I’ve heard rumblings about MEAT for Dinner, located in Old Strathcona on the West side of 104th Street, between 82 and 83 Avenues. I also heard it was one of those places that doesn’t take reservations and you sometimes have to share tables with complete strangers. In my head I gave this tom foolery a dismissive wave. When dining, I am not a fan of waiting for a table. I recognize that for some it can be fun social event mixing and mingling with other hungry people. But when I’m hungry and wanting a pre-dinner cocktail, I’m a royal bitch and my face will show it, and will suck the joy for anyone within 2 m of me. As for dining with others, well, I’m sure the majority of people have manners, but some don’t, and it is usually those who don’t have manners who sit next to me – just like I attract babies who find airplanes have a laxative effect, popcorn bag rustlers in movies, and men in enormous white trucks that spew black exhaust who tailgate me, then roar past in a huff.
That all said a friend of mine managed to survive a visit to MEAT and gave a glowing review of the garlic fries. Garlic fries? Yes please.
I went the first time last Saturday. If you recall dear Edmontonians, it was a sunny beautiful day, the Crashed Iced finals were going on that evening, and everyone in the neighbourhood seemed to be feeling groovy. We arrived around 5:30 pm, and already all tables were full, but, before RB (Royal Bitch) could make an appearance, we were offered a space at the bar. We accepted and beers were ordered. We were given the spiel about how the place works, and we were off! Food was ordered, devoured. Then a round of bourbon was ordered (isn’t that a great word? I love the sound of it. BOURBON). This finished supper perfectly.
I explained all this to Michael who holds the same trepidation as I do about loud communal dining, but when I explained HOW INCREDIBLY AWESOME the food is, so awesome it would be worth sharing a table sitting in a noisy place shouting at each other to have conversation. So we went.
Yes, twice in three days, I went to MEAT. From a food blog writers perspective it gives me a chance to really truly see what the place is about, and if the service is consistent.
Michael and I went on St. Patrick’s Day because it is one of Michael’s favourite days of the year. It is also an anniversary for us (we are the sort of couple that have anniversary dates for all sorts of things… first this, first that….). But honestly, you don’t need an excuse to go to MEAT. Just go.
Let me get this part out of the way. They do have a vegetarian sandwich offering on the menu. The rest of it, meat. Glorious meat.
Meat is ordered by the half pound, pound, quarter, half, whole, or link, all dependent on what sort of meat you are ordering. There is beef brisket, pulled pork, chicken, sausage, and a smoked special (which happened to be shrimp). There are sides. For those who insist on greens, there is a salad on the menu, but the rest is things like garlic fries (absolutely incredibly amazing), mac ‘n cheese, yams, coleslaw, and for the love of god pickles. Never understood the attraction to pickles, and shake my head at the offering of “pickle brine” added to a drink. To each their own.
A paragraph is warranted to their offering of bourbon. Michael was having a hey-day trying all the bourbon based cocktails offered on the menu. He was in heaven. From bitter to sweet, he tried the spectrum, and loved them all, declaring at the end of the evening how much he loves bourbon (you can’t slur the word bourbon). I had a beer with supper, and a bourbon to finish things, and although I do love bourbon, I love saying the word more. Say it with me now: BOURBON. As in, “I’ll have a Four Roses Single Batch bourbon neat please”. They added an ice cube. I worked through this, and forgave them.
As my pal observed on my first visit, the food is simple, but simple is sometimes the absolute best.
MEAT’s website is pretty awesome too. It’s easy to navigate, no fiddly things that take time to render, great photos, accurate menu.
What you need to know before you go to MEAT:
- 8216 – 104 Street, Edmonton
- No Reservations
- Street parking (some free, some metered, good luck)
- Lot parking nearby (fee)
- Underground parking nearby (fee)
- Open at 5 pm, 7 days a week
- Brunch offered at 11 am on Saturday and Sunday
- Sturdy metal chairs – at the bar and at the tables
- Be prepared to share your table. Your space will be cordoned off by a divider of sauces.
- It can get noisy, in a friendly comforting sort of way
- Coat hooks available
- Come hungry, this place isn’t for dainty appetites
- Try a bourbon