BJ’s is a chain restaurant with two (soon to be three) locations in OKC. We were invited for the dry runs at the new location the week before they are scheduled to open on March 22nd. We were able to make their lunch run on the 16th and the dinner run on the 17th. I have previously eaten at their Norman location and am familiar with their food and their theme. I have always been pleased with their food, service, and beer, there is only one major complaint I have, which I will get to later.
I figure that the best way to taste how the food is supposed to taste is during the dry runs when they have the trainers in the back making sure everything is cooked right when they train the staff hired for that location. They had limited menus to allow the cooks to practice cooking everything on the menu and not to overwhelm them cooking one dish. Lunch was Tammy, Kim, and I.
Tammy had the blackened salmon, Kim had the cajun pasta. and I had the mediterranean pizza. The size that they gave me was the mini 6 inch. It was way too small for me. To me it was a child’s pizza. I also ordered a brewnette (One of BJ’s beers) and Tammy a BJ’s brewed root beer.
Tammy’s salmon had a chicken tortilla soup as a starter, she really enjoyed it. The soup was brought to us dry with the waiter adding the actual soup at the table so the tortillas wouldn’t get soggy. The soup also had pieces of avocado and cilantro garnished on top as well. Tammy ate half of it and gave the rest to Kim to try, who also liked the flavor and texture of the soup. Tammy really liked the salmon. It was cooked perfectly for her and she liked the blackening seasonings on it as well. The veggies were fresh, cooked through however still crisp. The sauce paired well with the salmon. Tammy thought the root beer was a bit on the sweet side and it was flat as well. I tasted it and agreed. It tasted really close to a flat IBC I thought.
Kim thought the cajun pasta was really good, the tomato sauce was good too but it was too heavy for her. She ate most of the chicken, but picked at the pasta. Kim and Tammy traded plates about half way through and they liked each other’s dishes, Kim didn’t eat any of the veggies on the salmon plate and Tammy went in and dug into them. Tammy liked the pasta’s sauce and ate most of it before saving a few bites for her son.
The pizza was the same deliciousness as always. It was cooked well. I really like the blend of roasted garlic, kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes and pepperoncinis. (The non vegan version also comes with chicken, feta, and basil pesto). I am a lover of all these ingredients and love the fact that the pizza has the kalamatas instead of the usual black olives. I wish it would have had fresh basil on it instead of basil pesto because I think the basil would have been a nice balance to the other ingredients. Again it was just way too small for me, even for a lunch portion. I had to eat it very slowly so as to not have it gone in two minutes and me staring at an empty plate while the ladies ate their meal.
For desert Tammy had the strawberry beinat and it was gone very quickly. She ate it really fast. She thought it was really good except for the occasional sour berry since it is still early for the strawberry season. I was surprised at how fast she ate it considering how much food she ate earlier, it was that good.
When we came back for dinner this time it was Tammy, her niece, my dad and myself. Tammy ordered the grilled burger melt, dad the teriyaki chicken, her niece ordered the fish and chips and I twisted their arm into letting me order another mediterranean pizza since the pizza choice on my menu couldn’t be made to be vegan (It was the spinach and artichoke pizza and they use their premade spinach artichoke dip for the pizza topping). Our waiter accidentally put in an order for fried shrimp for Tammy’s niece and she didn’t care for it, and she ended up ordering pork chops instead.
The mini bruschetta was also ordered as an appetizer. Everyone liked the flavor of the bruschetta and the pesto vinaigrette that accompanied it. There was four mini pieces of bruschetta, about two bites per piece and between three people it went fast. This dish is designed for one, maybe two people. It was a piece of grilled focaccia bread and looked like it was topped with melted mozzarella cheese on the bread and then topped with tomatoes, fresh basil, and shredded parmesan cheese.
Dad thought the teriyaki chicken was good, it wasn’t too sweet for him but not something he would normally order. He did eat it though. When we have been to bjs in the past he usually got the mediterranean pizza as well as myself and he is more of a burger kind of guy when eating at places like this. He has been known to eat a spicy Thai curry sauce when we go out for Thai I just think that he isn’t a fan of mild sweet sauces like teriyaki is. The teriyaki was tossed with mixed veggies, grilled chicken, and teriyaki sauce. It was served over rice. It looked like it was pretty good.
My pizza came out a small this time they were out of the mini pizza crusts. I was able to walk away full this time. The pizza was the same quality as I have had before. Crust was perfectly browned, veggies were plentiful including the “expensive” olives. I had an Arnold Palmer to drink tonight after seeing Kim having it the day before. This is just a mixture of iced tea and lemonade, which is really good. It is a nice slightly sweetened lemony iced tea. I think I had three refills before the night was over.
Tammy liked her burger. The meat was moist, she liked the other ingredients and the cheesiness of it as well. and she didn’t mind the sourdough bread either, and she isn’t a big fan of sour breads.
When Tammy’s niece’s chops finally came out she liked the pork chops themselves, and the rest of the items on the dish except she did think the green beans were not cooked enough. By the time the food came out she wasn’t really hungry any more and took most of it home to eat for lunch the next day. My cell phone was acting up that night and I was not able to save a picture of the pork chops unfortunately.
Since this is a dry run, I realize people in the front and the back of the house are all in training, mistakes are going to be made. There were very few mistakes both times we were here. One of the items got keyed in wrong, a couple of misses with drinks staying full, and our food almost going to the wrong table but for the most part everything was done correctly. There were a lot of trainers there so all the food was cooked perfect. I like their beers as well everything we have had all tasted good. There was no complaints at all with that. I think my biggest complaint which is the main reason why my dad and I do not come here that often is a lot of the items – especially the pizzas are overpriced. A mini 6″ inch pizza will set you back $10. A small 9″ will set you back $14. Their large 14″ is $25! The high cost of eating here is what keeps me away. If the price dropped ~25% we would come here more often. It is a shame because as I said before, the food and their house made beers are all really good.
The new location is located at:
325 Outlet Shoppes Dr (I-40 and Council)
Oklahoma City, Ok