on February 22, 2009
Long time Moab visitors will recall the popular BBQ joint, Fat City, the only eatingplace in town deserving a recommendation, but it is now closed. The owner/chef wentinto catering. So that leaves the newer Moab Brewery as the top BBQ candidate, and inmany respects, it is up to the challenge. But there are flaws, including some big ones like the pedestrian $6.50 burger and coleslaw that loses the taste test to milk soakedcardboard. On the bright side, the smoked chicken and beef are excellent. Both have anice smoked flavor and the beef, sensibly tri-tip rather than the ubiquitous dried outbrisket, is outstanding. Chicken and beef are served with a fine BBQ sauce on the side. Ribs, compared to the chicken and beef, were a let down– dry and chewy, albeit nicelyflavored.The excellent BBQ sauce was commendably served on the side with the chicken andbeef but regrettably, the ribs were drowned in it. I used the chicken and beef to mop upthe excess sauce on the ribs, which turned out to be enough for all three meats on thecombo platter.Onion rings are superb. They gave me indigestion all night long. That’s because I’mallergic to onions, but every now and then I break down and do something foolish likeorder onion rings. Actually, I finally did get sleep about 2:00am when I remembered totake a tipple dose of allergy pills. I relate my stomach distress so that you understandwhen I say that I would order these onion rings again, that is the highest complimentbecause by that, I’m doing so at peril to my health. That’s how good they are.Starters with the diners, but not the hamburger, were a nondescript Romaine lettucesalad and a good baked roll. Servings are very large. Who can eat desert or an appetizer with one of these meals?Service was surprisingly fast and friendly for as busy as the place was.Eight beers and ales, brewed on the premises, were offered. We had Derailleur Alebecause the waiter said this amber ale came closest to being a dark beer. It was goodenough that we ordered it again the next night in another local restaurant that carriedit.The Bottom Line: stick to the smoked chicken or beef and onion rings, avoid thecoleslaw and burgers, and you will have a fine meal, the best we’ve found in Moab. The menu in 2009 offers five kinds of ale, a stout, and an amber lager. We’ve tried several hereand elsewhere, and all are fine examples of their kind. Beer is served as pints or pitchers. There are seven fish dishes on the menu including fish & chips, Mahi-Mahi, blackened tilapia, asmoked salmon wrap, tilapia sandwich, and salmon. Should you eat fish in Moab? Look at farit is to the nearest ocean. I wouldn’t bother, except for smoked salmon which is made to survive. There are six burger variations, made with various sauces and cheseses and such. The 13appetizers include fries, baked potato, crab & artichoke dip, squid, some Mexican stuff, andwings. The 12 chicken offerings include several sandwiches and dinners such as chicken Alfredoand various smoked chicken dishes. There is an extensive list of veggie dishes and saladsincluding some pasta dishes, cheese enchilada, burito, the ubiquitous graden lasad, Ceasar salad,smoked salmon salad, and gyro salad. Four soups, including chili, are offered either by the bowl or served in a home made breadbowl($3 extra).The main dinner menu features their smoked meats– sausages, chicken, ribs, beef, and the comboof chicken, beef, and ribs. There are also steaks and prime rib.Full dinners run $14-22, sandwiches are $7-8. (2009 prices)The restaurant is one very large room done up in sort of modern rustic. The "tavern", like a barin the real world, is off to one side. Big, bustling, and fairly noisy, tthis is not the place for aquiet candlelight dinner.Now a word about Utah beer. 3.2 beer is easily available. Just walk into the Moab Brewery andorder one. Stronger beer is more complex. It is so complicated that you are well advaised toforget it, but if you want to go to the trouble of solving the maze of Utah’s booze laws, seek outDevastator Bock. At 9% alcohol, it will knock your socks off, and its good tasting stuff. Stick with 3.2 and it won’t drive you crazy. You can even buy it in some grocery stores and 7-11type places. In a strange way, the state enforced-- wait, make that the Mormon Church enforced– limit on the alcohol content of beer is a good thing because, unable to rely on a hagh alcoholconttent to impress (render unconscious) beer drinkers, Utah’s brew pubs are forced to stresstaste quality, and on this they do a fine job. Utah brews have an impressive history of scoringhigh at beer competitions (the same cannot be said for Utah’s insipid wines which should only bedrunk for their novelty). The 3.2 limit is not as bad as it first seems. There are two ways of measuring the alcohol contentof beer. Most places use a system that shows Utah’s 3.2% beer to be 4.6% alcohol, still weak butgetting close to the 5.5-6% of real beer in most states. The bottom line: if you like beer with your BBQ, thank your lucky stars and head straight for theMoab Brewery.
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