Restaurants & Bars

Jethro's in Des Moines

jwagnerdsm | May 29, 200808:55 PM

Visited Jethro's, the new barbecue joint in the Drake neighborhood, for the third time on Thursday night. I so badly want to love this place because it is locally owned and close to my home and it has a great beer selection and ambitious menu and I really love great 'cue.


Both restaurant critics in town have given Jethro solid marks for food, etc. Some of their food is pretty OK and some of it, in my unschooled opinion, is just average. The brisket is the best meat on the menu, although it tends to be a little dry. The chicken is dry, too, and not even a big dollop of barbecue sauce seemed to help. The pulled pork has been the low point of the meal each time I've eaten there. I tried the sausage tonight and it was spicy and tasted OK but, again, it didn't take my breath away.

I know this is heresy but I really would prefer Famous Dave's.

Jethro's makes all its own sauces: spicy, sweet, vinegary, mustard--based, and a Alabama Mayo-based version for chicken. They are all good. Again, none of them are great. I think their onion rings kick tail, though, and might be my favorite in town. I like the iced mugs they serve beer in, a nice touch. And they have plenty of games to choose from on their hi-def big screen television sets.

It's good enough that I will continue to go back and try it again (and again) because I really want it to succeed. The prices are fair (except for the draws) and the service is pretty good. I just wish it were great.

Anyone else try it?

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