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Buckeye Roadhouse
15 Shoreline Hwy.
Mill Valley, CA


Smoking section

What kind of burn out doesn’t like smoked meats? Not me. when I saw the chimney going, I flue over.

Think hunting lodge meets bar and grill. The bar area is clubby with booths lining the perimeter. When they are busy, you can see if you can grab a seat in there or eat at the bar. The dining room has an upstairs (that feels a little Siberia-y) and the ground level where there is a nice fireplace and comfy booths. On sunny days, they open the patio area where you can watch them feed the cool smoker. But bee-ware of the yellowjackets (even though they have traps everywhere, they tend to dive bomb your food.

Service: Fine. It didn’t seem to matter that my meat specification wasn’t asked for since the burger came out great. If I were the server, I would have asked if there was any issue with the mostly uneaten pie (for the kitchen’s feedback.)

Chicken wings ($8.95):
Nicely smoky and not greasy, these came with a smooth (none of those cheese lumps that I like so much) blue cheese dressing and radish halves. These were fine, but didn’t rock my chicken wing world.

Frito Misto ($7.95):
Green pepper, red onions, green beans, squid were lightly battered and deep fried. They were not at all greasy and were reminiscent of tempura, A squirt of lime, a dip in the green tomatillo sauce and I was happy with my tasty combo of treats.

Cheeseburger ($11.95):
Delish. When I ordered, the server didn’t ask how I wanted it cooked, but it arrived rare (which is fine by me.) The poppy seed bun from Panorama had a good texture and held up the beefy juices. I came with tomato, romaine lettuce, red onions, an assortment of pickled items including sliced pickles, a slice of ginger and a garlic clove. I forgot the specify “well done” on the fries but they were actually just right as they were served. Crispy on the outside with a moist starchy interior. Can’t beat that.

Ribs ($17.95):
Nicely smoky and not sauce laden, this meat was tender and flavorful. It came with some summery grilled, sweet, yellow corn on the cob. The good church-style coleslaw should have been in a little dish so that it’s dressing didn’t run into the ribs. These baby back ribs are pretty tasty.

Coconut Cream Pie ($7.25):
Okay, I was thinking Gilligan’s Island and had to order this. Sadly, it just didn’t hit the spot. Was it coconutty? yes. Was it creamy? yes. What was the problem then? Although they introduced texture by including coconut shreds, it had an unrelieved, homogenous, milky, nursery feel to it. Basically, it just wasn’t my thing. I’ll bet it’s better than Maryanne’s but it was wasted on me.

Espresso ($2.50):
Check out the lack of crema (this photo is before I drank any of it.) A disappointment in the taste department. Weak. They get their beans from Boyd’s. I wonder why they choose to go to a Northwest supplier when there are many fine roasters nearby who could supply them with fresh, tasty beans. There regular coffee ($2.25) also suffers from a thinness and lack of body. Coffee isn’t their strong suit.

The Buckeye isn’t a destination restaurant. It’s a safe restaurant to take conservative eaters who like to dip their toe into something a little (but not too) different.

They have signature dishes that stay on the menu, like the Oysters Bingo and S’more Pie. I like their fish and chicken dishes and they do a good job on veggies (although the cauliflower side dish and artichoke does nothing for me.) But their strongest feature is their smokehouse.

I’ve had lightly smoked tomatoes here that were absolutely delish.

Their cocktails are mighty good and they do a decent Sunday brunch.
This baby is smokin'! Located behind the restaurant is a large full-on outdoor smoker. Many of the Buckeye's most mighty dishes see the inside of this brick house.


Two carrots out of four

The Buckeye doesn't disappoint, but neither does it inspire. It's a fine, lovely place to dine with it's semi-quirky roadhouse style. The on-premise smoker is used to good advantage.



Buckeye Roadhouse Bathroom Rating:

Clean and well stocked. Men's room is decked out in green tile and is well maintained.

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