Tag Archives: bbq

Kimchi Smoke

I’ve been eating Chef Cho’s Kimchi Smoke BBQ for several years at the NYCWFF and various other food events around the city, but I finally made it out to his brick and mortar location in Westwood, New Jersey.

Here’s what I had:

Korean Corn Dog: This was tasty. Cheese interspersed with hot dog, deep fried on a stick and served with a remoulade and a gochujang style ketchup.

The Legendary Chonut: The newest iteration of his famous BBQ sandwich on a donut called “Version 2.1” comes with brisket, cheese, and a bit of kimchi. I really liked this, despite not loving the first version of this about four years back. This is well balanced between heat, sweet, fat and acid.

The Old Dirty Bird: This fried chicken and spicy Korean style slaw sandwich was perfect! I could eat this every day.

General Cho’s Chicken: These fried chicken fingers are coated with his rib sauce, which has a spicy gochujang kick to it.

For the real deal pit BBQ, we had a heap of brisket, pork shoulder, XXX bacon (smoked and deep fried), and two kinds of ribs (the gochujang sauced ribs, and a Texas style dry rub). All of it was delicious. We did some Korean slaw and smoked kimchi on the side to cut the fat.

Here’s a closer look at all of that meat.

I think the XXX bacon was my favorite of the meats:

Then we finished with banana pudding, which had Nilla wafers and chunks of banana in it. AWESOME!

I highly recommend this place. Everything was incredible, and that chicken sandwich is easily in my top dishes of 2019. Possibly the bacon as well.

KIMCHI SMOKE
301 Center Ave
Westwood, NJ 07675

Holy Ground

Holy Ground is a new sacred place for me. I like to call it Tribeca’s answer to the West Village’s 4 Charles. Only here, along with a sexy set-up, you get a bit more space and a hell of a lot more smoke.

Now, don’t get all excited; you can’t smoke here. I’m talking about smoked meats. I struggled with how to categorize this joint, but I ultimately decided to call it BBQ rather than a steakhouse or traditional restaurant, because several of the meat proteins are focused on smoking and/or slow and low roasting. Even their grilled steaks are slow roasted first, to allow flavors to penetrate deep into that tender, pink flesh.

You step into this meat sanctuary on the northwest corner of Reade Street, just east of West Broadway. That’s a mouthful, but read it carefully again and let it sink in. The door is pretty nondescript, but you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see this:

A hostess will lead you through a dimly lit, winding corridor and down a set of narrow, carpeted stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs is a landing with a small but really fucking awesome bar parlor.

From there you can take in the vibe of this place, which is 100% my speed. It’s old tile. It’s dark wood. It’s deep reds. A speakeasy.

A few “rooms” are tucked away in nooks and crannies, up two steps here, around the wall there. Here’s the best seat in the house (when you look up):

Here is booth where we sat:

The four of us did some serious fucking damage. Let me get into it.

The cocktail menu is nice, but I had just tried a couple of cocktails (and a burger) earlier that evening at Manhatta, so I went with my usual: a gin martini. They are a bit on the small side, in those dainty, round, old fashioned martini glasses.

On a second trip, we tried both the red head and the odeon. Both were great. The odeon, on the right, is slammable!

The food menu is pretty meat-forward, but they do have some star quality fish and veggie items, which I will get into shortly.

We started with three apps and an entree to begin. I will tell you up front that we ordered nearly half of the menu, and nothing was bad. But the first thing to come out were these tremendous head-on, grilled red prawns.

They were damn delicious; one of my favorite dishes of the night. The heads hold a lot of juice, so when you pop them off, you may want some bread nearby if you aren’t going to slurp it all directly down your gullet like I did.

Next up was a plate of wings. These are smoked and char grilled, so they carry a fuckton of flavor. A great starter or bar snack.

We also grabbed the radicchio salad, which was one of my favorite items of the night. No shit. These veggies were perfect. I managed to get a shot before it was all gone, but my pic doesn’t do the dish justice. I will be returning soon to get it again.

The return shot:

We shared the beef rib as an appetizer. This is an impressive dish.

You’ll notice that sauce and color across several of the BBQ style dishes here. It has a mustard base with a little smokey and hot kick to it. Absolutely delicious. It’s like a cross of Carolina and Cajun style sauces. Very unique, like nothing I’ve ever tasted before.

The beef itself is slow smoked; tender, but still texturally intact. It isn’t some sloppy, soft, boiled, braised bullshit. This is the real deal. 9/10. And we learned that all the meats they use come from Dartagnan foods, which is a very high end purveyor of top notch proteins and gourmet ingredients.

On a second trip, my wife and I had the pork belly appetizer.

This is easily one of the best dishes I’ve had all year. The crackling is crisp, and that fermented chili sauce is killer. They only have a few of these per night, so go early if you want to try it. It is incredible!

Round two was the big show. This is where we crushed it. We couldn’t really narrow down our selections, so we just ordered everything – even the fish. We each had a different favorite too, which was pretty cool, and usually means that everything is great.

First, the wagyu brisket. This is the half-pound portion size for $21.

Again slow roasted and smoked, topped with that same delicious sauce. This is by far the best brisket I’ve ever eaten. 10/10

Next up, the Kurobuta pork shoulder. This is the individual portion size for $32.

This was so juicy. Extremely tender, and again that sauce really pushed it along into greatness. 8/10.

You may be thinking, “Well, shit, why don’t they come up with some more variety in the sauces on these things?”

My answer is this: most people aren’t ordering every major protein on the menu when they come here. Most likely just one person at the table is getting a dish that has the sauce on it. And most BBQ joints have the same sauce on the table for you to slather onto your meat anyway. No one is complaining there about variety, are they? I say it’s fine. The sauce is delicious, and it works with those three BBQ dishes (pork shoulder, beef brisket, beef rib).

Our next protein was the king’s cut prime rib with smoked herb jus.

This baby was cooked dead on to medium rare even though it was smoked for hours first. That is a feat in itself, but it still managed to stay juicy and tender. Bravo. 9/10.

Take a look at how thick it is too, and the size of the cap. This easily feeds two people who have normal appetites, possibly three.

Last but not least in the world of meat was the grilled wagyu rib eye. This “Thousand Dollar Steak,” as it’s called on the menu, is 30-days dry aged and served with a demi-glaze and onion puree.

It, too, is smoked before being grilled. This went a little over, but it was no matter because it was still incredibly tender and flavorful. The sauce reminded me of a really concentrated onion gravy like mom used to make. It had a spectacular cap too. 8/10.

But wait… there’s more! Whole branzino.

This was char-grilled to perfection and served with a nice bright tartar sauce and lemon. One of my buddies said it was just like his mom used to make, and he loved it. This was one of my favorites of the night as well.

On a second trip, I tried both the ribs and the chicken. Both were served in a different sauce than the beef items above. They were different from one another, but both were on the sweeter side. I generally dislike sweet in my entrees, but this was mild and just right, not over the top. The chicken had an almost maple flavor to it.

The half order of ribs is enough for one. There were eight good-sized ribs on the plate.

For sides, we tried the broccoli, collared greens and mac and cheese.

The mac was the most superior of the three for me, and it was wildly tasty when we dragged those thick rigatoni pasta tubes through that delicious BBQ sauce.

I’m not sure how we managed, but we tried a few desserts as well.

This was a strawberry shortcake, and it was served uniquely in a glass, almost upside down, if you will, with the graham cracker crumble as a topping rather than a crust.

A classic ice cream sundae in a mug. Vanilla and chocolate ice cream, toffee sauce, vanilla crumbs and whipped cream.

This is the Black & Blonde:

The base is a bed of toasted meringue, and on top are some toasted hazelnuts, a white chocolate bar and salted caramel.

This is one of my new favorite places to eat. Not only is the environment great, but the food and service are top notch as well. This place is going to start getting packed out, so make your reservations ASAP. I’m going back again very soon, and again and again as often as I can.

UPDATE: BURGER

This burger is pretty damn tasty!

Dry aged patty, aged white cheddar, special sauce and pickles on a toasted English muffin. Comes with awesomely crisp herb fries. During happy hour on weekdays from 5-7pm you can get the burger, fries and a beer for $20. Great deal!

HOLY GROUND
112 Reade St
New York, NY 10013

Fette Sau

I finally made it back here after years of cravings. The first time I came was well before I started writing about food, so I was long overdue. On this trip, I made sure to get a little bit of everything. This platter ran me $143 (a bit pricey):

So lets start clockwise from the top right on this next pic:

Pulled Pork: This was fantastic. One of my favorites of the platter. There was a good crusty bark on the meat, and the flavor was juicy without being sauced. Some of the best pulled pork I’ve had.

Hot Links: This was my favorite of the meal. For some reason I gravitate towards hot links and sausage at BBQ joints. No idea why. They are always just really satisfying.

Brisket: A bit dry, but still very flavorful. I would skip this unless you are an absolute brisket fiend. I find Jewish style brisket like pastrami, or even Irish style corned beef, to be more flavorful and juicy than the often dry brisket we see at NYC BBQ joints.

Sirloin: This was overpriced at $38pp but it was a nice new take on BBQ cuts. The cook temp was perfect.

Half Sour Pickles: A great way to cut the fat. These were nice.

German Potato Salad: This was a great side too. A little vinegar to cut that richness of the meat goes a long way.

Baked Beans: These were excellent, as they were packed with bits of bacon and burnt ends. If beans are your thing, this is the way to go here.

Bacon Burnt Ends: This was delicious. Last time I came here they were all out, so I was itching to try these. Essentially it is like sticky, savory and sweet chunks of bacon or pork belly, rendered out nicely without drying or burning. Not too distinguishable from some bacon products you can make at home in a pan though. Good to try once.

Pork Ribs: These were just okay. The one I had contained too much fat. Not a bad thing, but I was hoping for more meat on the bone. Essentially it was a big bone with a little bit of muscle and a lot of fat. Flavor was okay. I’ve had better.

Definitely looking forward to a return trip here where I can focus on my favorite items of the day, like the pulled pork and the links.

FETTE SAU
354 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Pig Beach

I finally made it out to Pig Beach. I came for a press event for a pit master’s cookbook, but I was able to try some really nice stuff.

First, the cookbook author, Jess Pryles, cooked up some tri-tip with her black spice rub on it. Delicious.

These slices were turned into tacos.

There was also a nice roasted whole hog for pulled pork sandwiches.

And of course, the amazing Pig Beach burgers.

This place is a blast. If you haven’t been here yet, go while the weather is nice so you can really enjoy the outdoor areas.

PIG BEACH
480 Union St
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Jax BBQ

My wife and I popped into Jax BBQ on a Saturday afternoon just before they closed the kitchen at 4pm for a one hour break between lunch and dinner service (the bar stays open though).

We started with a beer and one of their frozen margaritas.

Speaking of drinks, they have a great every day happy hour from 3pm-6pm, where both the beer and margaritas are just $5.

We started with gator and crawfish fritters. Both were great.

The Memphis style ribs were excellent. We started with a few.

But then we ordered a lot more because they were so good.

Not a lot of people know that ribs aren’t supposed to “fall off the bone.” They’re supposed to have a bite. When you chomp on a rib, your teeth should make a mark. Like this:

We also tried a burger. This was overcooked, but the caramelized onions, truffle ketchup and cheddar cheese definitely added that juiciness back in, no problem. Just make sure you order medium rare.

We finished off with a slice of Mississippi mud pie for dessert. This was like a super soft brownie cake. Awesome.

JAX BBQ
496 9th Ave
New York, NY 10018

Cochon Restaurant

Cochon Restaurant and its sister joint “Butcher” are well known in New Orleans for serving some great meaty grub.

My friends and I went in a big group, so we got to try a lot of items. Here’s the full menu (minus the daily specials).

We started with some fried gator.

These bites were excellent. Gator meat, if you haven’t had it before, is like a cross between catfish and chicken in texture: tender but springy. These were spicy and saucy but still fried up nice and crisp on the outside.

Next up, probably one of the best dishes of the meal, braised pork cheeks.

Incredibly tender, and again with a bit of spice. Awesome way to begin the meal. I could eat this over and over.

Next up, a gorgeous charcuterie board.

The standout here was the pork rillette (in the tin cup). So smooth and tasty. But everything else was really nice as well (head cheese, coppa, prosciutto, homemade bologna, and even the pickled veggies).

Liver and onions, also well executed and delicious, is what my wife ordered to start. This had a great pepper jelly that really popped. It went nicely with the fresh mint.

Fried boudin (sausage) and rice balls. These were so soft inside and crispy outside.

For my entree I ordered a rib eye (of course) that was on the list of daily specials. It was essentially the center eye part of the rib eye only – no cap at all.

While this was very small, it was priced accordingly ($28). They misfired my first cut and went over, but they were smart enough not to bring it out to me. The second one, however, was slightly under from medium rare, and it felt rushed.

No matter, though. I’d rather eat a rare steak than a well done steak. The issue for me was that it just wasn’t very good. The sauce didn’t quite do it for me, and it was described as being roasted. I was sort of expecting prime rib given the description. 5/10.

My wife ordered the winning dish here. Ham hock.

It had a delicious dry spice rub on it that was a cross between sweet and spicy, and it was cooked perfectly throughout. The veggies, yogurt and quinoa underneath was a nice touch to make the fully composed dish well rounded and complete.

Their famous dish here, the cochon, was tasty but way too salty for my liking. One or two bites was all I could do. It also wasn’t that pretty so I didn’t bother trying to get a great shot of it.

Their oyster and bacon sandwich was massive.

It was loaded with tons of fried gulf oysters and smoky bacon. And it went nicely with some of their spicy vinegar and hot sauce.

Overall this was a pretty great meal with the exception of the steak. I would definitely go here again.

COCHON RESTAURANT
930 Tchoupitoulas St
Suite A
New Orleans, LA 70130

Shabu Tatsu

Shabu Tatsu is a Japanese shabu shabu (hot pot) and yakiniku (grilling) restaurant in the East Village. They offer up a variety of really great thinly sliced meats to sear up on the butter-basted skillet, or dip into their kombu and vegetable broth for a quick cook.

Some friends of mine brought me along on their dinner where they were meant to feature Kirin beer with the food, in hopes to promote Japanese cuisine and tourism with an Instagram contest. Here’s what we had:

YAKINIKU

Their mixed platter of meats for grilling contained beef tongue, liver, short rib, and rib eye, as well as pork.

The beef tongue was probably my favorite. These babies cook up quick since they’re thin, so you just want to get a good sear on them for color and flavor.

We also grilled off some wagyu rib eye. This stuff was so highly marbled and decadent.

SHABU SHABU

For the hot pot portion of the meal, we had some nice thinly sliced beef rib eye and pork loin.

I still prefer Chinese hot pot over this style, because the broth flavors are more robust and powerful. This broth was mainly water with a small kombu leaf in it, and then you load up some veggies in there as well. It’s still really good, just a preference for me.

The best part of the meal, however, was the starter course! We tried three apps: grilled squid, braised pork belly and dumplings.

The pork belly was incredible. It was cooked in a thick citrus sauce and had a great kick from the spicy mustard on top. I highly recommend that dish.

SHABU TATSU
216 E 10th St #St1
New York, NY 10003

New in the Shop: Lamb Ribs!

I’m really excited to be working with Mosner Family Brands to bring you all this rare and delicious protein.

These are LAMB RIBS, you meat maniacs!!!

 

You don’t see them too often, but they’re really special.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em, as they say… and, well, I got ’em… And now you can get some too. You don’t want to miss out on these – especially you game meat and BBQ fanatics out there. These are pure heaven.

ORDER HERE!

Helsinki

Helsinki is a BBQ joint and live music performance venue in Hudson, NY. My wife and I stopped in on our last night in town to try the food.

The space is beautiful; a reclaimed warehouse of some kind, totally refitted in a modern but old fashioned kind of way.

 

The upstairs is an event space for things like weddings.

There’s even a beautiful outdoor space that’s reminiscent of a walking garden path.

Anyway, the menu was really enticing.

Even the sides looked nice.

I had a couple of cocktails, one being a smokey and spicy mescal drink, and the other being a refreshing bourbon smash.

For a starter, we had the baked oysters with pimento cheese. Really fucking good. Highly recommended.

For our entree, we split a BBQ trio platter, which came with lean sliced brisket, Texas links, and ribs.

I really liked the links the best. The ribs were excellent though, and had a nice natural spice to them. The brisket was dry, unfortunately. I get that they are lean cuts, but they should still be juicy.

On the side we had cornbread, spaghetti squash and cherries.

Here’s a shot of my wife explaining the different sauces to me, since I missed what the waitress said while I was outside shooting pictures of the food.

Here she is again, patiently waiting for me to stop taking pictures of the sauces.

The white one, an Alabama style sauce, was my favorite. You definitely need to hit this joint when you’re in town. It’s one of three places I highly recommend here in Hudson.

HELSINKI
405 Columbia St
Hudson, NY 12534

American Glory

I can’t comment much on this joint, since the last time I went was back in 2014, but I do remember really loving their smoked turkey leg.

Unfortunately, when I walked by and checked out the menu again last week on my trip to Hudson, the smoked turkey leg was no longer on the menu.

AMERICAN GLORY
342 Warren St
Hudson, NY 12534