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Comment Archives: Locations: Food and Drink: 4 Stars: Last 30 Days

Re: “Puckett's Grocery

Round 2.

This was my second dinner at Puckett's, and it poured down rain both times. If Mother Nature is trying to stop me from eating here, she's going to have to do better than that.

I had planned on a smaller-size entree than usual, so I made sure to get an order of Bubba's Bones as an appetizer. Bubba's baby back ribs are dry-rubbed, cherry wood-smoked, flash-fried, and tossed in a sweet-hot barbecue sauce. That's a lot of hyphenated deliciousness. These were undoubtedly some of the best baby backs I've ever eaten, mostly because Puckett's actually knows how to cook them correctly. The ribs were very tender and equally juicy. Bubba's sauce was as hot as advertised, yet it was also oddly pleasant. It burned my lips for a few minutes afterward and definitely got my palate revved up.

On my first trip to Puckett's, I got a traditional two-meat barbecue plate. Today, however, I had only one thing on my mind: Piggy Mac! It's basically a personal-sized skillet of pulled pork topped with smoked Gouda macaroni and cheese. The Piggy Mac is supposed to come with an unnecessarily-healthy house salad, but I requested a side of smashed sweet potatoes instead. There was also mention of a jalapeno johnny cake.

I could definitely taste the jalapeno in the johnny cake, and there was only a moderate spiciness so I could enjoy it, too. The slight sweetness also helped to temper the heat quite nicely. Their sweet potatoes were as butter-heavy as good comfort food should be. I would have liked some marshmallows though, and maybe a little cinnamon or nutmeg to jazz up the flavors.

With the delectable Piggy Mac sitting before me, it was impossible to spend more than a minute or two tasting the side dishes. The macaroni was gooey and delicious, and its crumbly topping was a perfect crunchy addition to the overall texture. The pulled pork was just as tender and tasty as it was during my first visit. I managed to uncover a few bits of pork that still had their smoke ring. There were a few hints of smoke here and there, although cheese was certainly the dominant flavor. The melted cheese also made this dish a little greasy, but otherwise it was spectacular.

Their Deep Fried Brownie Sundae is almost irresistible, so the fact that we skipped out on dessert should tell you how full we all were. I'm already aching for another excuse to eat at Puckett's.

Read my full review, complete with pictures:

The Barbecue Fiend
http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2015/05/…

Posted by The Barbecue Fiend on 05/29/2015 at 7:45 PM

Re: “Merchants

I wandered downtown to meet my mom and aunt, who were visiting for a few days. They're into touristy stuff, so I thought that Merchant's on Broadway would be a great spot to take them for lunch. I suppose I could have taken them to Robert's Western World or Wildhorse Saloon if we wanted to get super touristy, but those places are a bit more than I can handle.

There are still a few obvious remnants of the original pharmacy business in their first-floor bistro area, including the layout, marble counters, and abundant natural lighting. Even the attitudes at Merchants seem reminiscent of the past, exemplified by the hostesses and waitstaff who gave my family some great Nashville hospitality.

I didn't really have barbecue on my mind when we walked into Merchants, but when I saw a Smoked Brisket entree on the menu, I couldn't resist the temptation. Theirs comes with cornbread, coleslaw, and a chipotle-sorghum barbecue sauce. I asked for sauce on the side and also requested the house-made potato chips as a substitute side dish.

As expected, the potato chips were terrific. They were thick-cut chips with a ton of crunch. It was also patently obvious that they were homemade. The cornbread was beautifully sweet and very buttery. It tasted like there might have been some molasses mixed right in (or at least maybe some brown sugar).

Merchants' brisket is prepared with something they call a "Music City Rub," although I'm not sure exactly what that is. The meat was much smokier than I envisioned, so much so that it was immediately noticeable when I took my first bite. Their rub seasoning was decent enough, but the brisket didn't have much of a crust to speak of, so I feel like I missed out on a potential flavor source there. Despite its leanness, the brisket was still tender and juicy. What little fat there was had certainly soaked up plenty of flavor from the smoking process. It was rendered well, though there was a little too much of it packed together. The chipotle-sorghum barbecue sauce was good, too. It was only somewhat spicy, but paired nicely with the brisket.

We had an excellent meal at Merchants, and I'm sure we'll be back.

Read my full review, complete with pictures:

The Barbecue Fiend
http://barbecuefiend.blogspot.com/2015/05/…

Posted by The Barbecue Fiend on 05/27/2015 at 9:37 AM

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