Chico’s BBQ is a suburban oasis of meat on Route 20, just a few miles west of Albany. From the outside, it looks like a quaint antique shop; inside, it’s a biker bar with motorcycle décor. There are four main areas here: a large bar has plenty of stools as well as ample seating, the main dining room, a smaller room that’s ideal for larger parties, and an outdoor deck with umbrella-shaded tables.
The menu at Chico’s is BBQ-meets-deli. The barbecue offerings include two kinds of ribs (babybacks and St Louis), pulled pork, sliced brisket, barbecued and pulled chicken, hot and sweet sausages on a stick. There’s also smoked pork loin, available as a sandwich. Speaking of sandwiches, there’s a separate sandwich menu at lunchtime, with creative triple decker choices, all $9.99. The ones that caught my eye were the Fat Boy (pastrami, roast beef, Swiss cheese, cole slaw, tomato, onion, pickle and horseradish mayo) and the Screaming Eagle (pork loin, ham, peanut butter, Swiss, cole slaw, tomato, pickle and Russian dressing). They also have half-pound beef burgers and sausage burgers.
I met some friends for a lunchtime visit, sharing a few different barbecue items. We started with some wings (10 for $6.99, 20 for $11.99). These were smoked, then glazed and grilled. I really liked the smokiness of my first wing, which was enhanced by the sweet sauce, but the next couple had so much sauce that it overpowered the wings. Sausages arrived two on a stick ($2.99). These plump babies were juicy, extra smoky and packed with flavor. I preferred the hot variety, but both were excellent.
Next was a full rack of S tLouis ribs ($19.99 with two sides; babybacks $20.99). These were meaty, with a well-defined crust from a finishing mop that also imparted a pleasing flavor. The moist meat pulled easily from the bone. At this point we saw a very appetizing pulled pork sandwich at a neighboring table, so we ordered one for our table. The sandwich was piled high with meat, much of it bark, and dressed with what appeared to be a pork version of the type of gravy you see at Thanksgiving. Unusual, but good. The mild pork had a good texture and the bun was very fresh.
Two squeeze bottles of barbecue sauce are available, one regular and one hot. Both seemed fairly commercial tasting.
Sides were average. Baked beans were a New England variety; cole slaw was decent but basic; onion rings were large and crusty. None of the sides really stood out as being memorably positive or negative.
The bottom line: The sides and sauces were forgettable, but the meats were good, some very good. Visiting for lunch the day after a holiday isn’t the best litmus test, but Chico’s BBQ was good. I know I’ll visit again to see if they’re better than good.