Thursday, January 28, 2010

Eating in New York: Dallas BBQ

Recently, I've gotten a few emails from readers asking me about the places I love to eat lunch or dinner when I'm in the city.  My love for the Edison Cafe is well-known to your regulars, and some time soon I'll blog about breakfast there...and lunch.  I also love Virgil's Barbeque, kitty corner from the Lyceum Theatre, John's Pizzaria, across the street from The Phantom of the Opera, and when I'm a little more flush with cash and feeling touristy, or I need a quick sandwich for the trip home, Junior's in Shubert Alley is a great choice.  Oh!  And the Tick Tock Diner, in the New Yorker Hotel, kitty corner from Madison Square Garden is also really good, and the portions are huge.  I stay away from most fast food places and TGIFridays and Applebees because you can get the same at home for A LOT less cash!

But the one place I seem to go back to over and over is Dallas BBQ on 42nd Street.  The place is huge - it must seat 500 or more, is always busy, and I have never had to wait for more than 5 minutes for a table.  And the fact that the place is so busy - and I mean BUSY - means that the food is fresh and not sitting around.  Here, the portions are humongous, which for a big guy like me (I've been known to put away a large cheese pizza all by myself) is saying something.  Sadly, I always leave a good amount on my plate.

The menu is extensive, so I'm going to stick with talking about what me and my friends always get.

If there are three or more of us, we ALWAYS order the onion loaf (left), which is huge, and could easily serve 6 people.  At $5.99, and served HOT and crispy, the onion loaf is cheap and tastes great with ketchup or the BBQ sauce that is in a bottle on the table.

If it is just me and a friend (or if one of us doesn't want the onion loaf) we usually order cups of the chili.  More sweet than spicy, $4.99 for a cup seems pricey, but the quality is outstanding and it comes with cheese, sour cream and green onion (on the side) and a HUGE square of cornbread, just the way I like it, sweet, but not too much so.

On the "Starters" part of the menu is an item I many times will order as my entree - the SMALL order of Texas Crispy Wings.  A small order ($7.99) is six and I usually leave at least one.  They are just a tad smaller than turkey wings - I'm not kidding!  I've tried them with the sticky sauce (right), which is excellent, but I'd suggest ording it on the side so you can hand dip.  They really mean it when they say it is sticky.  Otherwise, it comes with a dish of BBQ on the side.  (They just added Hennessey wings, which I can only imagine are just as good!)  Note:  Everytime I get them, they are so hot, I burn my fingers.

I've had the chargrilled cheeseburger ($9.99) which is probably 1/3 to 1/2 a pound, and it comes with generous fixings - lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and fries or rice.  They give you a TON of fries.

My friend swears by the smokehouse Texas Hot Dog - 1/2 pound! ($7.99) with baked beans and baked potato, fries or rice.  Another friend loves the Carolina pulled pork sandwich ($10.99) (left) with cole slaw and baked potato, fries or rice.  And they both swear by the Bar-B-Q Combo ($13.99), which has the Carolina pulled pork and choice of beef or brisket, with fries, rice or baked potato.

A fresh sliced roasted chicken breast, smothered in BBQ sauce on a grilled hard roll (poppy seed) with cole slaw and probably a pound of fries... $4.99!!!

More often than not, though, we order the Chicken and Ribs Combo (right) ($11.99) which is a quarter chicken, 1/2 rack of ribs, cornbread, baked potato, fries or rice.  It's only a dollar more for white meat or special sauces on your chicken.

I have another friend who doesn't like ribs and gets the half chicken dinner ($7.99) and upsizes it to get double white meat for $2.00 more.  It includes rice, baked potato or fries and that yummy cornbread. (Below)

My best buddy never goes there without ordering a Texas Sized Frozen Strawberry Margarita.  It is enormous and only $7.99.  I mean it is the size of 2 normal drinks!

I guess there is no such thing as perfect.  At Dallas BBQ, there are two things that aren't so great.  First, there are no free refills on soft drinks or iced tea.  And a large drink is $2.50.  But it is very big.  The second thing is, there is no dessert!  Which I guess is ok, since we never eat everything we get, anyway.  And there is a Coldstone Creamery right next door!  Oh, and if you want quiet dining, this is not the place for you.  The music and the crowd's conversation are loud.

The waiters are very fast, very nice, and I've never had to ask to have my water refilled.  And everything comes so fast!  The place is clean, as the hustle/bustle keeps the tables turning over and wiped down.  I can't speak for the ladies' room, but the mens' room is very clean and smells good, not nasty or over disinfected, either.

When I choose a restaurant, the number one thing that gets me to come back is the quality/taste of the food.  Then, I consider portion sizes relative to the price.  And finally the service quality.  Dallas BBQ has all of that in spades.

There were three of us:

1 Onion Loaf ................................. $5.99
1 Cup of Chili ................................ $4.99
1 Small Texas Crispy Wings .......... $7.99
1 Bar-B-Q Combo ....................... $13.99
1 Chicken and Ribs Combo .......... $7.99
1 Double White Meat ................... $2.00
2 Iced Teas .................................. $5.00
1 Teaxs Strawberry Margarita ...... $7.99
Subtotal:                                       $ 55.94
NYC Tax (8.375%)                     $   4.69
Total:                                           $ 60.63
Tip (20% - she was great!)          $ 12.37
GRAND TOTAL                        $73.00

We split it evenly, after my friend paid for his drink separately  ($65.00) (Is this normal when not everyone has alcohol?  Let me know!)  So we each paid less than $22.00 each for dinner in New York.  That is cheap for anyplace these days!

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