I love meat.
That doesn’t feel right. Let me try this again. I love Meat.
On a recent Friday evening before a show at the Riverwalk with two of my favorite men, our plan was to meet at Old Town’s hottest restaurant, also the one most recently visited by 90s dreamboat Gavin Rossdale. I had a few moments to cool my heels while waiting for my men and I poked my head inside to case the joint. A cow skin covers much of one wall, and the posteriors of diners covered all seats. Fortunately, just as my companions showed up a table emptied and we were able to sit right down.
The menu is straightforward- lots of meat and a few sides. The three headliners are brisket, pulled pork, and something called Texas Hot Link that the waitress informed me is a kind of sausage. Upon her recommendation, I chose the brisket combo plate. The combo plate, which you can order with any of the three meats, also comes with two sides. You step right up and make your choice between macaroni and cheese, blue cheese and bacon potato salad, bourbon baked beans, ranch slaw, hand-cut fries, or the “seasonal vegetable” offering. The seasonal vegetable offering that night? Glazed apples.
I was confused too.
Our waitress hit me with some serious side-eye when I asked her to “talk to me about the ranch slaw.” Her response of “Well, it’s cole slaw,” didn’t exactly sell me, so I chose the bourbon baked beans and the fries. Don’t get me wrong, I am a human being and I obviously wanted the blue cheese and bacon potato salad, but it had run out. I hear that is Meat’s biggest problem, so don’t be mad when they’re out of something that you wanted. We want to encourage fledgling restaurants in town, and if they’re running out of food, they’re doing something right.
Our orders came out relatively quickly and the waitress gave us a rundown of the five sauces held in a little bin on our table. One was a traditional Kansas City BBQ, and as the presentation continued my brain turned off until she said the words “hot garlic.” I know it ain’t ladylike, but this lady loves garlic and loves spicy. This sauce, while flavorful and welcome in limited increments, was seriously flirting with the line between “pleasantly spicy” and “too spicy for you to even enjoy what you’re eating because you are concerned that sweat has permeated your shirt and nobody is ever going to want to kiss you again because you’re an animal.” Be warned.
The brisket portion was massive. I counted six thick slices of beef, which was tender to the touch of a plastic fork. That’s necessary at Meat because the only cutlery provided is plastic forks, housed in the sauce bin. Alongside the slices were what I would call “burnt ends,” the pieces that fall off the brisket and are charred and full of fat and flavor. The burnt ends were explosions of intense flavor. The brisket itself was delicious, tender, a little spicy, and those six slices didn’t stand a chance against me.
My sides were a mixed bag. The bourbon baked beans were absolutely delicious- some of the best baked beans I’ve ever had. I was concerned that they might be a little too sweet and my concern was unfounded and stupid. The beans were smoky-tasting, with chunks of bacon in a thick, rich sauce. The texture, which can be so hard to nail on baked beans, was perfect. Nothing was mealy or mushy, and when the hot garlic sauce got to be too much I dipped my brisket into the beans for a little taste of Heaven right there on Turner Street.
The fries were a disappointment. I have nothing against shoestring fries, but they definitely don’t blow my skirt up. These in particular were overcooked, dry, and completely flavorless. I left more than half of them on my plate (which was fine, because I estimated my caloric consumption at that one meal to be about 8 zillion calories. Worth it.)
My dudes loved their pulled pork and macaroni and cheese. They agreed with me that the beans were bangin’ and informed me that that was an improvement over their last visit to Meat. I’m dying for the potato salad, so as soon as I run 10 miles I’m running myself right back over for a little more Meat.