70 W. Main St. Patchogue, NY 631-447-7744
Chef-owner Eric Rivkin has designed this barbecue joint with informality in mind. Order at the counter, grab a table and, soon, you'll be elbow deep in messy ribs, pulled pork and brisket. But it's not all about the eats. Unusual brews are offered at limited stretches and there's bluesy live rock music Wednesday-Saturday nights. Come weekends, Bobbique stays open until 4 a.m. (or at least until everybody leaves).Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.: Mon.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.: Fridays. 3 p.m.-11 p.m.: Saturdays. 2 p.m.-9 p.m.: Sundays. (Bar is open until 10 p.m. Mon.-Tues., 2 a.m. Wed.-Thurs., 4 a.m. Fri.-Sat.) Credit cards: Accepted
Chef-owner Eric Rivkin has designed this barbecue joint with informality in mind. Order at the counter, grab a table and, soon, you'll be elbow deep in messy ribs, pulled pork and brisket. There's nothing quite like the glorious mess of eating barbecue. When the ribs are right, as they are at Bobbique in Patchogue, they're a little crusty on the outside, ever so slightly glossed with barbecue sauce, the tender meat deeply imbued with that smokiness that comes from having spent hours in a barbecue pit. It's no wonder each table has its own supply of paper towels for fingers and faces lucky enough to come in contact with those ribs. Chef-pitmaster-owner Eric Rifkin wants his customers to get sloppy. The entire experience, Rifkin says, is about informality and uninhibited enjoyment. In trying to replicate what one would find at a barbecue joint down South, Rifkin has set up Bobbique so that customers order at a reception desk and pay their tab before being handed a number and told to find a table. Servers then deliver beverages and food. It's not a system designed for the ease and comfort of the diner. In the handsome front dining room, seating is on tall chairs in front of tables the same height as the bar. The rear dining area, with conventional seating, is a step down in terms of ambience, which is more corporate cafeteria than Southern roadhouse. But corporate cafeterias don't have beer lists like the impressively comprehensive one here featuring at least one beer from every local brewery (one group member had Blue Point Pale Ale on cask). While our drinks arrived right away, food service was somewhat less predictable. On my first visit, both salad and main dishes fairly flew onto the table; we were in and out in about half an hour. The second time, we waited 45 minutes for so much as a morsel. Desperate, we flagged down a server and begged for corn bread. To Rifkin's credit, it was very good corn bread, moist and not terribly sweet, as it often is. Chopped salad was a winning toss of cut-up field greens, cucumber, tomatoes, red onions and carrots in a honey balsamic vinaigrette. Listed as a "snack" on the menu, fried pickle chips were a real kick, their crisp exteriors fried to an audible crunch. For the full scope of the menu, try "Sonny's plate," a sampling of all five meats offered. In addition to fine St. Louis ribs, I relished the deep-down-smoky barbecued chicken. Pulled pork was juicy one time, a tad dry the next. Lack of moistness also was a problem with the sliced brisket, which almost made up for that deficit with its lovely barbecue flavor. A big hit were smoked sausages, whose shiny exteriors burst when bitten, releasing a torrent of spicy juices. Rifkin also put out a commendable burger, well charred and lush. Side dishes were simple and satisfying. I liked that the mac and cheese was al dente on both occasions. Corn on the cob was buttery, the sweet kernels slightly firm beneath the tooth; collard greens were bright and not the least bit bitter, baked beans sweet but not overly so, cole slaw vibrant and not too mayonnaise-y. While pecan pie and apple cobbler had an admirable down-home quality, the best finale by far was a treat known as "Lincoln logs" -- French toast sticks hot from the deep fryer assembled architecturally on the plate. In an effort to exercise moderation, I ate only one log. This I regretted later that evening, when all I could do was dream about the rest.