Righteous Urban Barbecue (or “RUB”) is my favorite barbecue restaurant in Manhattan. I’ve had several excellent meals there, and its location is convenient. Here are two reviews, the first from August 29, 2005:
I went to RUB yesterday and ordered the burnt ends ($19.95). I’ve never had this dish before, but it sounded so appealing that I was willing to forego the St. Louis ribs, which are my usual order at ‘cue restaurants.
The burnt ends were really terrific. You get a plate full of juicy brisket squares, with perfectly charred ends and nice pink flesh with a real smoky flavor. I was not tempted to add any sauces, being content to let the intrinsically musky flavor do its own work. Side orders were the cole slaw (underwhelminig) and onion straws (addictive). To my surprise, the soda was free.
In the mid-afternoon on a Sunday, I had no trouble getting seated. I’ll certainly be back to sample more of the menu.
This one was from just a couple of weeks later, on September 12, 2005:
Another visit to RUB yesterday, this time for the Szechuan Smoked Duck. It’s gotta be the strangest offering on the RUB menu, not at all typical for a barbecue restaurant. It’s truly a hybrid dish, with the duck prepped as it would be in Chinatown, and then given the finish in Paul Kirk’s smoker. The billowing layer of fat underneath the skin gives the duck a flavor explosion, while the flesh has the smokey bbq taste.
You can have a half duck at $14.75, or a full duck at $26.75. Unlike most of the other entrée dishes, it doesn’t come with any sides, but the half-duck alone was sufficient for me. You have to be a bit careful, as there are a lot of bones to pick through, but the payoff is sufficient to justify the effort.
The décor at RUB is really bare-bones. The food is what it’s all about. (I later went back and tried the ribs, although I didn’t write a review at the time. However, my experience on that third visit was comparable to the other two.)
Righteous Urban Barbecue (208 W. 23rd Street, west of Eighth Avenue, Chelsea)
Postscript: Though I remain a fan of R.U.B., it is no longer my favorite barbecue joint in Manhattan: Hill Country is better.