Eddie Deen is a big name in the local catering business that's been around for almost 20 years. The Dallas-based company has pushed plates of barbecue at a bevy of swank and high-profile places and events including the state Capitol, the Olympics and Washington, D.C., where in one night they catered three of President George W. Bush's inaugural celebrations serving a total of 22,000 guests.
Stepping in a new direction, this year Deen opened a restaurant in Arlington, Eddie Deen Crossroads BBQ (1004 N. Collins St.), just west of AT&T Stadium. The spot is in a pretty mundane strip mall, tucked behind a Panda Express. Inside, it's a mix of Texas-hokey that out-of-towners would dig, along with flat-screens to watch whatever important sporting event you might feel the need to punish yourself with.
It's great family spot, with checkers at the tables and a backward bicycle to entertain yourself with (free sandwich if you can ride it). A sign up front promises beer soon.
For the most part, the menu is straightforward. Brisket, sausage, ribs and chicken with the basic sides; coleslaw, potato salad, chips, fries and beans. One-, two- or three-meat plates are served with two sides ($9.99 to $12.99). If you're so inclined, there's also a four-plate sampler ($14.99). And sandwiches with any meat are served with fresh baked bread.
There are few items on the menu that enhance the typical barbecue experience. First, the aforementioned bread rolls, which are light and fluffy orbs served toasted and buttery. They're generous with the bread, too: the waitress saw we were sharing plates and brought us out four extra buns.
Eddie Deen Crossroads also serves a very respectable bowl of borracho beans and the Slappin' Jack dirty rice loaded with toothpick-thin strips of brisket is something unique. Those two alone could make a meal. However, you get both as sides with an order of the four braised brisket taco special. I realize you're purists and can't stand the idea of tacos at a 'cue place, but I like options when done well, and these were.
The smoky ribs are covered with a sticky brown-sugar honey glaze but also pack some cayenne heat. The brisket is sliced after it's ordered and is juicy and tender. The sauce is kept on a low simmer in a crock-pot-type deal and is a tad sweet, but certainly good enough to slather all over any left over bread.
Eddie Deen owns an adjacent spot outdoors, along Randoll Mill where they host tailgating parties prior to Cowboys games, which seems like the perfect time to try to ride the backwards bike. Ride it fast enough and you maybe you can go back in time to Sunday and tell Jason Garrett to run the clock out.