416 516 8286 | $10-14 Sharing Plates | 5 Brock Ave
I don’t usually come this far west, but St. Patty’s day seemed like a suitable occasion to venture to Electric Mud. I would have been here sooner or later given my healthy appreciation for its sister restaurant Grand Electric, but some pretty unanimous early praise made this a must visit.
Like Grand Electric, the menu here is pretty succint and split into two parts. The first is a small main board that boasts ribs, pork belly, hot links and duck ham along with some sides, while the second is a paper menu that includes roasted cauliflower, shrimp & grits, and a pork sandwich among other things.
Before diving into the various fatty and/or fried delights, I took a look through the cocktail menu and selected the ‘porch crawler’ (above) with thai basil gin and watermelon lemonade. Not too boozy, big glass, and more refreshing than sweet, which made it the perfect pairing for the onslaught/meal to follow.
Our first order was a side of hushpuppies, which we instinctively ordered after watching our friendly line cook prepare them in front of us. This proved to be a wise choice. Perfectly seasoned and crunchy on the outside, fluffy with whole kernels of corn and mashed potato (we think?) on the inside. The puppies sat on what I’d describe as a semi-tartar sauce with a hint of mustard, which added to the addictive quality of the dish.
Next up, a lightly-dressed creamy salad with soft-boiled egg halves topped with crispy pig ears. In a meal largely devoid of vegetables, it was either this, the coleslaw or the collards, and I think this worked for us. The portion was reasonably large, the pig ears had a just little bit of chew (a good thing), and the dish had good balance overall.
Do you like pig tails? I love pig tails, and these are the best I’ve had. Often treated like you might prepare a chicken wing, these were so tender, and had a great sharp buffalo sauce that made this my favourite plate of the night. Sure, you might creep some people out as you work your way through what are essentially vertebrae, but it’s so worth it.
We almost didn’t order the fried chicken, but our decision to say ‘what the hell’ was rewarded. These drumsticks had the perfect interplay of moist, juicy interior and crunchy, cripsy exterior that you look for with good fried chicken; however, I’ll say it was a little light on flavour for me. I think the crust could have used a generous sprinkle of spice or heat to play off the cup of honey on the side.
Next up, the token fish dish not named shrimp ‘n grits. This fish on a squishy bun came stacked with lettuce, a tart, creamy sauce and some kettle chips for crunch. Definitely a tasty combo, but again, felt it was one ingredient short of perfection. More acid? spice? Not sure.
Last, but certainly not least, the ribs. Tender? Check. Nice bark? Check. Peanuts on top? A smart addition. Clearly, I enjoyed these, but I think it needs to be said that they were a bit on the sweet side. I’d order them again, but I think these too could use some heat.
We ended with soft serve, because you should pay every great meal the compliment of ordering dessert. The twist here, was the mysterious flavour of bay leaf. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what bay leaf tastes like, but I’d call this a variation on green tea ice cream, but less tea and more depth (not a good description, but it’s my best).
Service and Ambience
We first strolled by around 4:30pm to see if we needed to join a line for the 5pm opening, but with no one around, decided it’d be safe to have a pint nearby. We returned about 10 minutes after 5, and luckily snared some of the few remaining bar stools. Moral of the story: get here early.
As is usually the case, sitting at the bar is better. A portion of the kitchen operates right behind the bar, and you get to chat up the cooks and watch service. We felt right at home, got every dish pretty quickly, and really enjoyed ourselves overall.
The inside of this place is pretty much wall-to-wall particle board with retro-butch items at every turn - the opposite of pretentious. What a great atmosphere to dine on some unique BBQ eats.
I quite like this spot and you should absolutely drop in and sin a little. A few of our dishes were one element short of the ideal bite, but I’ll admit to being very picky because I feel the need to provide some kind of constructive critique. In summary, it’s delicious. Go before everyone knows it exists.
Posted by: Jacob, Visited Mar 18, 2013