One of the latest in a crop of new restaurants sprouting up along Draper's 12300 South is Goodwood Barbecue Company, part of a small regional chain in Utah and Idaho (there is a second Utah location in Orem).
Based on the crowded weeknight we visited for dinner, Goodwood is going down fine with Draper residents, who have written to me repeatedly asking for nearby dining-out options. There's certainly nothing about the place to actively dislike, particularly with regard to its attentive customer service. It's a clean, noisy, cheerful place, with booths I found a tad too small for families or groups of four adults.
Little about Goodwood will surprise customers, and perhaps that's by design. After all, barbecue is a down-home, traditional type of comfort food, and people tend to want familiarity in that kind of meal. As for me, I found myself wishing for something, anything, distinctive and wishing in vain.
We started with the onion rings and ultimate nachos, one of several Tex-Mex-influenced items on Goodwood's large menu. The onion rings, coated in buttermilk batter, were enormous, juicy and well-cooked but could have done without the liberal sprinkling of salt they received before arriving at the table. They were served with creamy, subtly flavored house-made ranch dressing.
The nachos were a tasty platter of crackly chips bonded together with generous portions of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, sour cream, salsa, tomatoes, fiery jalapenos and chili beef. All of the fixings were fresh and worked well together, and I was glad we chose beef rather than chicken, as the beef's chili sauce oozed over everything and deepened the flavors.
The kids ordered, and enjoyed, cheeseburgers and chicken strips from the children's menu. Both meals were fresh, hot and juicy, and the girls liked the accompanying steak fries.
My husband tried the house ribeye, a 12-ounce steak that he ordered medium-well. It was nicely seasoned outside but was cooked a bit unevenly, with some portions almost red, and was a bit more chewy than I expect from steak of that price. With it, he had delicious "smashed" potatoes, a lumpy, buttery pile of partially squished skin-on spuds.
I had the three-meat combo platter, upgrading it with one rib selection for an extra buck. The St. Louis ribs I chose were chewy, well-seasoned and slightly spicy, with enough meat on the bones to make them worth eating. I also tried the beef brisket, a tad dry but lean and tender, and the roasted chicken, a plump and carefully cooked whole-breast portion. All were smothered in plenty of Goodwood's barbecue sauces.
On the side, I had cups of soft, seasoned baked beans and coleslaw, which was a bit disappointing in that its fresh, crunchy veggies were dressed in a sauce that utterly lacked personality. Not spicy, not very sweet, not bad but not that great, either.
For dessert, we had just what you'd expect to find at a restaurant of this type, the brownie sundae and the cobbler, in this case, a peach variety. Both were good, with a dense, intensely flavored brownie topped with superior vanilla-bean ice cream and chocolate ganache, as well as firm, sweet peaches in a light glaze covered with a light, sweet, cakey crust coated with cinnamon sugar and another scoop of vanilla on top.Appetizers $4.29-$7.99, soup and salad $2.49-$9.49, entrees $9.49-$18.99, sandwiches and burgers $6.69-$8.29, lunch platters $8.19-$12.99, sides $1.69-$2.49, kids' meals $3.29-$5.99, desserts $4.29-$5.29.
Rating: ** 1/2
Where: 133 E. 12300 South, Draper (also at 777 E. University Parkway, Orem)
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Payment: Checks, major credit cards accepted
Phone: 495-4840 (Orem: 224-1962)Web: www.goodwoodbbq.com
Stacey Kratz is a free-lance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org