Berkshires After Dark: BBQ, cornbread and jazz at MadJacks
PITTSFIELD -- I haven't had good barbeque in a long time. When I heard about MadJacks on North Street, it seemed like a pretty good idea to enjoy some ribs, pulled pork and a beer with a good friend.
MadJacks is easy to miss if you're not looking for it. Next to the flashy front of Spice Dragon, the BBQ pit has a toned down, friendly entrance with a welcoming sign. Inside, brick-lined walls encase a large bar and dining area, where Blue Jazz was playing in the corner.
MadJacks features music on occasion, although upon referencing their website, I couldn't find anything past May for which to plan. Blue Jazz is a local quartet made up of Aaron Dean (sax), Dave Christopolis (bass, vocals), Rowen Caplan (drums), and David Bartley (piano, vocals). The experienced musicians filled the well-lit dining area with finger-snapping, toe-tapping tunes that somehow fit perfectly with the meal that my friend and I were about to split.
MadJacks has something for everybody. Starters like hushpuppies ($3.99) and catfish bites ($6.99) are just two of the many appetizer options. Salads featuring pulled pork ($7.75) and strawberries ($6.75) are lighter fare choices. They even have vegetarian options like BBQ tofu plate ($8.99) and Grandpa's veggie burger ($7.75).
My friend and I ended up splitting a combo plate of two meats ($14.50). We ordered the St. Louis ribs along with pulled pork as our two animals. The plate came with a salad, sweet corn bread and another side -- macaroni and cheese for us. Flavor-wise, everything was okay. I wish the ribs hadn't been as stringy as they were, but the pulled pork was decent once I picked the best barbeque sauce out of the three offered. But honestly, my favorite part of that meal was the cornbread. My goodness, I never really liked cornbread until that night. Paired with a strong IPA from the tap, I was one happy lady and would have been content with just that all evening.
As Blue Jazz played on, we slowed down on inhaling our satisfactory food and drink. Looking around the restaurant, we were the only two customers aside from a few lone men scattered about the bar and in some booths. Our waitress continued to check on us in a non-incessant manner and made sure our experience was as pleasant as possible.
Oh, one thing that I do have to check out in restaurants are the restrooms. "You can tell a lot about a restaurant by its bathroom," my friend said.
MadJacks' restrooms are impressive. The lights turn brighter when you enter the room, and it's one big room. Clean, neat and not smelly, the ladies' room at MadJacks was well-kept, and I appreciate such things in places of service.
Overall, the MadJacks night was extremely pleasant. Blue Jazz talked to us for a bit during their break. The food wasn't out of this world, but I'd definitely go back to try something not so safe. The fully stocked bar was clean and monitored most of the time, meaning no one had to wait long for a drink.
MadJacks is a nice place to go with the family or on a third or fourth date, if you're into those kinds of things. MadJacks also caters events, so if you're looking for some BBQ to go along with a summer extravaganza, this place appears super reliable and affordable.
If you go ...
Mad Jacks BBQ, 295 North St., Pittsfield
(413) 442-2290, www.madjacksbbqonline.com
Hours: Tues. and Wed. 11-9, Thurs. and Fri. 11-10, Saturday 12-10, Sun. 4-8, Mon. closed
Style: Restaurant Dress, Casual
Entertainment: Live music
Our rating: 2.5 mugs, Yawn
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