Monday, August 17, 2015
Round 3: Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant (Nashville, TN)
This would make my third visit to Puckett's in the past six months. What can I say, it's a fantastic place to bring out-of-town guests who want the Nashville experience without being overly touristy. Plus the food is always delicious!
This time I only made our reservations two days ahead of time, and I was surprised to find so many available. The vacant dinner slots must not have lasted long though, because I overheard the hostess forecasting an hour-long wait time to the couple in line ahead of us. In order to properly entertain our guest, I had requested a table somewhat near the music stage, and Puckett's was happy to accommodate.
Tonight we were treated to the musical talents of The Mann Sisters. Both of these ladies had beautiful voices and made our time at Puckett's quite enjoyable. We especially liked their Fleetwood Mac covers. Hopefully I'll get the chance to see them perform somewhere again.
I had considered an order of the Cherry Smoked Hot Wings for an appetizer, but our visiting dinner companion apparently isn't a fan of the bone-in variety. Fair enough. We got some Fried Green Beans instead, which honestly sounded just as good.
The beans came out nice and al dente, with just enough batter to crisp them up. The batter was also nice and light, allowing the beans to still stand out. I liked the accompanying chipotle bacon ranch dip a lot. It could have perhaps been a little spicier, but the flavors were superb.
The only barbecue item on Puckett's menu that I hadn't yet sampled was the pork rib entree, and I intended on rectifying that tonight. I ordered a half-rack of their Cherry Smoked Baby Back Ribs. These dry-rubbed, "Memphis-style" baby backs come with baked beans and potato salad, which probably would have been my side dish picks even if they hadn't been mandatory.
Potato salad is my favorite barbecue side, and this one did not disappoint. The big pieces of skin-on potato were bound together by just enough mayo to do the job without overpowering the natural potato flavors. I really liked the abundant pickles and onions as well. It was served room temperature, which was a nice change of pace from the ice-cold potato salads I often find. The beans, much like our green bean appetizer, were correctly cooked to an al dente. They were pleasantly sweet, with a somewhat spicy kick on the back end.
Although hickory is probably a more common choice for smoking pork, fruit woods like cherry do a great job, too. As a result of the mild wood, the ribs were only moderately smoky. There was also a slight sweetness, which stood out all the better without an overpowering smokiness. The meat itself was cooked perfectly. It took only a light tug to separate meat from bone, and each bite was extremely tender. For true Memphis-style, they probably need a heftier dose of dry rub, but otherwise the ribs were great.
Now at three for three, Puckett's has yet to let me down.
Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant
500 Church St
Nashville, TN 37219