Friday, June 02, 2006

Virgil's

"That's the best barbecue in the city," the cabbie claims as we roll past Virgil's through the slow midtown traffic on the way to my hotel.

It's a bold claim, and I wonder to myself how good can the best barbecue in New York City be?

It rains again that evening, and since I don't want to walk very far in the rain, I decide to put the cabbie's claim to the test. I cross 44th Street and enter Virgil's domain.
It's like stepping 1,200 miles back to Westport in Kansas city. The rustic decor definitely elicits the barbecue mood. I request a table for one. The place is packed, as I imagine most restaurants in Manhattan would be on a Friday night, raining or not.

I'm seated and order a Brooklyn Ale and the beef short rib. While I'm waiting for the food to arrive, I browse the placemats that tell a short story about Virgil's quest for great barbecue. It shows a map of the eastern half of the United States (they don't eat barbecue out west), along with markers for the best BBQ by region.

Happily, I see the KC metro with the highest concentration of notes:
  • Kansas City, Mo.: Haywards Pit Bar-B-Que, made "burnt ends" into an art form.
  • Kansas City Masterpiece, great example of KC style brisket.
  • Arthur Bryants, a Kansas City tradition.
  • Lenexa, Kansas, home of Paul Kirk, the "Baron of BBQ" world class cookoff champion and our Mentor and Hero
Presently my dinner arrives. The short rib is served in a bed of sauce and grits. It was good, though probably not worth the $25 price tag. Then again, diner was on the company tonight.

As for whether Virgil's is the best barbecue in the city, I really couldn't say since I didn't sample any other barbecue.

All I know is that it's no Oklahoma Joe's.

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7 comments:

  1. You are one in a million, emaw!

    Of course, that means there are like, eight of you in NY.

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  2. Grits! That's a genuine bonus. Somebody will correct me if I'm mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that you can't get grits at any bbq joint in KC.

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  3. no grits @KC BBQ joints that i know of. There are a couple of soul food joints, Maxine's Fine Foods and Grace's Soul Food Restaurant that serve grits.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Maxine's has been defunct and gone for at least 2 years now... You can get awesome grits (along with the best fried pork chops in town) at Neice's at around 56th and Prospect, though. It's a shame about Maxine's.

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  6. I really have a hankering to dip meat and bbq sauce into grits.

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  7. You know, I'm not even absolutely sure what a grit is. It's corn, right?

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