Having lived in Europe, California and the Northeast, it is difficult for us to know what real barbecue should be like given it’s a Southern and South Central US cuisine. All we know is what tastes great to us. And while we have been to BBQ places across the Southwest, Texas, in the Carolinas up to Virginia and sampled all types of BBQ, we believe New York is blessed with some great BBQ places. Here are a few of our favorites:
116 E. 27th Street
New York, NY 10016
Danny Meyer’s Gramercy place is a stylish down home road house serving very good to excellent barbecue in a large converted warehouse like building. The industrial design is simple but stylish at the same time.
The menu includes all forms of BBQ, and the results are pretty darn good. I’m a big fan of pulled pork BBQ and have tried it virtually everywhere across America. Blue Smoke’s pulled pork BBQ is at the moment the best I have every eaten. The smoked beef brisket is equally outstanding. And surprisingly the spiced “you peel them shrimp” were great.
Service is roadhouse good, friendly and depending upon your server very good to great.
This is more a long drink and beer place than a wine place, even though there is a decent wine list featuring Long Island and other US regional wines. The Mint Juleps are to die for.
Blue Smoke – Recommended to Highly Recommended
225 Park Avenue South
New York , NY
Gramercy is blessed with excellent BBQ places and the newest, Wildwood BBQ is at the top of the list. Being from B R Guests group, there is a natural hesitation, but our experiences have been totally positive.
The pleasant roadhouse/barn decor serves as a perfect place to indulge one into BBQ. Service has been very good, with plenty of people making sure you had a great experience.
While people will always argue over what type of BBQ is best, Wildwood serves up some very decent ribs, briskets and pulled pork more in the Carolina tradition than others. The vinegar and salt chips served with sandwiches are an acquired taste, and the accompanying sweet pickles may remind you of your grandmother.
This is a beer and long drinks place, so don't look for a decent wine here. Great beer list and good drinks make this a place to come to drink and eat on the side.
Wildwood BBQ - Recommended
Dinosaur Bar B Que
646 W. 131st Street
New York , NY 10027
Reviewers and dining critics have raved about Dinosaur for the past few years. That fact that a BBQ place, particularly one in Harlem, has become a destination dining place gives evidence that this restaurant has been an important part of Manhattan dining.
The former warehouse/factory has all the raw architectural bones to create a fantastic roadhouse decor. While a little rough at the edges, this is a comfortable place to sit down and eat barbecue. Service is friendly and if not completely professional, the wait staff makes it for lapses with good spirits and rapid service.
The menu is composed primarily of barbecue as one would expect. And it is good very good BBQ. Be it pulled pork, brisket or ribs, the preparations are first class. The none BBQ items fall fall short; weak cole slaw, cold and not really spicy shrimp, flabby french fries, etc. These failures make the overall barbecue experience a little less spectacular.
This is a beer place, although the menu does contain a few selections of wine by the glass, which were OK.
Dinosaur - Recommended
Virgil's Real Barbecue
152 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
Many people consider Virgil’s off Times Square the real thing when it comes to BBQ. It definitely has the rural Southern roadhouse look and feel. Many Southern customers flock to this place when they come to Manhattan. The place is filled with all the beer signs, tacky trappings and awards for the best BBQ.
We tried our BBQ favorites; pulled pork BBQ and BBQ’d beef brisket. The savory pork BBQ was darn good, but not the best. The brisket fell well short of the best, as did the hand cut fries, cold slaw and pickles.
Service was typical of a roadhouse, more friendly than capable.
Barbecue wine lists are a bit of an oxymoron and while the Pinot Noir was drinkable, this is a far better beer and Southern cocktail place.
Virgil’s - Acceptable