New York City BBQ: A Progress Report on Southern Hospitality permalink
Well, it finally happened: I managed to hit Southern Hospitality (NYC) when the full menu was available, the visit was virtually unnoticed, and neither weather nor time could stop me from walking through those doors. This was the final stop on the New York City BBQ crawl that also included visits to Pig Heaven (Chinese-American ribs) and Wildwood Barbeque. When I do the re-write of the Southern Hospitality review to incorporate the changes and improvements brought on by Ray Lampe (Dr. BBQ), I'm not going to base it all on this visit, nor will I base it all on my last visit. But here's what a friend and I sampled on this visit and what I thought of it.
We started with a pulled pork sandwich. The meat was fairly abundant, well sauced and tender, possibly veering toward over-tender. I think much of one's enjoyment of this sandwich hinges on the sauce: if you like a dark, sweet sauce on pulled pork, you're in luck. If you like a Carolina style sandwich, you may prefer the one up the block at Brother Jimmy's.
When in doubt, order the largest sampler possible for variety. In this case, we opted for the King's Combo Platter ($29.95), which according to the menu is "a huge platter of our Memphis-style dry rubbed spare ribs, sliced brisket and our famous fried chicken and your choice of two sides." Well, the platter itself may have been huge, but the meat on it was a little skimpy for $30, even in New York.
The ribs were a 1/3 rack of Memphis dry rubbed spares, my favorite rib choice on Southern Hospitality's menu. They're served without sauce and some additional dry rub sprinkled on after cooking for that style popularized by the Rendezvous in Memphis. We wound up with the short end of the rack and some ribs were much thinner than what I received on my last visit. As a result, the the ribs were also much drier than the juicy specimens from that last visit, but they still had a pleasing flavor, both from the rub and the meat itself.
The brisket was four very thin slices, drizzled with sauce and, like the ribs, topped with a shriveled scallion. The meat was tender enough, but when it's sliced deli thin, it's hard not to be. The meat was borderline moist, with a nice flavor and a light char at the edges that bore a faint lighter fluid taste.
The one piece of fried chicken was a large breast with a thick and bumpy batter that was crisp and sweet like a waffle. Inside, the meat was extremely juicy.
I wasn't sure how soon I'd get another chance to visit Southern Hospitality when the full menu would be available, so we ordered—but did not put much of a dent into—the giant Lone Star beef rib. Outside, the rib was lightly glazed then grilled to form a crispy crust. Inside, the meat had a hearty beefy flavor, a little fat for moistness and a faint smoke ring. The meat fell short of melt-in-your-mouth succulence, but was plenty tender. And there was more meat on that bone than on the entire King's Combo. I'd recommend this as a shared appetizer for four, best eaten before the appetites begin to wane.
For sides, we chose the barbecue spaghetti and the collard greens with the King's Combo. The spaghetti had a nice smokiness and the barbecue sauce worked well. It was light on meat, but it was a side, so it's hard to complain. Still, there's enough potential that I'd like to see a meatier version offered as an entree. Collard greens were good, with bacon to add flavor. Onion rings with the Lone Star beef rib had an unusually high batter-to-onion ratio that did not impress. Cole slaw was simple but had a nice kick.