ln the former Van Daag space at 2nd Av. and 6th St. Very friendly staff, very serious smoker (which the pit master graciously opened up to show me the inside).
l tried the brisket, pulled pork and a side of sweet potato casserole with maple and pecans. Despite the apparent seriousness and good intentions of the place, l found it underwhelming: the brisket was pretty dry, with just so-so flavor; the pulled pork, while nice and moist, didn't have much flavor either, and wasn't really sauced. l'm not a tremendous fan of pulled pork, but that's mainly because l'm not crazy about the sauce that it's usually mixed in with. l was kind of excited by the idea of theirs when l saw it, as it seemed to rely on the meat itself. Alas, the flavor missed the mark: it was in serious need of the good quality bbq sauce [sweet, but not too sweet] that they provide in glass bottles on the long, central wooden table.
The best part of the meal was the sweet potatoes, which were terrific: not overly sweet, with a wonderful crunch every time l got some pecans in a forkful. The free pickle accompaniments were very good too, especially the pickled hot red pepper. The brioche bun that came with it was also just ok; personally, l'd prefer a potato roll.
Hopefully they'll improve, as it'd be a shame to have all that high-tech smoking kit putting out only average 'cue. As it stands, l find the flavor better overall at Georgia's East Side BBQ, and the brisket much better at Fette Sau, RUB and Hill Country. One thing they can't be faulted on are the prices: with just water to drink, a filling dinner for two came in at less than $25.
And l do think it's a shame that Van Daag closed, as it was a really nice place to have in the neighborhood.
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