The meat cure: John Brown Smoke House, 10-43 44th Dr., Long Island City, 11/16/16

I almost didn’t have a good lunch today. Thanks to Yelp, I was temporarily was its bitch; it guided me to 44th Drive and 9th Street to Fushia, a “fusion” restaurant at the Wyndham Hotel.

Horrors upon horrors: the sushi was still frozen. The $8.50 lunch special (two rolls with soup or salad) was lackluster, and was just plain bad. After two bites, I was done. I quickly hightailed it out of there.

(I took a picture, but it wasn’t worth it. I hope that the glamorous South American airline stewardesses I saw exiting the hotel had enjoyed their brief sojourn there; just don’t eat the food…)

Walking out, I contemplated on writing “When Yelp made me its bitch, vol. 1”. However, I didn’t want to; I was still hungry after walking 1.5 miles, and I needed to partake a caffeinated drink as big as my head.

On the way to Fushia (shudder), I spied John Brown Smoke House, and grew cat-like curious. I’m extremely particular about barbecued meats, sauces and their like. Since moving to NYC, the only DECENT place for serious barbeque, in my humble opinion, is Hill Country on West 26th St. in Manhattan (or on Adams St. in Brooklyn; ooh, I should try it out…).

(If anyone says otherwise, like if they think that Dallas Barbeque or Daisy Mae’s is good enough, then I will politely show you the door before I’ll flip you the bird. I don’t have the time, or the stamina to write out why those two places are in every sense WRONG. Yes, if this makes me an elitist, then so be it.)

Anyway, smoked meat sounded like a welcome change from frozen salmon/avocado rolls. This curious cat needed to be fed. And I needed to kill the fishy taste in my palette with something non-raw.

You can tell the type of barbeque (three types) by two factors: 1. The meat/sides offered. The most popular meat here is pork, so since I don’t consume pork (I need to bring someone who eats pork to act as my taster…anyone? And keep your minds out of the gutter…), I can’t wholly determine the star of this show, plus I don’t have the time or the patience (thanks to lunch selection no. 1, eck) to vex the supporting players, or, the side orders.  Next time, I shall linger to meet more of the “cast” on the menu.

The smell of good meat drifted by as I opened the door, almost slamming my face. (The smell, not the door.) It was a good sign. I ordered a 1/3 lb. brisket sandwich ($7.50) with homemade iced tea already sweetened with honey ($1.90). The brisket was nice and lean, with good texture and meatiness. Check. Plain white bread, check. The sauce? Well…I’m glad that John Brown specifies that it’s a Kansas City-type establishment. That’s correct.

The sauce was too sweet/vinegary, as if they used a whole vat of vinegar, and dumped a pallet of brown sugar, before finally deciding, hey, we need to use some tomato sauce base. I tried the spicy version. It was slightly better, if the same cooks decided to add sriracha to the mix. In short, it was a typical Kansas City sauce to me.

(I grew up with Texan barbeque. Go Mesquite!)

I have to say this, if Yelp didn’t take me to “nightmare lunch no. 1”, then I wouldn’t get to visit “saving grace lunch no. 2”. However, I’m still undecided to admit if this was truly meant to be, divine providence, or just a crazy fluke.

Enjoy!  (Don’t use Yelp)


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