Texas BBQ Reviews: Green Mesquite

On January 19, 2014, in Uncategorized, by admin

 Visitors from other states and countries have a hard time grasping the size of Texas.  They can’t quite understand how someone can drive 11 hours straight east or west and STILL be in Texas.  Even from Central Texas it is anywhere from 5-8 hour drive to get to another state.  With such size comes diversity. One of the great pleasures of living in Texas is the food. From Tex-Mex, German, Czech, Vietnamese, and others, each wave of immigrants have brought their own home land dishes here and have mixed into a true fondue of flavors.  The same is true of Texas BBQ.  There are thousands of BBQ places in this state from corporations to shade tree smokers, selling BBQ only a couple days a week.  We freely admit it is better to review a spot after several visits but with so many options, frequently it is hard to visit a particular BBQ place more than once.  That is not the case on this review of The Green Mesquite.  Long-time Austin visitors have fond memories of the restaurant on Barton Springs Rd.  They now have branches in South Austin and Round Rock and the latter one is today’s review.  The store is in a strip mall just off I-35.  The inside is bright and cheerful, without a lot of the faux-Texas “grannies closet” of wagon wheel, barbed wire fence, cow skull décor.  The long bar at the back has full offerings of the alcoholic beverage of your choice and a couple of HD TV’s dot the walls.

The friendly staff is quite helpful, and for first timers, that can be critical because the menu is huge.  From Chicken Fried Steak, to salads, to burgers, to BBQ, it is a full menu.  And that frequently is a concern with BBQ places.  Do they spend enough time concentrating on the BBQ, or are they too diverse, and hence watered down?  Well,  the answer here  is a little bit of both.   We have tried several 3 meat plates and the CFS (that’s Chicken Fried Steak for those not used to speaking Texan).   The 2, 3, 4 meat plates all come with two sides and a slice of white bread with pickles and onions optional.  The sauce comes on the side. The sauce is tomato based, with a little kick that enhanced the meat.  The sides options are many.  Those we have tried include the Cole Slaw, fresh made, crunchy with long strips of cabbage, not chopped fine like most places.  That was very good.  The mustard-based potato salad also tasted like it was made in-house that day and gets a good grade.  The green beans were crunchy and a little salty. The fried Okra was not impressive.

SO how was the BBQ?  Well, the brisket was tender, but with only a little smoke ring, no char.  The smoky flavor was quite good.  The sausage was sliced thin, with a very smoky flavor,  It had a little kick, but like most BBQ sausage, it was a little greasy. The barbecued turkey was outstanding, maybe the best we have ever had on the BBQ Road. Tender, juicy, smoky.  We need to remember this for next Thanksgiving.  It may be easier to buy several pounds of their turkey rather than spending hours prepping and cooking and carving ours. Hmmmm….not a bad idea.  The pulled pork was average, with long thin shreds with a fine light vinegar based sauce.  The pork ribs were a major disappointment, dry and tough.  The Chicken Fried Steak (CFS) spilled over the side of the plate it was so large. Crunchy, flavorful, with good white gravy, everything CFS should be.

The sides get a B+ for their freshness and large types of options.  The meats get a solid B.  Some very good, others not so much, which lowers the overall grade.  Given the good value of food for the price, we will give the overall grade a B+.

The BBQ Road goes ever on…..

 

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