- Kat Robinson
- MOUNTAIN PEAKED: Peanut butter meringue at South End Grill.
For some time I’ve been sitting on a recommendation to visit the South End Grill
south of Batesville. Seems like I always pass by either very early in the morning or very late in the afternoon. But I have been meaning to get there.
I finally made it about a week ago, traveling with a friend to parts further north. I walked right up to the counter, lured by the vision of three very toasty looking meringue pies. They looked alien and unusual, tan toasted lumpy meringues that looked like the topography of some distant mountainous nation. They also smelled quite good.
We had dinner… my companion (whose food for once I did not photograph) ordered up a 12 ounce ribeye steak and I chose what I thought would be a quick bite — the Open Face Beef Sandwich ($7.50). Our waitress brought my companion a salad with two containers of red something — one of which, I believe, might have been ketchup. It was all right. It ate.
We get our plates and were just shocked. My companion’s steak continued all the way across the plate — one side to the other, his fried squash and fried okra piled on top concealing about half of it.
I’d been more apt to photograph this had I not been engrossed in the major operation that was my sandwich. Hell, that wasn’t a sandwich — it was a hot mess that took up the entire platter. Six triangles of bread had been laid out across the platter, on top of which was spread nearly a pound of hot smoked beef brisket, cooked until tender. Over that and over the pile of mashed potatoes was spread brown gravy, and a healthy dose of fried squash was somehow also squished onto the plate. The beef, by the way, was perfect for barbecue and I almost asked for barbecue sauce with it. The Barbecue Beef Brisket Plate, by the way, was $8.99. I had myself a deal.
A deal which I didn’t even eat half of in that sitting — because I wanted to try some of that pie. I had been told about peanut butter pie but had only seen meringue offered. Turns out, yes, the peanut butter pie WAS a meringue pie. When my slice arrived I carefully scoped it out. Eschewing thick or moussy textures like normal peanut butter pie, this was a nice light egg custard type pie, very moist under the meringue. The meringue itself was so toasty on the top that the top bit folded a bit like paper, and I anticipated a very chewy experience. I was glad to find it was just about as soft as the rest of the pie itself.
It’s odd, though. Tasty but odd. Last week’s peanut butter pie at Gina’s Place in Jonesboro was like a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup; South End Grill’s version is far more in flavor like an old fashioned Chick-O-Stick. I haven’t encountered one similar anywhere else.
If you’d like to try it out (and maybe have one of those oversized dinners), make your way to Highway 167 south of Batesville — it’s on the east side of the road south of the airport. (870) 251-2229.