Friday, October 31, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008: Green Mesquite BBQ (Austin, Texas)

Following up on last Monday's night's party-of-seven-Man-Up dinner at The County Line, 8 of us (9, once Josh joined us after he had dinner) dined this past Monday night at Green Mesquite BBQ. Mike, Sally, Andrea, and Brett were all first timers.

Green Mesquite. I've passed it a thousand times. Turned my nose up at it a thousand times. Surely a BBQ place adjacent to downtown that I never hear people talking about, much less raving about, is not worth it. Maybe it's because my expectations were so low, but Green Mesquite, though not near the best BBQ out there, was a pleasant surprise. I'll return.

Before getting to the food (menu), some general positives: cozy atmosphere with local-interest wall decor; outdoor seating, with heaters; huge cups; huge to-go cups; lemons for your tea; awesome crushed ice; good portions and good prices; menus under the glass top on your table (a huge positive for those of us who can't stand touching menus).

Food: Not outstanding but solid. The pork ribs were user-friendly. Dry rub, small, and easy off the bone. Brisket was flavorful. Chicken leg was a little dry yet still tasted good. Thigh, from the same chicken quarter, was not dry at all. Turkey was pretty tasty and not too dry. Sauce was very good. Beans weren't bad, but the green beans were. Absolutely no taste at all. Kudos to the waiter for stepping in and stopping me from ordering green beans as both of my sides. Clearly, he had in mind what was best for me. In the sides' defense, I didn't want sides in the first place, but I didn't see an a la carte option for meat(s). I imagine they can just ring you up one or more meats. If it saves you money, I'd recommend it.

Mike: "I had the pork ribs, brisket, and sausage with a side of pinto beans and corn on the cob. The ribs were tender and practically fell off the bone. They were just as juicy too but I was disappointed I couldn't taste any smoke, which I like to at least know it's there. The sausage was ok, it had a good thick slightly charred casing however the inside seemed soft and empty, like the sausage wasn't packed well enough. The brisket wasn't the worst I have ever had, but wasn't the best. Again this is a meat I want to taste some smoke in and you could… burned into the top 16th of an inch of the meat. The flavor didn't seep into the rest of the meat thus making the 'brisket' more of a lightly smoked yankee pot roast. The BBQ sauce was pretty great, zesty but not over powering, everything a good standard BBQ sauce should be. Their pinto beans were pretty good and had a distinct flavor, spicy yet not hot. The corn on the cob was boiled and disgusting, I would have rather sucked on the towel the guy used to clean up the ice tea he spilled on our table."

Andrea, writing for herself and for Brett: "So, I preface this post with the fact that I, a native Texan, have been to eat barbeque at a real barbeque restaurant twice in my life. After admitting that I do in fact feel like a lesser Texans. That being said, I went to my first Man Up outing hoping it was nothing like my experience at The County Line the week before, with portions the size of my torso and a wait of 1 1/2 hours. I decided to share the 3 meat plate with Brett due to my fear of monstrous portions. We ordered chicken, brisket and pork ribs. The chicken was moist but not great and according to Brett the ribs were too overdone, but the brisket was Green Mesquite's saving grace. The great company made up for the waiter spilling an ocean of iced tea on my lap. The food, as a whole, was average and I think Green Mesquite is missing that quirky personality of some of the family-owned establishments outside of Austin."

Greg, who suggested Green Mesquite for the Monday-night outing, writes, "Green Mesquite was good, not great, but much better than I expected. We had a great pro-freedom group. No commies in this crowd (not that there is anything wrong with that)! Turkey: Very good…not great, but pretty good. Brisket: I had a couple of great pieces and a couple that were very pedestrian. Chicken: What I had was good, although I was quite full by the time I go to the chicken, so I probably didn't give it a fair shake. Potato Salad: Good, but nothing special. Green Beans: I didn't like them at all. BBQ Sauce: It was fantastic…it made everything just a little bit better, but it wasn't overpowering. Ice Tea: They had the best ice…every restaurant should have sonic ice like that. Overall: Much better than our last outing and another great group. Plus the prices were unbelievable. You couldn't beat them and it is right down the road from my apt. I might have a new hangout. I wish it was warmer outside so I could have enjoyed the patio."

Kalese finishes things off with two quick comments: "Sauce was a little sweet for my taste, but the best part was the awesome ice."

Mike's scores - Pork ribs: 7; Sausage: 3; Brisket: 3; Sauce: 8; Pinto beans: 6; Overall experience: 5

Andrea & Brett's scores - Chicken: 7; Brisket: 9; Pork ribs: 6; Cole slaw: 6; French fries: 4; Sauce: 7; Service: 4; Ambiance: 4.5; Overall experience: 6.7

Sally's scores - Sausage: 6.8; Brisket: 9.3; Fried okra: 8; Potato salad: 7.9; Sauce: 9.4; Atmosphere: 7.7; Overall experience: 8.9

Drew's scores - Brisket: 8.6; Pork ribs: 9; Chicken: 8.5; Turkey: 8.7; Beans: 7; Green beans: 5; Atmosphere: 9.1; Overall experience: 8.8

Greg's scores - Turkey: 9.4; Brisket: 9.4; Chicken: 9.3; Potato salad: 9.1; Green beans: 5; Sauce: 9.7; Iced tea: 9.9; Overall experience: 9.5

Kalese's scores - Turkey: 8; Brisket: 8; Sauce: 8; Overall experience: 8

Amir's scores - Pork ribs: 8; Chicken: 8; Brisket: 8.5; Overall experience: 8.75

Overall Man-Up Score: 7.95

Green Mesquite BBQ & More on Urbanspoon


Russell said...

Solid write up folks...sorry to have missed it, but what I'm reading comports with my own past experiences at Green Mesquite. While yall were enjoying that, I was manning up on some Tennessee pulled pork shoulder in Nashville (Jack's on Broadway) and New Johnsonville, TN (Whitt's). More on that later. RP

Mike said...

Wow, 7.95! Way to squeek up there Green Mesquite...

Todd said...

Sorry I missed Monday night. I love how the scores ranged from 5 - 9.5!