BBQ near Penn Station
I'm going through NYC, from Canada, for a 2.5 hour stopover at Penn Station. I've been watching a lot Food Network lately and am very interested in the whole Smoked Brisket idea, which I have never tried. I also like pulled pork sandwiches but have only had a chance to try it in Canada and a Hard Rock Cafe in Asia. So I'm looking for a combo plate or sandwich. Based on Google maps, it seems the closest options are:
Of these three, which would you recommend? And is there anything better but just as close that is off Google's radar. I don't mind dirty hole-in-the-wall type places.
One more question, all the plates seems to come with one or 2 sides. What sides are recommended?
Yes. For brisket, you need to go somewhere that's more Texas style BBQ and Hill Country is quite good. The atmosphere is interesting and very much a clone of what you're find in the actual rural hill country of Texas. Focus is on brisket, ribs (pork and beef), no pulled pork (that's Carolinian). They do have a few other specialty items like beer can chicken.
You're paying for BBQ by the pound at a counter, which is handed to you, grease and all on butcher paper. No utensils. Paper towel rolls on the tables. I think sides are separate though, and a big portion if you're just one person. The only "for one" sized platter they have is a combination of many different types of meat.
I'd go to RUB, which is only one stop away on the subway -- you could even walk it. Haven't been to Hill Country but I hear good things.
I would definitely recommend either Hill Country or R.U.B. as others have. Blue Smoke is okay, but it's a little too fancy/polished for me to feel like it's "credible." I've been there a number of times and come away feeling like I just paid for Haute-BBQ.
Hill Country's definitely not a hole in the wall. In fact I'm surprised Google didn't find it for you. It's about a year and a half old and very popular.