Flatiron Lunch: Your First Look at BBQue’s Fast Food Barbecue
It’s one of the curses of New York City that some of the best foods that would be cheap eats where they came from are super pricey here. In the years since quality barbecue arrived in New York with places like Blue Smoke and Hill Country, it’s been the rare spot that has been anything like a Midtown Lunch. Nearby, I was happy to find some good deals at RUB NYC, but it has stood as the exception to the rule. But, has that changed?
Back in September, I reported that BBQue’s Smoke Shack was opening up on 6th Avenue just a few doors down from the Limelight. It’s now open for business and this week, I took the opportunity to get a closer look.
One look at the excessive signage and fake log cabin decor was enough to realize that ‘authentic’ barbecue wasn’t so much what BBQue’s was going to be about.
There’s clearly no pitmaster or anyone who’s immersed themselves in barbecue culture to make sure that the food here is slow smoked and exactly as you’d find it in some tiny town outside of Austin, Memphis or Birmingham.
Instead you have a standard fast food counter with an attentive staff that called out to me three times to let me know they were ready to take my order while I was taking in the menu.
With pretty much all the sandwich options on the menu costing between $6.95 and $8.95, it’s certainly the best priced barbecue you’re going to find in the area. I ordered the brisket sandwich at random, to see what it was all about.
There are also barbecue wings which cost $4.99 for 6, $7.99 for 12 and $12.99 for 24 and a selection of platters, most of which break the ML price range.
I was also intrigued by the breakfast menu, which offers options like biscuits and gravy and chicken waffles.
The sauce menu sort of perplexed me, though. They’ve got a ‘dirty dozen’ of sauces ranging from Honey Sweet to Holy Habañero. Each has a regional name, but many weren’t particularly descriptive and I sort of doubt that anyone from those regions would recognize the sauces as their own.
Since I was having Brisket, I picked the Texas Bull sauce, which was supposedly on the hotter end of the spectrum.
The sandwich wasn’t huge, but was a decent enough sign. For scale, I have it here next to my iPhone.
We don’t do reviews as such on our first looks at new restaurants, so I’m not passing judgement on BBQue’s. They may still be getting their feet on the ground and figuring out what they’ll be serving. That said, the sauce, a 9 on a 12 point spiciness scale, could have come from a kraft bottle. If you love the fiery foods, you may want to carry in your own hot sauce.
I will say that the staff of BBQue’s was particularly friendly and attentive. Twice over the course of my meal one staffer or another walked through the dining space and checked to see how everyone was doing and cleared tables where needed. If the service stays like that, I’ll certainly be likely to return to investigate further.