Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Chicago Rib House @ Cheras Leisure Mall

This place, known as the "City of Steaks & Ribs", is famous for its pork ribs.  So, if you want to get your hands on some good pork ribs, I suggest you give Chicago Rib House a try.  They have two other branches, one in 1 Utama and the other in Gurney Plaza (Penang).
Let's face it, there aren't many places that serve pork ribs, so our choice is rather limited.  Since we were looking to indulge in a 'pork rib-xperience', we headed over to Chicago Rib House @ Cheras Leisure Mall.

The restaurant is brightly lit and you'll find yourself looking at the many cute pictures of little piggies, adorned on their walls, as you eat (them)!  Aww...poor little piggies....and then it was, chop, chop and chomp, chomp!!

I noticed that their menu has changed (since the last time I was there), which used to be large in size (like a newspaper), to the one that they have now (with cute drawings and writings on the cover).  The menu items at Chicago Rib House are quite similar to Tony Roma's except the latter is done with beef ribs instead.
We ordered a starter of Pigs in the Blanket @ RM18.90 (for 8 pcs).  These are BBQ cocktail sausages wrapped in grilled bacon and served with their signature Bourbon sauce.  Who doesn't like anything that's wrapped in a 'blanket' of bacon, right?  The bacon was really nice, fragant and crispy, though the sausage wrapped morsels were doused with a bit too much sauce in my opinion.  I would have preferred it to be left 'unsauced' to allow us the option of coating it with how much sauce we want or none at all (as the bacon wrapped sausages were just as good on its own).  
Another favourite starter of ours was the Milk-Battered Onion Rings @ RM8.90 which were deep fried onion rings, coated in milk batter, and served with ranch dressing.  The crunch of the onion rings, coupled with the sweetness of the onions, was splendidly satisfying.

On an earlier visit, we had the Cheese Nachos @ RM18.90 which were crunchy corn chips, topped with melted cheese and meat, and served with a salsa and sour cream dipping. Particularly satisfying for those who love cheese.
If you're in a group, it would be prudent to order the Trio Sampler @ RM33.90.  As the name implies, it gives you a chance to sample 3 different starters in one great is that!  It's made up of Buffalo Wings, Potato Skins and Pork Chilli Corn Carne and served with Ranch Dressing.  The Buffalo Wings are deep fried and then tossed in a thick, sweet and spicy sauce.  The Potato Skins, on the other hand, were covered in cheese and topped with chives and bacon bits.  As for the Pork Chilli Corn Carne, it's crispy corn chips served with a dip similar to a slightly spicy stew of chilli peppers, tomatoes, beans, minced pork and topped with cheese.  Of the 3, I liked the Chilli Corn Carne the most.

As for the main course, you can't come to a rib house and not order their famous pork ribs.  It seems, they use baby back ribs which are juicier and more tender than the normal ribs.  This is their Original BBQ Flavoured Pork Ribs (Half Rack) @ RM33.90.  The ribs were definitely tender and falling off the bone.  Good if you like your ribs smothered in sauce (I don't).

If you are a big eater, you can order the full rack (or share) the Flaming Kansas City Pork Ribs (Full Rack) @ RM59.90 (not cheap).  When this arrives at your table, the waiter will pour in some bourbon (a type of American whiskey) and then flame it (hey, you get some 'cheap' show with your food...hehe!).  Once the alcohol is burned off, you get a distinct taste in your ribs which I quite like...mmm....pork-licious goodness!  I preferred this to the Original BBQ flavour.

For those of you who like burgers, you can order the Hickory BBQ Bacon Burger @ RM29.90 and you'll get a pork patty (laced in Hickory BBQ sauce), topped with crispy bacon and cheese, together with fried onion rings and fries.  The burger came with a knife stuck through the middle...quite a quirky presentation, I might add. The pork burger was pretty juicy and the addition of crispy bacon just brought it home!  This is a winner and something your tweens and teens will surely enjoy.
On a more recent visit, I chose the Beer Battered Fried Pork Chop @ RM29.90 since I've tried their famous pork ribs already.  This was a piece of pork chop dipped in their signature beer batter and deep fried. [#Note: All main courses are served with a choice of two sides, either beer battered French fries, coleslaw, fragrant rice, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob or fresh vegetables].  The pork chop was tough as the cut was very lean (which was good and healthy in a way) but needed to be tenderised either by marinating or pounding it with a heavy mallet.  It was a shame as the batter was crunchy and tasty.  The coleslaw and mashed potatoes (not creamy enough) were just borderline ok.  [#Note: Till today, I have not eaten a pork chop that is tender.  It's easy to keep beef tender by just undercooking it (rare to medium) but it's a 'cardinal' sin to undercook pork as it's just not safe to eat pork that is not cooked through.]

Finally, we tried the Norwegian Salmon @ RM43.90 which was grilled salmon with sides of coleslaw and beer battered French fries.  Although the salmon had nice grill marks, which brought out a tasty, smoky charred flavour, it was overcooked (and thankfully so because it was not that fresh).  [#Tip: Serve us right for ordering fish at a pork rib joint....coz seriously, you're just asking for trouble as it can't be super fresh!]
I also tried a mocktail, the Beach Fiesta @ RM12.90 (instead of the usual Bottomless Juices @ RM8.90 and Bottomless Soft Drinks @ RM6.90) as the pic and description looked refreshing and, indeed, it was!  It was a fresh and lively drink filled with citrus fruitiness of cranberry and lychee, topped with lime.  However, it looked and tasted very much like an orange juice with a hint of lychee flavour.  I could see the orange pulps in the drink and it was even garnished with an orange segment.  Why they describe it as cranberry (as both fruit and juice would be reddish in colour), I have no idea!
My Personal Opinion

Did I have a porking good time?  Yes, if you stick with the ribs....coz that's what they are good at.  The starters are also a safe bet as most of them are quite decent.  Some starters (like the Trio Sampler) is sufficient enough as a meal in itself for adults, while some (like the Cheese Nachos) can be a complete meal for kids.

If you do get a good cut of ribs, it's definitely 'happy days' but sometimes, if you're not so lucky, you get a cut with soft bones, then it's not as good.

Likes:  The Flaming Kansas City Pork Ribs and the Hickory BBQ Bacon Burger were porkalicious!  And the starters as well.

Dislikes:  The 'not-so-fresh' salmon and the 'tough' Beer Battered Fried Pork Chop.

Chicago Rib House Restaurant
L2-52 Level 2 Cheras Leisure Mall
Jalan Manis 6 Taman Segar
56100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-9134 6120

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