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May 14, 2011 01:21 PM

How does Fette Sau *work*?

I don't get it. On the website, they list meats by the pound. Do you just order a big slab of flesh and tear into it, or what?

They mention sandwiches for "late night," but I don't really understand the process during regular hours.

Clue me, please?

Fette Sau
354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

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  1. "Do you just order a big slab of flesh and tear into it, or what?"

    Basically, yeah.

    We usually order big slabs of many different kinds of flesh and tear into them family-style.

    7 Replies
    1. re: hhhippo

      Uh huh.

      What's the minimum weight per order?

      1. re: ffranny

        you walk in, there's a counter where the meat is. The types of meat and prices are listed on a board, as are the sides which are nothing special imo. You point at the meat and say how much you want, I think the minimum is a quarter pound which ends up being not that much really. They give it to you on a tray with a piece of paper on it, some Marten's potato rolls, there's sauces on the tables and you sit at a long picnic table to eat. There's a bar on the other side where you order drinks. There's free water pitchers/plastic cups over by the blackboard where they list the meats. My favorite thing there is the boneless beef ribs. The pork belly is too fatty I think.

        It is usually very crowded and hard to get a seat. Go when it first opens or be prepared to wait.

          1. re: ffranny

            A few quick thoughts:

            Most of the meats really are very very good, incl brisket and pulled pork. Beef ribs also good.

            When you order at the counter you can check with the carver to confirm the appropriate portion size. It's really quite simple.

            The communal table set up is a pain unless you get very lucky. As a medium size party we were able to stake out seats while queuing up and ordering. By all appearances however others were having a tougher time and in one case the competition for space became extremely heated - nearly to the point of a brawl. Granted it was Saturday evening but the level of stress was absurd and all we could think was that there had to be a better way. Smoke in Chicago figured it out so why can't Fette Sau?

            Fette Sau
            354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

            1. re: burton

              I guess I could've been more detailed. Sorry. I just thought it was funny that your wording pretty much sums up the experience.

              I actually love the pork belly, and the cheeks, and the sausage is good, too. You can't go too wrong with any of the meats, and I agree the sides are mostly not worth filling up on. If you're not that into eating chunks of pure fat, it's true, the belly is pretty intense, but there's just so much flavor in those chunks.

              1. re: hhhippo

                HA-HA...this "table talk" reminds me of a once-in-a-lifetime dinner with cousin Jeremy from Dallas, Texas...impressed with the meats, but not with the packed-in crowd, we took our sorry butts outside into a wind-whipped 20-degree night, the "belly" fat congealing in our bare hands. No choice!

              2. re: burton

                Agree with burton about the inefficient seating policy. I'm always surprised that Fette Sau don't tell you to to sit down only when you've bought your food and that they don't let people who've been finished for a while know they should get up. The way the system works now, though, I follow burton and stake out a table ahead of time, which clearly means some people get their food and have nowhere to eat. (This has happened to me also and sucks.)

                When we went about a month ago in an admittedly large group of 8, there were some hipsters taking up one table outside and part of another, who had clearly finished eating some time ago. We politely asked the spill-overs if they would mind moving onto the end of their friends' whole table by pulling up a bench. That way we could have a whole table to ourselves. They couldn't have been ruder refusing. They still had some beer left so we could understand why they didn't much want to move but hey it was a nice evening and they could even have happily stood and drank to let some other people eat.

      2. What's the wait time like on a Sunday around 7:00? We may be in Brooklyn on the weekend and are thinking of hitting Spuyten Duyvil afterwards.

        Spuyten Duyvil
        132 N 5th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

        4 Replies
        1. re: mobirose

          prime dining hours on weekends, there's usually a wait. I'd get there closer to opening time if you can manage it. Sunday isn't as busy as Friday or Saturday but still...I hate lining up for food when there are so many options in the neighborhood.

          1. re: bolletje

            Wife & I went 3 weekends ago on a Saturday night, it was pretty hot but not unbearable, we waited in line for an hour and 15 minutes, and then spent another 10 minutes once we had our food waiting for people to get up so we could sit down. We really enjoyed the meat - it being our first time, we got a mix of foods with pulled pork, pork belly, sausage and lamb tenderloin - but were very disappointed by the beans and potato salad. I think we spent about $50 and the only thing we left over were the sides.

            1. re: fishermb

              Fette Sau suffers the same two problems it had when it opened several years ago- lousy sauces and that inefficient, constipated ordering system. The food can be very good- excellent sausages, amazing pork cheeks ($24 /lb.!), decent short ribs- but also swing the other way in consistency of quality- i.e. dry and nearly tasteless brisket, uninspired pulled pork, tough lamb. This is not always the case I'm sure. But it's an interesting place and the dry rubbing and smoking is often done REALLY nicely. But inconsistency and blandness, along with wacky totally imbalanced sauces, and long wait times can be frustrating. I go sometimes, but find it a bit of gamble. I haven't been to any of the BBQ joints in Manhattan, but am always a little surprised to hear of Fette Sau as a cross-borough destination- although it's certainly priced that way. I much prefer the brisket and prices at neighborhood newcomer Mabel's Smokehouse, but the setting is not as fun and I understand they suffer from consistency challenges as well. Menu is not as varied as FS either.

              1. re: Silverjay

                Agreed. I've found that the pulled meats are usually dry and tough (they seem to suffer the most from sitting under heat lamps), and the brisket wildly varies. Sauces and sides are uniformly bad. Some people really like the beans, but I think they're gloppy and cloying. The sausages and pastrami have always been good, and on my last visit I had some very tasty NJ pork roll that was one of the day's specials. Overall, unless it's an off hour I think FS is just too much hassle. As bolletje says, it's not an area that lacks other good choices.