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Good News/Bad News: Wildwood

Wildwood, Steven Hanson's newest venture, opened to the public four days ago. That means there has been more than enough time for all manner of Chowhounders, bbq aficionados, and meat-loving bloggers to stop in and file a report. At first we wondered if there was an over saturation of BBQ in the city these days. But according to the early reviews, the answer is, overwhelmingly, no. The good news, and the bad news, from the city's meat freaks:

1) The Good News: White Trash BBQ tries out Wildwood on night numero uno and is an early fan: "The spare ribs, not trimmed but skinned were competition very high quality. I don't think I've ever had a better rib in a restaurant. I was blown away in my first bite...The meat chili was fantastic...The pulled pork sandwich in which the pork is tossed in a sauce before serving was very good. Conversely, the pulled pork served on the piggy platter was left un-sauced and missed the mark flavor wise...Front of the house service was a mixed bag and you could tell that the staff is still learning." [White Trash BBQ]

2) The Bad News: A reader sends in a review noting some highlights and some major misplays: "...the chicken was the biggest surprise of the night because it was perfectly cooked, sauced, & just really juicy...Unfortunately, though, the dinner was overshadowed by two big disappointments. The first being that they ran out of ribs by the time we showed up for our resy. The second, and what had to be the worst part of our meal, was the "Crunchy Cheddar Mac". I can't believe they even sent it out; it looked & tasted just like a Velveeta-based or Kraft mac & cheese...Honestly, they just really need to improve all of the sides BIG TIME!!...The manager, however, was sub-par and needs to work on his presentation, communication, and interaction with quasi-unhappy restaurant-goers." [Eater Inbox]

3) The Mostly Good News: Beef Aficionado was one of the first bloggers to try out the place. Here's his expert opinion: "...the beef brisket was absolutely superb, moist, tender, smoky and delicious...Even better than the brisket was the massive beef short rib...the fact that a restaurant turned out a piece of beef of this quality on their opening night portends well for the future...The two home made sausage varieties, Texas style and Jalepeno, where rather lackluster and while juicy lacked flavor, especially the former...I was also not a big fan of the sauces on offer." [Beef Aficionado]

4) The Good News: The Chowhounders have had a chance to chime in, and they are pretty much all fans. A representative review: "The brisket was the best I've ever had, the pulled pork was one of the best, and the spare ribs were great, but not the best, could have used more rub or sauce. The cornbread was great as was the mac and cheese...The tables for 2 were not spaced apart at all, very "cozy", and you needed a lot of patience to deal with the servers, they were eager to please but really had no idea what they were doing." [Chowhound]

5) The Suspiciously Good News: An Eater commenter thinks the world of Wildwood. (NB: expect to see this again in "Adventures in Shilling" later in the week): "I was able to get in tonight for dinner and it was the best bbq I have had in NYC. I was a huge fan of Hill Country, but honestly Wildwood blew me away. I read that the pitmaster at Wildwood used to be at Hill Country and he really stepped up his game here. The ribs, pulled pork sandwich and brisket were all amazing. The cornbread was even the right texture, not too moist and not too dry." [Eater Comments]
photo credit

Wildwood Barbeque

225 Park Ave South, New York, New York 10003 (212) 533-2500