Buck Nekkid BBQ
Located: 3825 N. Shiloh Drive
Need directions? CLICK HERE
Type of dining experience: Casual / BBQ
Quality control and consistency, is it there?
Is gurrr a word? (Most recent visit 5-1-12)
So, it has been awhile since I have visited their location. I went by there the other day because a local poker club that I am part of hosts one of its weekly games at their location. I knew I wasn't going to grab any food, because first and foremost I had just eaten somewhere else, and secondly to be honest I have just gotten tired of spending money there while it is so inconsistent. And I have been keeping up with them via Urban Spoon and Yelp. And from what I have seen, it still seems like they are having consistency issues. When I first wrote a review of their establishment, if my memory is correct their Urban Spoon rating was around 61% which was very low, and right now as of the revision of this review, it is at 63%. And how many months later is that? This has to tell them something I would think.
Now, in regards to my visit there that evening. I decided I wanted a drink, so moseyed up to the bar. The young lady there was very personable, so I give good marks for that. But then it went down hill. Now I do not expect a bar tender to know every single drink in the world, and I ended up ordering one that not a lot of folks have heard of, it is called a John Daly. I was introduced to this drink over at Boars Nest BBQ.
She had not heard of of this drink herself, but did make a suggestion of something for me to try. And offered to look the John Daly up on google. So again, some high marks on her attempt to take care of the customer.
Long story short in regards to the drink, she finally fixed one up. And it was ok, not great, but ok. I took it, paid for it, tipped her and went and played cards. But during our conversation I found out something a bit troubling. This was only her first or second night running the bar and being bar tender. And on top of that, she had no previous bar tending experience. Now don't get me wrong, everyone has to start somewhere from scratch. And I told her as much to reassure her. But what worries me is that the management and ownership of Buck Nekkid BBQ put this young lady in this position, and set her up for hard times and failure. Honestly, does it make sense to put someone in such a position, when they have no training what so ever? That is a recipe for disaster. Not only does it shine badly on the establishment itself, but it puts this young girl in a position that she knows nothing about, and increases her frustration level. Which by the way, actions like this on the part of a businesses management, is part of what leads to high turn over rates for them. So I place the blame of this one squarely on the ownership and management team. They really should have given her more support, which is what she as well as the customers deserve.
Also in regards to her performance, even though she struggled a bit with drinks etc... she seemed to be trying to do her best to stay on top of everyone's drinks. So again, kudos to her. And a gibbs slap to management.
Now secondly, I have a nit to pick. Here is a photo of a door to one of the men's bathroom stalls. It has no handle on it. Now I could understand if it just got broken, but this handle has been missing ever since my first visit there months ago. So that means there are only two stalls that can be secured. And on top of this, that particular stall is the handicap accessible stall. So some guy using this stall is sitting down, doing his business, and into the stall enters someone, because there is no door handle and lock.
I had mentioned this to one of the staff members months ago, and here it still is, not fixed. And even if that staff member did not tell management, are you telling me that management and the rest of the staff did not notice they had a door handle and lock missing in their bathroom over the past few months? To me, this is just another sign of ineffectual management, and inattentive staff.
I have pretty much given up on seeing any sort of consistency with this place. It is just too hit and miss. To paraphrase something I saw written about them on Urban Spoon, when they do it right, the DO IT RIGHT! And it is good. But, when they do it wrong, THEY DO IT WRONG! And it just seems that they are not listening to their customers. Heck, forget what I have to say about the place. Check out Urban Spoon and Yelp, listen to them. If you want to pound your chest at just the accolades that are out there, that is great. But you also have to focus on the negatives, embrace the negative comments when they have merit, and then act upon them. This is what you OWE every single paying customer there!
(a recent addition to the review)
I decided to give their food another try and try out something I had not yet, which was a pulled pork sandwich. After I ordered and paid for the sandwich and side of cucumber salad, I got to my seat only to realize that the sandwich had a little "extra" something. Which ended up being a big ole piece of aluminum foil. They store the meat in foil which is then put inside the warming trays.
So when the server used the tongs to pull the meat out of the foil, he also got a nice sized chunk of foil. At this stage, he then puts a bun on the top which means he should have seen the foil as it was quite obvious (see photo). Then he proceeds to put the side of cucumber salad on the tray, which gives him another chance to see what he is serving me.
After sitting down and seeing this, I took a photo with my camera phone and took it up to them, to show them what they had served me and request a new sandwich. They apologized and fixed up a different sandwich for me.
What I am seeing on my visits there when I do decide to eat some food, is that they just do not seem to put much importance on quality controls which is going to affect their ability to consistently provide good food to their customers.
As I had mentioned in my original review of their establishment (click HERE to read that review) I really do hate to give bad reviews, in my perfect world all of my visits to an establishment would be great and give me true food nirvana, each and every time! But here in the real world, that just is not going to happen.
In my original review I talked about the quality, or lack thereof, in regards to their offerings. And in addition and most importantly, was the lack of quality control checks. Which is one of the most important aspects of running a successful restaurant. You can NOT assume that the food going out is great, and top notch. You have to have the quality control measures in place to make sure that the food reaching the customer is the best you can produce, and is worth not only their money, but the effort it took for them to come to you and try out your offerings.
Now with all that said, I think this most recent visit there was much, much better than the first. But remember, my first visit there was for lack of a better word, horrible. So I think that while they have improved, there is still room for additional improvement.
I did not take any shots of the interior of the facility, but it is really nice and clean. They did a great job on the build out, it has lots of room to move about. Which is great for families and also they could accommodate large groups.
There is a full service bar located within the facility, so if you are in the mood for a draft beer or a mixed drink, it looks like they have you covered.
The rest rooms were very clean during my visit.
Now, on to the food portion of the review.
I am going to give some comparisons here from my previous visits. One other area I would like to broach, is consistency. That is another huge factor in the success of a restaurant. In regards to their consistency, I just do not think they are there yet. It seems to be very hit and miss in relation to consistency.
Also, in regards to their "by the pound" offerings, you will notice that they now show the price on their menus as per HALF pound. From what I saw, the pricing has remained around the same. But just be aware when you order, those prices are not getting you a full pound, those are for half a pound of meats. I understand the "marketing" aspect of this kind of pricing structure as it helps make customers "mentally" feel they are getting a better value, because they focus on that lower number. Personally I don't think they need to use the "half pound" pricing, just put your price up there for the full pound.
Pulled Pork Sandwich (recent visit)
On my most recent visit there, I ordered this pulled pork sandwich. What I got was a pulled pork sandwich with a nice chunk of aluminum foil.
After taking it back and having them fix me a new one, I was able to actually eat the sandwich. Which did turn out to be very tasty.
My biggest concern about their establishment at this time is the lack of quality control standards. So far, each and every visit where I ordered food there has been something wrong with some portion of the meal(s), which could have been avoided had there been quality control practices in place.
Beef Ribs (first visit)
The beef ribs here are sold by the pound, and run $13.50 per pound.
I ended up ordering two ribs. The one rib the meat was falling off the bone, it was very tender and tasted great, wonderful flavor.
The other rib though was over cooked, it is the one on the right in the picture. The meat was chewy and tough. Definitely not what you would expect for a beef rib, and from somewhere that you would think knows better than to serve something that is obviously over done.
Beef Ribs (recent visit)
My goal was to order the same exact food that I had when I went in on my first visit, so I ordered two ribs. Come to find out, they now offer a "boneless" rib and a rib with the bone.
I was not told this at the time of the order, but was given the boneless rib instead. I would have preferred to try the rib with bone.
In regards to this boneless rib, the flavoring was good. I really liked the overall taste of the meat. This was so much better than the rib that I had last time. All in all, this was good.
The only change I would have made to this, is drop the cook time down just a tiny bit (or heat lamp time), I think that would have helped trap in even more of those wonderful juices and flavors. A little more "moisture" in the meat would have been good.
Brisket (first visit)
I also tried the brisket, which runs $11.99 per pound.
This was the worst part of the meal by far. The brisket itself lacked a good defined seasoning and flavor, and the worst part of the whole thing was how dry it turned out.
There was a couple sitting next to me, and I asked them what they thought about the food, I had not stated my opinion yet to them.
And they mentioned even how dry the brisket was.
Brisket (recent visit)
Just looking at the two different photos of this brisket, you can see a huge difference in regards to the moisture content of the meat.
This one had a good flavor to it, and was a night and day difference from the other brisket I had on my first visit there.
One suggestion I might make would be to offer their customers a nice little container of dipping Jus. Just think about a nice rich Jus, that you can plunk your brisket down into... YUMMMM....
I would order this one again!
Chicken Leg Quarter (first visit)
The photo of this chicken leg quarter really does not give it justice, in relation to how small this portion size was.
I have gotten bags of chicken leg quarters, the cheap 10lb bags that run a little over $5.95 for the whole bag, and I got probably 10 leg quarters that are twice the size of this one out of that one bag.
They charge $3.95 for this, and the value just is not there. The thigh was nice and juicy, tasted good, but the leg portion had been overdone a tad. And as I said, overall the size was very small.
Chicken Leg Quarter (recent visit)
This chicken leg quarter was much larger than the first one that I got, if I were to guess, I would say it was anywhere from 40% to 60% larger than the first one I tried. So kudos to them for making sure to up the portion size!
The taste of the chicken meat itself was good.
My big issue with this one, was the fact that the skin was dried out so badly. Literally it was like a thin piece of leather. Not edible at all, and I love chicken skin. This was a big turn off for me. And this also goes back to quality control checks, how did they not know that this was so darn dry?
Pasta Salad (first visit)
This particular side I had a lot of hope for, it is a pasta salad with fresh onion, cucumber and tomato.
While it looked very vibrant the taste left some to be desired, which is sad because this side had a lot of potential. It was just generally under seasoned.
Seasoning is a tough thing to do in a restaurant, everyone has different palates. But this bordered on being almost bland.
Cucumber Salad (recent visit)
They decided to drop the pasta and create a cucumber salad, which I tried out on this most recent visit.
I really liked this one a lot, it was fresh and vibrant. Just a good all around taste!
Personally I think that had they left the pasta in the salad, but seasoned it as they have this one (you can really tell the difference in seasoning just from the photos), they would have had a winner with the pasta salad. But either way, this one works nicely!
Cole Slaw (both visits)
Their coleslaw was spot on, and seasoned well. I was told it was made 100% from scratch there, and the taste makes me a believer.
This one is a very good side to order when you go there.
My first visit there ran me right at $30, for the same amount of food. On this recent visit, the food was given to me at no charge. When I asked how much it would have been had I paid for it, I was told it would have been around $13. Much better value for the dollars spent this go around! And they are offering other options other than just by the pound, they now have a "plated" menu. And the boneless rib option, means you are paying just for the meat.
I got to meet a few of the staff on my return visit. They have a new general manager, who seems to be very conscious of what the local foodies are wanting, and is working hard on making sure that they provide all of us area foodies with a great food experience.
There was another staff member there as well that I got to talk to, who was very pleasant and also appeared to have a great amount of passion for the food and what they are doing there.
In addition I also got to speak to one of the owners. She was very stand offish while all three of us were talking, and this is just my personal opinion, but it seemed like I was "imposing" as I was discussing with them my thoughts and recommendations, as well as what I had heard from my viewers and facebook friends, in regards to their location.
Perhaps it was due in part to my harsh review that I had done prior, in regards to their location. I am not sure. But at the end of the day, I stand by my first review. That visit I had there was horrible.
What I hope is that they listen to what their customers are saying, and continue to strive to better themselves. Don't just take my word for what needs "tweaking", but instead listen to others out there. Take for example Urban Spoon, there is generally a reason why a restaurants' Urban Spoon rating is very low, and as of the writing of this updated review, their rating is at 61%, which is far too low. And that is from numerous votes by Urban Spoon users, and generally is going to be based on their visits there.
I guess what I am trying to say, is that I hope that they focus on bettering themselves. Don't get defensive when you hear negatives, but instead embrace those with constructive criticism and use that criticism as an opportunity to move forward in a positive way.
When I had mentioned that they really needed to work on "winning" back some of those customers that had been in before, and had a bad experience and vowed to never return, that comment was met basically with the attitude and a statement of "we are not living in the past, we are moving forward" by the owner I was speaking to. And while that is all well and good, the foodie community in North West Arkansas is a very tight knit group. So yes, they do need to try and reach out and convince those folks to give them another try. And if they can win them over, that will help spread the good news fast, which was the point I was trying to make. I was not saying it to belittle them, but to iterate how tight the foodie community is here in North West Arkansas.
In summary, I am just not sure anymore in regards to their place. When you have such a large percentage of items that are just not up to muster as a whole consistently, and these are issues that should have never made it out to the customer had proper quality control practices been in place, it really makes you wonder if they are ever going to change. Can they actually pull it together and get the quality of their offerings up there, and keep a high level of quality control standards in place consistently? I guess only time will tell.
See our original review HERE
Review by Frank Elder