Back to Midtown so soon? Had to try for Tank House again, and tonight was a success. Mondays are much less busy than 2nd Saturday’s for sure! They are located on J Street and 20th, right next to the train tracks. This place is pretty straight forward. There’s a full bar which runs most of the length of the place on the right, and tables flank it to the left. There is a patio around the side of the building, and this is where they have the smoker, which smelled amazing every time the front door opened.
The wall along the side of, and continuing around back of, the bar is a giant chalk board detailing the menu items, draught beer, wine, cocktails, etc. I was early so I got a Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, which I had up near the windows while enjoying a nice long freight train roll by. Dan & Kathy arrived at about 6 and after looking over the menu we placed our order up at the bar/register.
I’m not sure if their selection varies over time, but tonight the meat options consisted of brisket, baby back ribs, chicken and hot links. We ordered a couple of the Meat Treat platters [$26], which come with your choice of 2 meats (1/2lb each) and 2 sides. Sides consist of mac & cheese, tater tots, greens, coleslaw or cornbread. They also have a couple special sides (both of which I upgraded to) which are the Dirty Tots (Tater Tots covered in Cheese Sauce topped with Chopped Pork Butt)[$6] and Dirty Mac (Mac & Cheese with Smoked Chicken)[$6].
For my platter (they serve two, so I have a nice sized lunch for tomorrow), I went with the brisket and ribs. The brisket has 3 options – lean, juicy or chef’s choice (somewhere in-between the two). I chose juicy for maximum flavor. Dan & Kathy went with all chef’s choice brisket. For their sides they got mac & cheese and the greens.
Our platters didn’t take too long to come out, less than 10 minutes I’d say. It was a nice spread. The brisket slices were neatly stacked on the paper-covered tray. My ribs sat next to it and the sides had their own dishes.
The ribs were partially sliced, just needed a slight bit of cutting to separate. I normally would not order ribs but wanted to try as much as I could. At first glance they didn’t seem to have a lot of meat on them, but once I got them apart and started working on them I realized they actually were fairly substantial. They had an excellent smokey flavor to them, but were a bit dry. I had to use a little bit of sauce to moisten them up. There was a tangy and a sweet sauce at the table. The tangy did have a little zip to it and it was good, but I really enjoyed the sweet a lot more. It was thick like syrup and not overly sweet, nor did it cover up the smokey pork.
The brisket was excellent. It was definitely juicy and a good amount of fat in some areas. Those pieces fell apart with my fork and nearly melted in your mouth. The edges were more lean, yet still packed a lot of wonderful seasoned, smokey flavor. No sauce was needed on this at all. My main, most recent comparison for this would be brisket I had in Lockhart, TX, on a recent trip, at Black’s BBQ, a relatively famous BBQ spot. Their juicy brisket edged this one out only slightly, both in tenderness and flavor. I’d say that’s pretty damn good for a little spot in Sacramento!
My sides were both awesome. The Dirty Mac was very rich and creamy, and the smoked chicken bits added a savory component that worked really well. I’m sure the plain mac & cheese was great also. The Dirty Tots were equally fantastic. The tots were perfectly golden brown and crisp. They were topped with a very thick and rich cheese sauce and a huge pile of shredded pork butt. I could have eaten both sides and the brisket until I exploded.
The ribs and the greens were really the only things that weren’t amazing. The greens came with little bits of pork, which unfortunately didn’t add much flavor. This dish was just kinda boring.
Overall I was very happy with Tank House. Prices felt about right, not cheap but not expensive for what you got either. The staff was all very friendly and the place was immaculate and well-kept. While the ribs and greens didn’t do it for me, there is plenty that did. I haven’t explored the BBQ options in the area very much yet, but I am glad to know this is here for when I get that craving. Let me know in the comments if you have any favorites nearby (Dobson’s is on my radar already, so I’ll get there soonish).