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Dig 'Um Smack
2007-05-24 09:02
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

By Jon Kay, Guest Columnist

Bronx Banter Barbecue

In my travels to the South, it has been relatively easy to find excellent barbecue. Sonny Bryans in Dallas and Rendezvous in Memphis are standouts. Until recent times, barbecue dining choices in New York City left one longing for another road trip down south. The last few years have brought excellent additions to the NYC barbecue scene. Here are a few of my favorites; feel free to add in yours.

R.U.B. (Righteous Urban Barbecue)

208 West 23rd (7th & 8th)

No reservations accepted.

This is by far, my favorite barbecue spot and I recommend you give it a try. RUB has a combination of down home atmosphere (paper plates and plastic cups), great service and excellent food. An order of St. Louis ribs, slaw and a couple of sides will send your taste buds to heaven. RUB cooks limited quantities of ribs each day so get there on the early side. When they run out, that's all until the following day. For the adventurous, try the deep fried oreos for dessert.

Dinner for 2, $60.

Blue Smoke 116 East 27th (Park & Lex)
Reservations suggested

Danny Meyer adds a touch of class to the BBQ scene at Blue Smoke. By barbecue dining standards the décor is upscale. Food and service are excellent. The menu is more varied here, with gourmet items you would not find at most barbecue restaurants. A Fried Oyster Po'Boy on Homemade Brioche Bun with Caper-Tarragon Tartar Sauce is just one example. I stick with the traditional ribs and side orders which they prepare as well as anyone. The bar is a great spot to watch a ballgame while you are washing down some ribs with a beverage of choice.

Downstairs, you will find a club called Jazz Standard which offers a limited menu of barbecue treats.

Dinner for 2, $80.

Brother Jimmy's BBQ Express Grand Central Terminal, lower level food court.

Grab a smoked brisket sandwich to go and you will be the envy of everyone in your section. Orders are cleverly placed in clear plastic bags to insure easy passage thru Stadium security.

Lunch for 2, $25

Ribs on the Run 2225 Central Park Ave, Yonkers NY

Take out only.

A decent takeout spot in the heart of Yonkers' Central Avenue culinary wasteland. Ribs on the Run's claim to fame is they cater post game meals for the Yankees. You might run into ROTR's
owner at a pre game Stadium tailgate party.

Shake Shack Madison Square Park, 23rd and Madison.

Danny Meyer strikes again with an outdoor burger stand in Madison Square Park. The burgers are cooked to order and are a cut above what you would get from fast food. You get to enjoy your grub in an adjacent outdoor seating area or just find a park bench. The lines tend to get long but the handy ShackCam gives you a heads up on what to expect.

Lunch for 2, $25.

5th Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party June 9th-10th, Madison Square Park, 23rd and Madison.

Pitmasters and rib eaters converge in Madison Square Park for this annual BBQ-Fest. Local representatives include Blue Smoke, Dinosaur, Hill Country and Rack and Soul. Ten out-of-town pitmasters round out the field. The long lines for food can be avoided with the advance purchase of a Bubba FastPass. Live music adds to the festivities; this year's headliner is James Blood Ulmer.

Bubba Fastpass, $100.

Comments
2007-05-24 09:11:00
1.   Alex Belth
Dude, I'm MMMAAAAD Hungry just reading this list. Didn't know there were so many interesting B-Bque spots in town. Thanks.
2007-05-24 09:24:57
2.   mehmattski
Any of those places serve North Carolina style barbeque? I've nearly come to blows with arrogant Texans over this, but I can't stand that tomato-based crap- it's vinegary sweet-yet-spicy goodness for me all the way.

Allen & Son's BBQ in Chapel Hill, NC can't be beat. I'd imagine that getting authentic NC BBQ in NYC would be like trying to find a good Italian deli in NC...

2007-05-24 09:38:41
3.   AbbyNormal821
2 Rock on, mattski! I lived in southeaster Virginia for 5 years and got a taste of theirs & the NC BBQ - both some of the best I've ever had!

Oh, to have a BBQ sandwich right now...on a roll with some baked beans, and some slaw, and some homemade potato salad. As Alex said, yeah...MMMAAAAD hungry! As I would say...BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRP! ('scuse me!) But it's all good!!!!

Jon - I've heard about the BBQ fest over at MSP. I may just have to check it out this year (I work about 7 blocks away!)

:-)

2007-05-24 09:54:31
4.   AbbyNormal821
2...or finding good bagels in VA! Can't tell you how many times I came back up here to see my family and drove back to VA with 3 dozen bagels for my southern co-workers. Cripes - they wouldn't even eat the bagels down there!

...I'm tellin' ya - it's our sparkling clean water ( :::cough::: ) that makes 'em so good!

2007-05-24 09:59:20
5.   ChrisS
Not even an honorable mention for Dinosaur BBQ?

For shame.

http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com/nycIndex.php

Trust me on this one.

2007-05-24 10:02:11
6.   Dan M
Don't underestimate the length of the lines at the MSP Block Party - the Fast Pass is a necessity, not just a luxury.

The NYC Dinosaur BBQ is nice, but for some reason not as good as its older upstate brothers in Syracuse and Rochester.

2007-05-24 10:02:50
7.   unpopster
Ok, I have to admit that I've only tried the BBQ at the Shake Shack and at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party, but I've got to throw a recommendation out there for Virgil's on West 44th in Times Square. The ribs are great but the sides are simply fantastic. The beer menu ain't too bad either.
2007-05-24 10:06:54
8.   Sliced Bread
5 Word. Dinosaur is the bbq bomb.

(but there's a link in the last graph)

2007-05-24 10:09:04
9.   Emma Span
I took my mom to R.U.B. for mother's day, and it was good stuff. A little bit pricey, but the portions will feed you for a week (I ordered a "side" of cornbread... and received four huge chunks of it in an enormous basket).

Although I couldn't bring myself to eat a fried oreo. Ugh!

2007-05-24 10:18:47
10.   vockins
Fette Sau on Metropolitan and Pies n Thighs on Kent in Williamsburg is pretty good.

Yes, I have spent the last ten years in NYC, but I spent the first third of my life in South Carolina, so all that doubt my BBQ judging creds can step off.

2007-05-24 10:19:51
11.   tommyl
9 I had the fried oreo the other night. My uncle's girlfriend convinced me to at least "taste" hers. Its pretty good, but its hard to forget you are eating a deep fried oreo.

Dinosaur is really good for their chicken, but I think the ribs are better at R.U.B.

2007-05-24 10:20:12
12.   Chyll Will
8 Just came off a film shoot there last month. Mmmm-boy! Took a picture with another PA and Radioman in the middle like a little Buddha (his words) >;)
2007-05-24 10:23:07
13.   Jersey
Forget about bagels in VA...how about a decent slice of pizza. Sheesh.
2007-05-24 10:23:25
14.   Jersey
13 was directed at 5
2007-05-24 10:23:41
15.   Jersey
I mean 4. Ugh.
2007-05-24 10:25:00
16.   AbbyNormal821
STOP IT EVERYONE! I CAN'T TAKE ALL THIS YUMMY FOOD TALK...FIRST BBQ! NOW FRIED OREOS & CORN BREAD...

(Abby curls up into the fetal postition with her cup of fruit salad...whimpering!)

2007-05-24 10:35:50
17.   Shaun P
For those of us Yankee fans who live in the greater Boston area, if you haven't tried Firefly's, you don't know what you're missing.
2007-05-24 11:23:41
18.   AbbyNormal821
13 Don't even get me started on their pizza! Tasted like a soggy piece of cardboard!
2007-05-24 11:34:41
19.   AbbyNormal821
Funny headline to an article in Newsday today:

"End of an Error for Pavano"

HEE HEE! Nice play on words there!

...now back to your regularly scheduled Food Talk!

2007-05-24 11:36:39
20.   Knuckles
Didn't know there was a Brother Jimmy's in Grand Central.
They have 2 restaurants (UES and UWS) as well as a place called the bait shop.
They're definitely NC-Style, and is always chock full of ACC hoops fans.
I forget what their punch drink is called, but it comes in a hughe pretzel nuggets style barrel, with a bunch of straws and a plastic alligator in it, and I definitely remember after a few too many of those, coupled with a handfuls of Budweisers, coming within an inch of getting my ass beat by a huge crowd of rednex one time, when my buddy thought it'd be funny to switch a TV over to the Knicks/St John's/Rangers game when there was 2 minutes left in a Duke-UNC tilt.
2007-05-24 11:39:17
21.   sam2175
Count me in on the Dinosaur bandwagon, but of the Rochester variety. Its is simply superb. I don't know how good is the NYC version though.
2007-05-24 11:40:25
22.   pistolpete
If I hadn't just gotten back from lunch, I'd be eating my own mousepad right about now - having to read this thread, that is...
2007-05-24 11:42:25
23.   sam2175
17 I have to try that ASAP. Are they in Boston, or in the suburbs (Billerica etc.)?
2007-05-24 11:44:22
24.   jkay
Update on Blue Smoke--they now have an award winning cocktail.

http://www.nysun.com/article/55166

2 Cocktails Are Named Best Among City's Sidewalk Cafés

The city's Department of Consumer Affairs and the New York State Restaurant Association crowned the best alcoholic and virgin beverages during a competition at the Institute of Culinary Education yesterday.

A barbeque joint on East 27th Street, Blue Smoke, had the winning alcoholic beverage, The Porch Swing. Bubby's in TriBeCa took home the prize for best virgin mix with its Watermelon Lemonade.

The wine and beverage director at Blue Smoke, Jay Doran, who first concocted the gin and Pimm's-based Porch Swing last June, called his drink "refreshing, full bodied and effervescent." He said the judges referred to it as "masculine."

The Porch Swing from Blue Smoke

1 1/2 ounces of Hendrick's gin
1 1/2 ounces of Pimm's no. 1
4 ounces of fresh lemonade

Pour into a tall Collins glass. Add a splash of 7 Up. Finish with 10 finely sliced half-moon cucumbers.

2007-05-24 11:51:44
25.   Chyll Will
22 (tee-hee) Just had 2 slices of pepperoni/sausage fresh out da oven from Mariella, south of Columbus Circle... schweet! (Better than Micky D's and burnt tacos for the last three days...)
2007-05-24 11:52:41
26.   yankz
25 Hey man, don't be insulting my T-Bell.
2007-05-24 11:53:32
27.   ChrisS
6 8

Yeah, I noticed the link after I posted.

Since I live in Syracuse, I'm intimately familiar with the local Dinosaur. In NYC, I haven't had the opportunity to try RUB (there's just so many great restaurants in NYC it's hard to pass one of those up for BBQ when visiting).

I was in Boston a couple of weeks ago to see Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers and ate at a BBQ-ish place in Allston called Soulfire. It wasn't spectacular, but it was still pretty tasty.

2007-05-24 12:01:40
28.   Chyll Will
25 I wasn't. One thing about Taco Bell, they sure don't burn anything (cricket, cricket...) It was some Chinese food place masquerading as a taco place. Never again.
2007-05-24 12:02:12
29.   Chyll Will
um, that was to 26
2007-05-24 12:25:53
30.   Chyll Will
Wow, that just came to a dead stop, didn't it? Must've all got hungry and went out to eat >;)
2007-05-24 12:26:51
31.   Shaun P
23 Nope, Firefly's is in the 'burbs - Framingham and Marlboro, specifically. Here's their website: http://www.fireflysbbq.com/. Seems they also opened a place in Quincy, too.

27 I have many bottles of bbq sauce and the like from the Syracuse Dinosaur. Its probably my wife's favorite bbq place (her parents live near Syracuse). I used to know a guy who's jazz band played their a lot in the late '90s/early 2000s; they were very good, as was the food.

2007-05-24 13:07:04
32.   pistolpete
25 I actually just had a birthday lunch with my team at this place:

www.brasitas.com - I had the Mexican burritos and a big tall glass of Mango juice, finished off with some flan and coconut sorbet.

Of course, it's not BBQ, but still - YUMMY.

2007-05-24 13:21:23
33.   Dan M
27 I'm a big fan of the Syracuse Dinosaur, having made several pilgramages to the place during the three years that I lived in Ithaca. The biker vibe adds a lot to the experience. After spending many nights in the local bbq joint in my southern college town, I've always thought that the closer I was to getting my ass kicked, the better the bbq.
2007-05-24 13:38:08
34.   Bob B
I Love BBQ but I live for my trips to Philly to eat Cheesesteaks. Leo's, Chinks, D'allesandros Pats and Genos. Worth the drive to fill up and watch the Phillies
2007-05-24 13:56:41
35.   Chyll Will
32 At least it was authentic. I had to go with a cheap inmitation. Not a lot of reasonable options by Columbus Circle >:'
2007-05-24 14:23:37
36.   MikeK
20 Good, someone else mentioned Brother Jimmy's (there's actually two on the UES, one in the 60s one in the 90s). And those drinks are called fishbowls.

Good story--my buddy and I went there to drown our sorrows after at afternoon in the bleachers as the Yanks dropped game 1 to the Twins, couple years back. After many, many beers we plunked down for a couple of those--the drunk f--- wandered out of the bar, promptly blacked outn and forgot what he was doing outside, and so wandered home Heh.

2007-05-24 15:33:38
37.   uburoisc
Brother Jimmy's on the UES (the one in the 90s) has very good BBQ; the Carolina style that I like. Sunday, as I recall, has an all-you-can-eat pigfest and happy hour had $1 Natty Lights. Vinegar BBQ and cheap beer! And the sports scene was also good; I watched the Sox/Yanks playoff series there in '04 and it was perfect (aside from the scores). Fun place, good bartenders.
2007-05-24 15:48:02
38.   brothertyr
I produced a tv pilot called the crawl a few months back and the concept was to do a pub crawl with food. The creatives in charge chose ribs and we ended up going to R.U.B. on 23rd Street, Virgil's on 45th, Dinosaur on 125th and Brother Jimmies on the UES. They all were pretty good but I think the ribs at R.U.B. were the best. The Potatoes at Dinosaur were incredible and the pork sandwichs from Virgils are incredible.

And those fired Oreos at R.U.B. are ridiculous. The guy who owns it is a BBQ master who has won BBQ championships and is pretty cool.

2007-05-24 16:01:41
39.   RIYank
Is it okay to talk about the Yankees for a minute?

I just heard a radio interview with Coco Crisp, who claimed that after batting practice yesterday, A-Rod walked over to Pedroia and apologized for sliding too rough.

2007-05-24 16:44:43
40.   yankz
39 Go A-Rod.

I hate off days. Not that the food discussion isn't great and all, but man, I want to WIN.

2007-05-24 17:01:04
41.   OldYanksFan
I hate to admit it, but asides from being a great player and very hard worker, ARod also seems like a very decent guy.

I didn't think much of him B4 he got here. I thought he was overrated because his swing didn't look that strong and he struck out a fair amount. Now, I think he adds so much to the team, I will be somewhat lost if he opts out (and so will the Yankees).

Imagine if the Sox got him and dumped Manny. The entire team would take on a different wa. I bet the Sox go after him hard next year.

2007-05-24 17:01:33
42.   OldYanksFan
40
2007-05-24 17:49:45
43.   seamus
no vegan bbq eh? bummer.
2007-05-24 20:15:14
44.   Jersey
18 The one place with really good pizza is Nokesville. A little farm town in NoVa, just outside the sprawl zone. Kinda random.
2007-05-25 04:05:38
45.   OldYanksFan
Speaking of BBQ...
The most overrated CF of all time:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2880979
The conclusion seems to be very stats based, and makes a good point as to why sabremetrics is so important. Of course, if you WANT to prove a point, you can always cherry pick your stats... so you have to consider the source and still take a hard look at the presentation.

However, if Stark has done a good job, this is one guy you don't want to get as a FA in a million years, especially at a very high price he wil command. A few quotes:

"So I called up the 2006 zone rating of all qualifying major league center fielders on ESPN.com. Guess who was last on the list? Yessir, Andruw. He also finished last in 2004. And fifth from the bottom in 2005. I kept checking. As recently as 2001, he led his league in zone rating."

"Jones had the lowest batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, and park-adjusted OPS-plus that any player has ever had in a 50-homer season. He reached base fewer times than any 50-homer man ever. "

And a real killer: "Amazingly, one scout called him "not a very good offensive player. ... If he wants to hit a home run, he'll try to hit a home run -- at the expense of everything else."

The guy is now 30 and making $14m/yr. I imagine on the FA market, he will get $15-18m/yr and 5-6 years. He currently has an OPS of .740 with career stats of (and compared to Matsui)
Andruw: .265 .344 .502 .846
Matsui_: .297 .372 .485 .857
(and I feared that Matsui might not be worth $13m/yr)

Mind you, he's still an excellent player, but not certainly one you want to ink to an expensive longterm contract. In the 'old' days, the Yankees would have jumped on a guy like this. Hopefully they are smarter now.

2007-05-25 04:11:08
46.   OldYanksFan
P.S. A few familiar names from Starks 10 MOST overrated list:

No. 1 -- Barry Zito
No. 2 -- J.D. Drew
No. 3 -- Andruw Jones
No. 5 -- Bobby Abreu
No. 7 -- Alfonso Soriano
No. 10 - Jeff Suppan

2007-05-25 05:05:35
47.   Jersey
46 Wow. He whiffed on his reasoning for Bobby Abreu.

He makes it sound like Yankee fans are aggravated because Bobby doesn't have the intangibles (aka voices screaming in his head) that Mr. Captain Clutch Intangibles has. He says he's missing the "Derek Jeter gene."

And here I am thinking it's that 71 OPS. Hrm. Who knew.

2007-05-25 05:35:07
48.   RIYank
47 You beat me to it, Jersey. Abreu is having a bad year, but Stark can only say that he's one of those "players who mysteriously seem to be less than the sum of their spectacular numbers." Yeah, that generally means it's your perception of them that's wrong, Jayson. When the way a player "mysteriously seems" doesn't measure up to his numbers, it's the mysterious seeming that's gotta go. Stark figured this out with Andruw (seems: awesome; numbers: not-so-awesome; verdict: overrated) but gets it backward for Abreu.
His critique of J. D. Drew is similarly off-base. Drew is having a bad year, but when healthy he's been a very, very good player. Stark notes that he hasn't made an All Star Team. Wait, that makes him over -rated? Stark has a talent for putting together a good case... and then drawing exactly the opposite conclusion from what the case warrants.

On the other hand, he's certainly right about Juan Pierre. And I did think the points about Andruw were good, too, though Jones is still an outstanding player.

2007-05-25 05:37:00
49.   Yankee Fan In Boston
speaking of NYC eateries, the second avenue deli appears to be reopening.

http://tinyurl.com/36lgpr

i know the closing was news here. just thought i'd spread the news.

i need to try firefly's... redbones in davis square is pretty damned tasty if anyone is in the area.

2007-05-26 05:46:45
50.   Murray
Silly ads on the YES Network notwithstanding, Daisy May's BBQ on 11th and 46th is my favorite local bbq joint. I like the food much better than Blue Smoke. I didn't think Dinosaur was very good on the occasions when I visited.

Redbones was my favorite bbq joint in metro Boston during the time I lived there, so I'm pleased to hear it's still good. Does the Porter House Cafe still exist?

Second Avenue Deli was coasting for most of the post-Abe period. Opening on Third and Thirty-third could be rejuvenating. I hope.

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