Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Company Food Review

Chicken & Ribs

Sometimes, it takes a while to catch up on reviews, etc. For example, this review is for a lunch I had back on August 22, 2014. Before you accuse me of reckless procrastination, rest assured... I'm a diligent notetaker. Glover Park's Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Company is a neighborhood favorite, where I've had quite a few good meals over the years. Last year's visit wasn't one of my best; but a few inconsistencies isn't enough to change my overall opinion of a pretty good barbecue joint.

That said, I must focus on this meal (and this meal alone.) It was warm inside (after all, it's a barbecue restaurant) yet the atmosphere was inviting and upbeat. Service is casual, but top notch: At least half the customers appeared to be regulars, and were treated as such. It definitely looks and feels like an old-fashioned BBQ joint.

Complimentary Peanuts

I stepped up and placed an order for Chicken & Ribs (quarter chicken and 2 pork ribs with 2 sides for $12.99) with Cornbread (an additional $.99.) That's a pretty good deal... not quite Boston Market, but still affordable. There's ample seating in their new dining area, which does wonders in easing the normally congested (claustrophobic?) feel inside. Now there's room to sit around and relax, away from the window. This includes complimentary shelled peanuts at each table; and a replay of the Redskins' preseason game on an overhead TV. Music can also be heard (80's chic... Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield.")

Barbecue sauce

Total cost for lunch? $17.57, including tax and a small fountain drink (Powerade Fruit Punch, $1.99.) But was it worth it? First, the sides. Homemade Coleslaw was surprisingly dry with hardly any mayonnaise, but plenty of peas (another surprise.) Still, above average. Corn Bread was serviceable with good texture, but a plain taste: Keep butter handy. The Old-Fashioned Mashed Potatoes were exceptional: Skin on, and delicious even without gravy. Hands down, the best tasting part of my lunch.

On to the meats, which sadly disappointed in a big way. Before you start, make sure to pour your own BBQ sauce, available in a GIANT container by the condiment station; but beware of a strong acidic taste (too much vinegar, at least this time out.) Portions are relatively small, and my chicken was way underdone (red blood throughout... yuck.) Meanwhile, the ribs were overdone, with bits of loose cartilage throughout. The meat itself had a good, natural flavor; but the over-acidic sauce certainly didn't help. All-in-all, a mini disaster.

Needless to say, not Rocklands' finest hour. I never found consistency to be a problem in years past; and this branch (one of four in the area) has been around since 1990. I'm sure it was just an off day. It certainly won't dissuade me from another visit: Come to think of it, I'm already overdue. Hopefully this next trip won't take another seven months to report on.