Arthur Bryant's: If Ben's Chili Bowl was a BBQ Joint

24 Sep

The next stop on DMV Dining’s Kansas City BBQ tour took us to the equivalent of Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC. You know, an institution. That staple restaurant serving up what the city is fundamentally known for. Of course, I’m talking about Arthur Bryant’s.

The man behind the counter assertively slices the barbecued beef for an extended period of time before plopping it in between two slices of white bread. Then, he tops it off with an enormous pile of freshly cut French fries, not forgetting some pickles on the side. The result? This:

Arthur Bryant's Beef Sandwich

You know what the worst part about this was? Just like Homer Simpson’s senior yearbook quote: “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.”

I mean the picture speaks for itself. It was rather delicious. The fries were made to order while the layers upon layers of beef stacked on the sandwich demonstrated why Kansas City is such a great barbecue destination.

The only problem I had was the sauce. It just wasn’t very good. My coworker mentioned that people love to take Arthur Bryant’s meat and top it with Gates sauce. I wish I could’ve done this, but alas, we were eating in the dining room and were relegated to the three or so varieties the restaurant offered.

The Sweet Heat Sauce might have been my favorite out of all three Arthur Bryant’s has on their tabletops, but compared to the other KC venues, their sauce is by far the weakest.

It’s definitely an experience, and although I certainly paid a price throughout the day consuming the entire sandwich, you simply can’t find food like this in DC.

Arthur Bryant's Barbeque on Urbanspoon

4 Responses to “Arthur Bryant's: If Ben's Chili Bowl was a BBQ Joint”

  1. Aric September 27, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    Bret, I’ll speak up for legions of AB devotees in saying we find your review of the sauce (“It just wasn’t very good”) lacking in analysis and just plain wrong 🙂 Arthur Bryants’ vinegar-based sauce is definitely unique among KC sauces, and is a bit of an acquired taste, but to those of us who find it superior, it’s like crack. Try it a few more times and see whether your opinion changes.

    • Brett September 27, 2010 at 11:35 am #

      Appreciate the input, Aric. What can I say? I’m just not a fan of vinegar-based sauces. It’s definitely an acquired taste for sure. The sandwich itself was awesome, though.

  2. Jeff September 29, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    To say his analysis is lacking implies that there was any analysis. I’m the first to allow a well-educated BBQ fan in KC might argue (sometimes for hours) whether Arthur Bryant’s is better than some of the other BQ fare offered in KC. But this dope didnt even TRY the other BBQ giants in KC. Its like he didn’t really even go. He read in the stupid Place-to-see-before-you-die book that Bryant’s was the best and then he only went there? Don’t get me wrong… Bryant’s is an experience… and there sauce is a slice of the Carolina’s style sauce done up KC ghetto style. But there is no Jack’s Stack (the cadalliac of BBQ — with the best ribs including the 3 way) or Rosedale’s ribs that melt off the bone. Or even the spicy Gates style BBQ that litter all of KC like little McDee’s of BBQ with the famous (“May I hep you” as you enter the joint). You sir are simply not qualified to commment on KC BBQ. Your a freakying tourist. Take it seriously or at least have the self awareness not to pretend like you know what’s what.

    • Brett September 29, 2010 at 11:50 am #

      Kansas City BBQ places I have eaten at:

      1) Gates (multiple times)
      2) Jack Stack (Plaza and Freight House locations, again, multiple times)
      3) LC’s
      4) Smokin’ Guns
      5) Oklahoma Joe’s (Kansas City and Olathe, multiple times)
      6) Arthur Bryant’s (multiple times)

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