Ramblin Jacks

Ramblin Jacks
520 4th Ave E, Olympia

A favorite Olympia destination for eleven years, Ramblin Jacks has something for everybody. Much of the menu is focused around the restaurant’s wood-fired oven and barbeque smoker.

The atmosphere is light and spacious. Sunflower yellow, burnt orange and taupe give the interior a definite southwest flavor. High on the yellow masonry are faux windows, their boxes overflowing with blossoms.

Our appetizers are fried green tomatoes with crawfish remoulade. The firm fruit is dredged in a crunchy corn bread crust. Topped with Aioli or mayonnaise based remoulade loaded with sweet delicate crawfish, they’re served on a bed of fresh greens. This starter is more than enough for two to share. Other hors d’oeuvre options include artichoke and sun-dried tomato dip, New Orleans style barbeque prawns, veggie quesadillas, and southwest eggrolls.

House salads are composed of mixed greens, sweet grape tomatoes, crisp cucumber, onion, and croutons. Light, slightly sweet balsamic vinaigrette is an excellent complement; full-flavored lemon tahini dressing is a good choice as well—the lemony tartness helps bring out the flavor of the sesame tahini.

A grilled rib-eye is a mouthwatering entrée. Nicely marked and medium rare, it is tender and juicy. The ample portion of beef is accompanied by a generous portion of sweet, crispy, golden sweet potato fries and sautéed zucchini with caramelized onions and bell peppers. Also tantalizing is the “Your Way Southern Style Smoked Meats Sampler”. Three meats and two sides are selected by the diner. Jack’s sausage, which is crafted and smoked in-house, is highly seasoned. A slice of cured turkey breast is served with country gravy; slowly cooked North Carolina pork shoulder is so tender it falls from the bone. Three barbeque sauces are offered—spicy, regular, and sweet. Sides are sweet BBQ beans and sautéed zucchini. The entrée menu is quite extensive—it includes pizza, seafood, smoked meats and sandwiches.

Dessert is a hot fudge brownie sundae. A decadent brownie is topped with Jack Daniels praline swirl ice cream (by request), lightly sauced with rich hot fudge sauce and garnished with whipped cream and a cherry. Chopped peanuts are served on the side. Our second dessert, a classic pecan pie with shortbread crust, is also served with Jack Daniels ice cream (again by request). Crème brulee, New York style cheesecake, key lime pie and bread pudding are also available.

For outstanding food with a southwest barbeque flair, Ramblin Jacks is an excellent choice. Besides offering succulent fare, Ramblin Jacks also offers full-service catering, from the backyard barbeque to the most upscale wedding.

Mary Morgan