9/07/2012

Mac's Speed Shop: Downtown Greenville

Does it really get any better than that beer list? And that, my friends, is only about half of what Mac's has to offer. But it took a long way to get to this excitement. Mac's is fairly new to us here in Greenville, but they are not new to the folks up in the Charlotte area where they have three other locations. Being open for just a short time here in Greenville, a lot of people have very mixed things to say about them already. The most common issue people are talking about is just good old basic service. I honestly never listen to other service related issues with a restaurant as the service most of the time goes both ways. You also need to be pleasant in order to receive pleasant service!

We arrived right around 4:10 on this past Sunday afternoon. The five of us, plus we were waiting on another four, which comes out to a party of 4 adults and 5 kids in total. We walked in and stood at the host stand where it said "please wait to be seated". Finally after 10 minutes or so, waitress after waitress walking past, I decided to head up to the bar to find out what was going on. No such luck! Two bartenders behind the bar simply walked away from me when eye contact was made. So I proceeded to just stand in the middle of the server station until I could get ANYONE to acknowledge me and once that took place, I asked if we sat ourselves or if someone would be up front to help us? She said "do whatever you want". I honestly was about to leave at this point, but then all of the sudden, a waitress came to the front as she could see we had been waiting for over 15 minutes now with three small children. Not just any waitress, but someone who understood what had just taken place and decided that it was all she could do to take care of our table for the duration of our visit. It wasn't her section but she was determined to change our experience immediately. And she did.
With any BBQ joint around, you always find the sauces on the table. Mac's has four choices including mustard, Carolina, red and vinegar. After an already rough start, we decided to take out all the sauces and let the kids try them to tell us which one was their favorite. It was a fun game and one that the kids always enjoy. The only thing missing from the line-up was any type of spicy BBQ sauce. The sauces were actually pretty dang good. I am not a mustard BBQ fan at all, and this one was actually enjoyable. The vinegar was slightly tangy, but again, very enjoyable. The two standouts were the red and the Carolina. Since I loved them both, I decided that mixing the two together would make the ultimate BBQ sauce, and it did. In fact the other party dining with us, did the exact same thing and it was wonderful. All the sauces are very thin however so if you like a thicker sauce, Mac's doesn't have it.
I ordered an appetizer of deviled eggs while we waited for the rest of our party to arrive. This simple dish is typically one of my all time favorites. These eggs however, were not even edible. The eggs were not very fresh and the mixture in the center...well half of the yolk was still in its solid form with just a tiny tiny amount of extremely lumpy mayo whipped mixture (closeup below). OK, so we started off a little rough, and the appetizer was simply not edible, what else could bad possibly happen? Nothing, from this point on! Our other party arrived and the balance of the meal was easily one of the most enjoyable dining experiences I have ever had in downtown.
After a few minutes, while our server running her tail off between all of her tables being outside on the patio and our table in the furthest possible corner of the restaurant, just as promised, the kitchen manager brought us out some fresh hush puppies. As you can tell, the kids enjoyed each and every one of them.


 
Kids sized portion of cheese quesadilla
The wife went with the tacos which are served a la carte. Five different options to select from at $4 a piece. She passed on the pulled pork, chicken and brisket and decided to go with the two seafood options. Blackened fish with Asian peanut slaw, guacamole, pickled onions, lime and ginger aioli and the crispy shrimp with cucumbers, Asian peanut slaw, pickled onion, spicy aioli, sweet and sour glaze and cilantro. The blackened fish stole the show with the the plentiful crispy shrimp taking a close second. All of the toppings were fresh and the variances in different textures and sauces really made these tacos something to brag about. Who would have imagined a BBQ joint serving up some darn good tasting seafood tacos?
I went for the half rack of ribs described as St. Louis Style. Dry rubbed and hickory smoked for 12 hours, finished on the grill with red BBQ sauce. Along with this platter, you have your choice of two side items and served with butter Texas toast. Fourteen sides to choose from, I decided that a good BBQ meals wasn't complete without beans and potato salad, just like I grew up. Everyone else selected the Mac 'n Cheese at the suggestion of our wonderful server and along with all four adults and the five kids, no one had anything negative to say about the sides. They were all above average and had excellent flavor. The beans had a meat mixture throughout and the potato salad was served slightly warm with red potatoes (or our food was just sitting in the window for awhile).
As for the ribs, those as well were some dang good tasting ribs. Six, count them, six full bones for a half rack (not typically found in these parts) and they just fell apart. The meat was so tender and flavorful that no additional sauce was necessary. But we all added tons more sauce since it was that good. The smoke flavor could have been a little more for my liking, but I love hickory more than the average person.

When all was said and done, Tara, our wonderful waitress who came to the rescue took very good care of us along with the man in the kitchen. We were a few close seconds away from giving the idea of Mac's up and those two pulled everything together to make our meal very good and memorable. The food was definitely above average (with the exception of the eggs) when compared to other joints in the area. In fact, I believe I heard one of our friends telling another friend the very next day that we all had to go check out this new BBQ place downtown sometime together. It was knock your socks off good.

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1 comment:

  1. I remembered this review when we were looking for a place to grab a bite before the game last night, and I'm glad I did. The service was just fine, and the food was great for the price. It would have been much harder with two kids in any of the other spots near the stadium, as they were super-crowded. The game eventually got rained out, and we had the best seats in the house out on Mac's patio. Thanks!

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