FOOD FOR FUN: BJ’s Southern Fried Chicken Satisfies

Having visited Oxmoor Mall a number of times this year for various Apple related problems, I’ve spent my fair share of time patronizing BJs, a restaurant chain that specializes in apparently everything, including micro Brewing. I say this based on their 20 page menu, which features basically everything you could imagine within reason, which is not necessarily the best thing. It’s kind of a jack-of-all-trades master-of-none thing, where there is no possible way to satisfy everything all the time. But here in the heart of the American capitalist structure I sit, wiling my time away yet again.

Suffice it to say that I’m inherently skeptical of everything on the menu, that this isn’t the gastropub that they’d have you believe, unless Applebee’s fits that description. If Gordon Ramsay has taught me anything other than how to yell at poor people, it’s that a chef finds their signs dish and builds around that. Kind of hard to justify any particular dish on a list with more than 50 entries of an overwhelming variety.

It was surprising then to find a solid dish on a menu primarily identifiable by its clutter, but the Southern Fried Chicken is great. This is absolutely pub food, but it’s hearty, hale, and sstoutpleasing to my inner redneck. The plating is highfalutin, all things considered, with the deeply breaded chicken breast laid out on a mound of cheddar mashed potatoes and ringed by succotash. I expected more conventional separation for my foods, but have no problem going hard on a failure pile of carbs and meat. It was awesome and definitely satisfying.

For dessert, I ordered the bourbon Barrel Stout, pictured off to the side. You’ll not the distinctive lack of stoutness to the brew, which is to say that it’s coloration is a deep amber, which does not a stout make. Still, it’s delicious, whether this was a mistaken pour or just weird batch, notably so for the crisp taste that grabs you up front and the mellow vanilla notes that strike you on the back end. It’s definitely not the most interesting bourbon Barrel I’ve had, but no less satisfying. Honestly, thinking back on this, it could’ve just been one of those Dad’s Hard Whatevers Cream Soda flavored, but it hit the spot whatever the case. You do you, BJs, and I won’t sweat the color of your stouts.

Add in my first brew, the Tatonka Stout, and I’m feeling good. Good enough that I don’t want to flip a table at the Genius Bar, which is a power move (not flipping the table) to show that I’m classy and stuff. A more traditional variety, the Tatonka has a milk stout vibe, creamy like a Guinness, but without the nitro mildness that cuts the carbonation. Where the bourbon Barrel came off as described above, completely devoid of anything that would otherwise be recognizable as a stout, barrel aged or not, the Tatonka is as regular as they come, but a good watermark for the variety all the same.