BBQ Joints: Virgil's
152 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036
Last week I mentioned that I joined Gary from PigTrip for a mini crawl through two of Manhattan's BBQ joints. We had a mission when we set out on this trip, but unfortunately we didn't meet any of our goals. But, we did get to eat some fine food.
I know I'm doing this out of order as our second stop of the day was Virgil's BBQ in Time's Square. I should really start with post about Southern Hospitality, but not today.
Virgil's may qualify as the grand daddy of real barbeque in New York City. Some people give Blue Smoke the credit for sparking the barbecue renascence in NY, but Virgil's set the fire, Blue Smoke, Daisy May's and RUB stoked it. Before Virgil's arrived decent real wood smoked barbecue was not found in Manhattan.
Back in the day, I used to frequent Virgil's frequently as I worked at MTV just up the street. Back then Virgil's was good, but very inconsistent in its quality. Some days the food would be so burnt and dry it was almost inedible, others the food was close to perfect. It was a real crap shoot. So when the new kids arrived, I stopped going to Virgil's. The new places were so much better.
In my quest for the best barbecue in New York, I would be remiss to dismiss Virgil's based on its past performance. How's it doing now was the question that Gary and I tried to answer.
But we were thwarted by our own gluttony. As I mentioned, earlier in the day we stopped into Southern Hospitality for a sampling of their food and we were feted by the ever hospitable Dr. BBQ. I'll talk about that visit in another post, but let's just say that we rolled out of Southern Hospitality with our bellies and heads full.
We arrived at Virgil's without much if any, of an appetite. But in the name of research we trudged on. We ordered the Texas Red Chili and the BBQ Chicken wings. Both were good, but neither were the best of NY. The chili had some nice flavor which was dominated by Ancho chili, a little heat, but was not smokey at all. It also contained a smattering of beans which are not included in a bowl of traditional Texas Red.
The wings were good, but as with most smoked wings, the skin was a bit rubbery. They were sauced just enough for my liking, but unfortunately I wasn't a big fan of the sauce. There is a citrus base to the sauce that becomes overwhelming if you eat more than one.
That said, the wings were intriguing. The crust was nice, the smoke level good. They were good enough to raise other questions; how's the ribs? The brisket? The grilled hot dogs? Look's like another visit is in order. Gary? You ready?