Nashville Restaurants and Food
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
3110 Belmont Blvd.
Did you hear the sobbing last year? That was the sound of Nashville barbecue fans reacting to news that Martin’s was opening up a city location. We have nothing against Nolensville or Mt. Juliet. In fact, the original Nolensville location was a pilgrimage of sorts for barbecue fans. The tears of joy are well warranted because now the smoked goodness is closer to home. Pat Martin trains his staff well and the barbecue pit in Nashville is smoking juicy pork love for the masses. And there are masses. I arrive at 11 a.m. as the first customer on a weekday and by 11:30am the line is 30 people long. The crowd moves quickly and I didn’t see anyone irritated by the popularity. Just be prepared.
The spare ribs are perfectly tender, kinda like pork candy. There’s enough fat and juice to put the flavor over the top. The smoke is well balanced and the spicy paprika rub accentuates the meat, without overwhelming. I get the sauce on the side, but many folks recommend it on the ribs. You get your choice of styles. The vinegar based tomato sauce has a nice bite. In a teacup: these are the best ribs I have had in Nashville (perhaps with the exception of Jimmy Carl’s Lunchbox-RIP) and they compare favorably with the Nolensville version.
Pulled pork has excellent flavor and consistency. It goes great with the big, slightly sweet, hoe-cakes. That makes the famous redneck Taco a favorite with customers…they pile up the cake and pork with slaw and sauce. Other meat favorites include the brisket, smoked bologna, smoked sausage and smoked turkey. You can even get fried chicken and catfish.
Baked beans have a slightly Hungarian flavor to them. Other sides include the usual suspects. There are only two options for vegetarians on the menu and both of those are Kid’s Meals. I can’t imagine a vegetarian could stomach all of this pork and beef loveliness anyway. Did I mention that the light smoke from the indoor smoker is intoxicating?
The Belmont (nearly Lipscomb) location is fairly large and includes outdoor seating. It’s done up in the usual bbq roadhouse fashion, which works when the Jerry Reed is pumping on the stereo. I suspect I will be parting ways with the Veggie Eater on a regular basis to visit Martin’s, now that it is closer. And I promise: no tears, just sticky fingers and a smile.
I paid $20 with tax and tip on each of two lunch visits.