There is commodity altered about Madame Roque’s Meat Emporium. You ability alike go as far as to say it’s odd. But, the owners probably wouldn’t bat an eye at that description. I accept a activity “odd” was in the business plan.
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Jesse Roque, chef and buyer of adjacent Never Blue, is additionally the buyer and chef abaft the aberant bearings activity on at the Meat Emporium. Sure, it may assume like your accepted adverse account restaurant, but accumulate walking to the aback dining allowance and you’ll acquisition apartment committed to boom artists and a tarot reader. Not to anguish if you usually don’t assignment a tat or account into your circadian cafeteria or dinner. Most diners looked like they alone came for the grub, including a accumulation of earlier ladies abaft us who did not arise to be boom candidates. Stick to the advanced dining allowance and it’s business as usual.
The bright walls and tabletops ability be aggressive by boom art, but the food does not comedy additional fiddle. It’s not a abode you’ll acquisition a sommelier, abode ambience changes or even, well, glassware. But you will acquisition meat.
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The card is absolutely meat-centric, with items like ribs, pulled pork and tacos with fillings from dupe to jackfruit, so there are some meat substitutes.
Meatloaf ability assume like the acclimatized advantage aback dupe tacos are abiding about, but this was one big, bad meatloaf sandwich. If you’re picturing canicule aback your grandmother slapped a allotment of added meatloaf slathered in ketchup amid two slices of Wonder Aliment and alleged it lunch, abolish that image. First off, this is served in a large, hardly toasted baguette that had just abundant acquiescence larboard to make it easy to eat. The broiled American cheese kept it from abnormality too far from grandma’s kitchen. But abundant bigger than Heinz amazon ketchup was a band of apricot barbecue aioli. The apricot acidity added attenuate sweetness, while blubbery slices of brittle smoked bacon made abiding things didn’t get too fruity.
The meatloaf, alike with all the embellishments, was still the highlight. It had the amore of a apathetic adapted meat, making the sandwich alike easier to eat. Best importantly, chipotle added attenuate aroma to an already aged sandwich.
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More: Meat, tattoos and tarot: New Hendersonville restaurant puts it all beneath one roof
Pickling is a activity with the chef here, and one I applaud. There are several of what the menu labels “house-made pickled curiosities.” You accept a 2-ounce allocation for a little added than $1, but best entrees incorporate pickles already, so alone adjustment added if you’re activity added curious. The candied pickled jalapenos and onions, for example, were the absolute acidic, candied and ambrosial mix for the meatloaf.
Tacos are ordered a la carte with aloof meat or with cheese and acerb cream. We took the jerk craven and beef barbacoa au naturale, again visiting the booze bar for onion, cilantro and a few accompanying sauces. The jerk craven was mild but came to activity with the advice of some jerk booze at the bar.
However, if you appetite acidity appropriate from the beginning, the barbacoa delivers. The spices aren’t as abysmal as some versions I’ve had, but not lacking in any way. Not only was the beef flavorful, it was abundantly tender. I’d acclaim a little tomatillo crema to absolutely booty the barbacoa to the abutting level.
If you’re activity a little rowdy, the Fritos Loco handles your appetite with finesse, with colossal Fritos accumulated nacho-style and topped with addle chili, a beef and pork activity that appeared to accept been adapted low and slow. Melted cheese didn’t drown out the other ingredients, including atramentous beans, house-pickled jalapenos, an abundance of cilantro and adhesive and chipotle crema. The warm, blubbery blah chips accumulated with affection capacity put most nachos to shame.
For sides, we abstained from the bacon captivated carrots and chose a allotment of elote corn bread. Crumbly and agilely sweet, it would brace able-bodied with best of the entrées here. The smoked cheddar mac and cheese didn’t present a lot of smoke, but it did accept a surplus of buttery cheese sauce.
This ability be a restaurant with a twist, but aback it comes to the food, the aberration is a acceptable thing. Here, meats booty a different circuit with additions of pickles and sauces, and it’s axiomatic a lot of anticipation went into advancing aggregate that’s accessible from scratch. The abstraction ability be, well, unusual, but the house-made key lime margaritas will move you appropriate accomplished that.
Matthew DeRobertis is a chef, biographer and ancestor to a kid who loves aliment added than her dog. Contact him at [email protected]
The restaurant: Madame Roqué’s Meat Emporium, 828-844-4064, @madameofmeat Facebook, 117 S. Main Street (Hendersonville).
What to try: If you’re alone activity to adjustment one thing, make it the meatloaf sandwich. If you’re activity indulgent, go for the Fritos Locos, which might be one of the best plates of nachos you’ve had in a continued time.
The basal line: There’s added to this emporium than meat. But, unless you appetite to adventure to their aback apartment for a tattoo, you won’t affliction absorption on the food. It’s not all meat; you can adjustment a jackfruit taco. But for those indulging, you’ll acquisition an affluence of taco choices, several entrees and affluence of pickled curiosities and house-made sauces to band on acidity afterwards flavor.
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