The Hampton Smoker

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Love Is In The Air: The Food Maven Gets RUBbed

Arthur Schwartz, one of New York City's venerated food experts (he's more than a critic) dined recently at Paul Kirk's RUB and had some glowing things to say about the food coming out of Pitmaster Scott Smith's kitchen.....Take it away, Arturo....

You may recall that several weeks ago I went to RUB, on W. 23rd St. between Seventh and Eighth Aves. in Chelsea, to taste their pastrami. A friend had asked me to contribute a dish to his list of 100 Things You have To Eat Before You Die. I said Katz’s pastrami. He retorted that I could say that only because I’d never tried Rub’s pastrami. Of course, after eating the meat in both places, he had to agree: Katz’s is better. Still, I was so impressed with Rub’s other smoky offerings we tasted that day, I couldn’t wait to get back and eat more.

I have to say Rub’s ribs are great – deeply smoked, succulent and tender, not steamy and falling off the bone as too many are. Rub’s ribs only succumb when they reach your teeth. Then they melt. I love Rub’s bacon, too. You say “Bacon?” Yes, they deep smoke bacon slabs, slice them thickly, put the slices on the grill, then cut them into chubby chunks. The bacon is served, like everything else at Rub, in paper boats, which is totally in keeping with a b-b-q- joint – I wasn’t a bit offended by the lack of china -- saves the restaurant money, and allows the prices not to be crazy. Of course, bacon is such a fatty indulgence that you think you will merely nibble a chunk or two, but this bacon is so addictive I bet you can’t eat just three.

Rub has delectable smoked brisket, too, but the night I was there they didn’t have any deckle, otherwise known as “second cut” and “thick cut.” To my mind that’s the best part, or at least my favorite part of the brisket – juicy with streaks of fat and a coarser and more satisfying texture than the leaner, tighter grained so-called “first cut.” You can order just brisket ends, however, and so we did. Against our better judgment, we wiped out a paper boat full of those, too.

I even love the mayo-dressed potato salad and cole slaw. And the barbecue chicken, although not my first choice on this mostly meat menu, is pretty damned wonderful, too.

The bill -- with beers, sodas, tax and tip -- came to about $35 a person. But we really did order more than we should have – including their silly batter-fried Oreos for dessert -- and we ended up taking home enough food for two for lunch the next day. Now I have to go back and work my way through the rest of the menu. And hope they have deckle.

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Anonymous wallace fard said...

Somebody really should tell Arthur that burnt ends ARE deckle....

12:27 PM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Hey Wallace, thanks for stopping by! I've heard of some places actually using chopped (or cubed) point to keep up with the demand for burnt ends. That's not the case at RUB, thank goodness. When they're gone, they're gone.

I actually had an interesting conversation with someone about deckle recently. He told me that the deckle isn't actually the cut we commonly refer to (the point of the brisket), but actually a strip higher up that is almost always trimmed at the packing house and is one of the few pieces that is trashed and never sold to the public. An interesting wrinkle on the whole thing.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Billinois said...

His sauce on his fingers makes him type in RED

12:18 PM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Uhm....that's not sauce...

12:49 PM  
Anonymous billinois said...

I see....

He writes "killer" reviews

1:45 PM  

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