Sauce of the South | Wine | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

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Sauce of the South

Nearly breaking the chains at Draper’s newest barbecue joint.

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Let us suppose that'either intentionally or by no fault of your own and thanks to a series of unfortunate navigational miscalculations'you find yourself in the Disneyesque landscape that is the Draper Peaks Mall and its immediate vicinity. Where ya gonna eat?

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There is no shortage of restaurants to choose from in this relatively new South Valley commercial development. Available for your dining pleasure are restaurants ranging from Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday to Café Rio and Bajio Mexican Grill, to name but a few of the dozens of possibilities. If the franchise restaurant industry has a mother lode, this is surely it.

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But wait! Over there, right across the street from Rumbi Island Grill, is a place I’ve never heard of: Goodwood Barbecue Company.

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As it turns out, Goodwood is also part of a chain, albeit microscopic in comparison to the big boys like Outback and Tony Roma’s. Goodwood is a small, regional restaurant chain with additional sites in Orem and in Boise and Meridian, Idaho. Although you certainly won’t mistake Goodwood for a mom & pop operation'try Q4U, Pat’s or Kaiser’s for that, it doesn’t have the unrelenting and oppressive feel of a megachain restaurant.

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For starters, Goodwood looks like it could be a one-off. Polished, arched wood walls and ceilings rise to heights that would make a bungee jumper joyful. And the restaurant is handsomely decked out with subtle Southwestern and mission detail, a pleasant change from the in-your-face faux Southwest kitsch of, say, a Z’Tejas. And by the way, there’s another distinguishing feature that distances Goodwood from most of its neighbors: booze. Although the wine list is quite limited, you could select to sip serviceable wines like Ravenswood Zinfandel, Coppola Claret, Columbia Crest Grand Estate Chardonnay or Ste. Chapelle Riesling while you peruse the extensive menu. There are also beers from local brewers like Bohemian, Squatters and Uinta to be had.

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The first thing to know before placing an order at Goodwood is that the portions tend to range from gargantuan and enormous to vast, massive and humongous. A plate of “Ultimate Nachos” ($8.29) went past my table looking like it was on its way to feed the 32nd Infantry Division. Baked potato “side dishes” are about the size of my head, and when the folks at Goodwood call their buttermilk-battered onion rings “jumbo,” they’re not whistlin’ Dixie. So unless you’ve got room in your fridge for leftovers, don’t order recklessly.

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I never have even moderately high expectations for the salads at restaurants like this, most of which seem to come directly from plastic bags via Sysco Foods, topped with an unripe slice or two of tomato and bottled dressing. So Goodwood’s house salad was a very pleasant surprise: a shallow bowl of crisp mixed greens tossed with minced hard-boiled egg, diced ripe tomatoes, cucumber, homemade croutons and, in this case, a sensational roasted garlic dressing. The salad had a nice spicy zip to it thanks to the Cajun spice-dusted croutons and a hint of cayenne in the dressing.

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Like the house salad, the side dishes at Goodwood really shine. A baked potato here is actually baked, not steamed, and comes topped with more butter and sour cream (if desired) than your cardiologist would find prudent. The baked beans are heavenly, sweet and tangy with little bits of meat hiding in the sauce. And the small, pepper-spiked cornbread muffins that come with all meals are potently addictive. As with Lay’s potato chips, you can’t eat just one.

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If only the main dishes stacked up to the accoutrements. Sadly, many of Goodwood’s barbecued items and entrees don’t fare much better than Tony Roma’s. I appreciated being warned that the smoked salmon would take “17 minutes to cook.” Unfortunately, that was about seven minutes too long, since the nice 8-ounce portion of North Atlantic fresh salmon came out dry and overcooked. We couldn’t stomach much of the salmon, but inhaled the two big mounds of scrumptious “smashed” potatoes that came with it.

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If you’re really into barbecue, and regularly use words like “mop, rub, sop and soak” to describe your barbecue techniques, then Goodwood probably isn’t going to impress you. For one thing, everything there just has too much damned sauce on it. After a while, you can’t tell a St. Louis spare rib from a baby back rib, or barbecued chicken from pulled pork. The combo platter with a choice of four meats with two side dishes ($19.29) is an efficient way to explore the Goodwood menu. I really liked the tender, moist slices of smoked turkey breast, which came without any sauce applied, in contrast to the shredded, dry pulled pork that was slathered in sauce. Not that there’s anything wrong with Goodwood’s barbecue sauce; it’s just that the same sweet-spicy flavors get redundant after a while. I’d have much preferred a Carolina style mustard-vinegar sauce on my pork, for example. Slices of beef brisket were a smidgeon overdone, but I really liked the St. Louis ribs, which were meaty and tender. And I’m not sure what’s German about the “smoked German-style sausage” at Goodwood; it’s cloyingly sweet, seemingly injected with syrup, but the kids love it.

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Still, I’d probably have returned to Goodwood Barbecue Co. since the overall dining experience there is a pleasant one'that is, until I received first an incorrect bill and then had to wait longer than it takes for the Goodwood guys to cook a salmon filet in order to have someone finally pick up my credit card. Paying the bill took almost as long as lunch'or as long as it took me to drive out to Draperland in the first place.

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GOODWOOD BARBECUE COMPANY
n133 E. 12300 South
nDraper
n495-4840
nLunch & Dinner daily

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