This week's dining review features three admirable start-ups that, while very different in their food offerings, share one critical thing on their menus: specialization.
Gabby's Burger & Fries, The Local Taco and Jimmy Carl's Lunch Box offer tight rosters of burgers, tacos and barbecue, respectively, with Gabby's and Jimmy Carl's limiting their service to lunch-only. If the success of these highly focused eateries is a result of their blinkered commitment to a single food group, then specialization is a trend we'd like to see grow.
Meanwhile, when you read this week's glowing mini-review of Jimmy Carl's, which serves a lunch menu of barbecue inside the Station Inn, you might think, "Hey, Fox, you didn't sound this chirpy about the place when you dined there on opening day." It's true, we were initially lukewarm on Jimmy Carl's ribs, which were decidedly dull and pork-flavored, sans sauce or rub. But on our second visit, pitmaster Pat Isbey had his systems in place and was churning out exceptional racks, glazed with honey over a sandy crust of red pepper, paprika and cumin.
That's exactly why we hesitate to try a place on Day One, but in the case of Jimmy Carl's Lunch Box, it was right by the office and we could smell the smoke from our garage--it was just too hard to resist. If the food at Jimmy Carl's stays as good as it is now, I expect that's going to be recurring problem.