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