Rub BBQ- Righteous Urban Barbecue (NYC)

208 West 23rd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
New York, NY 10011

5 Second Summary:
Price Range- Expect to pay, on average, $30 per person for a drink, entree, and tip (at time of posting)
Ambiance- Casual
Cuisine- Hickory pit-smoked St. Louis barbecue
Hits- Burnt ends, fried green tomatoes, deep fried Oreos
Misses- Some meats were dry.  Also, you have to really love vinegar to enjoy St. Louis-style barbecue.

The past few weeks have been barbecue-filled for us (see Blue Smoke and Hill Country).  When my brother got a group of friends together to celebrate his birthday at Rub BBQ, my husband Rich and I were excited to round out our “city barbecue tour” with yet another hot spot.  We walked through the cold-catching curtain and into a pretty small dining room with tables concentrated on one side of the space and a bar at the rear.

My brother, Mike

We sat under this super cool, 3D sphere of light-up art depicting RUB and its surrounding storefronts.

My brother, Mike, in front of said super cool, 3D sphere of light-up art depicting RUB and its surrounding storefronts

I started off with the frighteningly girlish razzle dazzle cocktail: a bright pink, lemonade concoction that was tasty but overly sweet and acidic.

My brother Mike had done his homework and knew RUB’s specialties.  For an appetizer, he ordered the barbecue chicken wings, which were totally unique in flavor but so, SO vinegary (and -for the record- I adore vinegar).  I didn’t care for them quite so much; they were just too acidic for me.

Mike’s girlfriend, Mel, had a basket of fried green tomatoes with Cajun remoulade.  They were thickly battered and super (temperature) hot.

Rich and I split the BBQ chicken empanada, which was also filled with chipotle and potatoes.  It was definitely flavorful, and the crust was thick enough to hold up to multiple bites.

My brother had a 2-meat platter with pulled pork and hot link sausage with a side of onion strings.  All platters came with a light, cakey corn bread, sliced pickles, and two slices of white bread.

He also ordered the signature burnt ends, which are basically smoky brisket trimmings; they were flavorful and tender, and it’s easy to see why they’re a signature dish.  These are not to be missed!

Rich also had a 2 meat platter of brisket and spicy BBQ sausage with onion strings and barbecued baked beans.  If you look closely, you can see the pink smoke ring around the edge of the brisket, the hallmark of superior smoking.

I had the pulled chicken (exactly the same as the barbecued chicken only served off the bone) with collard and mustard greens.  The chicken was definitely a bit dry, but the greens were way better than expected, not at all bitter.

Mike’s friend had pork ribs:

and another friend had RUB’s only real vegetarian option, the portobello mushroom burger.

For dessert, we had a basket of chocolate chip cookies with chunks of bacon in them.  The bacon flavor was pretty subtle and smoky, unless you bit into an actual bacon chunk.  Then it was utterly delicious.  The cookies were served cold and probably would’ve been fantastic if slightly warmed.

We also shared the deep fried Oreos topped with powdered sugar.  Seriously, the only way to make an Oreo taste better is to deep fry it, and there’s pretty much no substance known to man that doesn’t taste good fried.  So we indulged in these huge zeppole-like pockets of dough with melty chocolate-cream goodness at the center.  Fortunately, they were served hot.

Of the three BBQ joints I’ve hit up lately, RUB is -sadly- not my favorite.  It definitely had high points, but it simply didn’t warrant an “outstanding” review.  If you’re looking for fun food activities, I’d definitely recommend hitting up RUB as part of a NYC barbecue tour, but on its own, it was -at best- “pretty good.”

One Response to “Rub BBQ- Righteous Urban Barbecue (NYC)”

  1. I agree with everything here. I DO think that if we had sauce at our table it would have been a game changer. Made the drier meats a little more tolerable, possibly even complimented them.

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