Sunday, May 2, 2010

BJ’s: Neutral… like the word “Pizookie”

BJ’s is in bustling Millenia. Attracting mostly mall shoppers who want ambiance, mediocre food, and a decent bill, BJ’s has that formula down pat. A wide range of items in their menu, it’s safe to say that BJ’s appeals to the mass audience. Their famous Pizookie being prime example of mediocrity and middle-of-the-road, BJ’s is a crowd pleaser because it is neither despised nor adored.

According to our server, I just happened to order the best thing on the menu- Parmesan Crusted Chicken. It also happens to be one of those entrées that has a very enticing picture of it.
The entrée arrived on a hot plate with the parmesan aroma infusing the surrounding air. In sequence, these were my thoughts about it:
1) The sweetness of the mild parmesan combined with the potatoes was delicious.
2) A temperature dependent dish, the thin slice of chicken quickly began to lose its allure as it began to cool. I didn’t taste the white cheddar in the mashed potatoes.
3) However, this dish was cohesive largely in part due to the lemon-Chardonnay butter sauce that tied everything together.
4) Sun-dried tomatoes gave the pallid plate a splash of color however roasted red bell peppers would have given a better panache to the flavor profile.
5) Fresh basil was supposedly the garnish for this dish according to the menu description however, it was absent. A lemon wedge (I guess its substitute?) did provide acid that worked wonders.
6) The blonde Ale ordered with this meal was an excellent pairing.
7) The broccoli was overcooked to bruised florets.

SEE WHAT I MEAN? PROS AND CONS that leave you feeling indecisive about this place.

Adding more indecision is the vastness of the menu. Lots of selections that have a very… for the lack of a better word, neutral feel to all of them. The flavor range in any of the dishes (from cheeseburgers to tacos, or deep dish pizzas to chicken tenderloin) seemed to be not too sweet, not too salty, not too spicy, and not too bitter. If BJ’s is headquartered in Switzerland this shindig would come full circle.

The Pizookie is nothing but an attempt at a giant soft cookie. Then again, who doesn’t like cookies? I rephrase that- cookies, too, can be average.

IN A NUTSHELL: This is a good place to go with people you DON'T know too well. High vaulted ceilings give a very roomy feel to the space and a full bar with specialty beers will help the conversation flow. With lots to choose from, your dinner companion will probably find something up their alley- and subsequently feel neither ecstatic nor horrible about their selection.
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse on Urbanspoon

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