Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sausage Fest at Dix

I ate at Dix Barbecue & Brewery this week. Having dined here about once a year for the past five years, I have finally come to a conclusion about this popular downtown brewpub: this is a better place for a drink than for a meal.

Upon deciding to meet family friends at Dix to watch the Grey Cup, I broke one of the central rules to eating out: avoid establishments that are in business due to location and convenience. This may seem like a common sense observation, but some places are darn convenient! Restaurants with amazing views, very little local competition, close proximity to venues/stadiums, locations near transportation hubs or a setting within attractions/landmarks (id est: hotels, observtion decks, museums, parks) often rest on their culinary laurels because they know the public will continue to come in and pay for subpar meals. There are obviously exceptions to this general truth, but I am always cautious of cafes (cough cough Starbucks cough...sniffle) and restaurants that prey on punters who have few options for attaining sustenance.

I really want to like Dix because I am passionate about microbreweries, I love watching sports on plasma screens at bars and casual restaurants, I have a lust for BBQ, and I feel like such a badass when I just throw those peanut shells on the ground. This should be a jewel in the blinged-out crown of the Vancouver food scene, a destination for the manly staples of beer, brisket, baby back ribs and bourbon. While Chambar is an ideal spot for a romantic meal, Dix should be the ideal spot to develop a few bromances with the boys. But it's not, because the roasted vegetables are undercooked, the rib sauce to too tomatoey and spicy, the brisket is on the dry side, the chicken is forgettable, and the sausage is dull and greasy. If you do decide to order food at Dix, you are pretty safe with the chicken pot pie and the pulled pork.

Having said this, I really do enjoy the beers that Dix brews. They always have four or five of their own beers on tap, and they have a seasonal beer every...well...season. Their seasonal this winter is a 10% Barleywine, a strong English ale that acts very well as a nightcap. Served in a snifter, with strong plum and coffee notes, this ale almost made me forgive the incredibly average meal I had consumed just minutes before. Almost.

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