I used to live just down the block from this joint back in the day. I’ve eaten here many times, but that was all before I started writing restaurant reviews.
Over the course of the last year or two, I’ve had the pleasure of eating some take-out lunch from this joint, in the form of catered work functions. While I recognize that is not the best format to re-experience the glory of Virgil’s, the quality and flavors are consistent enough to what I remember, I’ve tasted enough different items, and, most importantly, I managed to snag a good enough photo (kidding with that reason, of course), to render out a nice, current, up-to-date review of the various menu items that I’ve tried here.
Let’s take this plate of protein, for example:
Fried Chicken: Great crispy skin and batter, juicy thigh meat too. All around solid item that can hang with all the big boys of the fried chicken world.
Brisket: A bit dry, but packing an amazing smoked flavor in each bite. Good bark on the outside, but the dryness means that this would require some sauce. I ate a slice or two but got bored.
Pork Ribs: Best thing on the plate. These were cooked properly – not braised or boiled – so the meat had good bite texture and wasn’t falling apart. The bark was super tasty too: sweet but still savory.
BBQ Chicken: Skip it. I love a BBQ drumstick, but this was the worst thing on the plate. It was coated with too much shit so that the spice rub on the skin tasted like grainy dirt mud rather than a crispy spice bark. I was annoyed by that.
Pulled Pork: With the addition of sauce, this would be much better. I generally don’t like to put too much sauce on my pulled pork, but with the right sauce – something with a spicy kick and a little sweetness at the back end – this would be delicious.
One thing I will talk about that’s not in the picture is the jalapeno corn bread. Perhaps the joint’s location in tourist central (Times Square) causes them to approach the corn bread with caution, so as to not kill anyone with spicy peppers. But ultimately that means this particular corn bread falls short. The texture and moisture level was great, but I was hoping for some heat. Bummer. But if you approach it like a regular corn bread, then I think you’ll be pleased.
VIRGIL’S REAL BBQ
152 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036