Tuesday, October 5, 2010

BobbiQue and Pseudo-Southern Foods

Again, as Professor Dumbledore says, "Time makes fools of us." It's hard to believe that two months have passed by since the last time I'd rhapsodized, especially since it's not like I wasn't eating out. In actuality, I'd gone on a kitchen boycott lasting over three and a half weeks. However, in the past two months, things in my life have once again been in upheaval, between changing offices, then changing jobs (I'm in a much, much better situation now; thank you very much for asking! I absolutely love my new job and the people there are a riot and a half).

However, that's not what you're here for. What is my personal life to you, when it's a taste of the food of Long Island that you're here to discuss? So who am I not to oblige?

During my brief time working in Patchogue's village, I finally visited BobbiQue. Punnily named after the owner's daughter, Bobbi, this place claimed to serve authentic Southern barbeque, slow smoking and all. How could I resist when it was a mere street away? So of course, I went. And then went again, and again.

There's good food to be had here, mind you, but you can also go very, very wrong. I'll hit the bad first, and then get into the good, since the last bite should always be the best bite since that's the impression of your meal ... and in general, if you order correctly, it's a pretty good one.

One of the negatives is that the bartenders suck. The one time I went for lunch, I was excited to see that they had Bluberry Stoli behind the bar. Naturally, this meant that I had to order what Kevin from Mr. John's introduced me to ages and ages ago: a blueberry Cosmo. The bartender served up a clear drink, which of course, I had to question. Her response, when I politely suggested she add cranberry juice? "Oh, yeah, I knew a cosmo was missing something." Um ... duh.

I also visited the bar area during Alive After Five, a street festival that periodically takes place during the summer in the streets of the village. This is a whole other story in itself, so I'll just give you the Cliff's Notes: to drink, you must enter a corral-type of enclosure, where you are smashed upon the beer drinkers already therein, and call out to friends in the street like a mooing cow. Beer is the only beverage served, and you cannot walk about with your drink in hand. Last call ends is at 9 PM, after which, you are hustled into any of the restaurants on Main Street ... or herded, again like cattle. The music was honestly pretty shitty, and the woman that sang at the particular event I was at was shrill, sharp, and holding the mic entirely too close to her face. It was terrible, as were the overly strong margaritas at BobbiQue and the pushy crowd that night as well.

However, to be fair, I do have to note that they have a very wide range of whiskey, which is pretty Southern of them, and they do serve Abita Purple Haze. So, extra points there.

Okay, on to other points of suckage, though.

I was very excited to see on the menu "Fried Shrimp Po-Boy, Fully Dressed." This boded well for me, since the phrase "fully dressed" is not one use in these here parts. The first time I was there, I made a note to myself to have this the next time I was there. Sooo ... the next time I was there, I was sorely disappointed. Clearly, I wasn't in Kansas anymore, and po-boy means something entirely different.

One of the distinctive marks of a po-boy is the overflowing nature of its innards. Four sadly breadcrumbed butterflied shrimp does not constitute an overflowing of any kind. The lettuce was Romaine rather than shredded iceberg. Pickles were nowhere to be found. A toasted hoagie roll is nothing close to French bread. It was a very, very sad day, $10 and a bucketful of remorse later. So not worth the money or calories.

I actually did much better the first time I was there. I got a medley of three different types of smoked/barbequed meats, choosing to opt for the ribs, the pulled pork, and the barbequed chicken. Boy got ribs, pork, and brisket.

Now, for a place that has in-use smokers and etc., you'd think the brisket would be fantabulous. It was not. Dry, flavorless, and sliced like a thin London broil, it had the personality of government cheese. In this case, boring is just as bad as plain bad, so I made a note to taunt Boy with the fabulosity of my barbequed chicken as he suffered through the bland brisket.

Now here's where it gets good, since the chicken was in actuality, a joy to consume. Tender, juicy, falling off the bone with lightly charred skin dusted with a thick glaze of addicting sauce, the only flaw I could find in it was that there simply wasn't enough. A quarter of a chicken is nothing when it's that damn good.


The pulled pork was also superb. Served as part of a meat platter, it comes atop a top of a Martin's potato roll, pulled, saucy, decadent, moist and all kinds of good. The flavor was excellent and the texture was authentically Southern, since it fell apart in your mouth like a pig on a spit should. Sure, it's no cochon de lait, but this wasn't New Orleans barbeque anyway. I think it was supposed to be Tennessee style, hence all the bourbon all over the place.

The ribs were tender and delightfully pink inside as good smoked ribs are wont to be. They came off the bone easily, but still don't compare to the Thai ribs at Zea (what I wouldn't give for a big bowl of corn grits!), which fell off the bone the second you touched it. However, the flavor was excellent and appropriately sticky and messy that eating them feels like an accomplishment.

Cornbread came with the meat platters, and a thick-cut cube of it didn't come amiss when it came to dabbing up the sauce. It was even better with a bowl of the loaded chili, which was rich, hearty, and almost solid with meat and beans.

As for sides, the collards were a bit too sweet, the mac and cheese kind of on the Velveeta (not from scratch) side, but the house-cut fries and sweet potato fries were a winner. Crunchy, skin-on, and very
greasy, they hit the spot if you're looking to be bad, unlike the crab cakes which failed in mess of breadcrumbs.

So what's the verdict? Brisket - sucked balls. Ribs - good. Pulled pork - great. Chicken, whether pulled without the skin or one the bone - AWESOME. I'd say I'd try the salmon or shrimp next, but that'd be a lie. I know what I like here, and with the hit-or-miss tallyboard looking the way it does, I'll stick to that.

P.S. They have live blues bands play on Fridays. That's another plus to me, but it's not food-related, so I figured I'd just add that as a side note here.

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