Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It's a Prime Time to Head to BJ's

BJ's Brewhouse and Restaurant
24032 El Toro Road
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

For a lot of people, BJ's probably conjures up visions of deep dish pizzas, delicious potato skins, and of course their world renowned Pizookies. I admit these are the things I think of and order when coming to BJ's for dinner, which we do every few months. After this visit though, I might start thinking about BJ's for their prime rib. Yes, you read that right, Prime Rib.

There are some big changes going on at BJ's. Yes, you can still get a Pizookie and they still offer their pizza, but they have recently installed slow roasting ovens in all of their kitchens, which allowed them to expand their menu and offer guests some slow roasted options for diners who want to have an even more special meal at BJ's.

Starting May 11th, the roll out begins at all BJ's restaurants. The Slow Roasted Menu includes six new menu items. There's a Doube Bone-In Pork Chop, Baby Back Pork Ribs, which are on special every Thursday, a Hand Pulled Turkey Dip, a delicious sounding Barbequed Pulled Pork, and last but not least, and the reason we were here on National Prime Rib Day, a 15-ounce prime rib.

We arrived at our local BJ's in Laguna Hills a few nights ago. This is always a very busy and lively restaurant, which is always full of hungry guests. Even with the crowd waiting outside, we were seated right away, as we were one of the few parties of two waiting for a table. The inside of this restaurant is pretty cavernous, so wait times are usually shorter than expected. We were met by our waiter, and since we knew what we wanted, we put our order in rather quickly. This is how everything turned out for us on this evening.

Katie and I had arrived at BJ's right from work, and we had worked up quite an appetite, and wanted something quick before our meals, so we got the Honey Sriracha Brussels Sprouts ($6.50) at the suggestion of our waiter Nicolas. He made the right call on these. Served in a metal cake pan, these sprouts were seasoned with some Big Poppa Smoker's Desert Gold Seasoning and finished with a sweet Sriracha crema drizzled over the top. Nicolas touted adding some balsamic with this, and that put this over the top. I loved the crunchy sprouts and the combo of the two sauce really kept me interested.

Since my meal included a choice of salad, Katie did not want to be left out and got the affordably priced House Salad ($3.50). This side salad includes a mixture of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, shaved parmesan squares, and some seasoned croutons. A very suitable salad which more than satisfied Katie. I had a choice of salad with my meal and deviated from my usual Caesar by getting the House Wedge Salad. This is your typical wedge of iceberg topped with plenty of blue cheese crumbles and dressing, cubed tomatoes, sliced red onion, and crumbled bacon. As with most wedge salads, this has some big time flavors included, and I liked that this had plenty of dressing on it. Still a lot of work cutting it up, but a nice change from my usual salad selection.

Before we get to my meal, a quick look at Katie's selection, which also comes off the new Slow Roasted Menu, the Hand-Pulled Turkey Dip ($12.50). I have to admit I was pretty impressed with this sandwich. The turkey actually tasted like it came fresh off the bird, and was made even better with the addition of a very tasty creamy horseradish, a blanket of Swiss cheese, and some caramelized onions for a touch of sweetness. The hoagie roll had a nice crunch to it, which was softened when dunked into the warmed au jus. Katie went the classic route for her side by getting the crispy thin fries to accompany her sandwich. Very tender turkey here, just like we get the last Thursday in November.

Ever since I was a kid I have loved prime rib, it made me feel so grown up to eat it. So on this National Prime Rib Day, I was excited to try BJ's newest addition to their menu, their Prime Rib Dinner ($26.95). I have to admit I was kind of skeptical coming in here to get prime rib, but BJ's made a believer out of me. This slab of beef came to our table a beautiful medium rare, was tender, and spiced nicely on the edges. Very juicy, even in the middle, which is not the case at most places. For my choice of two house-made sides, I had the white cheddar mashed potatoes and the roasted asparagus. The mashed potatoes had a good texture to them but were a little light on the white cheddar. The asparagus was nicely done and picked up a little flavor from the grill.

Again, with my dinner, I got to have a Mini Pizookie ($3.75) as the finishing touch to my meal, and Katie did not want to miss out, so she got one also.  With eight varieties of Pizookies now, the hardest part is deciding which one to get. Katie had the salted caramel, while I had the triple chocolate version. Both were excellent, and just the right size so we did not have to share with each other.

Even though you do not think of BJ's as a place where you can get prime rib, it's definitely now on my radar, and when you can get a complete dinner for under $30 it's definitely way more than on my radar. Now be aware that the prime rib at BJ's is only available Friday and Saturday after 4 pm, and all day on Sunday. The rest of the Brewhouse Slow-Roasted menu is available every day but is served in limited quantities daily. If the prime rib and the pulled turkey dip are any indication, I can't wait to try their ribs and pork chop in the near future.

We would like to thank everyone at BJ's for the invite to be among the first to try their Slow Roasted menu. We had a great dinner, and really forward to coming back again soon. We would also like to thank all of the staff at the Laguna Hills location that we encountered on this evening, especially our server Nicolas. He not only provided us with fantastic service but seemed to be very proud of the food he was serving. Thanks for everything Nic.

For those of you that would like to experience the new Slow Roasted menu for yourselves, or to find your nearest BJ's location, head to their website here: https://www.bjsrestaurants.com/

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