Monday, August 25, 2008

The BBQ Song

This says it all. Good find, Grant!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fat Matt's Rib Shack Grant's Version

OH YEAH!! Fat Matt's Rib Shack

If you are in town for business or if you are in some type of music group or if you are a big fat person, then Fat Matt's is the place to be. Rumor is that: there is a Matt, but he is not Fat. I know, kinda depressing. Great name for the place, but if everyone knew that Fat Matt wasn't fat then there will be rioting in Buckhead. Parking can be a bit hairy, depending if there is construction on Piedmont or if it is a prime feeding hour.

We really got lucky going in; after we got there the place got packed. It is a small place with a small stage for bands. The stage takes up about 1/4 of the inside. They also have a tables outside. You can even sit in the same seats that Tenacious D sat in; as seen in their DVD set.

Their menu is a painted 4X8 sheet of plywood. You can't miss it. It is short and sweet, and Oh so sweet it is. The menu consists of ribs, pork sandwich, chicken, sides, & drinks. Nothing fancy, unless you like the colors of the menu. Order at the counter and have a seat. The food comes out pretty quick.

No chopped beef or brisket on the menu, so I go with what has made them famous: Ribs. I get a 1/2 slab and some brunswick stew. The stew is quite blended, but not too bad and not soupy. It's like a good hash. It is flavorful and a tad smokey. Not the prettiest but it is still tasty. The ribs are it!! Probably the best is in Georgia if not the south. No hard work needed to get the meat to fall off the bone. It can get very sloppy. You will probably want to bathe your baby with one of these ribs. They are that good. The slab comes with some sliced white bread and a cup of bbq sauce. The sauce is a tomato based sauce. It is sweet but not overly sweet, ketchupy, and again a little bit smokey. It also as a very mild heat to it. Just enough to tickle the back of your throat after you've left.

Fat Matt's is really a special place and is getting to be an Atlanta landmark. Just remember to get the ribs and bring a baby.

Fat Matt's Rib Shack: A Good Solid "A"

Episode 2: Fat Matt's Rib Shack

First, a little history. This blog was started in part to my negative reaction to a certain barbecue chain that will go unnamed until we get around to doing an actual review. This mystery restaurant is the favorite of one of my bosses. When I finished giving my reasons for
detesting this place ( and in the process probably killing any slim chance for a raise I may have had), he asked me where I thought the best place in Atlanta was. My answer?

Fat Matt's Rib Shack

Now, before you start typing up your emotional rebuttals, Let me remind you he asked me for the best in Atlanta, not the best in the metro area, not the best in the state. There are better barbecue places around, but I have yet to find one in the ATL city limits to top them. That may change in the coming months.

To Be honest, Fat Matt's Rib Shack's specialty is, obviously, ribs. Ribs are not what I judge a barbecue place on. For the purposes of this blog, I'm sticking to the pork sandwich and the brunswick stew, the hamburger and fries of the barbecue world. Fatt Matt's makes an excellent chopped pork sandwich. There's is different than most because they somehow infuse the meat with the sauce, so it comes to you kinda orangish looking, and stays together well. Sauce is also added on top of the meat, as with a regular sandwich you'd get anywhere. I have an admission to make: The sandwich was so good, I didn't even realize it didn't have a pickle on it, which I complained about in my Wallace's review last time. I guess I owe Wallace's a slight apology in that regard. Sandwich: A

The stew at Fat Matt's is also very good. I'd say it was a couple of notches on the rich side, just enough to provoke such a comment, but not enough to effect your enjoyment. It's pleasing to look at as well, not blended into soupy sameness. Stew: A-

Of course, The place itself is an exercise in authenticity. It seems to emanate a wonderful greasy, neon glow, even at 1:00 in the afternoon! It is kinda small, so don't be surprised if you bump a few elbows maneuvering around inside. They have an outside area that handles the overflow from inside very well in the warmer months. If you like to hear the blues played for the pure love of it, Fat Matt's hosts some fine bands at night as well. Decor/ambiance: A

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wallace BBQ From Grant's Side of the Table

I agree with Scott, if you see a bunch of fat guys hanging out around outside the place, it's got potential. Plus the number of work trucks right along side Cadillacs, Audi's, & nicer sedans makes me think this place is somewhat well established. Inside everything is brown. No dankness. Maybe cause it had been renovated in the past several years. It also has a big wait area inside.

Sit anywhere you like, just remember to grab a menu off the mantel or china hutch by the door, or make sure a waitress sees you come in. During a busy lunch you may not get noticed for a while. Menus are easy to navigate. No extra frilly appetizer section or franchise-jargon ; it goes right into plates, sides, sandwiches, and a la carte. Very good for a BBQ joint. No Sass to cover up for poor food. I'm very hopeful and excited after looking at the menu.

It get my standard, a beef plate & some Brunswick stew. "Beef??", you say. Yes beef, maybe I have a little bit of Texas in me. But if it is good enough, I may come back for other things. Besides I do not eat pork, except for Bacon, Pork Chops, BBQ Pork, & Pork Rinds. Sorry, I don't dine on swine. Anyways... I noticed you can add extra meat for $2 more. OK, do that to me too, I'm excited about heart attacks. So I have a beef plate, fries and some stew coming to me. After Betty leaves (all waiters & waitress are Betty), I realize I forgot to ask if it is going to be sliced, chopped, shredded, etc. So I get worried.

After a short wait, Betty brings back some grub. My plate is a circular divided cafeteria-standard issue plate, and an extra bowl full of stew. Betty also brings out an extra bowl of sauce. Luckily the beef is chopped. Everything looks good and cafeteria safe.

Their sauce is a vinegar based sauce. So it does not lay on top of the the food. It kinda soaks right in. I'm more partial to the tomato based sauces, but when in Austell. A little peppery more than vinegary tasting. It seems to separate after a few minutes. The beef is great, very tender especially cause I'm tossing more sauce onto it every few moments. Fries are poor, but it may have been a bad day for the spuds. I did get some bread with the plate. Just white a hamburger bun. I would have liked some sliced white bread instead. All BBQ joints should have sliced white bread ready and waiting. The stew is soupy and very generic. Really it seems like the ol' standard put everything into the processor & blended it up type of stew. Not a lot of spice in it, not lot of flavor. Adding Wallace's own hot sauce (provided at the table) does help out.

After leaving we become some of the fat guys hanging around outside. The parking lot seems a lot more empty now. I think Scott was wanting to have a cigarette. I was very happy with the chopped beef. I will probably get the stew again. But next time I may go for the ribs. Also I did over hear the guys behind us order what type of cut they want. So if you're into asking for center-cut, or side-cut, or end pieces, you may be in luck.

Wallace BBQ on a very good day would get an A-. On a regular day B-.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Our first review: Wallace's BBQ in Austell

Wallace's Barbecue

Pulling into the parking lot, Grant and I see a couple of hopeful signs: a healthy amount of pickup trucks in the lot, and a few large white guys milling about outside. When your clientle looks well fed, that's a good sign. It's an even better sign when some of the white guys standing around outside are in suits. That means the food inside is good enough to impress potential business partners, or is good enough to make important decisions easier.
Wallace's appears to be in it's second or third incarnation, because the place is pretty large and somewhat new looking for a barbecue joint. To me this dulls the experience a bit. The decorations on the wall (flair?), while not out of place at a barbecue establishment, somehow look like they were purchased out of the same catalog Zaxby's gets their stuff from. A picture of Elvis here, the front grill of a 57 Chevy hanging there, you get the idea. While there are a few pig figurines strategically placed about the restaurant, I don't think there are quite enough. A proper barbecue shrine has more idols of worship. I give the decor a B.
It takes a little while to get noticed by a waitress, and it takes just enough time to get our food that it's noticeable, but not overly tardy. Perhaps we're sweating the fact we're so far away from work on our lunch break. These are the lengths we have to go to find good barbecue here in NW Atlanta. The food arrives, and we dig in. Finally, some good barbecue in reach of our workplace! My meters for a good barbecue place are the pork sandwich, and the Brunswick stew. My sandwich gets good marks for being, first of all, chopped pork, moist (but not runny), having good kick with it's vinegar based sauce, and being small enough to hold in one hand (there is such a thing as a sandwich that's too big). However...there's a problem. No pickles! Ya gotta have pickles on a pork sandwich! Anyone who's ever eaten a Chik-Fil-A knows that ya gotta have that little extra something that pickle juice brings to the table! I give the sandwich an A-, which is easily upgradeable to a solid A by just asking for pickles to be added.
On to the stew. Overall, it was excellent! a couple of very small nitpicks: It was blended a little too much. In other words it was souplike in the fact that there weren't discernable pieces of the ingredients visible. I like to see little bits of corn, meat, or whatever in the stew. Just a visual thing. On the taste side, it was a bit "peppery", but delicious nonetheless. I give it an A!

Overall, I give Wallace's Barbecue a B+.
They are located at 3035 Veteran's Memorial Highway in Austell