Monday, September 21, 2009

Center Point Barbecue (7/10) - 1212 W Main St., Hendersonville, TN 37075

After driving past another closed restaurant on our agenda (Prince's Hot Chicken), we decided to call Center Point Barbecue at 6:35pm to see if they'd be open for dinner.  After confirming that they were indeed open, they said that they would be closing for the night at 7pm.  Without a Center Point Barbecue meal, our entire trip to Nashville would have been for naught.  We raced onwards and got there with 10 minutes to spare.
Rich Young, my roommate in Newport Beach, brought a bottle of Center Point Barbecue's hot barbecue sauce to California with him and I thought it was divine - thick and spicy the way I like it.  So you can anticipate my reaction to sitting down to barbecue sauce heaven -- mild, sweet and sassy, sweet surprise, hot, burning bush hot, and reserve (extra) burning bush hot.  The waitress came over to our table as I'm basically drinking the different sauces straight from the bottle, and we walked her through the routine of explaining our barbecue trip.  We let her know that she's (not her specifically although it might have made for a better story) the last stop on the trip and that we had heard great things about Center Point through friends.  She shares in our excitement and asks 1,000 questions about our trip.  She recommends the three-meat plate (pork, chicken, and ribs) and Matt additionally orders the fried green tomato appetizer so he can compare it to Gus's (which I assured him weren't good at all).


The fried green tomatoes were incredible.  If Bobby Flay had a Fried Green Tomato Throwdown, Center Point Barbecue would mop the floor with his face.  The tomatoes were lightly fried and the sauce (combination of the barbecue sauce and creme fraiche i believe) was amazing.  The waitress then brought out the three-meat plate, and thin potato latkes that she said were a staple in the Nashville area.  Staple or not, neither Matt or I were fans.

The ribs, as usual, were the best of the three meats on the plate. The rub on the ribs mixed nicely with the meat, which was also moist and tender.  The pork was good and I'm not sure I really remember the chicken too well.  After the waitress checked-in with us and we told her about our love affair with the fried green tomatoes, she looked a little disappointed that it had been the best dish we had tried.  She told us that she had a few more things that she wanted us to try before we left.

She came back with a dish called "3 Little Pigs" which are chopped pork sliders.  I guess by looking at Matt she knew he had a sweet tooth, so it shouldn't have been a surprise that she came back with a chocolate tart a la mode.  The sliders were unfortunately the worst thing we had at the restaurant -- really dry and lacking a good smoky flavor -- and even a heavy dosage of any of their sauces seemed to help much.  The chocolate cake was good but after eating so many barbecue meals, my body would have rather had a break than dessert.

Matt and I wanted to love this meal.  Rich Young introduced me to the sauce a year prior, it is my friend Tee's, a Nashville native, favorite barbecue restaurant, and our waitress couldn't have been more personable or generous.  She even offered to pull the entire staff together to take a picture with us to commemorate the conclusion of our trip -- the invitation was accepted.  I bought a few bottles of their sauce and walked back to the car to take Matt to his hotel before driving back to Atlanta.

Center Point Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

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Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.