Claim Jumper Restaurant Review
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
There are nearly 40 Claim Jumper restaurants across nine of these United States. I recently visited the one in Clackamas, Oregon to use a $25 credit I get every year for my birthday as a member of the Landry’s Select Club. If you have one or more of their restaurants near you, I recommend looking into becoming a member. I joined as a fan of the McCormick and Schmick’s restaurants in the Portland area, most specifically the legendary Jake’s Famous Crawfish and have found it to be a really good deal.
I had enjoyed a meal at a Claim Jumper restaurant in Southern California once before, but this was my first visit to one in my home state. I decided to order the Pork and Beef Ribs combo ($25.99) and opted for a small green salad (blue cheese dressing on the side) and their Fried Macaroni and Cheese as my side dish. Water to drink.
The meal came with a sizable loaf of hot bread, top brushed with butter and garlic, that was very light and fluffy on the inside. Especially when first sliced. It was tasty, too! However, sadly, this would turn out to be the highlight of the meal. I know I’ve just thrown the cart in front of the horse, but I urge you to read on.
I didn’t expect much from a chain restaurant salad and I didn’t get much from this chain restaurant salad. Mostly iceberg with a few stray highlights of carrot, red cabbage and (assumedly) romaine tossed in. My side dressing was obviously ranch, so I requested the blue cheese dressing I’d ordered. When it came, I still wasn’t entirely convinced it was blue cheese. Fairly unimpressive, but adequate it was.
Long before finishing my salad, the main event arrives! A big plate of ribs with veggies and fried triangles of mac and cheese. It looked pretty good! But as we all know, looks can be very deceiving. The veggies were mostly carrots and squashes and a very odd and disconcerting mix of textures ranging from near-soggy to just-barely-cooked-enough. The fried triangles were decidedly lacking in the cheese department, but well-endowed with breading and pasta. I assume what you’re really wanting to know is…how were the ribs?
Well…..everybody does ribs differently, I guess. I’ve never had them done quite like this before. The barbecue sauce must have a very high sugar content as it had caramelized over most of the meat surfaces. In some places, the sauce was solid and crunchy like candy. The pork ribs were a little more tender, but my bites of the beef ribs ranged from barely looking at tender to very, very, very dry. Had my ribs been overcooked? I certainly hope so. I can’t imagine any restaurant to be proud of serving that on a regular basis. But maybe caramelized, dry, partially stringy beef ribs are their thing. I don’t really know and I’m not interested in doing that research.
The service was good save the way-too-early arrival of the main course and the oopsie on the salad dressing. It’s a family restaurant and not all families ensure that their children behave considerately in public. So, there is that. And there was that. The décor was pleasing as was the open floor plan, but I gather it can get pretty noisy in there at peak times. I arrived after the bulk of the dinner crowd had left. Maybe try them for a weekday lunch if you want a more relaxed atmosphere?
One thing that you can definitely get at Claim Jumper is CALORIES and SODIUM. I don’t often use capital letters in my writing, but these are capital amounts we are talking about. The ribs alone – not including the side dishes or anything else – pack a walloping 2004 calories and 3571 milligrams of sodium. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium to less than 2300 milligrams a day. The average American consumes about 3400 milligrams of sodium a day which is still less than what you have in just the ribs portion of this meal. Add the veggies, salad dressing and fried mac and cheese to the counts and you get a total of 3005 calories and 4925 milligrams of sodium.
WOW. That’s a big, bad, bug-eyed, gape-mouthed WOW. I love being wowed by a restaurant, but not by the sheer terror of their calorie and sodium counts. If you saddle up for Claim Jumper, do keep this detail in mind. Nutritional information for almost every item they serve is available on their website.
I certainly won’t be running back to Claim Jumper for another plate of their ribs any time soon, but I may return next year to use my $25 birthday credit from Landry’s again. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find my next meal there absolutely delightful. I wouldn’t bet on it, but stranger things have happened to stranger people.