Update! M.E.A.T. has been nominated for the 2014 Burger Beast Burgie Awards. Take a minute to go vote for them. They've been nominate for best restaurant, best sausage and best chef.
M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom in Islamorada has quickly gained a loyal following with its “gourmet fast food.” The concept was cooked up by its owners, sommelier Tom Smith and chef George Patti. With his three new cherry wood smokers, Patti is like a mad scientist coming up with new gastro delights daily. His homemade duck sausage and porchetta topped with Guinness gravy make the A-list. Add a wide selection of craft beer, including 12 on tap, and organic wines, and you have a recipe for an adventurous meal. The intimate restaurant has the feeling of an ultra-modern pub with faux brick walls, gleaming silver chairs and a 20-foot-long bar.
My dilemma was deciding what to order. I started with a pint of Fox Barrel Pacific Pear Cider, a refreshing brew with a sweet aroma. As Patti told me about the two-day process of making his pork rinds, I bit into one of the golden crisps. It was a light heavenly puff of pork and dangerously addictive. I followed with the juicy buttermilk fried chicken and savory duck fat-fried French fries. My curiosity was piqued by the carrot cake cupcake with foie gras cream cheese frosting — now that's something different — however, I opted for an adult milkshake instead. The Wells Banana Bread Beer from England blended with homemade vanilla bean ice cream proved to be the perfect finish to the delectable meal.