- 3102 Forest Ave., Des Moines, IA, 50311
- Overall User Rating:
- (97 ratings)
- Kitchen: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday Bar: 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday through Wednesday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday
- Official Web Site:
I 've often thought that we need a few more funky places in this town - quirky, casual spots that are 100 percent themselves.
Chat Noir and Coral Reef caf were, in their heyday, such venues; Continental, when at the top of its game, definitely exudes an offbeat charm. Ritual Caf possesses its share of funk, and Big Tomato Pizza, of course, endures as the King of Funk.
In the less successful cases, however, funky descends into filthy, laid-back becomes loosey-goosey, offbeat is simply a code word for unprofessional - and diners start scrambling to Jordan Creek for their casual bites.
How wonderful, then, to witness Jethro's BBQ maintain both high standards and an offbeat groove since it opened last spring.
Atmosphere: Diners are firmly entrenched in a sports-bar setting, and televisions, neon beer signs and unfinished wooden rafters speak to the super-casual, "we're here for the beer" kind of crowd.
Menu: Smoked meats come in combo platters, sandwiches, quesadillas and atop nachos and salads; a handful of nonsmoked items include burgers and catfish.
Best bites: I don't know any wings in town that can compete with Jethro's - these are smoked and fried, and the moist, meaty babies definitely live up to that big-food promise. On a budget? Head here Tuesday nights for two-for-one wings: You can get 20 wings for $7.95; order a couple sides, and that's one satisfying dinner.
The "Dinner for Two" features actually could serve at least three, if not four (especially if you start with an order of wings). For $22.95 we got a half rack of ribs, a few slabs of brisket and a generous pile of pulled pork, as well as four sides. With their sweet-grainy-spicy rub and smoked-to-pink-perfection meat, the ribs, especially, stood out. The succulent pulled pork and meaty brisket brought such big, full flavors that the quintet of homemade sauces almost went untouched.
Sweet potato fries, mac-and-cheese and jalapeo creamed corn bested the more commonly found barbecue sides, such as the coleslaw and potato salad, but even those had a homemade, not-done-by-rote appeal.
The only item I might not order again was the burger - you can get a similarly satisfying burger at dozens of spots in town. The same cannot be said of the smoked meats here.