Alobar and John Brown Smokehouse in LIC
I find Alobar sort of frustrating. Three reasons:
1) The menu is kinda leaden. Not enough bright flavors to balance the heavy/comfort food. Does any menu really need a burger. meatloaf, ribeye, and fried chicken representing 1/2 of its dinner entrees?
2) The space has weird dead spots. Particularly the back right half of the dining room, just past the ktichen. If they seat you over there (next to a garbage can that's on the floor?), ask to be moved.
3) Despite a manager/host kinda guy roaming the floor, the service is consistently gappy.
I find John Brown Smokehouse sort of awesome.
Yes, the burnt ends will kill you. But whenever we switch it up we're pleased. The pulled pork has improved a bunch since they moved to the new location. The "cornbread" which is really a corn pudding, is incredible. The beer choices are fantastic. I don't really care if they get anything else right--they've got the meat, that cornbread, and great beer options. The place is legit.
I have only been to Alobar twice so the menu still seems full of interesting choices but I see where you are comming from. It would be hard, without seasonal menu changes to be a regular spot. My chief complaint was I ordered a few things from the charc/pickels/cheese section for the four of us to share and the portion was laughably tiny. We have been there on the early side so service was excellent.
I loved the old JB Smokehouse and my one visit to the new location was just after they opened and it was still good,and I agree, the burn't end were great. Unfortunately I have passed over them for multiple meals at Mable's, which I like more and now I have to find the time to try Brisketown, which nobody has written about yet.
I quite like Alobar, but then again, I tend to like heavier food...I like pork belly, not loin...chicken thigh, not breast... What I really appreciate is that the tables are separated from each other; I understand there is a cost to this but it makes the experience so much better. I hate it when I feel like the people next to me are part of my conversation and I can't block out theirs. I particularly enjoy that they don't rush you out, since I prefer to eat and drink over time.