives up to its name.  It ain’t Memphis barbecue. But it ain’t bad.

I will, however say of the feast for one that that one better be pretty hungry.

I was in a hotel room in Council Bluffs, Iowa, earlier this week, an extremely busy 48 hours down and no dinner plans. Limited by my lack of a car, my options included:

  • Junk food from the hotel snack bar downstairs.
  • Walk across the street to Bass Pro Shops and eat at the restaurant there.
  • Call a shuttle from the nearby casino and eat steak or at the buffet there.
  • Order in pizza.
  • Order in Famous Dave’s.

I rather quickly eliminated the three middle alternatives, two of them because they required getting dressed and, more significantly putting on shoes and I had been wearing a suit and heels all day, and one because I don’t much care for pizza. That left me with options one and five.

I was hungry, and the little snack bar thing didn’t have much. Plus, I would have had to get semi-dressed, beyond my shorts and ratty T-shirt, to so much as walk down into the lobby. Famous Dave’s was looking better all the time. A quick call, and dinner was on its way.

Aside. Apparently every dining establishment in Council Bluffs serves Pepsi, rather than Coke, products. I did not visit any convenience stores or grocery stores, but the airport in Omaha, across the river, had Pepsis, and no Cokes, in the newsstand coolers. Whassupwiddat?

I’d chosen the barbecue feast for one, not because I thought I’d eat all of it, but it offered a combo of beef, pork and chicken, and I figured in the interest of research I’d try them all. When dinner arrived (sans Diet Pepsi, causing me to have to trek down the hall to the vending machine), it came in TWO 8 x 12 carryout trays, meat and bread in one, sides in another.

Oh, and kudos to the delivery boy, who came back a few minutes later with the Diet Pepsis, at which point I had a superfluity of Diet Pepsis.

Anyway. On to the food.

The advertised trio of pulled pork, brisket and chicken became, instead, ribs, brisket and chicken. I can only imagine they ran out of pulled pork, which, if so, would be another strong clue this ain’t Memphis barbecue, because? That would NEVER happen in Memphis. So my combo offered generous portions of ribs, brisket and chicken, and by generous I mean three big, meaty rib bones, six slices of brisket, and a plump chicken leg quarter.

I started in on the ribs first. They were very good; lots of meat, very tender, good flavor. I could not tell that they had had any acquaintance with smoke, but they were coated in a sweet/spicy sauce that had cooked down into a thick, slightly sticky glaze. They were moist, but had little grease about them. I’ve most assuredly had a lot worse ribs.

Then on to the brisket. Folks, I tell you; that approached Sweet Baby Jesus territory. That brisket was perfectly done, meltingly tender, spices that danced across your tongue. Similar, but different, sauce from what was on the ribs. The six slices would’ve been enough for a portion for most folks; I ate four and a half of ’em, along with the ribs. I could manage only a couple of bites of the chicken. Meh. It was decent chicken, no better and no worse than I’ve had in a dozen places. I’d have eaten it all had it been the entirety of my entree, which it was certainly enough to be.

Sides were mostly unremarkable, except that the beans were seasoned with the same marvelous sauce and had significant shreds of meat in them, and were Just Damn Fine. There was an ear of corn, which was good, toothsome sweet corn for which they gave me no butter. There was slaw, which was mayo-based and I accordingly did not open it. There was a cornbread muffin, which, in the fashion of such things “Up Nawth,” was sweet. Very sweet. I ate two-thirds of it for dessert.

All in all, I’d recommend you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em go to Dave’s, and concentrate on that brisket. And have cornbread for dessert.

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One Response to “OK Dave’s”

  1. Duke Says:

    Been there, done that. I’ll buy a pound of brisket, and make sandwiches with it at home. i’m like you, Kay. Chicken is…chicken. Their baby backs are to die for, though! Their cornbread isn’t as sweet here…wonder why?


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