Critic's star breakdown
- Food: 4 stars (out of five)
- Service: 3.5
- Atmosphere: 3.5
- Overall: 4
I heard about a new little barbecue place up in Powell, and upon reading the address, I knew it would be familiar ground. Corvette's Bar-b-Que is at the corner of Emory Road and Brickyard Road, a site that has hosted several different restaurants in my Grub history. In fact, the last time The Grub Spouse and I were there, it had also been a barbecue eatery, so I was curious to take Corvette's for a spin.
We arrived to the sight of smoke billowing from the drum-like outdoor cooker, and the accompanying scents led us straight through the door of the bar area, which is adjacent to the smaller dining room. We were the very first lunch customers at 1 p.m., which is when they open on Saturdays.
As with most barbecue places, Corvette's has an arsenal of rubbed-and-smoked meats that are served in either sandwich or platter form, with salads and side dishes complementing the lineup. Grilled items include chopped pork, beef brisket, pork loin, ribs, turkey and smoked chicken as well as smoked salmon (served chilled) and chicken salad. Most of those are available between buns, except for the ribs and smoked salmon. You can also try out a smoked hamburger, if that suits your palate.
The Spouse and I debated sharing the Hog Heaven meal, which would have allowed us to choose any three meats plus two sides, but we wound up getting separate platters instead. That option gave us only two meats but the chance to try out four sides. The Spouse got the beef brisket with black bean salsa and green beans, while I got the chopped pork platter with those good ol' standbys baked beans and potato salad. Other sides include Brunswick stew, mac and cheese, cole slaw, pasta salad, chips, white chili and garlic smashed potatoes.
Our meals were brought out in a timely fashion, and upon getting an up-close gander, the portions were more than fair in size. Plastic cutlery is issued, wrapped in a single napkin, which I felt was an area for improvement. I think actual silverware and an abundance of napkins are important, especially when wrestling with potentially messy barbecue.
After sampling everything and proceeding to chow down on my own platter, I came away with a positive impression of Corvette's food. The pork was not just smoky but super juicy and succulent. The brisket was awesome, full of robust flavor, and its long bacon-like strips presented a more substantial meal than The Spouse could conquer in one sitting.
I mixed in some of the hot sauce with my pork, and although it didn't have an immediate impact on my tongue, I did start to notice some residual afterburn a little further along into my meal.
I had a more mixed opinion about the sides, although I'd say our selections were fair overall. The home-style green beans tasted fine but I suspect were from a can, the adequate black bean salsa may have been canned as well, and the potato salad leaned toward the dry and bland side. A saltshaker was definitely needed for that one. The baked beans were my hands-down favorite, delighting my taste buds with a unique accent of cumin, although from a temperature standpoint, the beans could have been served warmer.
Desserts listed on the menu include ice cream, brownies and banana pudding, and upon learning that the pudding wasn't really homemade, we chose to pass on an after-lunch treat.
But if you're focused on trying out some iconic summertime fare, I think you'll enjoy being all up in Corvette's grill. And I'm not just blowing smoke.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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