Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Basking In BBQ Brotherly Love At Brother Jimmy's New York City!

By: Anne M. Raso

I have lived by the Brother Jimmy's BBQ Upper East Side location for 13 or 14 years now, and when I am dying for a real piece of Southern style BBQ, I will order their Dry Rub Ribs (with the 20 "secret" rub ingredients) and my two side choices are usually the collard greens (when I am trying to be healthy) and their black eyed peas...but I occasionally weaken and do the fries. Nevertheless, I finally, after all these years decided to try their second of many locations--the Union Square restaurant at the easy-to-remeber 116 East 16th Street (between Irving Place and Park Avenue).
Brisket and Pulled Pork

The kind and efficient staff there was nice enough to present us with plates of their different items to try after we partook of a Charlotte Tea served in a mason jar (as in all their drinks)--this alcoholic concoction is made of peach juice, gin and a few secret fruit juices no one is divulging and is super-refreshing. Teetotalers should try the wonderful Homemade Lemonades and the assortment of fine Boylan's sodas and the cult favorite from theCarolinas, Cheerwine Cherry Soda (alcoholic drinks are $6 to 8 while soft drinks are $2.50 to $3.00).
Grilled Skirt Steak, Mac 'n Cheese, Collard Greens
As a rule, the meat dinners there, which include Skirt Steak, Half BBQ Chicken, Carolina Pulled Pork, BBQ Chicken & Ribs and Sliced Brisket are offered at a reasonable $17-$19.50 for huge portions that include two sides. The sides diners choose from are great in variety and delicious. They are Sweet Potato Fries. Sliced String Beans, Black Eyed Peas W/Bacon, Mashed Potatoes W/Gravy, Corn On The Cob (two ears per serving), Macaroni & Cheese, BBQ Baked beans W/Pulled Pork, Candied Yams w/Walnuts, Collard Greens, Fried Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice Salad. For those who can't make up their minds and want a little of everything, there's the famous Jimmy's Pig Pick for $25.95. Diners can chose any items from the following selections Northern, Souther or Dry Rub Ribs, Pulled Pork, Brisket, BBQ Chicken or Pulled Chicken. The Pig Pick comes with the wonderfully tasty Southern bonuses of Hush Puppies and Cole Slaw.
BBQ Chicken and Dry Rub Ribs
OK, we admit it--I tried ALL the meats available with the exception of the BBQ Meatloaf which I did not try because it seems to be on and off the menu and was not offered when we went to the Brother Jimmy's Union Square last week. As a longtime fan of the Dry Rub Ribs--something I've only had at the legendary Rendezvous Barbecue in downtown Memphis and is genuinely hard to find in New York--I will have to say that it remains my favorite BBQ entree not only at Brother Jimmy's but in all of the City! (No joke!) My second choice would be the wonderfully tender pulled pork (with a bit of the spicy vinegar BBQ sauce on the tables added for a kick). My third choice would be the tender Skirt Steak which you can get as part of the Steak 'N Fries entree (it comes with fries but they are very nice about substitutions at all the Jimmy's locations). The homemade barbecue sauce that come at the side of this lovely sliced steak is made of cider vinegar dried mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire Sauce and white mushrooms and we have to say that it would also make a wonderful salad dressing! My fourth choice would be their Northern Ribs since the sauce is not overly sweet (a mistake often made in BBQ restaurants besides drowning ribs in sauce, a common practice even in the most renowned BBQ eateries in Manhattan). Coming in fifth would be the tender and juicy brisket. Some many popular BBQ joints manage to dry out their's a lost art to "get it just right," but Brother Jimmy's does that. All the BBQed meats are juicy and succulent, so if we had to pick a sixth meat entree from the menu, that would be it for us. It comes with just the right amount of Northern style BBQ sauce on it!
The Wright Salad
Speaking of salad, while Brother Jimmy is famous for being a "meat restaurant," they have one of the most inventive salads we've had in a while--the Wright Salad ($10.95) which contains Romaine, Wild Rice, yams, Pecans, Sweet Onions, Dried Cherries, Apples, Poblano Peppers and Herb Viniagrette. It's hard to finish this salad even as a whole meal, and it's even more lovely with sliced chicken breast or pulled pork added (for an additional $3 and $4, respectively). eware of the sudden bursts of hotness from the Poblanos--we love that feeling, but we know some diners don't!

Brother Jimmy's has only four desserts of the "super comfort food" variety. They are Apple Crumb Pie, REd Velvet Cake, Pecan Pie and the Brownie Sundae (served with homemade Caramel Butterscotch Ice Cream). The portions are huge like the other food served here and are a deal at $6 a pop. We got the Apple Crumb Pie, ask that it be warmed up and have to say that what made it for us was the firmness of the apples and the way the crumbs on top were not overly sweet. Oh course, we asked for whipped cream just because when it's time to go all out, it's time to go all out. This is some of the best apple pie we've had anywhere in the city.
Apple Pie ala Mode
Brother Jimmy's Union Square is a proud sponsor of the New York Yankees and is happy to have fans come watch the game at one of the dozen big screen TVs on the premises. I have to warn you that it gets very loud in there when any kind of game is on but it's worth a little loudness for great BBQ. You will enjoy the "Southern casual" decor which features interesting store, farm and gas station signs culled from a real North Carolina junkyard and well as special neon signs created just for the Jimmy's chain of BBQ eateries. Children are welcome and there is more private party space at the 116 East 16th location than any other Jimmy's in town. On Wednesday's anyone producing a Southern ID can get 25 per cent off their bill at any location but the kind folks at Jimmy's Union Square have offered readers 15 percent off at any time during the month of January just by telling their server, "Finance Foodie sent me"! Now there's some southern hospitality for ya! (In case you're wondering about the North Carolina theme of the place, well, it was opened by a UNC and Duke alumni, and that says it all!)

Brother Jimmy's BBQ Union Square
116 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 673-6465

Brother Jimmy's BBQ on Urbanspoon

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