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Restaurant reviews in Tyson's and surrounding area... mostly

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Famous Dave’s Barbeque, Falls Church, VA

Multiple locations nation-wide (5 DC-area outlets)
370 W. Broad Street
Falls Church, VA 22046

Arriving at Famous Dave’s Barbeque was like walking on the set of “Rawhide”.  Additional Clint Eastwood credits included some phenomenal movies, so with a “Sudden Impact” and a “Fistful of Dollars”, “Bronco Billy” and the “Enforcer” Drifted out to the High Plains of Falls Church to “Go ahead--make my day” to grab us some grub “In the Line of Fire” at Famous Dave’s on Main Street.  To “Hang ‘em High” with this “theme”, here’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” of Famous Dave’s.

The Good: 

This place serves breakfast.  Our server told us that they were only two of the 50-60 nationwide stores that serve breakfast.  They really had no choice.  Prior to becoming a barbeque joint, the Original Pancake House stood in this Falls Church strip mall.  We arrived just in time to allow us to pick from either menus.  Our breakfast selection included a fluffy three-egg omelet constructed with their signature brisket, cheese, and mushrooms.  Accompanying the omelet was a cheesy-potato bake (hash browns with cheese) and some bacon.  Bread on the side was supposed to come with the meal but did not arrive (more on that in the “Bad” section); but all-in-all the breakfast was good.

The décor is unique and appropriate.  The décor was about what you’d expect from a place that serves mostly barbeque items.  Having eaten at other barbeque places (Red, Hot and Blue, Rocklands, King St. Blues), this place has the theme nailed.

Barbeque sauces.  If you’re a fan of barbeque sauce, this place is for you.  Not only was there six (there “could have only been 5, do you feel lucky?  Well, do ya’ punk?”) individual sauces to accompany any order, but the server described each sauce by pouring out the regional sauces on a plate in the shape of the first letter of the sauce.  A small chip bowl was presented to taste each sauce.  Since we were first-timers to Dave’s, they presented us with a take-home bottle of their signature sauce (for free, not “A Few Dollars More”).  Nice touch, so ask for a bottle if you’re a first timer.  The sweeter sauces were, well, sweet, and the hot fire sauce was “Firefox” hot.  The other sauces were ranges of these spectrum ends with varying degrees of tang, spice, and savory, and sweet.

The Bad: 

Table space.   A rack of paper towels, the array of the different sauces, condiments, and accoutrements, place settings, and menus left us little room to eat.  Good thing we didn’t order the big rack of ribs, as we would have to hope an adjacent table was free just to find room for the side orders.

Incomplete order.  As mentioned above, the breakfast came “Every Which Way but Loose”, but without the ordered English muffin.

The wait staff.  Not very knowledgeable about the menu, but to their defense, the restaurant was only open a few months.   What our server lacked in knowledge made up for in her bright personality and honesty. 

The Ugly: 

VEGETARIAN WARNING:  This place is NOT for you.  We were hard pressed to find something on the menu that did not contain meat.  Granted, this is a barbeque place, but some attention should be paid to those who prefer something without beef, pork, or chicken.   Having scoured the menu for anything void of animal, we consulted with both the server and the kitchen manager.  Reviewing just about everything on the menu and looking for alternatives, the kitchen manager suggested the Veggie Burger.  What veggie burger?  It was not on the menu. The manager explained that it is on the catering menu, but he could prepare one for us.  Not wanting to leave hungry, we opted for the mediocre veggie burger with a side of slaw and fries (which were actually pretty decent if used with the variety of sauces available at the table).

Parking.  We were lucky.  We got “rockstar” parking; however, luck aside, it seems like it will be a challenge to find a place to park in the limited available spaces. 

Our experience was not exactly “Heartbreak Ridge”; but not the kind of place to rush to “Any Which Way You Can”.  To paraphrase a line from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”… In this world there are two kinds of people, my friend. Those who eat meat, and those who do not.  You decide.

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