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Fatty Beltbuckles - CLOSED

"Fatty Wings" are served with a heaping of onion straws at Fatty Beltbuckles, a barbecue restaurant in downtown Farmingdale. (March 27, 2010) Photo Credit: John Dunn

The name Fatty Beltbuckles telegraphs a clear message: bigger is better. The new, bilevel spot (the spinoff of a Rocky Point barbecue joint) overlooks the intersection of the LIRR tracks and Farmingdale's Main Street. In an ambience best described as Wild West suburban, you'll encounter such menu items as "piggy wings" and "fatty belt burners."

UNBUCKLE YOUR BELT

Piggy wings are actually smoky little barbecued pork shanks plated with fried onions. They're darned good, as are fatty belt burners (smoked chicken wings served with a mouth-searing hot sauce). Pickle chips are crisp and tangy.

I order St. Louis ribs with only dry rub spices: They comes off as juicy and smoky. So, too, does barbecued chicken, savory down to the bone. Kielbasa-like smoked sausage bursts with spicy juices. And Fatty's does a fine burger infused with the flavor of the grill. A real surprise is the cornmeal-crusted catfish. While it's deep fried, it's not the least bit oily.

With your main course, you'll want the creamy (but not mushy) mac and cheese. Other sides that aren't sideliners: buttery, garlicky skin-on mashed potatoes; moist and homey cornbread; sprightly coleslaw.

BUCKLING UNDER

There's a whole lot of sweetness going on here. A sugary cast informs the chili as well as the "burnt ends" (brisket ends) and pulled pork, which is indistinguishable from the pulled chicken. Chopped brisket is as cloying as the baked beans turn out to be.

I'm let down by pre-frozen fries and lukewarm sweet potato fries. And while I have high hopes for the "colossal" beef bones, I find the meat hard as a belt buckle, nearly impossible to pry off the bone.

MONEY-SAVING TIPS

If you're eating with a crowd, check out the "dig in" meal deals. They serve anywhere from 2 to 11 people and include ribs, chicken, barbecue, cornbread, coleslaw and sides. You should easily get out the door for around $10 a person - and, most of the time, with leftovers in tow.

Fatty Beltbuckles is located at 169 Main St., Farmingdale, 516-586-5601

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