Jun 272007

I am enjoying my job tremendously, even though I left just after 10 p.m. tonight. Objective C is an odd hybrid between languages like C and languages like Java. And the XCode development environment is not nearly as sophisticated as Microsoft’s Visual Studio. That being said, I’m enjoying learning a new language and working with a great bunch of people.

However, that’s not what this blog post is about. While we are going to be moving to Union Square, our offices are currently located at Broadway and 26th Street. Right around the corner from the offices, on 26th between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, is Hill Country Barbecue. I visited there tonight for a quick bite to eat on the way home.

My friend Jeremy and I went to Hill Country the weekend they opened. Unfortunately, there were a couple of service issues and by the time we were seated they were out of all beef products. However, I’m happy to say that after a couple of weeks it appears that the service issues have been resolved. And I got to have some brisket.

Hill Country is cafeteria-style dining of a sorts. It is similar to Katz’s Delicatessen. Each person gets a card on the way in; as you order food from the various stations, a record of your purchases are attached to the card. Unlike Katz’s, you are seated by the hostess and drinks are brought to you by the wait staff.

Today I had their lean beef brisket. It was probably the best barbecued beef brisket I have had in New York City. It had the obligatory rosy ring, a thin layer of fat, a blackened exterior, and a rich and smoky flavor. The beef was lean but still tender. There was no need for barbecue sauce as the meat was full of flavor.

In addition to the beef brisket, I also picked up some of their jalapeño cheese sausage. (Jeremy and I had enjoyed this sausage on our visit.) This was probably the best sausage I have had in New York City. Chunks of jalapeño add fire to the smooth texture of the meat. The snap of the sausage as you bit through lead me to believe that they are using a natural casing. And, while it doesn’t affect the flavor, the sausage also look good. (I’m tempted to order a bunch from Kreuz Market, but I don’t know if I could cook them as well!)

Of course, no restaurant is perfect. Jeremy and I shared the ribs. They aren’t bad, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for them. Personally, I prefer the ribs at Daisy May’s. And if you are looking for pulled pork, look elsewhere–this is Texas-style BBQ! (I recommend Virgil’s for a good, if sweet, pulled pork sandwich.)

The main thing to watch out for is how you order. This is not a cheap barbecue place, and you can spend a lot of money quickly! Most of the meat is sold by the pound. Keep in mind that a quarter-pound of brisket is a fairly decent portion. A bit of brisket and a sausage is easily enough food for one person. And if you are looking to get some side dishes and dessert, then I would only get one or the other. Another way to look at it is that this is a great place to go with a bunch of people. I recommend starting with less food than you think you want. You can always go back and get more since the setup is cafeteria style.

Jeremy and I shared a couple of side dishes. We got the cole slaw and potato salad. If I remember correctly, the potato salad was awesome and the cole slaw was not so great. The deviled eggs looked great, but were a bit too pricey to try.

The beer list at Hill Country is a standard list of popular beers with a couple of interesting additions. They are a full bar, but I have not had any mixed drinks there.

The atmosphere at Hill Country is very nice–lots of communal tables with several two and four tops. There are high ceilings giving the room a nice open feeling. I haven’t been downstairs, but they have live music which is piped to the upstairs. At times it felt a little loud, but it just added to the charm. They have worked out a lot of kinks in the service since Jeremy and I visited, but I would still be nervous about visiting if it were really busy.

I recommend Hill Country for good food and a fun time.

 Posted by at 10:54 pm

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