Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review: Jimmy's BBQ, 309 Lancaster Ave, Malvern PA

Prompted by our LivingSocial half-off offers, a group of five headed out to Jimmy's for lunch on a rainy Tuesday in August. Jimmy's address is Malvern, but it's far enough west to be almost in Frazer. Jimmy's looks like a BBQ joint, although it's a tad larger than many places (such as Tommy Gunn's), newer, and cleaner. We were impressed by the thoughtful addition of a big stainless steel sink in the customer area to clean up after gorging on greasy sauced meats.

While some of my other FEEBs (fellow enthusiast for eating BBQ) ordered sandwiches such as the pulled pork, I measure a BBQ joint by its mastery of meat-on-the-bone. Be it pork or beef ribs or even the chicken, meat has the most flavor and juices when cooked and served on the bone. I ordered a 2-meat combo that included a half-rack of huge pork ribs and a full chicken leg (thigh and drum). It came with a choice of two sides. I selected the mac-n-cheese and the collard greens, reluctantly passing up the whipped sweet potatoes.

What did the other FEEBS think?

FEEB1 noted "I grew up on pulled pork BBQ in and around Memphis, Tennessee, so my frame of reference is defined by the predominate style in that area. The pulled pork at Jimmy’s tasted good, but was slightly dry, due primarily to the fact that the meat was shredded more than it should have been. Leaving more of the meat in small chunks might help. The “hot” table sauce was only mild, in my opinion. That being said, I give it a 7/10. I will definitely return, although I might opt for the ribs next time. They looked mighty good."

FEEB2 reports "I’d give the food a solid 6 out of 10 rating. The sink on the wall in the middle of the restaurant was a novel idea for a BBQ joint."

FEEB3 stated "Very good neighborhood place but not a destination place. Do your clothes smell a little smoky? Mine do. A sign of authenticity."
FEEB4 observed "Nice joint in an otherwise nondescript shopping center. Juicy, meaty ribs; the half-rack is plenty for lunch. Lunch companions suspicious."

I guess I am FEEB5 here. I thought the counter service was friendly, and the food came fast enough. It was not cheap! $17 for my platter and sides (however, there was enough left over for another meal). The collards were nicely seasoned with hot spice, but they were more bitter than normal. Did not enjoy them. Mac'n'cheese was creamy and tasty, I ate it all. The chicken was fair. I think it was a tad overcooked, it was not juicy or greasy. The ribs were very good. Huge, meaty, juicy, with great flavor on their own and great sauces on the side.

For me, Tommy Gunn's in Manyunk sets the standard for BBQ. Jimmy's was good, but well short of the sublime BBQ experience at Tommy Gunn's. I give the physical space a 7, the sides a 6, the chicken a 5, and the ribs a 7.5. I would go back, it's a worthy pit stop but as FEEB3 notes, it's not "destination" dining that calls for a road trip.

Jimmy's BBQ on Urbanspoon

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