Manhattan isn’t really famed for its BBQ, but after seeing restaurant critic extraordinaire Richard Vines singing the praises of BBQ newbie Mighty Quinn and laying my eyes upon the following picture, I could think of little else.
We decided to go for an early lunch as it’s one of those no reservation gaffs.
I was alarmed upon our arrival to be met by a large congregation of 5/0 (that’s police to you and me). After watching far too many police films throughout my time, I started to wonder if they were dirty cops. Were they meeting with known mob bosses to arrange a pay off? Perhaps setting up a prolific drug dealer so they could steal his stash and pocket his takings? Worse still, were they there to arrest us? I had on a previous visit to NYC consumed alcohol underage, I am guilty of several cases of jay walking around the city and on numerous occasions I have quite aggressively bad-mouthed ex-President George Bush Junior. I was nervous. Luckily for me, the feds weren’t looking for known criminals, but rather staring wide eyed and mouthed at the massive mounds of meat before them.
Mighty Quinn wasn’t as I expected – it’s more a fast food joint than BBQ restaurant. An orderly queue is formed at the counter (nobody dared get rowdy with such presence from the heat – that’s the police again), meats, sides and drinks are chosen and food consumed quickly. In and out in half an hour. But let’s not let this fact detract from the experience.
The brisket was superb. I often find brisket dry, but these guys know exactly what they’re doing. Its edges charred and smoky, insides oozing with meaty juices. The slaw was crisp and creamy and I particularly loved the variety of pickles which added a squinty heat.
Americans often eat things that I don’t understand and I’m afraid sweet potato casserole is being added to this list along with grits and cheese whizz. It was overly sweet and even the abundance of cinnamon couldn’t make me love it. Weird.
Mr P had the smoked sausage served on a bun, which was stodgy with a nice measure of spice. Baked beans contained a generous portion of burnt ends– all thoroughly delicious.
There’s quite a selection of draft beer - I got into the spirit of things and glugged mine down with vigour (I was careful not to drink too much however so as to avoid getting loud and drawing the attention of the dirty cops who might try to extort money out of me to prevent an arrest for drunk and disorderly.)
I’d suggest getting there early as it fills up quickly. We arrived before noon but the restaurant was full before we left. The staff are chatty and helpful and there’s a relaxed atmosphere despite the experience being one of speed.
Mighty Quinn has just been awarded best new restaurant in New York by the Zagat guide and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s cheap, quick but thoroughly delicious. As long as you’re not on the US most wanted list, you’ll have a great time.
Disclaimer: I have no evidence that said cops were corrupt. But statistically* 25% of them were.
*I’ve made that figure up.