Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ

Location: 441 N Clark
Cost: Around $35 per person

Thanksgiving break is one of the few things that us poor fools that are still in school can hold over the heads of our employed friends. My old roommate Steve, who's in dental school in Arizona, came back in town, which was the perfect opportunity to round up the troops. Luckily for me, Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ wanted me to share the word about a promotion for International Men's Day (MONDAY THE 19TH) they're running and said I could come in with a bunch of friends.

The meal was sure to offer plenty of whiskey and BBQ, and I tried to keep it to strictly dudes. Then Bacalar told me I had to invite Schneider, and the option of keeping the party all manly went out the window. So we ended up with Steve, Jeff, the Professor, Kovar, DWeiss, Emily, Julie, and myself.

Logistics
Dragon Ranch is on Clark just south of Illinois. The restaurant is long and thin with a bar on one wall and a series of bench flanked tables on the opposite side. It's a solid place to bring a big party, and I suggest you make a reservation. Parking in that area is a pain, so we took the red line. We rolled in around 9:30, and the restaurant was packed. Once we were sat, the wait staff was really helpful and friendly. Also, in general, appetizers run sub $10 while entrees are in the mid teens.

The Deal
So for International Men's Day, you can order a Whiskey Bento Box and  get half off on a BBQ Combo Platter. The bento box comes with a variety of snacks to taste with one of their 375ml bottles and the combo platter lets you choose a bunch of chopped meats to eat along with some chicken or ribs.

The Food
Since the Bento Box was the first thing that came out, I'll start there. We got a bottle of the rye whiskey which came with some pickles, pimento cheese, peanut butter cups, and apricots on the side. The whiskey was really smooth and my favorite pairing was the pickles. The cheese was good too which then started this whole debate on whether or not you would rather eat only cheese or only chocolate for the rest of your life if you had to (I voted cheese). After we finished the box we ordered a bunch of cocktails including the One Inch Punch, the Wheat Whiskey, and the Bushwacker. The wheat whiskey was very unique with a subtle burn. The Bushwacker was like this chocolate and rum milkshake.

The Rye Whiskey Bento Box

 The One Inch Punch

For our meal we started with some Brisket Egg Rolls and Grilled Chinese Long Beans. The whole point of this place is to mash up some Asian flare into quality BBQ. These appetizers were a perfect example.

The Grilled Long Beans

 The Brisket Egg Rolls

After that, things got pretty heavy. We were brought out Cornbread, Chinese Water Spinach, Mac N Cheese, Coleslaw, Brisket Steamed Buns, Pork Belly Steamed Buns, Roasted Sweet Potato Hash, and the Rib Platter. The cornbread was so light, fluffy, and buttery. The water spinach and coleslaw brought a new spin to the vegetable BBQ side dish game. The steamed buns were lots of fun, and I preferred the brisket to the crispier pork belly. The hash might have been my favorite item with the intermixing of bacon and duck. The ribs were nothing to laugh at either. The baby back were nice and smokey, plus the bottom of the platter was lined with rib tips. Of all of the sauces, my nod went to the mustard.

 The Cornbread

 The Chinese Water Spinach

 The Coleslaw

 The Brisket Steamed Buns

 The Pork Belly Steamed Buns

 The Mac N Cheese

 The Roasted Sweet Potato Hash

 The Rib Platter

The Sauces

Overall
If you're a whiskey drinker looking for a creative spin on your classic drinks then you've got to hit up Dragon Ranch. The rye and wheat whiskey go well on their own, and if you have enough of a crew with similar interests, then you should check out a bento box. As my friends and I were guests of the restaurant, there will not be a Pearl rating, but with the variety of well prepared classic BBQ dishes with an Asian flare that Dragon Ranch offers, you should definitely check it out.

Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ on Urbanspoon

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