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Wildwood BBQ

So I hear the new BR Guest restaurant opens on Park Ave South this weekend - how do you think it'll be since it's so close to Blue Smoke, etc?

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  1. I read that the guy who is tending the smokers at Wildwood is the one who tended them at Hill Country, so I have high hopes that Wildwood's 'cue will be excellent. But, of course, that remains to be seen.

    With the opening of Wildwood, there are now 5 bbq spots within shouting distance of one another. The others are Blue Smoke, Hill Country, RUB, and Dallas.

    Edited to make correction: Thanks for catching that, elecsheep9. :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR

      You mean Blue Smoke, not Blue Hill, right?

      I just got an email about Wildwood from BR Guests last night. It does sound interesting and I hope it is good. Any addition of a good BBQ joint in this city is positive (except for my arteries and waistline).

      1. re: RGR

        Went last night and it was great, beefaficionado has it correct, I couldn't have described it better. I had the pulled pork, spare ribs, and brisket. The brisket was the best I've ever had, the pulled pork was one of the best, and the spare ribs were great, but not the best, could have used more rub or sauce. The cornbread was great as was the mac and cheese. The space is also nice, industrial chic I believe they call it but with enough unfinished wood that it doesn't look like a Chipotle. The tables for 2 were not spaced apart at all, very "cozy", and you needed a lot of patience to deal with the servers, they were eager to please but really had no idea what they were doing.
        It was definitely different enough from all the other bbq joints in the area to warrant a visit.

        1. re: GTopp

          @Gtopp: What's your estimate of the cost of a decently-sized meal for one?

          1. re: NYCinephile

            The half rack of spareribs or babybacks for $15 are good sized, and the 1 beef rib for $18 was big for a single rib, but even with a couple sides at another $6 apiece, I would not consider any of them a decently sized meal. Add on some pulled pork or brisket and you've got a big meal for another $9 and $11 respectively (pulled pork or brisket alone definitely do not add up to a meal). They do have 4 different combo meals that include 3 or 4 meats and 2 sides for about $21-$28, I don't remember seeing any of those in my area so I can’t comment on their size. It's not a cheap place, and I would prefer to order my meat by the pound like at Hillcountry so I can pick what I want since they do not allow substations, even if they are out of something. I would say plan on spending at least $30 per person unless you get one of the combo meals. I spent $58 for 2 people and we were pretty full. The menu is available on menupages

        2. re: RGR

          Big Lou did spend some time at Hill Country, but Robby Richter was the pit master. More importantly, Lou worked for Adam Perry Lang at Daisy Mae's. He has worked on championship bar-b-que teams with both of them, and I believe had his own too. I am sure it will be great.

          1. re: robinsilver

            Just got back- wow!!! So so good. Beef Ribs made me stop talking and swoon. Brisket was so juicy minus the ton of fat at Hill Country. Beans fav still goes to RUB but the pulled pork was pretty awesome as well.

            Super friendly bartenders, great space, fantastic beer and bourbon list.

            Glad I live nearby- awesome. Can't wait to go back.

            1. re: roze

              went yesterday....the short ribs are as good as it gets, as is the brisket. Less fatty than Hill Country's, but moist & smoky. The pulled pork was OK....did better in the homemade sauce. Prefer the 4-cheese mac 'n cheese at Hill Country. Wildwood is the rel deal.

            2. re: robinsilver

              But, what's even more important, since Lou will be overseeing all the Wildwoods that BRGuest plans to open around the country, is that our own backyardchef is tending the local pit.

              See you soon Matt.

          2. highly disappointed in this spot. brisket was cut thin like roast beef and very dry. ribs were inconsistent - some dry, some juicy. sides were disappointing (the potato salad, which came recommended, was just potatoes and mayo). atmosphere and service was very hokey.

            that said, the quality of the (dry) meat was very good. the bbq sauces are delicious. the bourbon/whiskey list was great.

            not sure if i'll be back or not. could've been an off night? who knows. went to tx last month and this is the first bbq i've had since coming back so maybe my expectations were too high. but the brisket - sacrilege!

            1. Dinosaur is still the best of this bunch for pulled pork, ribs & the brisket with some bark....but what really makes Dino better is the sides....

              1 Reply
              1. Ate at Wildwood this past Thursday night. Showed up around 8 and the joint was packed. First of my party to arrive, told 30 min for table, so go to bar, order a Sam Summer Ale, told they are out. So I order a bud light, bartender brings me a 20 oz pint and tells me its $8. I look at her with a "really?" expression. She sighs and says "yeah, I know, better be the best pint you ever have right?" I tell her that at least its ice cold, which it was. After looking at menu, notice Spaten Optimizer at $8.50 a 20 oz pint is, at least, not as horrible a deal, move to that eventually.

                Get seated in a reasonably accurate time, maybe 35 min, but cant complain. Waiter comes over, super nice guy, helps walk us through the menu and suggests some items. We, 5 of us btw, start out with 6 of each kindof wings (one in franks red hot, one in a rasberry chipotle sauce), and the bottlecaps - which are beer battered and fried jalepeno's. The bottle caps were great, not to be confused w/ poppers, these were just the peppers, so shaped like thick quarters and very tasty. The wings were somewhat disappointing - why fry wings at a BBQ place? I use Dino BBQ as the bar for wings, which of course is setting the bar HIGH if anyone has been there, but these were not even close. too saucy and, as I said before, fried and not grilled. Only Rub has come even reasonably close I feel...although Hill Country does have excellent BBQ chicken, but does not serve wings as best as I know.

                Onto the mains - we split order or brisket, 1/2 rack lamb spare ribs, beef short ribs, and pulled pork. Out of those, only the short ribs are worthy of remarking as excellent. The rest of the bbq was average. Regarding the lamb ribs, hadnt had lamb ribs before, so not going to fault wildwood for being creative on that front, but the pulled pork and brisket were nothing sensational - have had better at multiple places in NYC.

                Sides - mac and cheese, baked beans, creamed spinach, cornbread. Enjoyed the baked beans a lot, as well as the cornbread. Mac and cheese was fine, but kindof like velvetta mac and cheese, nothing amazing. Creamed spinach is skipable.

                For desserty, got the smores, was one of our friends b-days', so waiter put candles in them, they were tasty.

                the bill - food/tip was $45 a person, getting one pitcher of the Spaten among us. also, we paid for the bday boy, so so would have been $36 a person if all of us paid. no further food was needed, at all.

                overall - i found the service to be very good, waiter was a really nice guy and very helpful. bartender was really nice also. Decor was fine, played some good music while we ate as well for good atmosphere. the food, while priced good, was a good meal, but nothing over the top. i would rather go to Dino bbq, Daisy Mays, or Rub for the same/similar price, or spring a few bucks extra and hit hill country.

                2 Replies
                1. re: metfan630

                  I'll second the general consensus in this thread, good not great. I went last Tuesday with my fiance. We split a combo plate of Ribs, Pulled Pork and Sausage. The ribs were good though a bit dry. Sauces were excellent though. We ordered the texas style sausage which was pretty decent. The pulled pork was IMO a bit of a disappointment, somewhat dry not a ton of flavor. I did like the beer battered jalapeno slices we had as starters and the salt and vinegar chips as a side were great. Great bourbon/whiskey and decent beer offerings.

                  I never judge a BBQ place on a single visit so I will likely head back for another try. It seems like a solid but probably not spectacular addition to the BBQ scene.

                  1. re: Rock48nj

                    To round out the week, I went last Wed and had similar thoughts. Friendly enough service but sort of disinterested. I had the pork ribs which were meaty but not too much taste. I tasted the brisket which I was expecting to be fantastic after ready the reviews but I was underwhelmed. We enjoyed the bottlecaps too, and the smore's were not bad. Our bill came to $38 pp which really wasn't bad, but I doubt I would go back.

                2. Based on my one visit, the beef short rib is outstanding, if expensive.

                  1. i like the good reviews. they will have to trump the fact that i have a lukewarm overall attutude about most hanson restaurant notwithstanding fiamma...

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jsmitty

                      Just went last night for dinner. Not nearly as good as Hill Country or Dinosaur. Waiter kept trying to push additional dishes on us. Had the pulled pork sandwich and it was pretty good. The lamb ribs were very fatty, brisket was average.
                      Wouldn't go back again.

                      1. re: princeofpork

                        Forgot to ask, speaking of side dish pushing, if anyone tried the home made salt and vinegar chips? I just couldn't see ordering them as an actual side dish, but I am curious how they tasted since I can easily scarf down an enter bag of Cape Cod's in one sitting:-)

                        1. re: esyle

                          Cape Cods are better. I was not impresed

                          1. re: princeofpork

                            The bar seems the best bet here. Had a great mint julep. The first one since I read Gone With the Wind that I actually thought tasted good. Bartenders are knowledgable, and there is plenty of room to order a bite and hang out.

                            But got a table w/a friend. We ordered the chicken and the rib sampler. The sides were the cornbread, the salt and vinegar chips, mac and cheese and sweet potato fries. We started with the brisket and cheese stuffed portobello mushrooms.

                            Mushrooms were decent. Chicken was meh. Not bad but not good. Skin was not crispy. The rib sampler - one was dry rub, the other that chipotle-raspberry wet rub. The dry rub were meh and I didn't eat more than one, but the chipotle-raspberry were very good, and def. the highlight.

                            Sides - salt and vinegar chips are great. The mac and cheese was watery and OK. The fries were fine.

                            The service was very good but all in all, am not rushing to go back. It's fine. I would try it again for other dishes, but wouldn't go out of my way. The bar is another story. Good drink list, and service.

                            So the above reviews are about right.

                    2. We ate at Wildwood last night and while it seemed the food had been improving over time, as indicated in some of these posts, our thoughts are somewhat similar to many others: the food was Ok, not great by any means, and certainly not the new reigning top BBQ spot in the city.

                      We had a reservation for six and were seated after about a 10 minute wait. The restaurant was packed. The design etc is Ok but, frankly, nothing so special for a BR Guest spot and one which is supposed to be the first of a national chain. They have many, many beers on tap and by the bottle. Prices tend a bit to the high side for all these. Our waitress couldn't have been nicer but, she was obviously over-taxed, either with too many tables or she was simply a bit slow all around. I'm not sure which. This certainly detracted from the entire experience. Even after we ordered it took ages for water to arrive and our beers didn't arrive until after our first plate of food arrived. In a place with a huge bar, and where we had gotten a pre-dinner drink quickly from the bar, that was simply unacceptable. (On that score, one of us ordered a gin and tonic and the price was $12. It was a very small gin and tonic, filled mostly with ice.)

                      The best dish we thought was the chipotle wings. Really excellent. Just a bit spicy, with a great sauce and lots of meat. They offer wings three ways, but will not serve a "mixed" platter. Those wings were certainly as good as, or better, than the wings at Dinosaur, which are great. The other starters didn't look all that great, or special (for example, no fried tomatoes, peel n eat shrimp or anything similar) so we just ordered mains.

                      The huge brisket rib was indeed good. Moist with lots of tender meat. We also ordered a rib plate special that has both baby back and larger pork ribs. Both were good, but also a bit dry. The brisket plate was Ok. According to my father, who was also along, and has eaten a lot of brisket in his day, he can get "better brisket at a good NYC deli." It was flavorful but it was very dry, had little fat and just wasn't that interesting. The pulled pork sandwich was similar; on the dry side without much sauce. On that front we were disappointed in Wildwood's sauces. They were relatively thin and didn't stand out. Perhaps this is the conglomerate's way of appealing to the lowest common denominator but it ain't what many people want when they go out for good BBQ. You want a sauce that is memorable and that you can't make at home, or just buy in a bottle. The side dishes were just Ok. Again, nothing memorable. The mac and cheese plays a distant tenth to many other mac and cheeses around the city. It had an off taste. The beans were good, as was the cole slaw and corn bread. Yet, those dishes should be stellar in such a spot.

                      At the end of the day, we think the best ribs/sauce may still be Daisy May's, though some at our table prefer Dinosaur. I've had some good meals there too but, on our last visit, the ribs really were dry. It may simply be the case that is near impossible to get outstanding BBQ in our city. While that is a bit sad, it may also allow me not to be disappointed when we go out for BBQ here. We may visit Wildwood again but, we would fill up on the wings, maybe try the chili, and otherwise order sparingly. The sides are relatively expensive, and not that large, and the check can really add up. : (

                      1. Wildwood is a wildly-popular bbq travesty.
                        The most miserly serving of babyback ribs I have encountered in my life.

                        I also agree with the poster who complained about the fattiness of the lamb ribs.
                        Yes, lamb can be a fatty meat. But there was little more than fat and bones in the lamb ribs we were served.

                        1. Maybe we went on an off night ... but the meat we were served two weeks ago was utterly terrible. The brisket was more like a dry roast beef and the pork ribs were also fairly dry and tasteless.

                          As for the sides: Mac n' cheese was decent & beans were pretty decent. However, we ended up sending our side of fries back because we could taste the old oil. In place of the fries we got the mashed potatoes - which were a little too liquidy for me and far to expensive for the portion you get.

                          I'll admit that the brisket portobello appetizer was fairly good and the cornbread was excellent, but other than that ... I don't think we will be dining here again any time soon ... especially when Blue Smoke is so close by and has FAR better 'cue. (Although not as good as Daisy May's which I think tops all other NYC bbq.)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: SweetElement

                            Agree with you. Been twice and and have not been impressed either time. I think the brisket has some potential but it is way too lean. The small pieces with fat actually tasted good and smokey but far too many slices were just way too lean and dry. Salt and Vinegar chips are a joke and the mac and cheese is decent but not great.

                            1. re: ESNY

                              I have to say, we went last night and the dry rub ribs were really good. Wet good but not as good. We also had baked beans with burnt ends and those were delicious. Mac and cheese totally flavorless as was the cole slaw.

                              1. re: MellieMac

                                Just went for the first time on Saturday night. I agree with you that the dry rub ribs were very good and better than the baby back (wet ribs). The sweet potato fries were excellent; much better than the onion rings. Service was attentive and friendly. No problem getting a table at 7:30 without a reservation. (I love Manhattan in the summer!) I felt the ribs were meatier than those that I had at both Hill Country and Blue Smoke. I especially liked the honey barbeque chipotle sauce (even if it was a bit thin). I'd go back.