Sunday, June 17, 2018
Memphis Jax BBQ- Ponte Vedra, FL
After a couple more visits, I'm glad to be able to update and upgrade my review. I still haven't tried everything on the extensive menu, but the pork, brisket and ribs have all made a good impression on me. I wouldn't say any of them are exceptional, and on the last visit the flavor of the pork was down slightly, but I would rate all three above any average chain restaurant. Sides are more than just an afterthought. We enjoyed delicious collard greens, hot fries and more of their creamy style potato salad. I'm not the biggest fan of their sauces but that might just be me.
Service has improved greatly. My latest meal was with a group of eight for Father's Day lunch. We arrived a bit after the lunch rush, but the restaurant was still over half full. All of our food arrived within five minutes of ordering and taking our seats. They were fully staffed with friendly, efficient employees who made our meal a pleasant experience.
(Original review continues below, posted 1/21/18)
I usually like to give new places at least a few weeks to get up and running before I visit, but since this one is 5 minutes from the house, I figured I would brave the crowds and the opening weekend excitement. This is sort of a preliminary review- I'm sure I will update it as I make future visits and try more of the menu.
Orders are placed at the counter, where if you are dining in they give you a number to place on your table. As all the tables were full, I took a seat at the small bar where I got a good view of the bustling serving line. They were slammed for the second day in a row, and close to running out of meat again as they did the day before.
The pork was right on- hot, smoky and barky. Although it was a decent sized portion, it looked small on the metal tray they serve their food on and almost made you wonder if it was actually a $15 lunch, which is what it came to with a drink. The pork redeemed itself though, and I especially liked their full-flavored original sauce with it. The hot sauce was pretty good too, but I felt like the mustard sauce, which is usually my favorite with pork, was an afterthought that needed more flavor than just mustard.
My sides were just average. No complaints on the potato salad, but it didn't stand out either. The beans seemed straight out of a can with maybe a couple specks of meat sprinkled in. The tea was average as well.
Service was friendly, if slow, which is understandable with how busy they were. I waited over 30 minutes for my food, but it was fine on a Saturday afternoon and didn't bother me. To be constructively critical, my opinion is they are trying to offer too many choices. Besides all the typical meats and more, they also offer pizza, catfish and other non-barbecue items, as well as a long list of sides. This leads to extended prep time in getting food out. It might have been better to start with a smaller menu and add items as they have the chance. I would hate to see their good barbecue get lost in the clutter of everything else, which happens a lot.
Time will tell- I can only hope a barbecue joint this close to home will stay in business and stay consistent. I will be back to try more items and update my review- hopefully upward.
FOOD RATING: 3.5 OF 5
OVERALL RATING: 4 OF 5
Memphis Jax BBQ- Ponte Vedra, FL