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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 HabaƱero. 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.

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The sandwich wasn’t huge, but was a decent enough sign. For scale, I have it here next to my iPhone.

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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.

13 Comments

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Okay….well how was the food other than “not very spicy”? That sandwich looks nothing like brisket, more like a heavily sauced pulled pork covering up some dry, not very flavorful meat.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    that wasnt a food review.. that was a review of their staff and decor

  • i thought first looks are just when you guys take a pic of the sign and leave?

  • It’s right around the corner from where I work, however the reviews on Yelp are uniformly excoriating, so I’d like to hear more opinions.

  • First Look: Photos and description of the space, the menu, sometimes a look at the food. Gives a general idea of the place for early adopters.

    We try not to judge the food until they’ve been around for a little while and gotten a chance to settle in.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Okay, I guess I was a little quick to pull the trigger on that one so early in the work day.

    (how was the brisket/pulled pork sandwich anyway?)

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    yer same. my b

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Don’t most first looks include a description of how the food was, along with a big disclaimer that “they’re just starting out, getting their feet under them, blahblahblah”

    This is kind of goofy… it’s ok to talk about food on a food site, even if the place is brand new

  • Being a big fan of the friday Ultraclay reviews, I’m drawing the conclusion that the food blows. Ultraclay is a gentleman and very polite. If it was great, he’d have raved about it! His silence is—-telling….???

    The only NYC bbq I really like is daisy may’s 37 dollar beef rib…. I took that sucker down in about 10 min. And I didn’t share. That rib is awesome.

  • I can read between the lines… the food is obviously mediocre.

    If you are going to do a first look, it should be more of a here is the place, here is the menu. Once you start showing the food you ordered, it should be a review. And by not truly commenting on it, its clear its terrible. And I’m also very anti “I don’t comment on new places.” If they are charging for food, they should be serving good food and deserve to be reviewed. Sounds like this is just another mediocre fast food “bbq” joint in the same vein as those horrible Texas BBQ Rotisserie joints that used to be scattered throughout NY.

  • if it’s made in an oven, without wood, it’s forever going to be mediocre.

  • The chicken and waffle may be worth a try though. And I’m curious if the wings are any good–at the very least, they are unlikely to be standard buffalo wings. I really wish Dinosaur BBQ would open up a place on this block!

  • Three meat combo sandwich for lunch and chicken waffles for brekfast. Make it happen!!

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