Sunday, January 22, 2012
4037 Clarksville Pike
It takes a tough soul to do battle with Metro Codes. Roc is an ex-Army Ranger and a restaurant business veteran, as well. Despite that determination and experience it took him 14 months to get the tiny, down-home barbecue shack up to Metro par. Roc’s is finally open for business and smoking up some solid barbecue in Bordeaux.
The building is a cinder block storefront painted dark red and featuring the logo of a puffing train. The portable smoker is puffing out front, at least until Roc gets the brick pits in the back fixed to his specifications. He’s been doing barbecue for more than 30 years, most of that in the Knoxville area. He’s been pulling that smoker around Nashville for a couple of years now, quickly building a fan base that is now flocking to the take-out joint. Inside you’ll find just a tall counter and a smiling welcome from Roc. In the spring he may put out picnic tables. Right now it’s take-out only.
Roc takes pride in his sauce and everything will come pre-sauced unless you order otherwise. The mild is tasty and you can take the heat level up from there. The pulled pork sandwich is a monster-sized mound of pig meat and at $4 a real bargain. Bits of bark are worked into the mix and the spicy sauce adds a pleasant spice and vinegar flavor. The spare ribs are big and meaty and another tremendous deal at $8 for the sandwich. There’s a light smoke flavor and they’re tender to the bite. Roc is quick to point out that once he’s sold out of something, that’s it for the day. He won’t serve day old barbecue and that’s appreciated. You’ll see little sold out signs covering whatever has proved popular for the day. Beef brisket, polish and chicken sausage, chicken wings, a burger and turkey legs round out the offerings. The pulled chicken sandwich is juicy with pieces of char skin for added flavor.
The sides are the usual standards, with the addition of grilled corn and grilled cabbage. The cabbage is sublimely rich thanks to what must be a butter and pepper sauce of some sort. Potato salad proves unremarkable in a traditional style.
Roc has already built a fan base with everyone from Nashville firefighters to musicians. The location just north of the Bordeaux library is an easy hop off of Briley Parkway. He has plans for expansion if business goes well and we can only hope that the Metro Codes process won’t slow him down too much.
I paid $12 with tax and tip on one visit and $15 for a bunch of food on another visit.