Grub is on the road this week, traveling through Kentucky and Tennessee for some much-needed R&R. While staying in Nashville, I decided to review a spot that was featured on The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”. I have had great success in following Guy Fieri, so why not go to the well once more. I decided to try Bro’s Cajun Cuisine.
Bro’s is located in an industrial part of town just outside downtown Nashville. If you visit, slow down as you approach, as the street is no more than eight feet wide, and can be difficult getting in if you aren’t careful. Bro’s sits on a hill with the parking lot on a steep incline, so use your parking brake.
Bro’s has two dining rooms and we walked in from the street into what can only be described as the casual dining area with its wooden benches and a buffet style serving area. Bro’s prepares its food in the kitchen, and then brings it out to this buffet area where it is dished up as orders come in. This is definitely the section of the restaurant to get people in and out. We took our seats and some time passed before we received our menus. They don’t sell Coke or Pepsi products – this is totally old school. They only sell RC products! For you non-southerners, I am talking about Royal Crown Cola, a southern, and I thought, defunct brand. We placed our order and skipped the appetizer, as there was nothing exciting enough for us to order. We ordered the House Sampler ($14.95), which includes samples of their specialties: Gumbo, Red Beans, Shrimp Creole, Crawfish Etouffee, Boudin served with an order of Turnip Greens. We also ordered the Stuffed Pork chop ($14.95), which was the featured dish on Triple D. Let’s start with the pork chop.
The pork chop is prepared by cutting a pocket into a ¾ inch center cut chop and stuffing it with Bro’s homemade sausage. The chop is then smoked in Bro’s smokehouse, which apparently he brought with him from Louisiana. Now when the episode of Triple D was filmed, the pork chop was finished in Bro’s homemade barbecue sauce and Guy commented on how juicy the chop was. Well on our visit, none of that happened. My chop was one of the last in the latest batch to come out of the smoker and in fact, there was a woman at the counter who ordered three chops to go and was told that there were only two left because I had ordered one. She asked if I had arrived before she did, and the server replied that I had. Maybe I should have given her my chop. The chop had been in the smoker too long and was dry and tough as leather. You have to be careful when cooking pork chops, and especially when cooking thick chops. The length of time it spent smoking also over-cooked the sausage as well, causing the chop to have the consistency of jerky. The house sampler was also hit and miss. The crawfish were perfectly cooked and by that I mean they weren’t rubbery. They were also well seasoned. The shrimp creole was the star of this dish. It was tasty and well seasoned, but not too spicy. The red beans were good, but nothing that you couldn’t get from a bag of Zatarins. The gumbo had the consistency of canned soup. The broth looked like water and when you spooned it up, you couldn’t find any spices. The presence of spices would have at least kept it from looking like dishwater. A good gumbo needs time for its flavors to marry, and this presentation hadn’t started dating yet. The other offerings were average and should not have warranted an appearance on national TV.
Entrees = D
The service at Bro’s did two things for Grub: a) it provided entertainment for the guests; and b) it destroyed the overall level of our experience. The wait staff and cooks, who were not organized and seemed to have an overall disrespect for each other, provided the entertainment. They yelled across the restaurant at each other when they were low on food, they yelled at each other when guests weren’t seated, they yelled at each other when the food needed to come out of the smoker (ok, they should have yelled about this), and they yelled at each other just to yell at each other. The party that sat next to us waited for their food for so long that the waitress brought them catfish bites, which they did not order, and told them “This is just something to hold you until your food comes.” Who does that? When does a restaurant create a free appetizer to satiate a customer until the food that they ordered is ready? The party that came in behind us still had not received their food when we left. Our waiter was native Cajun, in that it took me awhile to understand what he was saying with his heavy accent. Initially, he seemed disinterested in taking our order, but later apologized for his inattentiveness by telling us that it had been really busy today. Really?
Service = F
In closing, Grub was totally disappointed with his visit to Bro’s Cajun Cuisine. I am sure that they pulled out all the stops when the Food Network came calling, but on a regular day with no cameras present, they should have made a better presentation. Grub’s guess is that Bro’s is waiting for the Food Network to return to their restaurant. And I totally agree – only this time around, it’s likely to be Robert Irvine and the cast of Restaurant Impossible. This is a total fail and qualifies as Garbage, and not blue-bin garbage. There is no recycling this.
Restaurant: Bro’s Cajun Cuisine
Address: 3214 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37209
Telephone: (615) 329-2626
Date of Visit: July 13, 2012
Good Grub or Garbage © 2012Tags: Barbecue, Cajin