Dam Good Food

My best friends and I have been best friends for going on 22 years now.

Christmas 2008
I’m the one in the green footie pajamas.

As happens when you get older, move away, get real jobs, get married, have children and find your lives filling up with the kind of activities that aren’t as important as they seem at the time, we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like.  So when we do find ourselves in the fortuitous situation of all being in the same city — and free of family and/or work obligations on the same night — we enjoy the hell out of that night.

This past Saturday night, I took my friends to Beaver’s for dinner.  Even the ones who live in Houston had never been before, so it was a treat to get them out there.  The thing I like about Beaver’s is that you get the feeling of having a special meal in a cozy, out-of-the-way spot without any of the pretentious trappings (and without the pretentious prices).  The waitstaff, bartenders and chefs are all serious about their trades, and it shows in every aspect of your meal.

The drinks, in particular, at Beaver’s are stunning.  This is old news, of course, but I tried a few on Saturday that were new to me.  The Rosemary Rickey is an old favorite, so I branched out to their Southern Gimlet (good if very strong) and later to a Mayahuel Fizz, a margarita-style mixed drink made with mezcal, rosemary syrup, foamed egg whites, lime and a dash of bitters.  Although small, it’s a revelation.  You’ll never want to drink another margarita anwyhere else, ever again.

Mayahula Fizz...or something.
Mayahuel Fizz, garnished with a sprig of rosemary. 

I would be writing this mini-review for Eating…Our Words if only Robb Walsh hadn’t done a smashing piece on Beaver’s only a few short months ago.  You should go and read it –  Busy Beaver’s — not just because it’s a spot-on review, but also because I really have nothing else of merit to add to what he wrote.  The place has improved drastically since Jonathan Jones took over and has genuinely returned to its intended purpose as an upscale icehouse/BBQ joint that takes its food seriously yet still has a fun time.

On Saturday night, I ordered the house special: a whole roasted pig.  My jaw dropped when the waiter described the special, until he quickly assured me that the entire pig wasn’t delivered to the table, only select parts.  Damn.

This Little Piggy Went to Beaver's
Whole roasted pig with kale and beans.

The parts I received were wonderful, with only a few rather tough exceptions.  A large, delicious chunk of pork loin was accompanied by a generous portion of crispy fried pork skin.  A few cuts of tender pork butt (the shoulder, not the actual butt…) and a few not-so-tender cuts of other shoulder meat rounded out the plate.  The entire collection was presented on a bed of sauteed kale and slow-cooked beans.  Although the beans could have cooked for longer (they were a bit too al dente for my preferences), the flavor was amazing — tangy and sweet without being cloying — and the dusky kale served as a perfect counterbalance.

My friends, for their part, enjoyed their macaroni and cheese, brisket sandwiches, fried pickles, beer-cheese dip and other assorted items as much as I’d hoped they would.  Comfort food taken to the next level was the keyword of the night, and we all had a wonderful time.  If Beaver’s continues this strong run, they could easily become my favorite restaurant of 2009.

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6 responses to “Dam Good Food

  1. gorgeous shots! that drink looks yummy even at 8:36 in the morning. so how are you feeling about traveling with a much larger, conspicuous camera? i’d imagine that it certainly captures more attention from restaurant staff.

  2. @ imneverfull: Good question. It’s exponentially more difficult to take photos in restaurants with my enormous — yet awesome — camera. It requires an immense amount of stealth to take pictures undiscovered by waitstaff.

    That said, I was totally busted on Saturday night. My ninja photography skills need more practice. :) The waiter was very weird at first about me taking pictures until I assured him that I was just taking them for fun (which is true!) and not for some undercover Wayne Dolcefino-type investigation. :D After that, he relaxed and let me take pictures unmolested.

    Next time, I’ll have to be much craftier… :)

  3. Have Richard stand up in the middle of the restaurant and start doing the Irish step-dance while singing “Oh Danny Boy” at the top of his lungs.

    That’ll distract ‘em.

    (It would me. I mean, what the heck’s an English bloke doing singing “Oh Danny Boy” while Irish step-dancing?)

  4. haha – “other assorted items” I love how you didn’t even give the steamed cranberry muffins the satisfaction of mentioning their preposterous pan

  5. The next time you dine at Beavers, please ask them to open a restaurant in Asheville ASAP. My mouth is watering!

  6. Several people have mentioned that the food has gotten better, however the drinks have become worse. That’s unfortunate.

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