ROB: We’ve missed the last couple of weeks due to some reason that I can’t recall. I’m pretty sure I still ate lunch every day. Must be good old-fashioned laziness.
JOEL: It did seem odd for a restaurant to only open for three hours a day, but I figured maybe they just really like lunch. And the important thing was that, according to the menu I found online, their entrees were a variety of delicious-sounding meats. Honestly, it’s hard to screw up something simple like a pot roast. Usually, it’s when you try to get fancy with things like “cilantro” and “napkins” that mistakes are made.
So yes, Rob reluctantly agreed to Molly’s, although when we got in the car he balked some more. But in the absence of an alternative, we beat his reticence to a bloody pulp and proceeded to the restaurant.
The first thing we noticed as we arrived was that there were a surprising number of cars in the parking lot. That’s usually a good sign, provided they are not unmarked police cars or representatives of the health department. And so, feeling reassured, we ventured inside.
The decor reminded me a bit of a Marie Callendar’s, if Marie Callendar’s was a cafeteria. It was a little homey, a little floral. There was a great big spoon on the wall.
It was the perfect amount of crowded: enough people to prove that the food must be pretty good, but not long enough that you had to stand in line for more than a minute or two. I decided to order the brisket, and was delighted–delighted!–when they said “We’re out, so I need to go get another from the back” and she came back with an enormous slab of meat straight out of the smoker. She asked me if I preferred my brisket fatty or lean, and I told her that I wasn’t ordering brisket because I was watching my figure. I also got green beans (the world’s most maligned and abused vegetable), dutch oven potatoes and a cheesy biscuit.
What about brussels sprouts? Anyway, I eventually decided to go with the pulled pork, dutch oven potatoes, and tomato basil soup. Honestly, if you can resist potatoes, cheese, and ham all cooked together, you are a better person than I. And probably healthier. More than any other restaurant we’ve been to, my plate looked the way it would at a Sunday dinner with family.
Then it was time to dig in, and dig we did. My first thought was, “Holy crap! This is delicious!” But then my second thought was “Holy crap! This is delicious!” At that point I knew we had a winner here.
The pulled pork was delightfully tender, cooked in a slightly sweet but not overpowering sauce. It was also nice and lean, which was extra nice. The potatoes were fabulous, as dutch oven potatoes generally are; also, they were red potatoes, which is a bonus. And I’m not generally a fan of tomatoes, but this soup was thick and creamy and wonderful. In a rare coup for a restaurant, it was as satisfying as a home-cooked meal.
When I think “catering” and “cafeteria”, I generally think the food will have that mass-produced not-so-good-ness about it, but this was indeed fantastic. The brisket was thick, with a transcendent browned crust that made me feel like I was falling in love again, and my girlfriend was beef, and I was eating her. (Who has time for good analogies when you’re eating brisket!?)