By Andrew Dominick
If you’re looking for a great place to eat BBQ this summer or in any other season, look no further than Norwalk, Connecticut. Yes, you heard that right, Norwalk. Owners of B.J. Ryan’s Pub, B.J. Lawless and Buckley Ryan have opened B.J. Ryan’s B*AN*C House (you can guess what B*AN*C stands for after this sentence), which serves up authentic smoked BBQ and crab specialties among many other delicious options.
In previous weeks, families and friends of the owners were there testing out the food at the B*AN*C House for a few dry runs. “The feedback about the food was good,” Ryan said. “We did mock dinner tickets and no one knew what their table was getting and they loved it.” This BBQ and crab house was ready to open to the public and they did just that on June 27.
Whether you choose to eat indoors in the classy dining area or bar or outdoors on the patio where BBQ seems like it should be eaten, the food will not disappoint one bit. The menu is extensive so take your time. The B*AN*C House serves up classic BBQ like ribs, chicken, sausage, pulled pork, and brisket as well as southern dishes like shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and bone-in filet mignon. Let’s not forget about the “C” in this new restaurant, the crab. Crab cakes, Alaskan king crab, and when available, blue crabs are served up. Whatever your choice may be, it will be a wise one.
If you are a BBQ enthusiast, try one of B*AN*C House’s sampler platters like “The Monster.” For $26.95 it comes with half a smoked chicken, half a rack of dry rubbed and smoked St. Louis ribs, and pulled pork with Beale Street beans and coleslaw. The chicken was moist and well seasoned with a spice rub. The ribs had that “bark effect” and hickory flavor from the smoker and the bone comes out clean. The pulled pork was melt in your mouth tender with a not too sweet BBQ sauce and went well with the coleslaw for added texture. Mixing those BBQ beans with the slaw in also a winning combination.
Since the B*AN*C House features many different types of ribs everyone involved in the decision making process thought it would be a good idea to prepare each rib differently. “All styles of ribs are made differently, baby backs are steamed and sauced, St. Louis are rubbed and smoked, Denver ribs are lamb ribs and are rubbed, smoked, and served dry,” Ryan said. “We are using hickory in the smoker and plan on experimenting with other woods like apple and pear.”
Many different side dishes are offered here as well. But one that you need to have on your table when the meal arrives is their homemade cornbread served up in a cast iron skillet. This cornbread is moist and most restaurants that serve it often fail because of dryness. “When we were doing research for this restaurant with our chef, Leland Avelino, everywhere we went the cornbread was dry and felt like eating sand regardless of that particular restaurant‘s reputation,” Ryan said. “We spent a lot of time making sure ours was moist, had whole kernels of corn, and had integrity.”
When you are planning to go out and want “stick-to-your-ribs” food, visit B.J. Ryan’s B*AN*C House. After your first few bites you will start to think about your next visit. And the visit after the next.
B.J. Ryan’s B*AN*C House
16 River Street
Norwalk, CT 06850
(203) 853 7926
Hours: 11:30a.m. – 10p.m., 7 days a week