Jake’s Dixie Roadhouse review 0

WALTHAM — “Best food ever” is a lofty title I have only awarded to a handful of meals: lasagna in Rome, fresh corn pie in July and Hershey’s milk chocolate.

The last one is more of an addiction than an honor.

So in my 22 years of life I can think of two legitimate foods deserving of the title "best food ever." TLC wants to change that. The Learning Channel has decided to break away from highlighting families with way too many kids and brides-to-be with $15,000 to blow on a wedding dress to try to create, for your viewing pleasure, a list of the best food ever. John Goodman narrates, and ginormous sandwiches and over-the-top food ensues.

Waltham restaurant Jake’s Dixie Roadhouse & BBQ & Blues made the cut for the June 20 Buzzworthy BBQ episode. The thought that New England could boast some of the best BBQ in the country made me a tad bit curious. So I just had to try it out.

Jake’s Dixie Roadhouse is located on Moody Street in Waltham. Its website boasts "we keep getting better so check back soon" in the Reviews and Awards section. Waltham is a long way to go to hope they’ve reached the pinnacle TLC thinks they have reached, but I was already committed. Thanks to a lovely online menu, I already knew what I wanted to try at Jake’s. Fried pickles, North Carolina Pulled Pork, Kansas City Burnt Ends, and as a finale to the meatfest deep fried Twinkies. Don’t worry I brought along my trusty meat-loving date so I didn’t have to eat all of this food by myself.

The fried pickles or frickles, as they are called on the menu, were delightful. I hate getting an appetizer, because I am never hungry for the meal after eating it. But these crunchy tempura battered spears were ideal. The batter was the perfect thin crust and the pickles arrived hot out of the fryer. It was a great clog-your-arteries way to start the meal and the BBQ experience.

Every entree at Jake’s comes with baked beans, coleslaw, cornbread and watermelon. We tried the pulled pork first. The pork was perfectly moist and salty. The cornbread was a little dry and not terribly corn-flavored. It definitely needed butter. The baked beans and coleslaw were a perfect sweet to the spice and salt of the pork. And the watermelon. Well who does not love ending a meal with something as refreshing as watermelon?

In order to have room for the fried Twinkies, I ordered the Kansas City Burnt Ends in sandwich form. Out came a massive sandwich piled with smoked brisket covered in BBQ sauce. The meat fell apart and was in perfect bite sized pieces. The sauce was everything I wanted in BBQ, rich smoky flavor with a slight spice. The sandwich also came with baked beans and coleslaw, but didn’t come with cornbread or watermelon. For half the price of the entrees, the sandwich boasted the same quality meat and large portions.

Fried Twinkies scared me. The thought that a food as terrible for you as a Twinkie could possibly be made more terrible for you just seemed like a bad idea. I tried so hard to hate the idea, I really did. But when the freshly fried Twinkies covered in blueberry sauce and sprinkled in powdered sugar arrived at my table, I had trouble controlling my urge to devour them. One bite proved my worst fears. They were delicious. The battering and frying had turned the lowly snack food into something ethereal. As a pastry chef my goal is always to surprise customers so when they bite into my creations they lose themselves for a few minutes, while trying to grasp what it is that makes what they’re eating taste so incredible. This dessert did that. And it has forced me to adjust my list of "the best food ever." Fried Twinkies, lasagna in Rome, and fresh corn pie in July. Maybe TLC was onto something about Jake’s.

After watching the first episode of "The Best Food Ever" on TLC, I can almost promise you Jake’s entree The Bubba will be the menu item featured on the show. The Bubba is an entree with pulled pork, 1/4 chicken, beef brisket, and Memphis spareribs. Most of the choices on this week’s "Sensational Sandwiches" episode were probably entirely delicious, but were also huge. The Bubba seems to fit that category nicely.

While I do not know if Jake’s Dixie Roadhouse gave me "the best food ever" experience with its BBQ, it was a great place to enjoy delicious BBQ and fried treats. It was a true taste of BBQ in an area of the country known for clam chowder and baked beans. That authentic taste alone made Jake’s impressive enough to visit more than once. That and I just don’t think I can live without trying some more fried Twinkies, just to make sure their quality remains consistent.