Friday, December 21, 2012

Carson's

Location: 200 Waukegan Road, Deerfield
Cost: About $35 per person

Can you believe I'd never been to Carson's before? Having grown up rather close to such an institution of Chicago ribs, my parents couldn't believe this either. I guess my mom forgot how she always nixed any restaurant that was known for the pork products they served. It reminds me of how she never let me have any fried chicken when I was growing up. If you'd asked me a few years back what I'd thought of Brown's or Harold's, I would've been in a similar boat. Anyways, last Sunday after the Bears game my family joined the Klasses, the Waitzes, and the Gerchikovs at Carson's to celebrate Dave and Suzie's birthdays.

Logistics
Carson's is split into two large rooms. We sat at a long table in the room with the bar. The walls are decked out in pictures of major Chicago sports figures. We didn't need a reservation, but it didn't hurt either. If you do have to wait though, they've got some great chopped liver to tide you over.

Our waitress handled the big group well. The food came out in a timely fashion as did the drink order. There was this issue with the chicken though. There must've been some problem in the kitchen because we were told that chicken would've taken at least an hour and a half. The cost is on par with lots of other BBQ spots. A full slab runs around $25 as do most of the combos.

The Food
Even though we didn't have to wait, my dad made sure to make up some snacks out of the complimentary chopped liver. It was extra smooth and went well over the bits of rye bread with a few raw onions sprinkled on top. Not that it held up to how my grandma used to make it, but it was solid. The cheese spread on the other hand should be avoided at all costs.

The Chopped Liver
(as prepared by Stu Pearl)

I wanted to order the BBQ Chicken and Ribs combo, but instead I was forced into the full slab. My dad ordered the ribs and pork chop combination while my mom got a bunch of sides and pulled the "nibble off everyone else's plate" move. I can't really judge a pork chop, but my dad says they're great. The ribs are saucy, and you have to work to get the meat off the bones (a plus in my book). There's no smokiness to the meat, and it's not necessarily the most tender. The tangy sauce lingers quite a bit after each bite.

The Baby Back Ribs

 The Ribs and Pork Chop Combo

As far as the sides go, I got to try the coleslaw, the au gratin potatoes, the twice baked potato, and the cornbread. The slaw comes out in a bowl of soup. In fact, it comes in enough dressing to be called soup. The au gratin potatoes were average, and I would definitely lean toward the twice baked. The cornbread was a bit dense, but there was a subtle sweetness to it.

The Coleslaw

 The Cornbread

 The Au Gratin Potatoes

 The Twice Baked Potato

We wrapped up the meal with some sundaes to celebrate the birthday couple.

The Birthday Boy and Girl with their Sundaes

Overall
With Chicago style ribs there's only so much you can expect, but I think you get all of that from Carson's. It was a shame I didn't get to try the chicken, but it was nice to dive into these ribs that I've heard so much about for years. The sauce gets the nod while the texture and depth of the meat is lacking. I thought it was a little better than the last plate of Chicago ribs I had at Twin Anchors. I'm giving Carson's 3.5 out of 5 Pearls.


Carson's on Urbanspoon

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