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Local Catering Member



Open for Catering Only!

Past Restaurant Review:

BAM! Barbecue distinctive, tasty

By Anna Poole
Herald Restaurant Critic

ARLINGTON -- BAM! The trademark expression of a high-profile television chef is also the name of a New York-style barbecue restaurant immediately east of the circle at Division Street.

BAM! BBQ and More

526 N. West St., Arlington; 360-474-8664

Specialty: barbecue

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Price range: inexpensive to moderate

Liquor: none available

Smoking: smoke-free

Reservations: not necessary

Disabled accessibility: easy access

Credit and ATM cards: Master Card, Visa

The whiteboard outside the door announced all-you-can-eat ribs for $12.95 on Mondays and a lunch special of shredded barbecue pork or chicken sandwich with a soda and chips for $5.95.

I got hungrier just reading.

The dining room decor uses an Americana theme. Weathered pickets from a fence act as the dining room's wainscoting. Old tools decorate the walls and railroad lanterns provide lighting.

Although the restaurant's only been open since March, I was surprised to be the only customer at the beginning of a Saturday night dinner hour. I ordered take out. As owner-chef John Locantore, who's from the Bronx, prepared my order, another couple also placed an order to go. For me, to-go orders explained the empty dining room.

For our sunset dinner, the friendly counter staff suggested a "Three Way Combo" that includes two side dishes and cornbread. This combination plate ($19.95) includes three pork ribs, two sausage links and one-half of a chicken. I substituted beef brisket for the sausage because the menu describes them as "Cajun style." I also selected the mild barbecue sauce instead of the hot or intense. A little too much heat in this heat wave.

I chose coleslaw and baked beans as our side dishes. The other choice is potato salad. All are $1.50 and $3. To our order, I added a slice of sweet potato pie ($3.50), which was the last one. Fortunately, it was large enough to split with my dinner companion.

On the edge of Lake Stevens, we discovered our food remained hot because it was wrapped in foil and placed inside Styrofoam containers. The aroma of barbecue sauce heightened our hunger as we unwrapped our order.

Locantore smokes the meats with different combinations of woods. For the chicken, he uses apple and cherry. Hickory and alder flavor the pork, and oak and cherry smoke the brisket. Everything's served with a brushing of barbecue sauce and served with more sauce on the side. As we helped ourselves to a little of everything, we noted that the chicken and pork ribs were so tender they fell from the bone. The brisket was just as tender and delicately flavored.

The barbecue sauce was distinctive, and Locantore said Hungarian paprika and Thai seasonings plus different soy sauces are the secret.

The beans, cooked with plenty of brown sugar, were creamy and tasty. Unfortunately, the coleslaw, made with shredded cabbage and carrots, was limp and the mayonnaise dressing needed more vinegar.

The cornbread muffins could have doubled as dessert. Whole kernels of corn punctuated the steaming treats.


And we said it again after our first bite of rich sweet potato pie.



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Doug Moore
Copyright 2005  All rights reserved.
Revised: February 16, 2013.