Perhaps it was my high expectations, but I came away from my recent visit to 4Rivers Smokehouse in Longwood disappointed. Or maybe it's all the hype? But the lunch I had there left me wanting for something spectacular and all i got was a mediocre sandwich with average coleslaw and beans. Let me explain.
I went with some work friends for lunch. We got there early (before 11:30) because I'd heard they have long lines. We just barely got inside the door and had about a 10-15 minute wait but by the time we left the line was well out into the parking lot. I would not wait again for what I got.
I ordered a "Signature Sandwich," the Texas Destroyer. The only destruction was to my expectations. There was a decent portion of smoked brisket which was, for the most part, quite yummy. It was topped by two onion rings, some jalapenos, and a slice of provolone. On my first bite, the onions all came out in one long mess.... I could not really taste the provolone but it was there. My main complaints are two. First, I tasted some of the burnt ends that were in the sandwich. They were overly sweet from the rub. Very, very sweet. Second was the homemade BBQ sauces. They too were overly sweet. Now, that is a texas style, but the sweetness really masquerades the flavor of the meat, so I was not a big fan of them. Some of the brisket just by itself was good. But as a whole it was just average.
As for my sides, the beans were a bit soupy. I'm sure there were some bits of smoked meat in them, but mostly it was more of a soup. The coleslaw was average, nothing special. My friend enjoyed their meals but none of them were overly impressed either. Would I go back? If I didn't have to wait in line, maybe, but if I had to wait, it would not be worth it, I'd rather head around the corner to Chef Henry's for some really great food.
One high point, however. Just before we finished one of the employees came around with small samples of the pulled pork. I tried some and it was very good, a nice flavor, a hint of smoke, tender and juicy. After that, i made the mistake of putting on a small bit of the house BBQ sauce--that totally ruined it for me, the sweetness overpowered the flavor of the meat. Too bad. So, when I want some good BBQ, 4Rivers will not be at the top of my choice list, sorry. Over-hyped for what you get.