I want to say that Mighty Quinn’s is a bit overrated, as it’s current status resides somewhere around worship level. Don’t get me wrong, the barbecue here is tasty and the barbecue sauce is crack, but I was left with plenty of concerns. First of all, they ran out of pulled pork. How does a barbecue restaurant run out of pulled pork!? I was also there around 7:30 on a weeknight for dinner, which is prime time. You can’t tell me that the most popular of barbecue meats, and the meat you’re getting the most publicity for, isn’t available. That’s just not acceptable. Pulled pork aside, I also didn’t care for the spare ribs and I feel like the Sides Menu is a bit meager. Where’s the mac n’ cheese and cornbread? It’s sides like those that are necessary when everything else has a thick, sweet barbecue flavor profile. There just weren’t enough options to break up the flavor monotony. While the design of the place is nice and the beer menu is a great complement to the Southern hipster vibe, the cafeteria-style, seating free-for-all, doesn’t quite accommodate the masses looking to try Mighty Quinn’s. With all of that said, I ultimately really enjoyed the food and I anticipate return visits, if only to get at a Brontosaurus Rib (details to follow) and drink the barbecue sauce.
Barbecue Sauce: I think this needs a category in and of itself. Far and beyond one of the best barbecue sauces I’ve ever had, this is no sweet, glorified ketchup. It really has a sophisticated flavor to it and tastes incredible all over everything. And lucky for you (and me) they have a large jug of it on every table.
Brisket: The brisket was nice. The ends had a nice salty rub, and the brisket itself was soft and flavorful. While, you could eat the brisket without any sauce, I thought it tasted a lot better with it. The combination of the brisket, sauce and some coleslaw was great. I’d definitely get the brisket again.
Pulled Pork: That’s right, they ran out. Not cool, Mighty Quinn’s. Not cool.
Brontosaurus Rib: This is the best item I tried, and perhaps even the best beef rib I’ve ever had. Enormous in size and full of flavor, this was best consumed without any barbecue sauce. The rib is super juicy (and fatty) and even came right off the bone, the way any good rib should. Love the name; love the size; love the flavor.
Spare Ribs: These just weren’t that good, though perhaps it’s a matter of preference. When I eat barbecue spare ribs, I want them to be juicy and fall of the bone. I want to make a serious mess. These are neat and stiff, and though they definitely have a nice flavor, resemble a Chinese spare rib more so than a barbecue spare rib. Skip these and just go straight for the Brontosaurus Rib!
Cole Slaw: There’s a mayo slaw and a vinegar slaw, both of which are good. I preferred the mayo slaw because they didn’t go crazy on the mayo and there’s definitely vinegar in the mayo slaw, as well. So the difference is really only a slight creaminess to one versus the other. In general, the slaw was a nice, cooling element to all the barbecue flavor and I liked that it was an automatic side with all orders; that’s the way it should be.
Burnt End Baked Beans: The baked beans are really fantastic. They have a nice smoky flavor that definitely comes from the fact that the staff is continually putting burnt ends and scraps into the vat. Sometimes I find the sauce that baked beans are in can sometimes be too sweet, but this was salty and meaty with a slight sweetness – really yum!
Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue: 103 2nd Avenue New York, NY ($)