I've been hearing lots of good things about MEAT and I was really looking forward to trying it out. It's a cool, casual smokehouse serving up authentic BBQ, southern-style sides, cool cocktails and cold beer.
The atmosphere in MEAT is laid-back and welcoming. The styling is clean & crisp with a twist of vintage. My only small quibble would be the noise level in the room - it was so loud that I was having a hard time hearing my sister across the table (BTW, it makes me feel ancient to complain about the noise - yeesh - but I wanted to be fully honest!). Maybe they need some art on the walls to absorb a bit of the sound.
At MEAT the food is served family-style. As a group you pick what types of meat you want (and how much) then what sides you want and it all comes out together on a large tray. We ordered the special, a meat sampler. It had a little bit of each type of meat on the menu for $40 (perfect for finding out what your favourite is for next time...and there will be a next time).
We tried pulled pork, BBQ ribs, andouille sausage, smoked chicken, fried chicken and beef brisket - whew! That was a LOT of meat! If I had to pick a favourite it would be a toss-up between the fried chicken and andouille sausage, but the ribs and pulled pork would be close seconds. The smoked chicken was also really good (great smokey flavour, nice and juicy). The beef brisket was melt-in-your-mouth tender and had a nice smoke ring on it, but I think it could have been a bit more flavourful; it really needed a bit of MEAT's mustard sauce to come alive. Speaking of sauces, MEAT offers four house-made sauces (bourbon, cherry, spicy & mustard) to mix and match with your meal. It was fun to see which sauce paired best with each type of meat.
To accompany our meat feast we ordered coleslaw, brussels sprouts & baked beans (Hannah's favourite) - all in the small size, as well as a couple pickles and a slice of bread ($1 each). The beans had awesome flavour - nice and tangy, but creamy and soft. The coleslaw had a creamy dressing, but wasn't overly dressed (perfect!), and the brussels sprouts were shredded and cooked with garlic (I think) and also very tasty.
Even though I/we were super-super-full, we decided to order a few desserts to share. Trev and I had heard that the pecan pie was ah-maaaze-ing. It did not disappoint! Delicious and tender filling topped with crunchy, tasty pecans; the spice balance was perfect and it wasn't overly sweet. I totally recommend it.
We ordered the chocolate bacon sundae too. There were several enormous pieces of bacon dipped in dark chocolate sticking out of a sundae with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and crushed peanuts. The bacon flavour wasn't too strong and just salty enough. I'm not usually into the bacon-everything trend (especially bacon + sweet), but I have to admit, I actually liked this one.
We were there on a Tuesday night and the place was BUSY! We arrived around 5:45 and didn't have any difficulty finding a place to sit, but when we left at 7 there was a line-up. MEAT doesn't take reservations, so if you're heading there (and don't want to wait in line) go early!
Overall, we really enjoyed MEAT. The food was good and pretty reasonably priced. There was so much food that we took leftovers home, we devoured two desserts, had 2 beers and 1 lemonade and the bill was just under $100. I'm already looking forward to my next visit :)