Johnny's Smokehouse, Pearl River, NY (near NJ border)

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bartl
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2012/06/20 12:13:20 (permalink)

Johnny's Smokehouse, Pearl River, NY (near NJ border)

Having been reading about Dave Finkelstein moving from Bailey's to Johnny's Smokehouse (and having been a regular at late lamented Fink's and, later, Stickey's in northern New Jersey), I wanted to see if this would be a good alternative to having to drive up to the West Point area for Barnstormer's (still the best place in the general area I have found for smoke lovers, although I don't know where Pearson's is this week).
 
Being one of those who hate the Yelp "I hit bad traffic on the way to the restaurant, and they were closed by the time I got there. 1 Star" reviews, I am not writing there yet, because my experience was not pleasant, and it was only partially the fault of the restaurant (and the pluses are small). I liked Bailey's while Fink was there, and even while he was gone, but had a couple of cases where we were clearly served leftovers (the second time, they served us dried out brisket hidden under a couple of slices of the fresh), so we decided to try out his latest haunt (not sure if he's even still there, although they use his name prominently on the menu).
 
The food was smoked, albeit much more lightly than I would prefer. The ribs were tender, and the chicken had a nice, crisp skin, but everything had a super-sweet sauce on it, and the pulled turkey had a gamier flavor than it should have. Especially disappointing were the sides;  they were mediocre at best, and very expensive for what they were. The barbecue platter came with a side of fries (decent size, decent quality) and two other sides, and we bought a third side just to try them out. The cole slaw ($4 for about a quarter cup) was fresh, but very plain. The macaroni and cheese (I should have asked to see if it was baked, but from a place with Fink, I assumed it was), for $5, was about a quarter cup of rotini which seemed to be tossed lightly in melted Velveeta. The corn souffle ($5), one of Fink's specialties which is still great at Bailey's, was a disappointed mini-cupcake overly sweet piece of mush. The plates they gave us for the platters were ovals of "small salad" size, which were very uncomfortable to eat from (especially as the meat was not falling off the bone, like good Q should be). About 1/3 into the meal, we had to leave unexpectedly. We had them pack up the food and we left then and there. And they forgot to include the barely touched cole slaw (not that there was much in the first place).
 
Based on how the reheated food tasted, I'm not sure I want to go back, anyway. Maybe I'll give Bailey's another try, if I tell them about my past disappointment with them in advance.
 
Bart
post edited by bartl - 2012/06/21 16:55:44
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    Pigiron
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    Re:Johnny's Smokehouse, Pearl River, NY (near NJ border) 2012/06/20 12:22:55 (permalink)
    Thanks for the review, Bart.  I was considering a trek up there, but I'll re-think it now.  I live in your area, and have yet to have a single decent BBQ meal since I moved out of the city 2 years ago.  Do you have a recommendation for BBQ in north Jersey?  Have you tried that place in Hackensack over by the Costco? 
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    bartl
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    Re:Johnny's Smokehouse, Pearl River, NY (near NJ border) 2012/06/20 16:28:47 (permalink)
    Pigiron Thanks for the review, Bart.  I was considering a trek up there, but I'll re-think it now.  I live in your area, and have yet to have a single decent BBQ meal since I moved out of the city 2 years ago.  Do you have a recommendation for BBQ in north Jersey?  Have you tried that place in Hackensack over by the Costco? 

    I picked up the menu from the place while passing it. As I mentioned, I'm going to give Bailey's another chance, but only after warning them that if all they have is leftovers from a day or two previous, and they don't warn me, it WILL end up on Yelp. Bailey's is in Blauvelt, NY, not too far from the NJ border. If you are willing to drive a bit, Barnstormers in Ft. Montgomery, NY (Route 9, just south of West Point, about 45 minutes from North Jersey) is as good as you're going to find north of the border. Another place to avoid: Golden Pub in Saddle Brook. Their sign claims "Memphis Barbecue", but I'm pretty sure none of their food ever saw a single bit of smoke (and the reviews on Yelp agree).
     
    On another thread, it's been mentioned that Dinosaur BBQ has opened a branch in Newark; that might be worth looking at once they have gone through their initial shake-out. I love their BBQ sauce (and it's the lowest in total sugars of any naturally sweetened BBQ sauce on the market).
     
    If you want to go down to Edison, there's a branch of Dave's Famous Barbecue; it's mediocre, but that's better than a lot of places around here.
     
    Bart

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    Pigiron
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    Re:Johnny's Smokehouse, Pearl River, NY (near NJ border) 2012/06/20 18:19:01 (permalink)
    So I guess the short answer is, no, there's no good BBQ in north Jersey.  Thanks for all the info.
     
    I'm a huge fan of Dinosaur, but if I'm going out to dinner in Newark, which isn't more than twice a year, it's going to be a local Portuguese or Spanish restaurant (Tony De Caneca and Iberia are my favorites).  And the day I drive to Edison for Famous Dave's is the day I turn in my Roadfood card!
     
    Pigiron
    Still searching for real food in the valley of the malls, NJ
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    Benzee
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    Re:Johnny's Smokehouse, Pearl River, NY (near NJ border) 2012/06/25 22:19:10 (permalink)
    Hello all ,
    If you dont mind driving a bit into the Hudson Valley . Brians Backyard BBQ in Middletown NY on Rt 211 has some great barbecue . We had a roadfood friends meet there last yr .
    They have great live music most days of the week as well .
    Benzee
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    Pigiron
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    Re:Johnny's Smokehouse, Pearl River, NY (near NJ border) 2012/06/27 10:37:07 (permalink)
    That is quite a hike from me, but if I'm ever passing through there, I'll give it a look-see. perhaps on my next trip to see the Scranton Yanks.  Is Middletown still considered the Hudson Valley?  It's pretty far west.  
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