Tuesday, July 30, 2013
4Rivers Smokehouse- Jacksonville,FL
I eagerly anticipated the opening of 4Rivers fourth location in Jacksonville, but it turned out I didn't make it there until about a month after they had opened. I had had a great experience at their Winter Garden location, so I was cautiously optimistic for more of the same here. The exterior was very similar, from the unique signage to the large outdoor eating area.
Stepping inside, I encountered a lunchtime line of 25-30 people. It moved quickly though, and gave me just enough time to get some shots of the interior. This location features a larger indoor dining area than I remember at the other location, with a combination of small four-tops and a few long communal tables on wheels.
They had a similar collection of unique sodas. I chose an Earp's Original Sarsaparilla, aptly described as "rich velvety sarsaparilla flavor with a touch of smoke".
Soon after, I was at the counter. In a rare departure from my usual modus operandi, I didn't order pork on my first visit here. Angus brisket is 4Rivers signature offering. It was by far my favorite of their meats I had tried before, so I wanted to do a fair comparison. At least there was bacon wrapped around the smoked jalapenos I got as a side, so pork was not completely left out. Potato salad and barbecue beans rounded out my meal.
The brisket was every bit as good as before, flavor wise...in fact the slightly thicker rub and absence of sauce drizzled on top improved it in my opinion. It was perfectly moist, smoky and excellently seasoned.
My only complaint was that by the time it was sliced, plated and paid for, some of it had become rather cold. I used some of these pieces to sample the sauces. The sauces complemented the meat well, but were not overly impressive. There was not much difference between the regular and hot sauce either.
The smoked jalapenos were fantastic. I don't foresee my being able to eat here in the future without ordering at least a couple of them. The potato salad was just average, but the beans were thick and flavorful.
I was glad to see that so far 4Rivers has been able to keep impressing, even with their quick expansion. Like before though, I recommend if you eat here, you must try the brisket. I will definitely be back and try the rest of the menu. This rating largely reflects the brisket, and may change after trying more items- but hopefully not!
FOOD RATING: 4.5 OF 5
OVERALL RATING: 4 OF 5