Live from Peoria, Illinois, it’s Saturday Night, starring this week’s host, Blue Duck BBQ Tavern with special guest star Nathalie Khoury and featuring The Ready For Prime Beef Player, Marty Wombacher. And now, from Water Street on Peoria’s beautiful riverfront, please welcome this week’s host, Blue Duck BBQ Tavern!
Well, I had other plans for tonight. There was going to be a Hypnohumorist show starring Terry Grawey and Greg Batton at The Lariat Steakhouse that I was going to go to with a friend, but due to the snow and rotten weather it got cancelled. The show is now scheduled for January 23rd and we’ll be going then, but follow along as we sort of have to improvise tonight’s Saturday Night episode.
Check out the footsteps in the snow, let’s follow them and see where they go! Wasn’t that last sentence kind of Dr. Seuss-like? I love it when that happens!
Wow, lots of people are headed in this direction, I think we’re on the right path to some Saturday Night fun!
And we landed right here at one of my favorite downtown restaurants, the Blue Duck BBQ Tavern! My camera keeps fogging up because of the cold, and this is like the tenth picture I took. Let’s get in out of this freezing and sickening weather. Oh, before we go inside, let me just say this for the first time of the year: I fucking HATE winter! Whew, that felt good! Okay, let’s get inside already!
It’s nice and toasty warm in here, let’s keep moving along to the inner sanctum of Blue Duck Tavern!
We’re inside and we’ve gotten a nice greeting from Dreu and Ali at the front station, great to see both of them!
As cold and rotten as it is outside, there’s a decent crowd in here, which is a testament to what a great restaurant the Blue Duck is!
The bar is just about all filled up...
And there’s Annie, the mixologist behind the bar. She’s pretty busy right now, so we’ll chat with her later. I’m having dinner with my friend who was going to go to the hypnotist show with me...
And I think that’s her right over there...
Yes, it’s my friend Nathalie looking beautiful as always! Now we can officially let this Saturday Night dining extravaganza begin!
And it begins with our pretty waitress, Loren bringing a bottle of Budweiser to the table. We decided to start with an order of their famous chicken wings which won the best wings of the MBIP Twelve Weeks of Chicken Wings Tour!
And like magic, the wings appear! These are so tasty, if you haven’t tried them you definitely need to! They’re smoked and then fried and spun in an Asian soy ginger sauce. Best wings in the world! And the dipping sauce compliments them perfectly!
As you can see, there’s a ton of choices on the menu. Nathalie and I both were saying that we like to eat a variety of food in small bites. I told her I wish they had a sampler platter here because I’d like to try a bunch of stuff on the menu. In the middle of our conversation...
The owners of the Blue Duck, Kavan and Joanna stopped by to say hello. In the course of the conversation I asked them if they had a sampler platter and Kavan said they don’t, but he’d fix one up for us! That’s so cool and nice of them to do! So they took off to make up the platter and I decided to take a few shots of Saturday Night at Blue Duck BBQ!
The elevated main dining room is located behind the bar.
Even on a night that’s horrible outside, they pack them in at Blue Duck. Kavan told me that this was a slow night because of the weather! I’ve seen busy nights here and there’s usually a line out the door.
There’s people dining in the booths that line the far wall opposite the bar and main dining room.
They have 14 different beers on tap and a decent selection of bottled beer too. They also have a nice wine selection and some unique brands of whiskey behind the bar as well.
And here we are back at our table and Annie the bartender stopped by to say hi to Nathalie and I. Annie’s super-nice and I always love to see and chat with her!
Alright, here’s Kavan with the sampler platter he cooked up for us, I can’t wait to take a look at the plates!
Holy freaking moley! This plate is a festival of smoky, barbecued meat! There’s ribs on here, slow-cooked brisket, rib tips, pulled pork and a chicken wing on top! The food looks and smells of smoky, meaty goodness!
Kavan brought us three sides to try, the macaroni and cheese, Mexican rice and a side of the warm bacon potato salad. I told Kavan that this was the biggest sampler platter I’ve ever seen in my life and he told me: “We don’t do anything small here!” Okay, time to dig in!
The first thing I tried was a rib and it was so delicious! They’re belly cut ribs barbecued and smoked St. Louis style and the meat is fall of the bone tender and succulent. They have a wonderful smoky and savory flavor and the homemade barbecue sauce really makes them a taste sensation!
Everything on the platters was so good and tasty! It’s like we died and went to barbecue heaven! Nathalie and I both agreed that it was one of the best dinners that both of us had ever had!
Here’s Nathalie sampling some of the barbecued goodness! As a rule of thumb, Nathalie is a vegetarian, but she strayed from that for this one night and who could blame her?
I loved everything that was on the platters, but the big surprise of the evening was the warm bacon potato salad. Usually I don’t eat potato salad and those two words on a menu would immediately make my eyeballs dart in another direction. Well, I’m telling you, you have to try this before you die, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever had in my life and that’s no exaggeration! You can read more about this side dish in the review below, but take my word for it, this is worth the trip to Blue Duck alone! What a great dinner and thanks to Nathalie for joining me, always fun to hang out with her and cheers to Kavan, Joann and everyone at Blue Duck for the friendly and fun hospitality and for the wonderful and tasty food! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
We started off with the MBIP award-winning chicken wings, which reminds me, I still need to get them an award! Their wings have a such a unique flavor and they’re probably the only wings in town that are both smoked and then fried. The Asian soy ginger sauce adds a really unique taste and they are just unbelievable.
I really want to thank Kavan and Joann for making us up the sampler platter of meats and side dishes. The ribs and rib tips are a first-rate example of perfect barbecue cuisine. The meat is savory, smoky and so tender and succulent and the sauce is tangy and spicy with just a hint of heat, but not so much as to over power the ribs. The slow-cooked brisket and pulled pork are excellent barbecue fare as well, but what stole the show for me and it was really a surprise was the warm bacon potato salad!
As I stated earlier, I’m not a big fan of potato salad and usually don’t order or eat it at all. I probably never would have ordered it here, but I’m oh so thankful Kavan included it on our generous sampler platter. It’s like no other potato salad on earth! It’s served warm with big chunks of grilled potatoes mixed with smoky bacon and onions and it’s tossed in a tasty and zingy mustard sauce. It’s so good and flavorful! Words fail me as far as how good this side dish is, trust me, go to Blue Duck and try it, you won’t be sorry!
Four Galloping Gourmets: Both Nathalie and I agreed it was one of the best meals ever! Thanks to Kavan, Joann and the Blue Duck crew for such a wonderful Saturday night dinner!