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RUB or Blue Smoke?

JillAnn May 21, 2007 12:55 PM

Looking for a yummy BBQ restaurant. Was wondering which you guys thought was better? Or any other suggestions, besides Dinosaur- I've been there too many times... Thanks!

  1. voxbop May 21, 2007 12:55 PM

    Blue Smoke, by far.

    1. a_and_w May 21, 2007 12:58 PM

      Lived near both and got takeout many times. For plain food, RUB blows Blue Smoke away. The latter is better only if you care about decor.

      2 Replies
      1. re: a_and_w
        jmo9 May 22, 2007 11:37 AM

        ditto. I've had a couple of bad rounds at Blue Smoke.

        1. re: a_and_w
          NYJewboy Jun 13, 2007 01:26 PM

          RUB can be great, depending on smoking time and cut of meat. It is wildly inconsistent. I have had BBQ there which rivals St. Louis and Kansas City, but other times it was undersmoked, too fatty and grisley, with no love or concern. I think it is fast on it's way to becoming a glorified bar-tourist-NYU student frat house to watch sports in.
          P.S.-the sausages (when they are good) are the best BBQ links in the city.

        2. r
          rlk814 May 21, 2007 01:00 PM

          Don't forget Daisy Mae's

          2 Replies
          1. re: rlk814
            wleatherette May 21, 2007 01:40 PM

            daisy may's is fantastic. haven't tried RUB yet, but our recent meal at blue smoke was great. the beef ribs and the brisket were very good, while the pork ribs were a bit less exciting. solid sides, and if you're a hush puppie fan then you'll be thrilled. we ended up spending the same as for the much more casual meals we had fette sau and smoke joint. that was the part that really surprised me, especially as we had more food at blue smoke.

            1. re: rlk814
              NYJewboy Jun 13, 2007 01:28 PM

              Daisy Mae makes a fantastic spice coating/rub but they also undersmoke compared to what is standard in the south. New Yorkers think that they have to taste more meat than smoke, when the goal is clearly a synoptic blend worthy of angel drool.

            2. Nosher May 21, 2007 01:42 PM

              We are writing about RUB this week, coincidentally. Short version: we really like it, especially the burnt end dinner. Blue Smoke is good, as well, so I'm not going to take sides here.


              NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

              1. f
                Fallon May 21, 2007 01:48 PM

                I like RUB better than Blue Smoke. To be fair, I've only eaten at BS once & RUB 30+ times. I get the beef brisket w/baked beans & onion strings most of the time. They have a smoked turkey breast that is very good. The pulled pork is ok-I usually judge bbq joints by the quality of pp sandwiches but RUB's beef brisket is so much better than anyone elses I generally stick to that. The one time I ate at BS it came off as a highend TGIF. Granted the food was better-I had the pulled pork but I haven't been back since.
                I'm also not a huge Daisy Mae fan-don't like mustard sauce mixed in w/pulled pork but I'm rather particular & only like the sweet bbq sauce...

                1. j
                  JillAnn May 21, 2007 02:31 PM

                  ahh mixed reviews, just what i didnt need! Just kidding, i'll have to try both- thanks for your suggestions!

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: JillAnn
                    Scott V May 21, 2007 02:34 PM

                    "For plain food, RUB blows Blue Smoke away. The latter is better only if you care about decor."

                    This is about right. Though I do like Blue Smoke on occasion. Better drinks, more comfortable, wider menu. But RUB has superior BBQ.

                    1. re: Scott V
                      ESNY May 21, 2007 02:50 PM

                      I disagree about RUB blowing Blue Smoke away. I didn't think RUB was anything special. It seems that the biggest knock people have about Blue Smoke is that it is nice inside and isn't a complete dump. I think their barbeque holds up to any other place in the city and is misperceived as being a hell of a lot more expensive then other places, which isnt even true. BS is maybe a buck more than a comparable item at RUB.

                      Plus they have one of the best burgers in the city.

                      1. re: ESNY
                        woodburner May 21, 2007 02:55 PM

                        well, I must disagree with you and agree with the others (nuthin personal... just business). Blue smoke is overpriced and the food is simply average. Sorry, Danny Meyer. And he should know better... he visited the same Texas places I did, right around the same time, after he first opened several years ago. And for those who care, he is using a gas/wood type of pit (Ole Hickory, I believe), while RUB is using a full wood burning pit (J&R Mfg. Oylers, like Dinosaur). I think the food is better at RUB (and Dinosaur, and Daisy May's).

                        1. re: woodburner
                          tpigeon May 21, 2007 03:16 PM

                          I am no big fan of the BBQ at blue smoke, but I really like their sandwiches and their hamburger is great.

                        2. re: ESNY
                          a_and_w May 21, 2007 02:58 PM

                          No one is criticizing Blue Smoke for being nice inside -- to the contrary, that's its main advantage.

                          1. re: ESNY
                            ftrain May 27, 2007 05:51 AM

                            I can't speak to RUB, haven't tried it. But we ate at Blue Smoke last night, and while I greatly enjoyed the meal--loved the Texas ribs--I found it very expensive for what you got. If it's only a buck more than comparable places, then we should stop patronizing all of them and force them to get their prices in line. $22 for a "full" rack of eight ribs? $6+ for a pint of beer? $7+ for a slice of key lime pie? I mean, it's essentially a family friendly bar. And those are not family-friendly-bar prices.

                            Maybe this post paints me as a real cheap-ass, but I just feel like I've had better meals for the many dollars we dropped there.

                            1. re: ftrain
                              jza1218 May 27, 2007 11:18 PM

                              I actually think the prices are quite reasonable.

                              1. re: jza1218
                                wleatherette May 28, 2007 07:42 AM

                                so do i. personally, our experience at blue smoke was being overloaded with more food than we could manage. the beef ribs may be 8 to a rack, but they're enormous, bronto chop-type things. at smoke joint, for instance, $15 got me two small beef ribs (no sides) and our very basic meal for two there was $50. for the food quality, quantity, and atmosphere i'd much rather spend the same amount at blue smoke. i dunno... i think that a big part of the problem is that bbq is regarded as a cheap meal yet the cost of running a new york restaurant (using the finest meats and ingredients to appeal to picky big city eaters, paying large staffs, etc) must be enormous. part of it has to be passed on to the customers in the pricing, but there's still a disconnect there in the idea of what bbq should cost.

                          2. re: Scott V
                            88GK Jun 2, 2007 12:49 PM

                            have to agree. been to both and I have been disappointed by BS on more than occasion as while the food is ok, it isn't great. I also that many of the patrons at blue smoke are wanna be bbq aficionado's who are attracted by the upscale decor and the corporate crowd.

                        3. jza1218 May 22, 2007 02:35 AM

                          I prefer Blue Smoke.

                          To be fair, I've only been to Rub once, but I had a horrid experience while dining there. I went for a late lunch with a friend (I think around 2pm) and it was pretty empty (around 4 or 5 tables were occupied). Considering how quiet it was there, I was surprised to find that the service was practically non-existent! We had to wait at least 10 minutes until our waiter showed up at our table and then another 30-40 minutes before our food came out. All the while, I was watching our waiter chatting it up with another worker. To make matters worse, my brisket was cold when I got it and I had to send it back and wait even longer to have my food re-heated.

                          I've vowed never to eat there again...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jza1218
                            dmleo May 23, 2007 06:53 AM

                            I had a very similar experience at RUB during lunchtime. Service was horrible even though the restaurant was empty, plus the food was sub-par at best. Tasteless pulled pork and cole slaw that consisted primarily of celery. Even though it can be hit or miss, I still prefer Dinosaur and I have yet to have a bad meal from Daisy May's.

                          2. b
                            bocce May 22, 2007 10:58 AM

                            I've had both several times and RUB blows Blue Smoke away. Blue Smoke has habit of drying out some of their stuff making it tough, RUB never has this issue.

                            Go with the burnt brisket at RUB, you won't ever be disappointed.

                            1. h
                              Higgette May 23, 2007 05:11 AM

                              I've only eaten at Blue Smoke but I've been there three times and I like it but this last time the ribs were a little dry. The cole slaw kinds sucks too.

                              1. e
                                elizabeththinks May 23, 2007 06:39 AM

                                I think that if you like Dinosaur, you're going to be very disappointed with Blue Smoke. The food there are no where near as good as Dino, or RUB, but if you're looking for better decor - I agree with the others, that Blue Smoke is nicer.

                                1. raji212 May 28, 2007 09:59 AM

                                  Daisy Mae's blows everyone else out of the water. Bar none. No questions asked. If you don't know, you haven't been. RUB is a big disappointment everytime I've been. Daisy Mae's dry-rubs are the best ribs in the city by far. Leave it to Adam Perry Lang to storm onto the barbeque scene and own it

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: raji212
                                    nativeNYer Jun 2, 2007 01:29 PM

                                    raji212, i completely agree with every single word of your post. i'm right with you on this one. so glad to see someone else agrees re daisy mae's. rub is worse than blue smoke for various reasons. i like other menu items at blue smoke but definitely not the ribs. i didn't expect to like daisy mae's at all but those memphis dry ribs are completely addictive and they don't compare to the ribs at any of the other places, including dinosaur's. i've been to each of these places twice and although it's terribly painful that there's inadequate seating at daisy mae's, ya eat out of a container and the side selections don't appeal to me (they're good but i just like don't those selections) , i actually crave these ribs all the time. ask for the bbq sauce and dip them in. oh, and the place closes way too early and it's in a completely inconvenient location but it doesn't stop me. go early b/c they always run out of the memphis dry ribs.

                                    1. re: nativeNYer
                                      raji212 Jun 2, 2007 03:48 PM

                                      great I felt like I was going crazy in the other thread. Someone tell me specifically what dishes are good and when to order them at RUB, because obviously I've failed to do so

                                    2. re: raji212
                                      a_and_w Jun 2, 2007 07:05 PM

                                      No it doesn't, and I used to live up the street from Dairy Mae's too, albeit before the expansion. I never made it to Dinosaur, but was a regular at Daisy Mae's and RUB, and went to Blue Smoke more than a few times, too. I think I got a sense from repeat visits of the strengths of each. Adam Perry Lang is talented, but I don't believe he understands bbq. The sauce and rubs, while tasty, are overwhelming and a tad too chi chi side to make for good bbq, imo.

                                      I really think RUB serves better food, though the dishes can be maddeningly unreliable. Perfectly bbqed chicken or burnt ends can be phenomenal one week and way off the next. You might try asking your server what's good, though the service is admittedly poor. I'd recommend the long end ribs, but actually tended to order other stuff, like the aforementioned burnt ends, chicken, pastrami, sausage, etc.. For sides, I like the beans, potato salad, cole slaw, and onion strips. Again, RUB can be unreliable, but when they're on, they're really top notch -- almost as good as BBQ NYC.

                                      1. re: a_and_w
                                        nativeNYer Jun 4, 2007 01:17 PM

                                        this is a helpful post, a and w, in that it may help to explain why many knowledgeable chowhouds recommend rub. i've been twice and i know you guys wouldn't be raving at the food there if you had eaten at my table those nights. i wound up not really wanting to eat the food and the onion strips were completely drowned in foul tasting oil. i have nothing against this place but it just doesn't measure up. i will try the long end ribs b/c i don't believe we tried those either time. we've had the baby back, loin back (when they were out of baby back) and rib tips. not so great. the wings; however, were good. different but good. the fries weren't bad.

                                        with the thought that this is a hit or miss type of thing, i am wondering if someone can recommend a better time to go . is it better when it's less busy, more crowded, earlier in the day, on weekdays? is there any predictability to ensure a hit? thnx!

                                        1. re: nativeNYer
                                          woodburner Jun 4, 2007 03:20 PM

                                          I went at lunchtime and had a nice combo with baby backs, pulled pork and burnt ends. My NY favorites are Dinosaur, RUB and Daisy Mays. Have had nothing good at Blue Smoke.

                                          1. re: nativeNYer
                                            a_and_w Jun 5, 2007 09:10 AM

                                            That's awful! If you do a search for some of my posts re RUB, you will find that I have had the occasional bad experience myself (esp. one horrible encounter with the chicken). My sense is that the problem is a function of doing BBQ in Manhattan. Initially, they had very strict quality control standards and cooked only a limited amount of meat. As a result, popular items would often run out before the day was done, causing many complaints. At some point, they started cooking more food and hiring more people to respond to the demand, but quality suffered accordingly.

                                            Anyway, I usually went at night, so I don't know if other times of day are better. I did experiment with ordering on different days of the week, in hopes of spotting a trend. Unfortunately, I never did -- I'd still get the occasional odd meal with the same frequency whether they were busy or not. Love those wings, by the way -- completely forgot to mention them. Like everything, though, they declined in quality as they got more popular -- they weren't so saucy originally. Make sure to try the burnt ends, sausage, chicken, and pastrami.

                                      2. b
                                        burp Jun 2, 2007 02:44 PM

                                        I thought RUB was good, not as good as going down south

                                        1. Honey Bee Jun 13, 2007 01:38 PM

                                          Has anyone tried the brand new Hill Country on W 26th? It is run by some people with very strong ties to the Texas BBQ scene, specifically the BBQ mecca known as Lockhart. As a native Texan, I am curious to see if they can duplicate a tru Texas brisket.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Honey Bee
                                            Lucia Jun 13, 2007 01:41 PM

                                            Yep--just a few posts down from this one, you'll find: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/409559

                                            1. re: Lucia
                                              Honey Bee Jun 13, 2007 01:43 PM

                                              Thanks! Sounds like it is getting good reviews.

                                              1. re: Honey Bee
                                                drumwine Jun 14, 2007 10:10 PM

                                                yup....there's a new sheriff in town.....went to Hill Country last night....NY's new BBQ winner and champ!

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