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.
post edited by bartl - 2012/06/21 16:55:44