It was a Friday night and I couldn't make up my mind whether to have BBQ or Chinese food. Having recently heard about this place, I figured I'd give it a try. In hindsight, I should have risked being hungry an hour later and gone for the Chinese take-out.
It was late, about 8:20 when I arrived. As soon as I walked in I was asked, ""This is to go, RIGHT?!?"" Right there I should have taken a hint and bounced. But no, my hankering for some baby back ribs overrode my instinct. Not that I wasn't planning to take it to go anyway, but with 40 minutes left in their night, I'm sure I could have finished and left with time to spare. Maybe they all had hot dates that they had to get to.
So I go ahead and order their ""Two-Step"" combination with baby back ribs and hot links. garlic mashed potatoes and baked beans. Knowing ahead that the garlic mashed was an extra 50 cents, I was ok with that. However, it would've been nice to have been reminded. Heck, even Chipotle reminds you that there's a charge for guac in your burrito! Oh, I also added apple cobbler for dessert.
The guy rings up my order, charges my ATM card, has me sign the receipt and THEN tells me, ""Oh, we're out of baby back ribs and tri-tip. What other meat would you like?"" Strike two. Again, I should have taken the hint and bailed. But I didn't want to go through the hassle of having the purchase refunded. Since my only options now were beef ribs or 1/4 chicken, and I was wanting ribs, I opted for the beef ribs.
Now mind you I have NEVER been a fan of beef ribs. They tend to be fattier, have bigger bones and the meat doesn't tend to be as tender and fall off the bone as pork ribs. Well Rib Ranch certainly didn't do a thing to change my opinion. Eating those ribs was like like chewing through a pair of Buster Brown leather oxfords. The hot links weren't too bad. Not a whole lot of flavor or heat. The bbq beans were mediocre as well. Usually when ordering beans from a bbq restaurant they tend to have some meat in them. These didn't seem to. It was more like canned beans than something made from scratch. The highlight of the meal was the garlic mashed potatoes. They were very flavorful and well prepared. A nice consistency and bursting with garlic. Definitely not something to order on a date unless you both do! Also, an added surprise was a pair of mini cornbread muffins. The only thing missing from the potatoes and muffins was some butter and maybe some honey for the cornbread. I don't know if Rib Ranch provides that for dine-in customers or if you have to ask for it when ordering carry-out like you do at KFC.
As far as the apple cobbler goes, my jaw muscles were too sore and I had worked up a sweat from trying to eat the ribs. So that was tossed in the refrigerator. Maybe I'll get around to eating it this weekend. At least my roommate's dog seemed to enjoy the rib bones!
From now on, I think I'll keep my BBQ dining to Bear Pit BBQ in Mission Hills. It's a bit of a drive, but well worth it!