Take it to the B-AN-C

So in keeping with the already explained eating passion I so often speak of, I am about to share with you a major happening. For those who know about BJ Ryan’s in Norwalk this post will come as no surprise and for those of you who don’t, you can thank me later. A quick back story about BJ Ryan’s.  It is a bar/restaurant that is inNorwalkonMain Streetand it has some of the best food you can imagine definitely not what you come to expect from a “bar”. Tuna steak club sandwiches, Bang Bang Shrimp, Creme Fresh Pizza, Catfish and nightly specials that are out of this world!  They do themed dinners and have all kinds of beer and mixed drinks as well JELLO shots. My wife and I have introduced this place to plenty of people who have fallen in love with it. It is owned by two of the nicest people you can find, BJ and Buckley. They met while Buckley ran Cogburn’s inNorwalkfrom 1988 through 1998 and funny enough….it was a rib joint. . They opened BJ Ryan’s together in 2007 and this summer they have opened B-AN-C House.  It stands for Barbecue and Crab which is an untapped goldmine of an idea. Two fantastic cuisines married in a magnificent ceremony of taste. These guys teamed with Chef Leland Avellino who has 20 years experience in the kitchen, but is only 35. If you ask me you cannot get any better than a chef who has spent more than half of his life cooking.  The three men I speak of embarked upon on a country-wide journey to learn the art of BBQ and Crab and they learned it well. When speaking to Leland he told me that they had eaten so much BBQ that they were tired of it which is a sure sign that they were doing their homework. Upon arrival we were impressed, clean inside and out, 15 TV’s, bar seating along with a separate dining room, outdoor tables and the decor was on the money. There were pictures of places they visited on the journey that made us envious of what they ate and learned. We received a feast of dishes to sample and one was better than the next. For appetizers we first ate house made pretzels topped with a crab dip that was something we had never imagined. The pretzel was soft and the dip was smooth, it was not as heavy as you might think and that was a nice surprise. The pretzel was cooked to perfection and it was a nice start to the afternoon. Next came the B-AN-C Bread, garlic bread stacked high in a gorgonzola fondue. The bread was crisp and had a fluffy center and the fondue was silky smooth. The most pleasant aspect of the plate was that it wasn’t salty which you might come to expect with these two ingredients. The next selection was something that the menu explained to a T. They served a skewer of bacon wrapped dates which on the menu is listed as “perfection”……it was. I am a huge fan of sweet and salty and this was the epitome of both. The last appetizer we were treated to was deviled eggs with crab “nugs”. I was the only deviled egg eater at the table and that was fine by me. The crab complimented the yolk nicely and the texture was spot on. If you are into deviled eggs this is for you! Our waiter suggested we taste the Toasted Lager and it was a home run, light, ice-cold and delicious. When the main courses came we were blown away by what was in front of us. We began with the Famous Nameless Pasta which is only going to get more famous as they continue to serve it.  Shaved parmesan, crumbled sausage, caramelized onions, tomatoes and broccoli rabe tossed into campanelle pasta. By far the best pasta without sauce you can find. Next were the stars of the show BBQ and Crab. Ribs came first and what a rack they were. At first glance they looked fake but that was just a misconception. When biting into them the meat was perfect, fell off the bone, but not in a messy way.  You could taste the smoke and it was fantastic. I was always on the fence about dry or wet ribs and this was right down the middle. Tender meat paired with wonderful BBQ taste…we were in our glory. Paired with the ribs was a generous bird that was as juicy as they come. It had a BBQ glaze to it that made you realize that Leland was on top of his game. The dark meat was just divine. We were completely silent while eating this not only because we couldn’t stop eating it, but because something this amazing should be enjoyed in peace. Last but certainly not least was Dungeness Crab Clusters in homemade garlic sauce. I was dining with a dear friend who was not a crab lover upon arrival, but sends a heartfelt thank you to BJ, Buckley and Leland for forever changing his life. These crabs were the stuff a food lovers dreams are made of. Easy to open, cooked to a juicy nirvana and the garlic sauce was out of this world. We ate these as if there was nothing else served all day.  On a side note (pun intended) there was coleslaw that was chunky and light with a great tang as well as beans that had shredded pork mixed in for a tasty surprise. The menu was extensive and I am chomping at the bit to go back and try it all. These guys even give you dinner on them for your birthday! Thankfully mine is next week. Leland was nice enough to take me to the stock area where we cracked open a fresh bucket of blues, they were sleeping but still looked fantastic. They were surrounded by more fresh produce and ribs that you could ever imagine. The kitchen staff buzzing around and laughing really made me realize that these guys are doing it right. While talking with Leland he told me that he has always been a BBQ fan and this was something he couldn’t wait to do. He was more than willing to take time to talk to us and not just about the food. He is a well-traveled man who knows more about his craft than his age would lead you to believe. I also sat down with BJ at the end of the meal and he told me that this restaurant was special to he and Buckley since this was where Cogburn’s was where they first met. As he explained it they had originally looked at this location for BJ Ryan’s and weren’t going to pass on the location the second time around. He also said that he and Buckley came full circle with B-AN-C House and couldn’t be happier about it. I asked if they were planning to open anymore eateries and BJ explained that it’s a thought, albeit a distant one for now but you never know. B-AN-C is located at16 River StreetinNorwalk. 203-838-CRAB. Lunch and Dinner 7 days 1130-10 pm. www.bjryans.com 

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2 thoughts on “Take it to the B-AN-C

  1. Your pictures are so beautiful, I feel like I just ate a whole meal the restaurant itself looks great too what a great job on your photo’s

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