celebrating the glories of eating in brooklyn. from the gut.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Biscuit BBQ, Resurfaced, Isn't Smokin'

Having worked my fingers to the bone cleaning toilets at the Park Slope Co-op last night, I was famished after my shift. A friend and I wanted to grab a seat at the bar at Union Hall and bite into their tasty little burgers, but the place was packed -- on a Monday night no less. There were some fierce bocce ball matches going on and well, the screaming just wasn't conducive to a nice meal. With all of the bar seats occupied, I just wasn't in a frame of mind to balance a plate full of food on my lap.

With our commonsense over taken by hungered panic, we ventured down Fifth Avenue and landed in Biscuit BBQ which occupies the former Night & Day diner. Never having stepped foot into the place before, Biscuit BBQ feels as if it hasn't rightfully taken over the space. Unrealized is how I would describe it.

Brooklyn denizens seem to have love it or hate it relationship with Biscuit BBQ. Where exaclty I fall, well let's just say I didn't love it. We sat at the bar. Harried doesn't even begin to describe the service. After politely asking the bartender if she could take our order (we had been waiting), she shouted back at us "You'll just have to wait!" I've never experienced a bartender neglecting their own customers at the bar before.

I'm not from the South and maybe I just don't get this style of barbeque. Some have suggested it's from North Carolina. Surely North Carolina barbeque isn't exempted from quality meat. My friend and I split an order of the full rack of ribs for two with two sides ($24.00). A grilled piece of meat served with a fresh sauce on the side can be a culinary revelation, but the unsauced ribs we tried were burnt to a crisp. The bottled hot and vinegared sauces did little to rescue them. The meat was chewy and riddled with fat. The collard greens were drenched in vinegar and the macaroni and cheese was cold and mushy. A la carte, the side dishes are $4.00 each.

Maybe I just ordered the wrong thing. Could I chalk this up to initial jitters? But Biscuit BBQ had a former life on Flatbush Avenue, so what gives?

Biscuit BBQ is located at 230 Fifth Avenue.


Blogger Homesick Texan said...

I'm surprised to see its rebirth because the first one was a disgrace to bbq. The only thing edible was the eponymous biscuit.

4:51 PM

Anonymous CPC said...

I'm from Virginia and am pretty picky when it comes to Carolina pulled pork BBQ. I trust your taste EFB, so maybe I'll skip Biscuit.

5:44 PM

Anonymous ParkSlope TXN said...

The best I can gather from my bad experience here is the bbq is a feeble attempt at Carolina ribs. And I just can't figure out how these were cooked to rip all the flavor out of them. I'm still searching for good ribs in Brooklyn...

5:46 PM

Blogger nadine said...

I'm from NC, and let me tell you that ribs don't really have very much to do with NC BBQ. Pulled pork, however, does. Still, Biscuit sucks. I ate at their old location several times, and found the service bad and the food uninspiring. Plus, the biscuits themselves were awful: flat, dry, and not a flake to be seen. I suggest the Pioneer Bar in Red Hook. No frills pulled pork sandwich, better service and great beer to boot.

10:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Royal Rib House (303 Halsey Street and Throop Ave.) is the only place i eat ribs at.

11:25 AM

Blogger dalton said...

I've heard that the new barbecue place in Fort Greene (Smoke Joint?) is excellent.


9:35 AM

Blogger pod said...

MIAOW. that is quite a scathing review. i LOVE IT.

11:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was never that impressed by Biscuit when it was on Flatbush (even their biscuits were bad...irony!)

My favorite BBQ place in the Slope is Bar BQ on 6th Avenue and 20th. It's like a dive bar with good food and great bartenders. Everytime I go I leave drunk and full.

1:31 PM

Blogger Jack said...

what's amazing is, it's not hard to get decent BBQ right. of course they don't have several smokers in the backyard (if they do, they REALLY blow). stick the dry pulled pork i had into a crockpot or something man, seriously. and could there be MORE vinegar on the collared greens? disgusting. amazed that someone went to culinary school to make such mediocre BBQ. i mean, i think of MY BBQ kinda mediocre, but about 100 times better than Biscuit. utter crap. try again. maybe the kids on the upper east side wouldn't know the difference... my guess, this place lasts till about march '07 when it becomes another diner.

2:50 PM

Anonymous Tom said...

Posted this on The Daily Slope board as well, but we went here last Saturday night at 8:00pm with a party of seven people and there was a one hour wait for a table.... Business was very good. After putting our names on the list, we went to Union Hall for a drink and some conversation, the time flew by, and we arrived back at Biscuit about 2 minutes early and were seated after about 5 minutes. I liked that they honored the seating time and the hostess was right on the money. The decor is still pretty much in the vein of Night and Day; wood tables, the star patterned wallpaper, with a few pieces of kitsch thrown in here and there and paper towel napkins on the table to emulate the 'road house' feel of a BBQ joint. The result is a mish-mash of tone, and I think the place needs more time to get its design together.

The food was miserable. Every person in my party received cold food that came out of the kitchen very quickly. The food and presentation felt like arriving at a BBQ three hours after the party had started and slopping together a plate of whatever happened to be left on the picnic table. Mashed potatoes? Cold. Corn bread? pulled from the fridge and not heated. Greens? Good flavor but luke warm. 1/4 chicken? No sauce, no seasoning, luke warm. In a neighborhood that features several delicious South American spit roasted chicken joints, which are always heavily seasoned and delicious, this was a let down and nowhere near acceptable. 1/4 Rack of ribs? I had read reports online that they are served 'dry', but when I asked the server he said 'no, cant get them dry.' I ordered them anyway. They came with dry rub that had turned into a cold gummy mixture. I added the "vinegar sauce" to one bite; flavorless and cold. The next, I added the "sweet sauce". Indistinguishable from just a plain rib and cold.

A huge disappointment.

I understand that we were effectively seated at the tail end of the first Saturday rush this place had ever seen, but I have to say, almost all of my dining companions and I are not snobs. We don't mind waiting for hot, delicious food. We ordered beers, we like loud music, and we often eat BBQ in NYC without complaint. None of us are from BBQ hotbeds, all of us were probably raised with sauce from the jar and dad grilling out back. That said, since I have been an adult, I have tasted some very good BBQ in Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, even in Brooklyn and NYC... and I have to say, my dad's Open Pit sauced ribs included, this was the worst plate of BBQ food I've ever had. And I think everyone at my seven top agreed. Flavorless, cold, poorly executed.

In a note to the chef and owners, who I do hope read this post; You really have no reason to charge $4 for a side order of biscuits OR (not and, OR) corn bread in a place called BISCUIT. On the list of side dishes, corn bread, biscuits are listed as an item along side mac and cheese, baked beans etc. and a $16 plate comes with a choice of two sides. So, instead of being able to get two sides, you get one side and biscuits or two real sides and no bread, unless you want to pay for the bread and increase the cost of your entree by 25%. At that price point, especially for this food, you should be serving generous portions of WARM, freshly baked breads (biscuits and cornbread) to the tables gratis and allow people to pick real side dishes. Ridiculous.

I feel bad for the place because the neighborhood would love a top-notch BBQ place, casual, open to kids and families, using delicious recipes and local ingredients, executed well in an environment that was set-up to accomodate the sensibility and style of the restaurant's mission. Instead, we have a good idea executed by seemingly desperate people who have lost money with their previous venture in this space who quickly tranformed their business to accommodate a new idea and it was executed with desperation, poor recipes, and a kitchen staff seemingly unprepared to deliver consistency and quality to a larger number of diners than the place is used to seeing. Maybe Biscuit will grow into a special place, but as it stands now, my friends and I will be watching that growth from afar.

6:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Went last night with my girlfriend. This place sucks. Ribs aren't properly bbq'd...way too much fat, not tender, and burnt in places from reheating on a grill. The sides are miserable...grit/dirt in my collard greens, beet salad made with canned (!) beets, biscuits not flaky (I seriously think we received a cornbread/biscuit hybrid although the waitress disavowed it)or even warm. They bring out 5 different sauces to crowd the table, but who cares? I'd rather have one good sauce and a bigger plate so that my half (!) rack of ribs doesn't keep falling off and onto my table.

And check this... a band starts to perform in the back but starts by informing the audience that Night and Day used to have mandatory cover charge, but since Biscuit doesn't someone will be coming around to collect a voluntary $10 cover charge! WTF!! Its voluntary, yet you have the gall to tell me its $10. I guess biscuit isn't paying them anything to perform but come one...

Seriously a terrible place.

12:07 PM

Blogger EFB said...

voluntary and yet they set the price at $10.00. they should take what they can get.

4:32 PM

Blogger I am not Star Jones said...

thank you for helping me to avoid this bbq travesty.

9:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Decided to give Biscuit one more try -- after all, I love BBQ. My first visit was a bit disappointing. Well WOW, my recent visit was worth it. Joe, the new pitmaster, really knows his stuff. THIS AIN'T THE VINEGARY DRECK I HAD IN JUNE. The ribs were rich and smokey and the sauce a kicking complement. I had the rib sampler -- baby backs, St. Louis and Texas beef ribs. Each one had a unique and wonderful rub. I tried all the hosue sauces -- carlina mustard sauce was tangy, the house special a little sweet, a little kickin, and the hot vinegar had great bite. I as very impressed by the beer selection freaturing Brooklyn's best micros and delighted to find the homemade desserts worth waiting for. You have to have the red velvet cake. I enjoyed it so much, I went back for Sunday brunch!. Foks who are down on Biscuit obviously haven't been in for a while. Take a chance and find out what bitmaster Joe is smokin today. You'll be hapy you did.

8:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to know which Biscuit owner or employee posted that last comment. That paragraph reeks of PR spin.

5:41 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home