Sunday, August 5, 2007

Further down Hill Country

A few weeks ago I posted a less than positive review of Hill Country NY barbecue. Had I not eaten some absolutely wonderful 'Cue at the hands of the pit masters there I would not have ventured back after my last few experiences. But hope springs eternal and the memory of the beef ribs was enough to get me back there one more time.

I wish I could report that the train is back on track and that the woes that plagued the place had been resolved. Unfortunately when I last visited Hill Country it was my most disappointing meal there yet. I ordered a beef rib that showed up so devoid of meat that it was literally a bone. I requested a replacement that had more flesh but also an odd gas flavor. I am not sure how this can happen when the beef is smoked but it was unmistakable and unappetizing. The moist brisket, despite good flavor and a wonderful smoke ring was far too greasy and seemed as if it was carved before the meat was allowed to rest. On a positive note the sausage was excellent as it almost always has been.

The sides continue to confound. The raisins make for a disconcerting squishiness in another wise crunchy, albeit rather flavorless coleslaw. The beans with burnt ends have been good in the past but were rather dry and stogy the last time. More perplexing is the convoluted ordering system and the sheer number of employees, there are more people working there every time I go back. It seems as if they are running a fast food establishment rather than a barbecue joint, indeed the food seems to be turned out with about as much care as fast food. Hill Country is a victim of its own ambition. The hokey decor, the numerous merchandise items for sale bearing the Hill Country name, the ordering system would all be tolerable if the Cue was up to the task. Unfortunately the standards at Hill Country continue to slide downhill.

Hill Country
30 West 26th Street
NY, NY 10010
212 255 4454

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