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Jun 20, 2007 07:23 AM

A Texan visits Hill Country BBQ

Ordered the moist brisket (as opposed to the lean), sausage and the creamed yams.

Both sets of meat were very good as were the yams. Except for all of the fat on the brisket.
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Given that they charge you for the meat by the pound, I returned the fat to the counter, and had it cut from my bill. I understand that you're going to get more fat on the moist cut, but this was ridiculous. Make sure to check your meat before you walk away from the counter, and only pay what's edible.

They also offer crackers or white bread. Never been offered crackers before, but the white bread is pretty standard. There white bread was stale, so why offer it? Its those details that show this is not a Texan run operation. The meat is about as good as it gets in the city (much better than Blue Smoke - won't go back there, now that Hill Country is open in the same hood) and need another trip back to Dinosaur to compare - its been over a year. I am also a big Fette Sau (in Brooklyn) fan.

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  1. crackers are served at Kreutz Market. I was hoping that Hill Country BBQ would also not offer forks or sauce (another kreutz tradition)

    1. I made my first visit to Hill Country two nights ago as well. Other than a few minor quibbles (more on those below), overall, I'd have to say we're lucky to have this place in the heart of Manhattan. I'm a retired 5-star chef who knows from good 'Cue, and the quality of the Hill Country 'Cue is stellar & authentic, but caveat prepared for some NYC-sized sticker-shock!

      I walked in the door close to 5:00 in the evening, took my meal ticket and ambled over to the meat counter...the array of pits is pretty impressive, particularly considering this is in Manhattan and no open fire pits are permitted on the floor.

      There seemed to be a scramble by the crew to get things set up for service...the guy ready to take my order apologized several times, said it would "be a few minutes." I had checked on the web before I left home to make sure they were open, being that it was Monday and all, and the posted hours are 11 a.m. to later at night, 7 days a week, so I figured I'd be fine. However, in only their second week of operation, they're only open for dinner, hence the scramble at five to get ready to serve.

      I ordered the Moist Brisket...they sell by weight, and I figured a quarter to half a pound would do it, asked them to let me see 1/4 of a pound to make sure. The server said this is about 2 slices, which I knew wouldn't do, so I asked for a half pound and moved to the next counter (which handles all the sides) to fetch some Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese.

      The Mac & Cheese was also excellent, but a four-ounce portion was pretty skimpy for $4.50. Also picked up a Mexican Coke, which tastes great, but it's a 10 oz. glass botlle for 3 bucks, much less of a serving than what I could have bought at a bodega on my way in for a buck-fifty and smuggled in via my backpack.

      They served up my brisket on a couple of pieces of brown butcher paper, with 2 or 3 slices of plain white bread and a few saltine crackers, which is fine and customary down South in many 'Cue places. However, as was posted above, the white bread was indeed stale. And I'm not talking a-bit-dried-out-stale, but so stale that when I tried to fold a small piece of it around a hunk of the melt-in-your-mouth-tasting moist brisket, it just crumbled to pieces in my fingers.

      NOTE TO EXECUTIVE CHEF: I know it's opening week in New York City, and you probably ordered more sliced white bread than you thought you needed, but a little quality control before each shift would prevent you from serving pieces of wood with your awesome BBQ! And if you do indeed find it that stale, please, pull it off the counters and use it for a batch of bread pudding to recoup some cost & waste, and replace it with FRESH stuff. New Yorkers do indeed notice these things, and not just those of us in the bidness, bruh...

      The music was also more than a bit loud for my taste...pretty raucous country music, which is fine, but when your dining room is mostly brick and wood, it's pretty damned loud. I actually did remark on this to one of the hostesses, and it got turned down before I got to my table.

      That all said, the brisket is one damned good piece of 'Cue, and at Texas 'Cue, not that easy to find up North, nor in NYC. Absolutely no complaints with the meat...perfectly cooked and seasoned, in no need of sauce whatsoever, as is the Texas style, and tender as could be. Used my fingers the whole way, since the bread was inedible, and was very satisfied. Didn't need a single shake of salt and pepper on it, and the sauce (which to me tasted too strongly of both Worcestershire and vinegar--not anything remotely like a vinegar-based North Carolina sauce) really detracted from the meat. Stay away from it.

      I did get into a conversation with one of the managers, who came by the table, nice as pie, and later with Big Lou, right-hand to the pit master (both of whom are from New York, curiously), and Big Lou generously gave me a sample of the Kreutz' Jalapeno & Cheese Hot Links, which are out of this world. Muchas gracias, amigo.

      As I said, be prepared for some sticker shock--I wound up eating .70 of Moist Brisket, almost 3/4 of a pound, for 12.25, and in retrospect, I could easily have polished off a pound and a half myself, or added some ribs and some hot links to my order, and at 17.50 a pound for the brisket, that's not a cheap meal. Add in the smallish-but-excellent Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese at 4.50 for 4 oz., and 10 oz. of "imported" Mexican Coke for 3 clams, and I totaled out at 21.40 plus tax, and left a $5 tip (which, as also indicated by a previous poster, is basically for minimal table service and cheerful hospitality--a hostess and a busboy both greeted me, and the latter offered me water and cleared my tray when I was finished), and it was $26.40 for a quick taste at the new joint.

      Now, call me a damned dumb-ass Yankee if you want to (and I'm NOT, having lived and cooked in the Deep South for 16 years), but I know one thing, and that's that the oil-field workers and blue-collar guys who roll into Kreutz and Smitty's and Black's and places around Larchmont after work every day ain't payin' almost 30 clams for their 'Cue fix (well, at least not until you add a few cold ones to the bill).

      Yeah, I realize Hill Country is paying some hefty rent for a Manhattan commerical space, so I'm not sayin', but I'm just sayiin'...and really, the only reason the sticker shock bothers me is that I love to eat, and I love great 'Cue, and to be totally honest, if the prices were more realistic ($17.50 a lb.???), I'd be more apt to spend more, meaning I'd probably get a tray full of brisket, a few ribs, a couple hot links, and some BBQ Beans with Burnt Ends, some Sweet Potatoes and some Collards to go with that great Mac & Cheese. I'm just sayin'...the quality of the Hill Country meat would be building sales if the price was such that folks could put more in their mouths, you feel me?

      Still, other than the sticker shock, my quibbles are very minor and nothing out of the ordinary for a brand-new place in it's first week of serving the public. All things considered, THE 'CUE IS THE THING, and on that count, Hill Country is a smashing success. All else can be worked out in time...


      30 Replies
      1. re: funkjester

        Too much fat on the moist meat (it would be trimmed for me at a real place), expensive, and stale bread were my 3 complaints. BUT this NYC, so I understand premium pricing, and not caring about something cheap and free like bread (then why have it?)
        The burn on the meat was so great. Will probably go back for a group outing with some fellow Texans, but not make it a regular stop.

        1. re: funkjester

          What do you usually pay at other 'cue joints around the city?

          If my memory serves correctly, I'll go to Blue Smoke and spend about $35-40 a head (with some leftovers) for shared sides, some appetizers, BBQ, and dessert.

          Of course, Hill Country may not be paying the same in rent, staff, etc. and has a totally different vibe with the butcher paper and all, but $26-27 total sounds like a good deal to me.

          1. re: kathryn

            I've stopped going to BlueSmoke, last few times, the food was disappointing. I like Fette Sau in Brooklyn - 2 people can eat for $30 and I like Dinosaur - forgotten how much that is.

            1. re: josefr

              blue smoke and fette sau were both about $30/per person for us recently, and the smoke joint was about $22/pp with less alcohol and fewer sides. i certainly never thought it would shake down like that, with blue smoke winning the good value award out of the 3.

            2. re: kathryn

              Well, Blue Smoke is yet another overblown NYC interpretation of what's the "real thing" as far as 'Cue goes, so they're not an adequate representation of authentic 'Cue prices.

              I'm not saying that Hill Country should be charging the same in the middle of Manhattan as a local Mom n Pop BBQ shack in Texas, Carolina, or Memphis, and that folks up here should expect to stroll in and plunk down a 10 spot for a huge platter (and I can remember a place in North Carolina where I easily got a pound of pulled pork, cole slaw, & potato salad for about 7 clams, bun .50 extra), but slapping down almost 30 bucks for a few slices of meat or 3 or 4 ribs and a two or three bites of ONE side dish, and an undersized Coke to wash it down is more than a little like price-gouging, Manhattan real-estate rentals be damned.

              I would think most average 'Cue folks from Texas or down South would be outraged to pay that kind of cheddar for 'Cue in New York. But that's just me.

              1. re: funkjester

                True but some of us New Yorkers who don't get out to those places really desperate for good 'cue. I mean, look at the lines and prices at Big Apple BBQ!

                I guess Hill Country is charging what they think the market will bear and Blue Smoke is the closest BBQ restaurant (geographically, at least).

                (And flights to central TX are kind of expensive lately, yeah?)

                1. re: kathryn

                  Last I checked, rent for commercial spaces in this neighborhood started at $50 per square foot and went up as high as $150. Bet you don't get prices like that in most other cities.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    It's great to have food I love and grew up with sprouting up in NYC. Anything is better than Dallas BBQ (gross!).
                    I'll be eating Saltlick on July 4th on my trip back home. $14 family style all you can eat meat. Now that's a deal.

                    1. re: josefr

                      Careful on your Salt Lick hopes. My family, which has eaten there for over 15 years, has had two recent bad experiences in the quality of food. I would hate for you to get your craving only to be disappointed. Maybe you could get to Lockhart? If not, I hope you have better luck than we did.

                      1. re: Honey Bee

                        Yeah, Salt Lick is for tourists. The property is great, it's scenic, and the sides and cobbler are top notch but the meat is average at best on a good day. I live 2 miles from the place and I'll drive 25 miles the opposite direction to Lockhart to get good BBQ.

              2. re: funkjester

                Just NYC prices, that's all - compare the $17.50/lb brisket to the price of a pound of pastrami at Katz's.

                1. re: Striver

                  thanks for the very detailed and informative review!

                  1. re: Striver

                    Except the pastrami at Katz's blows the doors off the brisket at any of the new bbq joints. I ate at RUB the other night and won't ever go back, same with Dinosaur... if I want to over pay for mediocre food my choices are pretty wide in this city. I have not tried Hill Country, probably eventaually will, but I'm giving this new Manhattan food fad a wide berth. Besides, nobody - and I mean nobody - cooks baby back ribs better than I can.

                  2. re: funkjester

                    Well, Kreuz Market is in Lockhart (although I'm sure folks in Larchmont and elsewhere in Westchester would love their own similar barbecue place). I don't remember exactly what the prices per pound were last time I ate at Kreuz, but they weren't that much lower than the prices here (I know their prime rib was about $20/lb). The big difference is they don't serve sides, which are very expensive at Hill Country ($8.50 for a medium-sized container of macaroni and cheese), and a beer at Kreuz doesn't cost $6.

                    But why on earth complain that their sauce is "not anything remotely like a vinegar-based North Carolina sauce"? It's not trying to be a Carolina-style place, they don't serve Carolina-style barbecue, so why would they have a North Carolina-style sauce? The Worcestershire and vinegar blend is pretty common in barbecue places in Central Texas that have their own sauce (although I much prefer the Salt Lick's thinner, tarter sauce).. But they do have bottles of Texas Pete hot sauce on every table, just like Kreuz, which is the perfect sauce for that kind of meat. (And the lack of just plain hot sauce is my biggest complaint about Fette Sau, whose house sauces are dreadful--one sweet and ketchupy, the other burnt and bitter).

                    Here's a question: if people think that there is too much fat in the moist brisket, why not just order the lean brisket?

                    Has anyone tried the pork chops there? The ones at Kreuz are fantastic, but I didn't have room to try them tonight.

                    1. re: BackyardChef

                      I went to Hill Country BBQ on Wed. evening and I was really surprised at how good it was. I had read all the positive reviews here, but I was still skeptical. Everyohe in our group LOVED it. The food is fantastic. They were out of the moist brisket and the beef ribs, but the pork spare ribs, lean brisket, prime rib and the jalapeno cheese sausage were all amazing. The sides were great, too. Corn Pudding, Mac and Cheese, Sweet Potatoes, Corn Bread..yum! For dessert, I had the banana pudding (delicious) and my mom had the pecan tart (also, yummy). I highly recommend this place. The staff was super friendly and helpful. The service was great. We sat downstairs and ate at a long table while we listened to the live band. Really a fun evening. Definitely go try this out. I wish we had one in L.A. We have some good BBQ, but this is really the best I have ever had.

                      1. re: pje

                        Isn't the lean trimmed sometime during the smoke? Making for drier meat? I want the fat there until its fully smoked, but not when its dropped on my plate. Make sense?

                        1. re: josefr

                          It's a matter of what part of the brisket the meat comes from, not how they are trimmed. The lean meat comes from the Flat and the moist meat comes from the Deckle.

                        2. re: pje

                          well, I certainly wasn't "complaining" that Hill Country's sauce is not a Carolina-style 'Cue sauce, as it's a Texas 'Cue place, which normally doesn't require a sauce, if made right. Was just pointing out that a) don't expect that type of sauce to be there, since most folks up here equate Carolina 'Cue as their main point of reference, and b) if you really indeed feel you "need" sauce, theirs ain't too good. As a chef myself, it tasted way out of balance, and IMO, is best avoided.

                          1. re: pje

                            Brisket at Kreuz Market is $9.90/lb. Plus, you're in the Hill Country.

                            Barbeque made in New York?

                            Get a rope.

                            1. re: pje

                              Ah...Had the pork chop and 2 slices of lean brisket at Kreuz about a week ago. Cost about $10 as I recall. Best pork chop ever. The little ribbon of fat atop the brisket dissolved the moment it touched my tongue and sent waves of sweet smoke upon my palate. If I lived in NYC and could patronize a place that was similar to Kreuz, I'd pay just about any price for the experience. It's probably not someplace you'd dine at everyday. Besides, the quality and labor involved in making good Q is worth the price of admission.

                            2. re: funkjester

                              I made it there last night, and I'm with you on both counts. I was knocked out by how good it was, and a little bowled over by the price as well. First things first: I had brisket, beef ribs and pork ribs, and all were so good I was amazed I was eating them in NYC. I've eaten at every barbecue place in the city, and would say this is flat out the best. (Of course I'm partial to Texas hill country style, and Kreuz in particular.)

                              But yes, it cost a lot. I had a decent amount, but nothing off the wall, and with one side and two Budweisers paid almost $40 (which doesn't include a tip, given the self-service setup). Comparing it to what you'd pay in rural Texas is kind of pointless, but even by NYC standards, that's pretty high. And $4.50 for, say, a small order of coleslaw is a bit much. It was good enough that without question I'm going back, but I wish it was a little more gentle on the wallet.

                              1. re: Chris E

                                josefr, have you tried the memphis ribs at daisy may? curious to know what you think about those ribs along with any of their other menu items.

                                1. re: nativeNYer

                                  It's been a year since I've been to daisy may's, and while I remember enjoying the 3 times I've been - yes the pork ribs are great - its been a year.

                                  Headed to Salt Lick next week. Like any regional food, funny that the reference point for Texas BBQ is Kreuz Market. As a child growing up in Texas, BBQ meant red-lined brisket on a bun with pickles (and gasp) tomato based (tangy) sauce from Demeris in Houston.

                                  Great to see a BBQ scene in NYC, for when I need my fix, but like all NYC regional food interpretations, you'll have those that will say 'this is the best interpretation' or those who say 'its not the real thing.' As long as your belly is stuffed, and you didn't get ripped off, I don't care to split hairs.

                                  1. re: josefr

                                    That's "central Texas BBQ" right, to associate it with the great joints in Lockhart, yes? I'm not sure what would be considered "Texas but not Central TX" BBQ...

                                    1. re: josefr

                                      "Headed to Salt Lick next week. Like any regional food, funny that the reference point for Texas BBQ is Kreuz Market."

                                      don't take it to heart that we all agree KREUZ is the central tx reference -- mine is CITY MARKET nearby in luling, not the lockhart joints. i like my 'cue at 8am too - lol!

                                      1. re: josefr

                                        i appreciate the feedback from a true texan, and you've made several good points. i've only been to dallas twice and can't say i knew much about good food back then. i did have ribs when i visited but i was too young to remember.

                                        imo, daisy may's memphis ribs (dabbled in their bbq sauce) blow away the ribs at dinosaur, rub and blue smoke. i CRAVE them. but this is definitely not the consensus on this site from those who know ribs.

                                        i will try hill country soon. i hope they can resolve the bread issue. thanks again.

                                  2. re: funkjester

                                    $30 for a meal you really enjoyed is pretty good for Manhattan

                                      1. re: loratliff

                                        it took me 6 years to get to your post.
                                        There should be a law against ancient threads.

                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                          Actually, fw, it took you less than 8 hours to get to laura's post, but no matter. as with imdb, there is no statute of limitations here -and, better yet, no spoilers!
                                          (me, i'm just looking for a new place to go tonight.)

                                  3. I went for the first time last night and was highly impressed. The BBQ is head and shoulders above anything we've ever had in NYC, the space and atmosphere are just right, it was extremely convenient (we had no wait for anything), and (gasp) the prices are good.

                                    The beef shoulder was very good, intense beefy flavor, moist, and the right amount of smoke. The moist brisket (I love how the opposite of lean is "moist") was an absolute knockout. I've never been to the real Hill Country in Texas, but this was the best brisket I've every had, way beyond what I've tried from Salt Lick and Southside Market at the BABBP. Wow was it good. The girlfriend had the chicken which was fantastic as well, I don't think it's too be overlooked. The pork ribs were the weakest bbq offering we tried (to be expected at a Texas Q joint) but they are still the best ribs I've had in the city. I've had much better outside NYC, but these were still moist and smokey. They lacked in tenderness and they were a little salty for my taste. Can't wait to get into the beef ribs and sausage on the next trip.

                                    I was not thrilled with the sides we had. The campfire beans were a bust by my account. Too thick and too smokey. The potato salad was decent but not great. The potatoes were slightly too firm (better than too mushy), the dressing needed a little more tang, and I don't care for much onion or other textural components in my potato salad. Still, good potato salad is very hard to find and this was better than most. I would order it again. Oh, our bread was stale too :-(

                                    Here's where I really disagree with the sentiment on this board: I don't think Hill Country is a bad value at all. That is, by NYC standards. There's no point in comparing prices with a BBQ joint in the South). The sides can be slightly pricey, but I think it depends on what you're talking about. I don't perceive $4.50 to be a bad price for the small container of beans with burnt ends or mac 'n cheese. But for the same size container of cole slaw, the price ($3.95) is not right. The meat, however, is quite a fair deal. The critical factor is that you can order precisely the amount you want. There is no paying $15.00 for a plate of food that is 30% more than you need. No combo plates that are not in the proportions you would choose. If you want exactly four slices of brisket, that is what you get. Want only one sausage, that's all you have to buy. Not only do you not have to pay for what you can't eat, but there is added value in getting to sample any and all of the choices in precisely the proportions you want, and added value in being able to place a conservative initial order with nothing standing in your way of tacking on a second or third round. I can see that if you have a huge appetite these sorts of value propositions diminish in their worth, but, for the majority of diners, it makes a major difference. And, I think most would agree that table service at this sort of place is not only unnecessary, but obstructive. I'm happier to help myself and further pleased to save the extra 20%.

                                    I am so thrilled that Hill Country has arrived. Finally, BBQ that I am truly excited about that I can get without the hassle of long waits or a long trip and that is reasonably priced. I will visit often.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: zEli173

                                      Prices are a matter of perspective. If you are used to getting this food much cheaper in texas, it will be expensive to you. If you are used to eating at Jean Georges, then it will seem cheap.

                                      I, for one, welcome our new BBQ overlords :).

                                      1. re: tpigeon

                                        That's such a crock- I lived in Austin for 7 years and have paid good money for barbecue at Cooper's, Kreuz', Ironworks, Meuller's, Blacks, Luling City Market.

                                        Meat is expensive. Deal with it. The fatty pastrami at Essex on Coney in Brooklyn is 27 dollars a pound. Not even in midtown. Ribs cost a restaurant at least 8 bucks a rack. All you people who think that they can get a plate of southern Barbecue for dirt cheap are probably eating dirt. Call me from Dreamland if you're paying less than 22-25 a rack.

                                        I'm not talking about places like Interstate in Memphis where the food is disgusting (barbecue spaghetti?). Or places that chop a whole pig into smitherines. I'm talking about smoked pieces of meat served on a piece of butcher paper.

                                        1. re: rootytootyfreshnfrooty

                                          ok you guys convinced me, i am a big texas 'cue fan and stayed away, but now i'm at least tepidly looking forward to HC.

                                          btw beef ribs are $17.90/lb at KREUZ and $8.50/per 1/2 slab at IRONWORKS.

                                        2. re: tpigeon

                                          Please. I'm used to living in New York City where a good deal on a studio apartment is $2000/month, a burger with fries costs $10 and a Budweiser costs $5. It is expensive to live here and it is expensive to do business here. It has nothing to do with eating four star food and everything to do with how inappropriate it is to compare the price of a restaurant in NYC to one in Lockhart, TX

                                          If someone is fortunate enough to be in Texas BBQ country on a regular basis then more power to him for eating great BBQ, for little money, whenever he pleases. But for 99% of us, it is not an option to drop into Kreuz's next week for BBQ at half the price. Funny how I never hear anyone complain about how much more expensive the Thai food in NYC is than the Thai food in Bangkok.

                                          1. re: zEli173

                                            well, I don't think it's "inappropriate" to compare prices in Lockhart to New York. You can see for yourself that at $9.90/lb. vs. $17.50/lb., the same food is almost twice the price, and the cost of doing business, especially for this type of operation, is doubtless less than that much by comparison.

                                            You're also missing the point. Yes, the market will bear the price, or not. But what really will spell long-term success for Hill Country is if the same market will support those prices through return and repeat business. Yeah, for most New Yorkers, a meal ticket close to 30 bucks isn't too much money, but how many patrons will go back a second and third time (or become die-hard regulars, as folks are in Lockhart) when they pause to examine how much value they are getting for the money?

                                            It's like this: you'll go once for the novelty, and yes, you'll be impressed by the quality of the food. It's pretty awesome. But will you keep going back and plunking down the same 30 or 40 bucks for what is a meager portion of food, or will you go elsewhere for better value at the same price?

                                            No, I certainly don't expect to pay $9.90/lb. in mid-Manhattan for 'Cue, but I'd like to be able to walk in to Hill Country 3 or 4 times a month, eat a pound or two of meat, a couple of sides (and 4 oz. of Mac & Cheese and/or Yams and/or BBQ beans ain't worth it...just enough of a taste to tease me, but not enough to satisfy me) and a $3 Coke or two or two or three beers, and not have to spend 60 bucks at a place with not much else in terms of amenities.

                                            That said, I'll still continue to go, and encourage others to go based on the QUALITY of the Hill Country 'Cue. That's without question.

                                            I'll say it right now: if Hill Country goes down after a year or so, it will be because the market WON'T support their prices in a way that will build sales and generate repeat business and a loyal following such as places in Lockhart have. Regular folks who eat at those places all the time support those types of restaurants, and in NYC, when you've lost the novelty and the "wow" factor, you're just another pricey place in a city full of pricey restaurants. Just because there is a much higher demographic in New York, does NOT automatically equate rabid support of an upscaled product. Such an assumption has killed many a restaurant's business model in this city. Quality, value and service all need to be in balance, and if you can't keep them coming in after you've lured them with a great first taste and/or experience, you're dead in the water, and that would be a shame, considering how good the damned 'Cue is at Hill Country.

                                            You heard it here first...

                                            1. re: funkjester

                                              I"d be willing to bet a dinner at Hill Country that Hill Country will be open 1 year from your posting. If I'm wrong I'll treat you to a barbecue dinner at another of Manhattan's barbecue restaurant.

                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                well, I really don't want to make that bet, because I don't want to see Hill Country go down. But I'm just sayin', if they do, don't be suprised if it happens b/c of the reasons I've outlined.

                                                Besides, there is no other 'Cue restaurant in Manhattan worth collecting a bet

                                                Let's just hope that they stick around for a long time, and maybe adjust the prices accordingly as they start to generate sufficient volume. That would make everyone's stomachs very happy.

                                                1. re: funkjester

                                                  I'm just so happy that this city finally has real barbecue. I remember when Pearson's was the only game in town, actually there may have been a shack somewhere else in Queens that was only accessible by car, but I digress.

                                                  The prices are high but not outrageous. In a city where personal pizzas can be priced at nearly $15 and cocktails are reaching $20 at some bars, I think Hill Country will be here for quite a while.

                                              2. re: funkjester

                                                "if Hill Country goes down after a year or so, it will be because the market WON'T support their prices in a way that will build sales and generate repeat business and a loyal following such as places in Lockhart have"

                                                So far, all the newcomers to manhattan BBQ have demonstrated staying power with comparable prices, and in a few cases somewhat bad location (Dino & Daisy), so I'm not sure your theory holds much water. Hill Country's imediate buzz regarding food quality will sustain them for at least a year then we will see what happens. I just don't see how a place serving this quality of food at a reasonable price (for manhattan and it's surrounding neighborhood) will not survive, especially concidering the current state of BBQ enthusiasm around here.

                                        3. The sides are not only a waste of money but a waste of belly space. Barbecue joints are about the meat, and on that count Hill Country delivers. They need to work on the bread issues (kind of hard to make a sausage wrap with crumbly, dry bread) and their prices on cheese, pickles, peppers and onions are a bit high (considering those are usually free) but I find the meat prices reasonable for New York City. It's a lot cheaper than a ticket to Austin and for the same amount I'd pay for a platter at RUB or Blue Smoke, I got exactly what I wanted (lots of meat) without having to suffer through two mediocre side dishes. Also, it's the only place in town that has Big Red and Blue Bell, and for a Texan that's a very special thing. Now if they could just get Shiner Bock...

                                          1. If I were to get 2-4 sides, which would be recommended???? Oh, and no beans (allergy). Although I might go soon, I am thinking about waiting for them to open for lunch and somehow hoping that they will be cheaper for lunch than dinner but that is doubtful.