It was date night and my husband and I decided to take a wander down Whyte Avenue on a Friday evening and see what trouble we could get into. Our journey (and amazing parking spot find!) led us to Meat.
First Impressions: As we walked in, the patio was packed and there was a pretty decent sized lineup of people waiting inside. They don't take reservations so at least we all have the same chance at a table. The ladies who greeted us were quick and friendly and took my name and cell phone number for the table. The system they use actually sends you a text when your table is ready, so you can feel free to wander away. If you leave and decide you no longer want the table, you can simply reply to the text and let them know. Very convenient! It was clean with an industrial feel and you can smell all of the tasty offerings making it nearly impossible not to want to dine there. We were quoted a 30 minute wait time, and opted to hang outside in the sunshine, as it was loud and packed inside.
Atmosphere: Meat is definitely a trendy spot on the ave as most people in there were twenty-thirty somethings dressed in their hipster finest. There is a large section of "community tables" that seat several groups of people all in a row. (I really, really dislike this!) However, there are a number of tables meant for individual parties as well. It was very loud, but I suppose this should be expected on a Friday night. The decor was mainly wood, exposed ceilings and more wood. Nothing fancy but definitely gave off a "this is where you come for meat" vibe.
The Food: Meat is essentially a smoked meat house and they are no slouch in the department. The whole dinner came out on a cookie sheet type tray with the sides in smaller dishes - "family style" is the name of the game.
The menu boasts brisket, ribs, pulled pork, fried chicken, sausage and roast chicken as the protein packed stars - but the sides are noteworthy as well. The potato salad was especially good, served in large chunks "deconstructed" with egg slices and green onions and an unusual sauce that complimented them perfectly. I enjoyed the brussel sprouts, however I was a bit saddened that they were shredded and finely diced instead of served in wedges - luckily they tasted amazing. The last side we nabbed was the mac and cheese - which was a spiral pasta in a white cheddar sauce. It was good, but definitely nothing to write home about. (I appreciated it the most when I needed something to cool my mouth down from the spicy sausage.) The assortment of house BBQ sauces were great as well, lots to choose from for every palate!
They had a large selection of Bourbon and beers on tap - my husband wasn't too happy they didn't serve any beers that were domestic, but quickly found something new to try out. I opted for a Boylan's Black Cherry Soda - they are hands down the best.
The Staff: It was very busy and the staff were clearly feeling the heat - both literally and figuratively. Our server however, was an absolute gem. She took the time to explain the menu, describe dishes and suggest things to us as first time diners. She was chatty (in a good way) and even took the time to join in on the fun when she caught me picking on my husband (again, good way!). As a former server, I have high expectations and she met every single one of them. I even asked for a manager on my way out to compliment her on a job very well done. Final Impression: Overall, I enjoyed Meat - but I wouldn't try to go again on a Friday night. Though no fault of their own, I felt very rushed to finish our meal and get out from the lineup of people who were just staring around the place from the entryway. It's the kind of place you can enjoy any day of the week when you just need a massive serving of meat. It was very loud, so not super great for conversations over dinner but the food was good, service was excellent and I had a good time. The Ratings: First Impression: 3/5 Atmosphere: 3/5
Food & Drinks: 4/5
Staff: 5/5 Final Impression: 4/5
You can check them out at https://www.meatfordinner.com/