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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lunch Report: Two Bros BBQ Market on West Ave...

My wife was reading in the San Antonio Express-News Food section and saw the review on a place called Two Bros. BBQ Market that sounded pretty good. As the review reports, this place was opened by some ritzy restaurant guy, Jason Dady who has a few other places around town - Bin 555 and Tre Trattoria. Yea, I'll stick to checking out the BBQ place, someone else can report on the others.

Anyway, we decided to make the drive over and find out what all the fuss was about. I'll tell you up front, we have sort of mixed feelings about the place; some real positives and some real negatives.
When you get there, you find that Two Bros. is hidden behind another restaurant, a Mexican place called El Bosque. Pull in just beyond and you will find Two Bros.What we found right off the bat was that parking can present a situation. The place was not crowded at all (based on the amount of available seating), but the parking situation was already troublesome. Perhaps they will buy out El Bosque and pave over it for more parking. Part of the issue was that people parked really goofy. The three vehicles you see above right were all parked over two rows of slots each. Maybe they need valet parking.

Anyway, as soon as you pull into the lot, the wonderful aroma of BBQ hits you. It really does smell good. We walked in and the building is very inviting; nothing to make you think you are in a ritzy place, yet everything is clean, well organized and something I especially liked, there was no uncomfortable guessing about what you were supposed to do.
I have mentioned before that I often feel pressured into making a snap decision on my order because I don't fully grasp the way they menu options work or have time to figure out what I want. In this case, they use the line to get you started with drink options (beer & sodas), but with a sign letting you know that iced tea, lemonade and other stuff is available at the register. They made that sign for me. On the wall are well laid out menus showing packages you can get or, as I like, vittles by the pound. The sides are clearly identified as are the desserts and such.When it is your turn to order, the guy asks for your name, then takes the order and prints out a receipt. From there, you take your receipt to a second register where you pay and pick up any other drinks you need. As you wait to hear your name called for the order, you can be grabbing your plastic ware, pickles, jalapenos, napkins and drink lids etc.

One thing we did note is that they do not have a speaker outside for the folks sitting on the awesome patio to hear their name called. This resulted in hearing an extremely loud guy yell "Bob!" about 10 times before someone else went and popped out the door to the patio and yelled for Bob to come get his food.
Speaking of the outside patio, it really is nice. Lots of picnic tables to sit at and things were not cramped at all. And of course, two things you cannot miss are the smoke house or the huge play area for the kids to climb on while mommy and daddy toss back a few cold ones.Inside, I noticed a few trees that stayed when construction began. One was behind our order taker, the other here, by the door to the patio had all sorts of wine bottle corks around it. Fancy, yet homey.About the food. We ordered 1/4 pound of brisket, 1/2 bound of pork ribs, 2 chicken thighs and small portions of sides: Mac & Cheese, beans, potato salad, and creamed corn.

I love yard bird. This texture was fine, I just didn't care for the taste. And even with their sauce, (which I did not care for), it wasn't much better. My wife was okay with the chicken. I thought the pork ribs were pretty good but my wife felt like they had used some sort of chili powder rub or something on them, giving them a uniquely bad taste. Go figure. We both agreed that the brisket was pretty good, but we also agreed that we had had much, much better. Is it possible that they are trying to turn good down home BBQ into something fancy?

A perfect case in point: the beans. They had these barbecued beans that tasted weird. I overheard another customer asking the grill man what was in the beans and he said it was peaches. Okay, but it wasn't the peaches that gave them the over the top too ritzy for their own good taste. Blech.

The potato salad was very good, the cream corn was really good and the mac & cheese was just okay.
Finally, I recalled from the Express-News review that they simply raved about the
cream-cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped smoked jalapenos". Puhleez. This is one of the standards that I make whenever we grill outdoors and I promise, mine are bigger, better and served hotter. Unless money grows on trees for you, don't waste the $6.00.

Which reminds me. The prices were not bad at all. I'd say that for the amount of food we got - and yes, we did take a full box of food home - Two Bros. was priced consistent with most other BBQ places we have been to.

Bottomline: If you live on that side of town, or just happen to be in the area, by all means, stop in and give Two Bros a try. But if you just must have some good BBQ, whether it be in the form of chicken, brisket, ribs or whatever, I'd unconditionally recommend Augie's Barbed Wire Smoke House over Two Bros. BBQ Market.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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