Saturday, January 03, 2009

Blue Tractor with a flat tire

Last night I took my parents to a relatively new place in town, Blue Tractor Brewery. The ambiance is perfectly achieved. Seems like they executed the exact feeling they must have been going for. So I expected the food to be above par as well, but I would have to say that it fell a little flat. I'm a picky audience, to be sure. With the Z Roadhouse in town, the owners would have to know that the BBQ on the menu would be compared with the almost flawless execution over there. The menu descriptions were very enticing - so much so that we all had a hard time deciding exactly what we would order. We started off with an appetizer of beer battered onion rings. Honestly this was the best thing that we had all night. The batter was seasoned very well, and they filled that greasy-tapas need that we seem to thrive on.

For an entree I had the cowboy reuben, with brisket, jack cheese, and coleslaw on pumpernickel. It just didn't wow me; in fact it seemed like something that you could get at a high achieving diner. The brisket, although sliced pretty thin, was not the right consistency for the sandwich. One bite and the whole piece came out of the sandwich. The sweet potato fries were tasty, but lacked salt, and the sauce "tomato ranch" that came with them was too mild. I ended up doctoring it with hot sauce on the table. My sis ordered the pulled pork which was okay, however sweeter than I like it. My dad got the "red short ribs", and they were average, easily made better in my own kitchen. What disappointed me the most was the mac and cheese. For a BBQ joint, this should be the thing around which all else revolves. No such luck. It was very undersalted, even my little ones were asking for the salt. A few bites definitely did not leave you craving that one more.

Nothing at the Blue Tractor was bad, but I left with the impression that had they put as much attention to the food details as they did to the decor, we'd have another winner for Ann Arborites. In the meantime, I'll hope they keep tweaking what they've got.

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