I made a day trip to Chattanooga with some coworkers to meet with some colleagues from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. We wrapped up our meeting and headed to lunch with our colleagues at a place of their choosing - Universal Joint Bar & Restaurant. The short version of this review is that I'm glad we at there, and the next time I'm in Chattanooga with my family, we'll give it another shot. I knew with this being just lunch, everybody would be ordering his or her own meal, and I would only have the opportunity to speak to what I personally ate. So I did something that wasn't really necessary - I ordered an appetizer to share with the group. I asked our server which appetizer she would recommend, and she said the BBQ Brisket Nachos were very good, so I ordered them. While several of my colleagues passed on trying them, those of us who did really enjoyed them. The brisket was tender and the sauce on them was tasty. If I had it to do over again, given the context of eating a shared appetizer with a bunch of folks who don't usually eat together, I might go for something easier like the egg rolls or wings, but I'm glad I ordered these all the same.
I asked my UTC colleagues what they would recommend for my meal, and they said both the Chicken Sandwich and Steinbeck burger were great. I couldn't pass up a burger with pimento cheese on it, so I ordered the Steinbeck. Simply put, this was one of the most interesting and tasteful burgers I've had in a long time. My only issue with the burger is that I asked for it to be cooked medium, and it was closer to well done. Still, it was the best overcooked burger I've had because of the pimento cheese and bacon. The tater tots were amazing. Usually when a restaurant serves tater tots, you can tell they're some variant of a grocery store brand - not too good, not too bad. I couldn't claim these were house-made, but they were the best tater tots I've ever had - crisp and a little crunchy.
I'm looking forward to my next visit to Chattanooga, and if you're there, you should give Universal Joint a shot.