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The Early Word on UES's Neely's Barbecue Parlor

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Neely's Barbecue Parlor, the new restaurant from Food Network couple Pat and Gina Neely, opened on the Upper East Side just last week in the Merchants NY space and has already been drawing in mixed reviews about service and consistency with a few raves for the food. On to the early word:

The Heavenly News: Food bloggers Random Cravings and Fashion Foodie enjoyed a meal at Neely's and raved about every single dish. Their favorite was classic Southern dessert red velvet cake: "Heaven on earth was served to us for dessert in the form of the moistest, most wonderful red velvet cake I have ever put in my mouth! Somehow, this cake was moist like a pound cake but light like a layer cake. It was sweet, but not overly so, with the faintest hint of cocoa in the background. And that cream cheese icing! It was sweet, silky smooth and SO creamy!" [Random Cravings]

The Bad (Service) News: Most of the initial critiques of Neely's has to do with clueless staff, something that the restaurant may be able to resolve with time. One Yelp commenter was extremely disappointed: "Neely's had plenty of waiters, all were smiling because they didn't know what they were doing. The manager came to our table and said: "Thank you for experimenting with us on our first night." I couldn't believe he actually said that. I am not there to experiment or to be experimented on. " [Yelp]

The Not-So-Hot News: Aside from service, initial response seems focused on irregular temperature, or put more bluntly by one MenuPages commenter: "The food is cold, all of it, not one thing came out warm. The slab bacon is thin cut and has the texture of cardboard. It was cold. The hushpuppies taste good enough, but were cold. The fried pickles were greasy, and cold, you get the idea." [MenuPages]

The First Scent: One Eater commenter was immediately turned off by the smell of the former space occupant: "This entire location use to be a cigar bar so when you enter the restaurant you will smell a faint scent of cigars. I am sure as time goes by, they will figure out a way to remedy the scent issue." That said, the food was solid: "For appetizers, we indulged in the pulled pork hushpuppies with mustard dipping sauce - quite tasty...As for my main course, I enjoyed the KC sweet and sticky pork ribs and the mac ‘n cheese. The mac ‘n cheese was very creamy and delicious. I finished the mac ‘n cheese before I ate the ribs. The ribs were to die for." [Eater Comments]

The Green Light: A Yelp commenter raved about BBQ classic side dish collard greens, graphically referring to them as "slap YO momma good fuh real though - probably the best item I had herrre" [Yelp]
—Devin Briski

Neely's Barbecue Parlor

1125 First Avenue, New York, NY 10065

Neely's Barbecue Parlor

1125 First Ave., New York, NY