Remember Poppa Rick’s Texas BBQ? It was a makeshift shack in Woodbury that lost a zoning battle with the Town of Oyster Bay back in 2006, but not before amassing a faithful following.
Well, pitmaster Rick Anselmi is back in the barbecue biz once more, this time in much less sketchy digs. He’s teamed up with executive chef-co-owner Roy Bruce, who comes from Chas. Rothmann's Steakhouse in East Norwich (Bruce also worked the pit with Anselmi back in the Woodbury days).
Their new place, Big Apple BBQ, opened on Thursday in the former quarters of Wild Harvest (before that Adirondack Grill). It’s now serving an abbreviated menu in anticipation of its “grand” opening in May.
The look is Wild West meets Ralph Lauren, with what may be the biggest TV screen I’ve ever seen between the bar and main dining room.
From the “tour” combo plate I found the ribs to be hauntingly smoky – tender in some places, not so tender In others. The plate also held amazing pulled brisket and pork but utterly tasteless pulled chicken. (Who orders pulled chicken anyway?) Super hand-cut sweet potato fries and sprightly coleslaw contrasted with bland, grainy, soupy mac ‘n cheese. It’s back to the drawing board for that sideliner. But a soulful bowl of gumbo was first rate.
The place already looks popular, so if you’re thinking of giving it a try, call ahead. This is one of the few barbecue joints that not only accepts but encourages reservations.
Big Apple BBQ is at 64 Forest Ave., Glen Cove, 516-801-3667.
Newsday photo of my ribs and pulled pork / Joan Reminick