Big news for barbecue lovers in Queens: John Brown Smokehouse pitmaster Josh Bowen is about to revive the Texas-style barbecue from his critically beloved Jackson Heights joint Alchemy, Texas — in a new space with a new name. Mothership Meat Company, as the restaurant will be called, will be opening later this year in Astoria, Bowen says. He'll still be using a giant rotisserie smoker, and he'll still be cooking up Texas-style barbecue with non-traditional spices like garam masala, black tea, and ghee.
Bowen's experimental restaurant only popped up for about six months in the backyard of Legends Bar in 2013, but in that time, it became both a neighborhood favorite and a destination for the city's food critics. Eater critic Robert Sietsema called the prime rib "nothing short of spectacular" while at the Village Voice, and Serious Eats described the brisket as "meltingly tender, with creamy fat, assertively beefy and rich with smoke" on its best days. Alchemy, Texas also made best barbecue lists for unique items like frog legs with a "mop" of foie gras and Founders' Breakfast Stout.
But Bowen says the previous location was never intended to be permanent. It was located in the backyard of a bar, and it didn't make sense to keep it there long term. The new location, which Bowen said he was not yet ready to disclose, will feature a huge, sprawling patio space with 4,000 to 5,000 square feet of space to hang out. It will also offer 12 beers on tap, and the menu will mostly be composed of classic meats like brisket and prime rib. Still, expect the same playfulness with spices at Mothership, Bowen says. "It will be a little bit out there," he says. "I’m not going to fusion it up or anything. Spices are spices, however they taste. It will be salt and pepper with a little bit of extra love."