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Fink's BBQ Smokehouse (Dumont) - GREAT ribs

This was my first time at an establishment manned by the highly celebrated FINK. I needed to see whether the hype was real. IT IS. Truly excellent barbecue spare ribs - smoky, fully developed bark and succulent meat almost entirely pink throughout. No NJ barbecue discussion is complete without Fink's in the mix - it is probably tops.

I am now unsure which are my favorite ribs in NJ, Fink's spare or Jersey Shore BBQ's St. Louis. As far as dining environments, JSBBQ wins for sure - the employees and owner seem much happier, maybe because they are by the beach, and BYOB ensures I'm drinking exactly which beer I want. The beer list at Fink's was disappointingly overwhelmingly big brews with the exception of a few bottles and the employees/clientele were depressed/depressing. I could see where this densely populated, congested area can get you down. Even at 2pm on a weekday I sat in traffic on the way home.

Next time I hit up Fink's I'm stopping at Mad for Chicken for an appetizer!

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  1. Fink "moved into" and "partnered" with an already existing place, so he didn't have a lot of say in the beer offerings. I don't know that the current ownership was looking to make changes to their already existing "bar" offerings.

    As far as the staff/service -- I am surprised. I've found the opposite each time I've been there. Fink came out of the kitchen, another time his "partner pit-master" Bobby did. I had the service staff tell me about the specials and the "carving" of the day -- and they did it enthusiastically. They knew the food, dishes, etc. I hope next time it works out better for you.

    As far as the food...like you said, I agree...the hype is for real IMO. The guy is top notch and puts out excellent food. My often go-to appetizer is the Texas lollipops for starters...just to "hold me over" for when I am deciding what to get. LOL. Fink and Bobby are trying different things, the specials are very good, and the daily "carving" is very popular.

    Thanks for the post.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ELA

      Finally got to Finks today for lunch - it was amazing. started with smoked buffalo wings which may have been the best wings I have ever tried, and I Love wings (even the blue cheese was ridiculously good). very large, very tasty and a good sized portion. I opted for the lunch carving station which on Thursdays is "loaf day" - todays loaf was a "peppered German loaf" which was so tasty along with some smoked beef rib which was really delicious too. all came with red skin mashed potatoes, bourbon glazed root vegetables (awesome) homemade cole slaw, and a roll. I'll be eating salad for the next week but it was so worth it. Looking forward to trying them on another day for lunch because the carving station has different daily themes. Washed it all down with a pint of Shiner Bock. Really outstanding all around. Thanks Fink for finally giving Bergen county a solid option for bbq. No need to schlep up to Rockland anymore.

      1. re: yogi70

        What do you like in Rockland, friend?

        1. re: chowhounder411

          Hey Chowhounder411,

          In Rockland we had been going up to Bailey's in Blauvelt for awhile now, and we also liked Johnny's Smokehouse in Pearl River both times that we went. Dave "Fink" Finkelstein was the chef at both places at some point. I also have heard that the Defiant Brewery in Pearl River serves some great BBQ on the weekends, and want to check that out sometime soon. I would totally avoid Blind Boar in Norwood as our recent visit was putrid. Want to check out Bourbon BBq up in Wyckoff (even with the poor reviews I have seen on here). If there are any other places in the area you can recommend, please do so.

          1. re: yogi70

            The only one in N. Jersey would be the Wood Pit in Montclair but I haven't made it there yet though I've heard good things. I really like Jersey Shore BBQ in Belmar, save it for a trip to the shore. But it's second to Fink's.

    2. Where is the new Fink's located?

      1. have enjoyed fink's cue at each of his stops over the last few years.... i have to get over to Dumont soon. Was utterly disappointed with the food over at Blind Board in Norwood and my mood for bbq has been diminished since that horrid visit...

        2 Replies
        1. re: yogi70

          I've never heard of this Blind Board. What were you experiences there?

          1. re: chowhounder411

            sorry, should have read "Blind Boar" lol. Jay Lippin's former bbq joint in norwood. extremely disappointing. ribs so dry they make jerky seem moist...


          1. re: Sdenred

            This guy severely undersold the barbecue here. It is probably the best in the state. "The subtle smell of smoked meat drifted in the air" is not enough reference to the excellent smoking technique Fink's employs on its meats. I just don't think this reviewer cares enough about barbecue to fully appreciate Fink's significance to NJ barbecue.

            1. re: chowhounder411

              From the article...

              "When I lived in Tennessee, I carried around a reprint of an article from Southern Magazine, called "The South's Best Barbecue," and I did my best to visit as many of the places listed as I could.

              Geography aside, Fink's would have been right at home on that list. It's a great neighborhood spot offering solid barbecue, at good prices, in a friendly, comfortable atmosphere."

              Right at home on the list of "The South's Best Barbecue" -- to me that's an excellent compliment...even though in the next paragraph he sums it up by saying "solid barbecue" -- that I disagree. I think it's very good, excellent in many respects and with many dishes. I agree, I think Fink is the best around in my opinion. I do think the author's statements are somewhat contradictory -- the place offers "solid" barbecue but it's at home on his "best list".

              1. re: ELA

                Very good restaurant review, bad barbecue review. Not one time is crust, bark, rubs or other keywords found in nearly all barbecue reviews mentioned. Even the South has terrible barbecue - if he mentioned some of these smoke temples maybe his statement that it would fit right in would carry some weight. Plus that pulled pork doesn't need more sauce

                1. re: chowhounder411

                  I agree!

                  Also, why use a photo of a shrimp dish? I found that odd.

                  The reviewer's comment about barbecue sauce showed his naivety.

                  1. re: Bosmer

                    I hear you both. Agreed. I think as a "reviewer" he got too far away from focusing on the food -- specifically that this was smoked, BBQ, etc. and that's what this was all about. I am not being overly critical -- but with the lack of excellent smoked/BBQ in NJ, and with Fink's "history" I would expected more focus on the food -- taste, flavor, sauce, smoke rings, and more along those lines. I remember someone doing a story on Fink when he got to Johnny's in Pearl River and opened the new restaurant in NYC, and the reviewer went into temp., timing, the smoker, process, different foods, and so on.

                    Hey, to each their own. LOL. Summarized well above -- very good restaurant review, bad BBQ review given the food is excellent.

          2. Had lunch again there...excellent as always! I think with BBQ/smoked the "consistency" factor is always in play. No different with a lot of foods -- day to day, piece of meat to piece of meat. Personally, I've always found Fink's offerings to my liking, taste, etc. -- both portion/size and flavor, taste, etc. Whatever he's doing -- if I happen to like that piece/type of meat -- after I tried it, I've liked it, very much. Fink's is top-notch, always nice "smoke rings" and all that goes along with the flavor (again, for my tastes).

            I like the pulled pork, and I've always found it excellent -- "moist" and a lot of flavor, good smoke, etc. I always want to taste the meat, absent being impacted (a lot) by the sauce, but after that I may like more sauce. It depends. In general, I think Fink is turning out some excellent stuff -- and keep an eye out for his different specials, new items, etc.

            I was at Fink's for lunch and it was crowded. Almost every table was full, parties of 2 and 4, and a party of 6. It was prime time lunch time so maybe that was it. Nice weather, end of the week, so maybe that too was a contributory factor. Each time I've been there, I've never seen it dead, but I am sure it happens. I still think the place is gaining notoriety to some extent, and more people are finding out about it. As far as the food on my last visit...superb! The ribs were excellent -- in every respect. Also, the carving station special (beef rib) was also excellent as well as some other special treats I had -- topped off by the brisket, which was truly excellent! I started with my usual Texas lollipops -- always very good.

            If you ever see it on the menu (carving station special) -- try the smoked roast beef! Fink and Bobby are turning out some really good food there. They are doing the daily carving station special, other specials, trying new things, creative things, and so on. I look forward to going each time.

            1. I missed this. Pete Genovese reviews Fink's for the Star Ledger on April 19 http://www.nj.com/entertainment/dinin...

              Finally, a New Jersey barbecue reviewer using the keywords we look for in a barbecue review - meat color (pink), smoky, bark and he doesn't want sauce! Genovese is OK.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chowhounder411

                I'll settle for 'OK' ! :) Nothing turns me on like good barbecue. Only problem: in Jersey, it's just so damn hard to find.

                Peter Genovese
                The Star-Ledger

                1. re: chowhounder411

                  Excellent review. I think he nailed it, and yes, he seemed to get some of the key points and important factors in quality BBQ/smoke/etc. food.

                  I think it's an excellent review and gives readers an excellent perspective into the menu, variety and so forth. Thanks for posting it.

                2. Boozy Burbs reports that Fink will "...be opening a new restaurant in the space formerly housing Ireland’s 32 in Suffern named Bobby Q’s Smokehouse."

                  1. I only look for *eight* words in any BBQ review....

                    *The meat was moist, tender and tasted good.*

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: fourunder

                      Well, for me, that's always been the case with Fink...moist, tender, and tastes very good. The new place is only a couple of miles from me...so I am there! LOL.

                    2. We tried the Fink's last night and I can honestly say it was the best bbq I've ever had in my life. The ribs had really sweet wood smoke flavor which I have never experienced from other restaurants. They were moist, tender and amazingtly tasty and not greasy at all. Chicken was full of flavor too even the white meat. Lucky for us, we live less than 10 min away. I can't believe we just disovered this place. I am doing take out again very soon. Corn souffle was really good with real corn.

                      Mad Chicken is good too..our go to place for wings during Superbowl season.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Monica

                        Mad Chicken in Bergenfield, or other? Bergenfield is no more.

                        1. re: fourunder

                          Was this Mad For Chicken? Related to the one in Fort Lee? Thanks in advance.

                          1. re: fourunder

                            sorry, i meant chicken delight. Love their chicken wings and so cheap too.

                          2. re: Monica

                            Glad you enjoyed it...and on the "just discovered this place" aspect -- as I mentioned above, the place is still "gaining" notoriety. More and more people are "just hearing about the place" and so on. Look the guy has a long history and a great reputation -- but we are not talking about Mario Batali or Bobby Flay here. LOL. He's known in certain circles, and among a following.

                            But, they are getting more exposure, more notoriety, etc. I think the opening of Bobby Q's will add to that as well, and the new place is where the old Ireland's was -- in Suffern, very close to the border of Bergen County (Mahwah), etc., so it draws on a different geographical market.

                            I am really wanting to get over there again -- very soon! LOL.

                            Anyone been to Bobby Q's yet?