30 W. 26th St., nr. Broadway; 212-255-4544
While RUB’s bacon and Dinosaur’s lamb ribs continue to have their devotees, the city’s barbecue scene was taken by storm this year by Hill Country’s impeccably pure Texas product. A confluence of rich brisket, post-oak fumes, and a simple but aggressive seasoning of salt and pepper and a tiny hint of cayenne, the Hill Country “moist” brisket (known in BBQ circles as deckle, and made from the rich upper shelf of the muscle) is a potent, smoky, meltingly rich expression of all that makes barbecue great. Hill Country’s immense, untrimmed pork spareribs and beef short ribs might, frighteningly, be even better.
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).