Thursday, June 17, 2010

Restaurant Review- Sweet's Outdoor Grill

I never planned to publish reviews of eating establishments but at the request of one Theresa Overby, @TheresaOverby, of Doe's Eat Place I'll throw this into the mix.

I just finished gulping down a Brisket Plate from Sweet's Outdoor Grill , 2504 Government Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sweet's is a pretty simple place, a storefront with a large roof thrown out in front to cover the area where patrons order food and some plating occurs. No seating. No reservations. Get in line Brother. The menu is pretty much standard BBQ fare- chicken, rib, brisket, sausage plates or sandwiches make up its bulk. There are options for 1/2 pound or full pound meat only plates, which I almost considered. Side dishes include smoked beans, potato salad, rice dressing, and cole slaw. Sweet's also offers Italian Ice, a shaved ice or snowball like product and cookies as well as bottled cold drinks.

I was already on my way to campus so I packed my brisket plate and found a seat near the BRCC admin building. There I opened the black foam container to find my brisket, rice, potato salad, and cole slaw. My first impression was, "Wow the brisket looks great, but there just doesn't seem to be enough of it." How much brisket was there? I can't say. I imagine that it was somewhere between a quarter and a third of a pound. For ten dollars I wanted more.

Sides: The Cole Slaw- This reminded me of Waldorf Salad. A traditional cabbage cole slaw with rasins, walnuts and a bit of red pepper added kick. It was different for certain. People who know the Red Stick food scene will already be familiar with TJ Ribs cole slaw with peanuts. This is not as creamy or a dense with crunch. Walnuts are more of a solid bite through and offer different mouth feel. The raisins are a nice touch adding some sweetness that the acid in the dressing can be balanced with. The red pepper on the otherhand was not as obvious as the other ingredients. The first bite was surprising. Where did all this heat come from? It is unusual, but not a bad idea. I think that this could be incorporated a little better with some slight changes.

The Potato Salad- Sweets offers a standard Mustard Potato Salad. It is quite creamy both in mouthfeel and in taste. Plenty of paprika gives a good smokey flavor to this dish.

The Sauce- This is a vinegar and ketchup based sauce. There is a good bit of vinegar bite and quite a bit of sweet added from an unknown source. I'd hazard the guess that they use straight white sugar not a molasses or brown sugar. It is most definately not a bastardization of Cattlemen's.

The Rice- While I've lived in Louisiana for ten years now, I just cannot fathom why Sweet's plates with rice. This is plain white rice and butter, not rice dressing. Perhaps the idea is that it, like the white bread many BBQ joints serve, is to sop of grease. If so, I still don't understand why it is on the plate because they sold me a piece of white bread as well.

The Meat- The brisket was well done. Cooked through. No food safety issues to think of. Bark lovers rejoice, there is bark, nice crunchy black bark on this meat. Those of you who measure a man's meat by the depth of the smoke rings he leaves: One eigth to one quarter of an inch deep depending on the piece of meat. Plenty of smoke seasoned the brisket. It seemed that the rub stayed on the outside of the meat as only a few of the pieces in my container had much more than a smokey flavor. I could discern the standard rub ingredients, cumin, paprika, sugar, garlic powder, and salt. I did like the brisket, but I wanted more.

Unfortunately I did not catch Sweet's Outdoor Grill's hours. I was aware enough at the time to see that they do take three kinds of plastic- Visa, Master Card, and Discover. Plates are between 9 and 12 dollars.

Summary- I'd love to try more of the sides. If Sweet's other dishes were crafted with the same kind of imagination that went into the cole slaw they must be interesting and worh the time and money to try. I would love to trade the rice for more meat on my plate. I do plan to drop in again. And when I do I will try the rib plate with a different set of sides. Good barbeque, good low and slow smoking cooking methods do take time and while the cuts aren't always the most expensive, that time is a cost. What does that mean? I don't think the price I paid was out of line- if only I had a few more pieces of meat. Please Mr Sweet, ditch the rice. I will be back.

Sweet's Outdoor Grill
2504 Government StreetBaton Rouge, LA 70806
(225) 308-1414


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Sweet's Outdoor Grill Facebook Fan Page

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi! This is the owner of Sweet's Outdoor Grill, just dropping in to say you should come on back by, ownership has changed hands and things are definatly different. Also, we can go over some of the spices you thought we used in out foods, like it's not Paprika on the potato salad, and it's not red pepper in the cole slaw. The brisket rub is something other than the cumin, paprika, onion rub that was mentioned either, and if you thought that brisket was good you should try it now, it's one of the best sellers. Prices are lower and the weather is great, so I am personally inviting you to come by for a tour.