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Hill Country


kathryn
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http://offthebroiler.wordpress.com/2007/06...ll-country-nyc/

30 West 26th

Between Broadway and 6th Avenue

Opening June 8, and also participating in the Big Apple BBQ Block Party

Notables:

1. Lockhart, TX style BBQ (like Smitty's, Black's, Kreuz...)

2. They have Big Red, Royal Crown, and Mexican Coke available as well as Lone Star

3. Bacon praline brittle

4. Blue Bell ice cream (Fedexed in from TX)

5. They are working on getting Shiner and Dublin Dr. Pepper (!)

Edited by kathryn (log)
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Central Texas style barbecue can't even be found in Houston and Dallas, so I would be very excited if it was duplicated in New York.

When I move to China -- and have come into a bunch of money -- I want to hire one of the employees of a Central Texas bbq joint and have him set up a new restaurant there from scratch.

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I'll be interested to see how it compares. One thing that I have to believe is integral to the Lockhart style is the use of open pits. This is simply not possible for a NYC restaurant (Hill Country uses Ole Hickory closed pits).

--

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Central Texas style barbecue can't even be found in Houston and Dallas, so I would be very excited if it was duplicated in New York.

When I move to China -- and have come into a bunch of money -- I want to hire one of the employees of a Central Texas bbq joint and have him set up a new restaurant there from scratch.

Something to remember about "bbq production", is that the open pits that places like Kreuz's and the Salt Lick use is that they are for holding/finishing/serving only.

Full disclosure: I was the opening chef at a Salt Lick satellite location. All the meat we used was the exact same product that was used at the original location, the only difference was that the meat was "finished" in an enclosed smoker on site, rather than in the open pit at Driftwood. We even often used the same wood. It all comes down to the wood, the quality of the meat, and the skill of the pitmaster

I wish these guys all the luck. BBQ can be a cruel mistress sometimes :)

Edited by mikelbarnz (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

a bunch of us ate here last night:

I enjoyed it a great deal. although the brisket and ribs that we had were a little below RUB..

the sausages were the best I've had in NY (imported from Kreutz Market)...the jalapeno ones especially. as good as anything Usinger's puts out.

the sides were better than RUB.

the prime rib lacked smoke...as did the brisket (although still pretty tasty).

however, they were out of the "moist brisket" (we were stuck with the lean) and out of the beef ribs. so I wouldn't call it a fair sample.

as well...it's a much more enjoyable place to hang out than RUB. live music, long racuous tables...its the perfect place for a party.

I'll go back soon.

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I stopped by yesterday around noon, popped in and and inquired about lunch hours. The hostess said that they would start lunch on July 2nd. Their website indicates that lunch will start at 11:30 am.

They were serving a private party (lucky stiffs!)

Edited by georgeb (log)
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Don't judge their brisket until you try the moist. The flats are great, too, but the point is where it's at.

Went two weeks ago. The lean was bone dry and the moist felt like chewing on a piece of fat. In fact, I had the pleasure of paying for a 3oz chunk of 98% fat (which a Manager hesitantly replaced at our later request).

We also had the beef shoulder, regular sausage, corn pudding and the baked beans. The beef shoulder was dull and I regretted buying more than one slice; the flavor simply wasn't enough to hold my attention. The regular sausage I liked, but - being a sauce kind of guy - I would have liked it even more if it had a good partner. The corn pudding was good, but everything else was pretty mediocre. Shame that we didn't try the ribs which everyone seems to be raving about.

Decor-wise, it was a nice place, and the place will probably succeed on that basis alone. Laid back, country/rockabilly music, drinks served in mason jars, silverware at the tables, unfinished wood tables (watch out for splinters!!)

As a born and bred Texan who lives 2 blocks away, I really wanted to like this place. Sadly, I probably won't be going back any time soon.

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Photos available:

http://flickr.com/photos/larryleenyc/sets/72157600544527765/

This is based on just one meal. Here are my thoughts, draw what conclusions you will.

The meats were tender but desperately lacked smoke, a critical flaw in execution. The prime rib, not pictured, was the biggest disappointment. Not enough smoke, not enough salt, and the most expensive meat per pound on the menu. "What the hell are we paying for?" was the thought that went through my mind as I bit into it. As big a shock as trying the tong-po pork from New Green Bo (compared to the version from New Yeah Shanghai across the street, but that's another story).

Maybe we went on a bad night, but it's a hell of a bad first impression given that we tried almost everything on the menu in one shot.

The sides as a group were better than the meats. I wish we had tried the cucumber salad and the cole slaw. I like Daisy May's sweet tea better. The desserts were expensive (e.g. $4 Blue Bell ice cream, never again) and, in my opinion, not worth repeat tastings.

The bottle of sangiovese we had went very well with the meats.

As an overall meal experience, with the company I was with, the band downstairs, the friendliness of the staff, I'd say it was quiet enjoyable. If the food improves it would be an excellent place to have a party.

There was, however, one very weird moment where someone (I think one of the managers) at the sides bar gave my wife a hard time about the amount of food she had on her tray. The issue was that she might have received some food without her card being stamped. In reality, she had all of my food because I was walking around with my camera taking pictures. What should have happened is that I should have shown him my card. But what REALLY should have happened is that the manager should have been asking the station staff because they're not supposed to give out food without stamping your ticket. It's poor form to accuse your customer of stealing.

Edited by larrylee (log)
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We went to Hill Country a couple of weeks ago and we were left with mixed feelings. We very much enjoyed much of the meat (loved the ribs and the brisket), but we were also disappointed with the Prime Rib, it was lacking in depth of flavor in our opinion. We also liked the sides, but we weren't crazy about them.

What we didn't like was the whole setup of the place. It was just painful waiting in line to get the meat, and then waiting in line to get the sides. It wasn't a big deal the fact that they serve it in paper, but having to get up from your table and spend a considerable amount of time getting the food is not fun, especially when it's just a couple.

Arley Sasson

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I didn't find any difficulty with a wait. I went for lunch and for dinner. It was a late dinner so there may have been fewer people on line;everyone may have been downstairs with the music.

I found it a fun place. Positives? The brisket: rub was great and meat was juicy;best meat that I tried there. Kreusz's sausage was spicy and delicious. Beef ribs were tasty and pork ribs were good. I agree about the sides; best was the coleslaw. My friend scarfed down the sweet potato bourbon mash; my other friend liked the corn pudding.

Negatives? It is more expensive than Texas although one would expect that. But four dollars for an ice tea? Meat served was very greasy, particularly when I went for dinner :unsure:

But generally I think worth trying for the brisket and sausage, particularly if you can wade your way through the fat. I didn't try the lean slice and that might be less greasy/fatty but I was hesitant about it being too dry. So I will try the lean next.

Edited by dumpling (log)
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Dumpling,

I didn't have a chance to try the moist brisket but I wouldn't try the dry unless you really feel a need to do so. I agree with Jammin that the dry brisket was too dry.

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Dumpling,

I didn't have a chance to try the moist brisket but I wouldn't try the dry unless you really feel a need to do so. I agree with Jammin that the dry brisket was too dry.

I mean the lean brisket. But there you have it.

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My fiance and I went Sunday night around 9 and there were only 2 people in front at the meat station. We had: 1/2 lb. moist brisket, 1 lb. beef ribs, corn pudding, mac & cheese, and pbj cupcake. Everything was great except for the pbj cupcake--dough was stale-- and the mac & cheese, which was OK.

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We went to Hill Country a couple of weeks ago and we were left with mixed feelings. We very much enjoyed much of the meat (loved the ribs and the brisket), but we were also disappointed with the Prime Rib, it was lacking in depth of flavor in our opinion. We also liked the sides, but we weren't crazy about them.

I concur for the most part. :wink:

Went there on opening night with some friends. Notable standouts: Kreuz sausage, roast chicken, brisket. Prime rib was just not smoky enough and could have been cardboard in my opinion.

gallery_1890_1967_137018.jpg

There was some disagreement in our group though. I'd probably return in two or three months and compare notes.

Their mac-n-cheese hit all the right flavor notes. I just wish the portion size would have had a little more oomph for $16.

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Their mac-n-cheese hit all the right flavor notes.  I just wish the portion size would have had a little more oomph for $16.

Please tell me either that you're kidding about the price or that the $16 was for something other than mac 'n cheese. And if they did charge $16 for mac 'n cheese what did you get for that price? A half-pan? I wold hope so (only slightly kidding).

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Their mac-n-cheese hit all the right flavor notes.  I just wish the portion size would have had a little more oomph for $16.

Please tell me either that you're kidding about the price or that the $16 was for something other than mac 'n cheese. And if they did charge $16 for mac 'n cheese what did you get for that price? A half-pan? I wold hope so (only slightly kidding).

all the sides are the same price (I think) and each comes in three sizes. the $16 is for a large.

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Their mac-n-cheese hit all the right flavor notes.  I just wish the portion size would have had a little more oomph for $16.

Please tell me either that you're kidding about the price or that the $16 was for something other than mac 'n cheese. And if they did charge $16 for mac 'n cheese what did you get for that price? A half-pan? I wold hope so (only slightly kidding).

all the sides are the same price (I think) and each comes in three sizes. the $16 is for a large.

Yup.

gallery_1890_1967_84415.jpg

$16 for roughly a quart-sized cup. The accountant in me did a double-take. :hmmm:

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$16 for roughly a quart-sized cup.  The accountant in me did a double-take.  :hmmm:

There's no real accountant in me but that seems like a reverse Crazy Eddy price - so high it's INSANE!!! I know rents and overhead in NYC are very high but $16 seems way too high - roughly 2x what would seem to be a realistic price. Am I living in the past or is that a realistic price based on what the going rate is in Manhattan?

Or... as a good reference point... if I went into one of those so-called "Gourmet Markets" in Manhattan (aka a neighborhood convenience store with the word 'Gourmet' on the sign) and filled a one quart container with mac 'n cheese from the "by the pound" hot 'c cold salad bar... hwo much would it cost?

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$16 for roughly a quart-sized cup.  The accountant in me did a double-take.   :hmmm:

There's no real accountant in me but that seems like a reverse Crazy Eddy price - so high it's INSANE!!! I know rents and overhead in NYC are very high but $16 seems way too high - roughly 2x what would seem to be a realistic price. Am I living in the past or is that a realistic price based on what the going rate is in Manhattan?

Or... as a good reference point... if I went into one of those so-called "Gourmet Markets" in Manhattan (aka a neighborhood convenience store with the word 'Gourmet' on the sign) and filled a one quart container with mac 'n cheese from the "by the pound" hot 'c cold salad bar... hwo much would it cost?

That'd depend on the weight and pricing of the contents but I see what you're saying. :wink: Mostly. Two half-lb. containers last night of tabbouleh and vanilla-perfumed fruit salad cost something like $7.80. I suspect that nearly 60% of the mac-n-cheese goes towards rent. Chelsea/Flatiron is a prime location for any restaurant.

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I stopped by for lunch this afternoon and the place was mobbed. The meat line was into the bar. They were out of the moist brisket. At 1:15 PM. We left and had lunch at Minar instead.

I noticed "beef sandwich" written in chalk on the sides board. $9.

There's no doubt that they're making a mint off the sides. As the saying goes, it's easier to mark up cheaper items (sides) than the expensive ones (e.g. prime rib).

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$16 for roughly a quart-sized cup.  The accountant in me did a double-take.  :hmmm:

That's obscene. I'm willing to pay a bit extra for comfort food prepared really well. But unless they sprinkled truffles and gold dust onto it, how do they get off charging that kind of premium? Booo

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