Return Of A Classic
Big Rascal Bar-B-Que › 3437 NW Blitchton Rd., Ocala › bigrascalbbq.com › (352) 732-0344
If you’ve lived in Ocala long enough, you’ll recall the first incarnation of Big Rascal. The family-run BBQ restaurant was famous for its ribs and warm hospitality, so when the restaurant recently reopened after a three-year-hiatus, it was no surprise that former patrons flocked back to this beloved eatery. The building, located at the corner of Northwest Blitchton Road and I-75, is nondescript except for the massive cow straddling the roof. On a sleepy Sunday afternoon, the parking lot is nearly full, booths buzzing with activity and a sweet and slightly smoky aroma fills the air. The interior speaks to the restaurant’s history—a storied local haunt, cozy with equal parts retro kitsch and throwback Western decor. The beef brisket is so tender and flavorful that it melts in your mouth. The turkey breast sandwich has been driving the locals to distraction, and the jalapeño sausage mac & cheese offers just enough kick to perfectly complement all that cheesy goodness. Owner Charlie Mardook worked alongside his parents back in the day and has now taken over the business. Everything is still made from scratch, and Mardook likes to say that the meats are cooked “low and slow” to give them that exceptional flavor.
Culver’s › 3390 Wedgewood Ln., The Villages › culvers.com
This popular Midwest-based chain, famous for its fresh (never frozen) beef ButterBurgers, frozen custard and “from-the-heart hospitality” has arrived in The Villages. Culver’s also offers a variety of popular sandwiches ranging from grilled Reuben melts, beef pot roast and grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, as well as corn dogs, chicken tenders and kids’ meals. Dinners include beef pot roast and hand-battered North Atlantic cod and are served with two sides.
Hot Dish : Mahi Piccata
Mesa de Notte › 2436 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala › mesaocala.com › (352) 732-4737
This month we are kicking off a new feature highlighting our readers’ favorite dining-out dishes. Jeanne Henningsen of Ocala offers up this standout seafood entrée.
“The fish is always fresh,” she raves. “It is seasoned perfectly. Really delicious!”
The dish is prepared by sautéing a Mahi filet in a white wine lemon butter sauce with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and capers. It’s then sprinkled with toasted almonds and served over angel hair pasta.
“What makes this dish so enticing is that with Mahi you have a semi sweet firm fish that adapts well with many sauces,” explains restaurateur Jose Moreno. “And with a savory butter sauce of briny capers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon, you get the perfect balance of acidity and richness.”
Are you the top foodie in your crew? We want your recommendations from gotta-try appetizers and outstanding entrées, inspired sides and delectable desserts to food truck taste sensations. Snap a food selfie, if you’ve got the chops! Then tag us in your social media posts and include the hashtag #OcalaStyleHotDish. If we love what you’re dishing out, we’ll feature it in an upcoming issue.