Monday, July 7, 2008

Nom Nom Nashville: Neely's Barbecue

For the Fourth of July this year, my husband whisked me away to one of our favorite destinations, Nashville, TN, where we embarked on many a culinary adventure. And let me tell you, it was fantastic!

First, we ate at Neely's Barbecue. Fellow Food Network geeks might be familiar with Neely's. Pat and Gina Neely have 2 shows on FN, "Down Home with the Neelys" and "Road Tasted with the Neelys". I love watching "Down Home" because they're husband and wife and so cute together. Kind of reminds me of me and my husband. They have two restaurants, one in Memphis (the original) and one in Nashville.

We were greeted by a friendly and pleasant staff. The restaurant itself is pretty large and looks like a typical barbecue restaurant/sports bar. You order your meal first at the counter and seat yourself at one of their high tables with red checkered tablecloths, and then they bring your meal out to you. There is a beverage station fully stocked so you can get your own refills. The menu has all of the classic barbecue restaurant selections, but with a few selections original to Neely's - barbecue nachos and barbecue spaghetti. It was a tough decision on what to order, but we were pretty satisfied with our selections!

My dinner was the barbecue spaghetti plate (pictured at left). I had to go for it because of how original and fun it sounded. And, man was it good! The spaghetti was sweet, smoky, and a bit spicy. The portion was huge and packed with tons of pulled pork. My only concern was the spaghetti noodles were a little overcooked and mushy, but overall I thought it was a great dish. I usually like my pasta al dente, but I can understand that if this had been simmering together in a pot, the noodles might become too tender. The coleslaw was very good as well, and great for cooling off after the spicy barbecue. I was a little surprised the toast came dry with no butter. No butter at a Southern barbecue restaurant! Unheard of!

My husband got this amazingly huge potato topped with that yummy pulled pork swimming in barbecue sauce and served with sour cream, cheese sauce, and cole slaw on the side. The cheese sauce was actually extra, but our server added it to our bill saying that "you just have to have it." Can't argue with that, and you certainly can't argue with cheese sauce. And judging from the one bite I actually got of this potato, it was (as Paula would say) out of this world.

I think we would both agree that we would definitely visit Neely's again. It has a nice, down home atmosphere, the food was excellent, and I loved that they kept to the classic flavors of barbecue while putting their own spin on things. I wish we'd gotten to try some of their desserts, like peach cobbler and sock it to me cake, but we were so full we didn't have room!

Stay tuned for more Nom Nom Nashville posts coming soon....
PS: You can find the Neelys' recipe for their bbq spaghetti here: