Beast and Barrel – Gastro Smokehouse16 Frazier Avenue
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37405
Phone: (423) 805-4599
My husband and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary this past February. We’ve been together 24 years total and if I had to pick anything we clash on, it’d have to be food. He is a creature of habit. He’d be perfectly happy living on crackers and peanut butter or the same dish from his nearby favorite Mexican restaurant 3 times every single day. Me? No way. Not even close. I admittedly even get a little grossed out at the thought of having to eat the same thing everyday. Variety IS the spice of life! I can’t even do those little silly social media polls where it has a picture of 4 foods and asks if you could only have one from now on which would it be? I can’t pick. If I have to live on pizza every single day for the rest of my life I’m probably going to wither away. Or, I just might be the world’s most creative chef as I came up with pizza slice recipe variations. I just get tired of the same old places and same old food.
We aren’t really gift exchangers. When you’ve been together this long, you just buy what you want or what you need. It avoids the whole does he/she even listen to me argument and we don’t have to wait for a special occasion to get that new gadget we want. It works for us.
I noticed hubby kept mentioning we had an anniversary coming up. While I thought this was sweet, I didn’t get just why he was thinking about it so much. A few days before the day he asked me to think about where I’d like to go for dinner that night. Dinner? We’re going to have a date on our anniversary? What What?
Obviously you know where I picked but here is some exciting background to that. I know you are just on the edge of your seat right now, aren’t you? One thing my husband hates is driving in busy areas. This is ironic because he is a truck driver by trade. I suppose that is just why he hates driving in busy areas. When we go anywhere on off days…to eat, for entertainment, etc, he always prefaces it by where he WILL NOT drive. Where he WILL NOT drive usually has the best and new places I want to go. So, many times, I end up at that same old Mexican Restaurant that is just down the street from us. I am typically not happy and just eat to eat without being able to really enjoy my dinner like he and my son do.
I have this engraved in my head so I didn’t even consider that downtown, where Beast and Barrel is located would even be an option. I chose another favorite place we don’t go often: Bonefish Grill. You will think this is weird (probably) but we are a family that always goes places together. So, our 18 year old son went to our anniversary dinner with us. He will be graduating High School soon and leaving me for college so I am grasping on to each and every second I have with him, anniversary dinner inclusion included. I love Bonefish Grill. My son, does not. He isn’t a fish person and well, they have a lot of fish. This made me lukewarm on going there. It was MY dinner choice, granted, but I’m a people pleaser and if someone in my party is not one million and twelve hundred percent happy, it bums me out.
He had gone to Beast and Barrel the year before with a girl friend and had been suggesting it to us for months. Of course, there it was, wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy across town in the no-drive zone. When he brought it up again, I was sold.
Even though it was the end of February, the temperature was at least 70 degrees. We parked behind the row building near the gorgeous Coolidge Park. It was just a short walk down a connected alleyway to get to the front of the building and entrance. We aren’t outdoorsy people so once inside, I found it exceptionally cool that the entire front of the Beast and Barrel had roll up window garage doors. The sunny, warm day allowed the staff to roll these doors up so even though we were indoors, we were outside too. There were quite a few pedestrians out and about and we even go to enjoy some four legged friends spending the day with their attentive owners.
Having never been there before, we ordered our drinks and then took our time looking over the menu. The faire is not your typical Steak and Potatoes food. I wanted to read every single detail and discover which tasty sounding morsel sang to me. Our waiter London was understanding of this and urged us to take our time. He also suggested some Happy Hour bar snacks we could munch on while we decided. London, aside from having an ultra-cool name is by far one of the best servers we have ever had, anywhere. He kept us hydrated, answered our million and four questions without as much as a sigh or eye roll and was just plain awesome all the way around. He’s a good kid. You should ask for him!
Because I am a terrible blogger, I never think about my photos until a couple dishes in, as you can see by our half scarfed popcorn above. The popcorn was definitely gourmet, drizzled with a garlic olive oil and tossed with goat cheese. One of the main reasons I had originally wanted to go to Bonefish Grill was for their Ahi Tuna Sashimi. It melts in your mouth, it is just so perfectly seared. I don’t eat it often, but I do dream about it all the time. When I saw this on the Beast and Barrel menu, I had to have it!
As you can see, we hated it. Actually, what you see, is that I am still a terrible blogger! While different than Bonefish Grill, this appetizer was incredible. It was a little more seared than I typically prefer but the flavors were perfect and the dipping sauce a perfect partner. Each of us braved the wasabi peas that accompanied the fish and I even went back in for more. Before attacking the popcorn and appetizer, we did finally decide which entrees to try.
My husband is your true blue Steak and Fries kind of guy. His choice was the Steak and Frites – a 12oz Ribeye topped with Cognac Peppercorn butter. The Frites are tossed with garlic, parsley and parmesan cheese. He wasn’t sure how to say Frites but was happy to find out it’s fries. Medium is his go to on his steaks and this was cooked perfectly. While he enjoyed the flavor of the butter, he ended up scraping some off, finding too much to be a little overwhelming. In the defense of Beast and Barrel though, he does this anywhere a steak has a dollop of butter.
Like me, my son is a little more adventurous with food. While he is fine to eat the same thing over and over like his dad, he isn’t afraid to try something new and different when the opportunity presents itself. He opted to try the Duck Burger – House ground with Sriracha goat cheese, lettuce, tomato and a cherry compote. Overall he enjoyed the burger but found the cherry compote overpowering. He said because of it, he didn’t get the flavor of the Sriracha goat cheese that he had looked forward to tasting. He scraped the compote off but the burger still had so much of the flavor, the rest of the ingredients were lost. He said he will order this again but will ask for the compote to be left off or put on the side.
I tend to be a little thrifty and it’s not uncommon for me to order off a menu based solely on the price of something. This being a special occasion dinner and because Filet is one of my all time favorite cuts of meat, I couldn’t resist ordering the Blackberry Filet – 8oz filet mignon flash seared and finished in a 600 degree fire box then topped with Blackberry Cabernet sauce. Typically it is served with a risotto. Not being a fan, I substituted Goat Cheese Whipped Potatoes and also had a side of grilled squash/zucchini. Because I do tend to be thrifty and this is one of the more expensive dishes on the menu, I savored each and every single delightful, amazing bite. I enjoyed this so much, I was disappointed to finish it. If we wanted to move on to the decadent dessert round though, finishing it was a must!
Because this dessert is from their seasonal menu and this is my first restaurant review, there are some flaws. I am describing this completely from memory, and I am old so my details may be off. I will do better with the next review. I promise! This dessert, however, was flawless! A brownie topped with a spicy orange ice cream, whipped cream and caramel sauce? Yeah, no going wrong there! The spicy orange ice cream was definitely the star of the dish. It had that Chai tea aura to it and I’m sure there was cumin blended in somewhere in the dish. It sounds weird, but it worked. Other diners oohed and ahhed as this dessert passed by their tables. It was that beautiful!
Beast and Barrel scored high for me on every level. From the atmosphere to the service to the food, there were no failures. I highly recommend this incredibly perfect dining experience. If I can talk my husband into more ventures into the No Drive Zone, we will definitely be dining at Beast and Barrel many more times in the future!
Beast and Barrel
M-Thu hours- 3pm-10pm
Sat/ Sun- 10am – 12am
Now serving brunch on Saturdays! 10am-2pm.
**The opinions expressed here are my personal views only and I have no affiliation to the company or product being reviewed nor am I being compensated in any way.