Park Ave. South @ 18th St. (Grammercy/Flatiron)
Alexis: I knew that the pitmaster at Hill Country was drafted to oversee the smoking of meats at Wildwood. What I didn't know is that NYC's latest addition to the BBQ empire is a part of the B.R. Guest family. A family that includes Dos Caminos, Blue Water Grill, and Ruby Foo's. In other words, a motherfrickin corporate restaurant. Imagine if Outback Steakhouse was called Outback Ribhouse and you have Wildwood BBQ - extra friendly & perky servers running around in tight gray t-shirts reading "Rub me tender" and "Wingman." Clever, no? We walked in on Saturday afternoon and were sat right away. The dining room is a good size and they still managed to overseat it. I realize cattle is big in TX but I like to eat it, not eat LIKE it.
Douchebags to the left of us:
"Are you getting the chicken?"
"Of course I'm getting the chicken. What sides do you want - I like the salt & vinegar chips."
"Oh I don't like vinegar. I want the iceberg wedge but I don't like blue cheese. Can we get ranch?"
"Oh that means I don't get to have blue cheese and I love blue cheese. Let's get them both on the side."
(P.S. They were girls)
Douchebags to the right of us:
(As our food is being brought to the table)
"Oh that's the rib sampler...Oh now they're bringing the creamed spinach..."
Ok we get it dorko, you looked up the menu on your badass iPhone and memorized it before coming in.
And the reason we could hear all this, try as we might to ignore it, was because our tables were jammed together for maximum coverage. Yeehaw!
Alexis: I ordered the rib sampler. Spare ribs, baby back ribs, lamb ribs. It was a ton of food. The lamb ribs were the best - super fatty. The spare ribs were not bad but very inconsistent - some were just right and the others were very dry. And the baby backs were very average. And dry. What I did love was the BBQ sauce - the house sauce was a little thin but had a little smoky sweetness to it. There was another one with chipotles and raspberries that was very good also. We agreed that BBQ sauce is good but having to slather it onto the meat is a bad sign - that means it's dry and/or tasteless.
Alex: On my plate was the Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, and Half a Chicken. The Pulled Pork was hands down the best part of the meal. It was the only part if the meal that didn't have to be drenched in BBQ sauce. The Chicken was huge but a little dry and the rub on the outside was barely noticeable. The worst part of the meal was easily the Brisket. The slices were super thin and super dry. I think the Pit Master need to retrain his cronies because then definitely don't know how to handle a slab of beef (no homo just in case). Not even the sauce could save these pitiful little flaps of worthless.
Alex: On the side I had Cornbread which was bland and dry, and Baked Beans which would have been really good if it was cooked a little bit longer. The beans were still a little bit raw and crunchy, but the taste was good, a little smoky, a little sweet.
Alexis: For my sides I ordered potato salad made with red potatoes and creamed spinach. We were warned that they were considerably smaller than the a la carte sides but I didn't realize they'd come in condiment dishes! The spinach was your regular run of the mill spinach. And the potato salad - it was just potatoes and mayonnaise. Super meh.
We both ordered drinks each (Cold Ass Beer and Black Maple Bourbon for Alex, Cabernet for me) and the grand total was about $85 without tip. Considering the quality of food we got, I would've been happier going to Dallas BBQ and spending a fraction of that for the same grub. I'm spewing a lot of harsh words but I had high expectations of this place. Plus this is the first time we've had BBQ since being back from TX so I guess I'm still riding that wave of thick, fatty, juicy Louie Mueller brisket.
Alex: The Cold Ass Beer was nothing more than a "funny" name for Rolling Rock which is pretty much yellow water. The Black Maple Bourbon was niiiiiiiiiice. A hint of maple made it go down oh so smooth.
I know that being from Texas I am a little bit of a BBQ snob, but I will be the first to tell you that I have had great BBQ in the City. This was definitely not it. Although we did get a lot of food, it was way over priced and the quality was just not there.