Overalls Not RequiredJan 01, 2014 ● By Frisco STYLE
I must admit, my first reaction to the hillbilly “moonshine” concept had me a bit hesitant, as my normal inclination is to avoid anything popular among the orthodontically challenged, overall sportin’, jug playin’ contingent, but upon arrival at Mash’d, my dining companions and I learned we had nothing to fear. A friendly, fully-toothed hostess greeted us and invited us to spend our short wait in the bar, which was lined with numerous large-screen televisions showing various sporting events. The décor can be best described as upscale Americana, with handsome wooden tables dotting the space around the large bar, which was under a wall covered with a fun collage of all things uniquely American. The backside of the bar was open to the vibrant patio via large opened-glass garage doors, allowing guests to sit outdoors at the bar or at one of the many tables.
The back wall of the bar featured a tribute to the eatery’s signature beverage, showcasing a massive display of more than 500 bottles of moonshine. Curious about this once backroom beverage turned beverage du jour, we grabbed a seat at the bar and begin brushing up on our “hillbilly mixology.” Mash’d offers more than 25 flavors of the clear, smooth, neutrally-flavored corn whiskey, and handcrafts numerous specialty drinks featuring fresh and inventive combinations, using fresh fruits, ginger, mint, cayenne and other fun additions. We tried the jolly rancher ($9.95), a mix of watermelon, Georgia moonshine, fresh lime and sugar and enjoyed every memory fueled drop. Mash’d also offers wine, beer and other beverages for non-moonshiners.
After a short but enjoyable wait, we made our way to the dining area and were seated at one of the picnic-style (albeit quite nice and cushioned) tables for our meal. This room, punctuated by one giant TV and several somewhat smaller screens for sports viewing from every angle, had an upscale, rustic feel, made lively with the addition of music and the din of patrons at surrounding tables.
As we perused the menu, we were intrigued by the offerings, which included traditional sports bar favorites with a kick (wings with moonshine BBQ sauce or sriracha garlic sauce) along with more refined offerings, like salmon bruschetta and white bean hummus. We opted for the Serious Queso ($7.95) and the Pot of Goat ($9.50) appetizers. The queso was a more sophisticated take on the traditional Tex-Mex queso. Made with Abita beer, andouille sausage and pickled pepper relish, it had a refined taste with notes of fresh garlic. It was a definite hit and something we all agreed we would order again. The Pot of Goat, which as the name indicates, was served in a small, cast iron pot, consisting of fresh goat cheese baked with pink peppercorns, olive oil and oven-dried tomatoes with mixed berry jalapeno marmalade served with crostini. We enjoyed the melding of the flavors, the sweet with the savory and a little jalapeno kick. While very tasty, the consistency was a bit soupy, rendering it neither a spread nor a dip, which might have been a more preferable presentation.
Next up, the entrees. Mash’d offers a wide range of options for dinner, from creative salads and gourmet po’boys ($7.95 - $13.95) on house-baked ciabbatta to custom tacos (shrimp, chicken, steak or cheeseburger), BBQ salmon and smoked mac and cheese. We opted to share a few, starting with the Avocado Bomb salad ($12.95), which was a mix of greens with fresh avocado, roasted corn, cilantro, cherry tomatoes and pink salt in a feta lime vinaigrette. We could have opted to add the protein of our choice for a bit extra, but decided against it. Sharing the salad proved to be a good choice as the portion was quite large. The greens were fresh and the other ingredients were plentiful, which is sometimes not the case, as I have paid $13 for salads elsewhere and had a bowl of greens with scant else. We enjoyed the creaminess of the avocado with the tangy, fresh flavor of the zesty feta lime vinaigrette. The fresh roasted corn was a nice touch and we all agreed with a little chicken, the salad would be a great entree on its own. Not on this night however, as we headed right for the meat and potatoes.
Our server, who started out very attentive and was a little scarcer as the crowd picked up, suggested we order the bootleg ribs ($19.95). We followed her advice and were glad we did. Slow cooked and expertly seasoned, then basted with the house-made moonshine BBQ sauce, the succulent ribs were falling off the bone tender, and enjoyed by all. Definitely a crowd pleaser and something we would all order again. The ribs were accompanied by a hearty side of Mash’d potatoes, which were stick-to-your-ribs thick and delicious, with a taste reminiscent of a twice-baked potato with a kick. Also, sharing the plate was a fresh and delicious corn relish with cherry tomatoes and cilantro. Both sides were quite good, with the corn relish providing a clean and refreshing complement to the hearty potatoes and peppery ribs.
Our next choice was the Cajun style “Shake It Up Seafood,” served in a bag with shrimp and/or snow crab, boiled in a moonshie seafood stock, served with potatoes and corn with your choice of butter sauce. We chose the Cajun spice half pounder ($13.95/$24.95 for a full pound) with shrimp and crab. It arrived in a bag, which steamed when opened, revealing the tasty contents. The butter sauce was copious with a kick of Cajun spice, which complemented the seafood nicely. We did have a little trouble extracting much meat from the snow crab legs, which were small and a bit difficult to crack, as they were quite soft from steaming in the bag. The roasted corn and potatoes were flavorful and juicy after bathing in the buttery Cajun sauce.
Last but not least, we opted to try the Scotch Cake ($8.95) for dessert. Not your typical dessert, this house original was a made from scratch, olive oil cake, covered with a butterscotch glaze and topped off with a fresh fruit compote. The cake was quite dense (which I happened to like, others at the table preferred a lighter consistency) and moist, as a result of the olive oil, (which didn’t impart a strong flavor). There was a slight sweetness to the cake from the butterscotch glaze, but not overly so. The cake as a whole had a subtle flavor punctuated by the slight tartness of the berry compote. While I enjoyed the different taste and texture of this original offering, being a person with a highly-refined (as in sugar) sweet tooth, next time I might opt for the hot fudge sundae — cayenne ice cream covered in hot fudge, topped with almonds and moonshine infused whipped cream, served over brownie bites. But, make no mistake, chocolate or no chocolate, I still happily finished all of the Scotch Cake! We all left feeling happy, deeming Mash’d a definite welcomed twist to the Frisco sports bar scene. Overalls (thankfully) not required.