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“Fabulous ribs but soggy slaw”

Crystal Lake Rib House
Ranked #81 of 128 Restaurants in Crystal Lake
Cuisines: American, Bar, Barbecue, Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Full Bar, Parking Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dixon, Illinois
Level Contributor
41 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Fabulous ribs but soggy slaw”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 September 2013

When our grandson's football game was postponed in Lake Villa on Friday night, we realized we were very hungry and chose to go to Crystal Lake for some ribs. We'd been there before and really liked the food. I was really hungry so I ordered a full slab of ribs. They were excellent! The sauce is spicy and vinegary and the meat was tender and smoked just right. However, when I sought some "healthy" and crunchy slaw to ease the meat overload, I was disappointed in the soggy cabbage which tasted like it had sat around all day too near some fried fish. However, I'd go back anytime for the ribs!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank JudyD00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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108 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    39
    29
    15
    15
    10
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
66 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Delicious crazy huge portions”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2013

This was our second trip to the Crystal Lake Rib House. Five of us went mid afternoon and we could smell it a block away! The pulled pork and brisket sandwiches are so big we had to split an order ($3.00 charge for sharing). The baked beans were perfectly seasoned and not too soupy. Nachos came on a huge round serving tray and were enough to feed all of us, almost didn't need the meal! Only drawback is that when they are busy service can be a bit slow but worth the wait.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Sharon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Finger licking good, for real!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 June 2013

Though the restaurant is a bit tight on space don't let that keep you from enjoying some of the best ribs anywhere! Go before the rush like about 17:00 and feast on tender smokey perfectly cooked ribs. Waitresses and staff are great and always friendly. Price is about normal for a slab ~$20. Also included are sides and those soft hot rolls with honey butter. Yum!

Enjoy, on my way back Saturday.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Robert M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sycamore, Illinois
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“disappointed”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2013

This is our first visit and our last. We were told (table for 2) where to sit. The cold air was blowing on me so we moved to a different table (table for 4). The server told us to move back to the table for 2 because they were going to get busy and would need that table. So we moved back. We ordered a full slab of ribs and said we wanted to share our meal, she told us there was a $3.00 share charge ok. I ordered a side of fries. We got the meal, looked ok. The ribs for me were very spicy, so I didn't eat, didn't share, so when she finally came back to the table to check on us, I told her we did not share because the ribs were to spicy, I didn't want to be charged the $3.00. She was rude and said she took off the split charge because I ordered a side of fries. When we got the bill I couldn't believe I paid $7.00 for a glass of house wine. Oh by the way the table was never used. I was not impressed at all with service or food.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Linda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Level Contributor
201 reviews
118 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
“Poor Ribs, Slow Service, Dirty Venue”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 June 2013 via mobile

I was really hoping the Crystal Lake Rib House would be good. My wife and I finally had an opportunity to try this place and we were very disappointed when we did. The restaurant seating area consists of about 10 cramped tables indoors with a few tables on the porch outside. The floor inside was dirty, our table menus (also used as placemats) were dirty and the squeeze bottles (ketsup, hot sauce, BBQ sauce) were sticky and dirty. The ceiling had multiple water stains. Our server (never introduced herself by name) was nice enough but the pace was very slow. I was really willing to look past much of this if the food was good. However, that's where the real disappointment began. I ordered a half slab of baby back ribs. They came with fries and cole slaw. My wife ordered the buffalo chicken salad. The ribs were dry and too salty. The BBQ sauce was very sweet and did not have a good taste at all. The french fries tasted like they were fried in the same oil as the chicken. The cole slaw was dry and had no taste. The only positive with my meal was the bread that came with a honey/butter spread. My wife said the buffalo chicken salad was "average".

If you are looking for good south side of Chicago type ribs this is not your place. TGI Fridays has better ribs than this place and that's a shame because we would much rather support locally owned restaurants than a chain.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank chitown73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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