Friday, November 03, 2006

Biscuit's (Baby) Back

Biscuit's back
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
I have had a couple of things to celebrate recently, between the green card, and an actually unrelated small pay rise. So, I did what any rock pig would do - scoot down to Blue Ribbon Sushi and get nasty on high-end Sake and fish.

But Park Slope's fashionable Fifth Avenue does not make this voyage a simple one. The restaurant row has now reached a level of saturation that will be familiar to my spiritual counterparts in Carroll Gardens. Slightly tasteful, but disturbingly generic, signs now murmur incessantly at the passerby from every corner.

I was prepared for the appearance of the whimsically-monickered Apropos Cafe on Fifth and Sackett, right next to the tired and lazy Lobo. This is a sandwich joint and is not exciting much comment right now. Plus it seems to be enjoying a soft and gentle opening. (N.B. Any references to obscure cross-streets can be checked here, though the site's listings struggle to keep pace with gentrification.)

But when we got to the corner of President and Fifth, Mrs. Cutesome pointed out that the sign above unloved high-end restaurant Night And Day had changed. It now features a star, and says "BBQ" in large letters. A format change, we assumed, the latest in a series of lurches from Night And Day's unfortunate owners.

Drawing closer, we began to make out the word "Biscuit" on the awning. This was encouraging, since it meant that either the owners had brought in the proprietors of the much-lamented Biscuit on Flatbush Avenue, or they thought that it was worth aping in their bid to recover their mojo.

Plastered on the front was the explanation: a heartfelt piece of self-abnegation that made me feel rather sorry for the Night and Day crew. Basically the owners of a rather upscale eatery brought in the purveyors of budget comfort food after exhausting the alternatives.

The inside, as far as I can tell, has been pretty heavily done-over, with some explicit nods to Biscuit's former home. There is, however, a rather spacious bar that doesn't quite conjure the smokehouse spirit. But it does mean you can drink sweet wine with your ribs, should you so desire.

There's an awkward balance between the high and the low-end still apparent in the Biscuit experience. So, the entrees are probably four bucks more expensive, but the menu's printed on your placemat, and you get paper napkins (probably for the best in a BBQ place, even if they also give you wet wipez). The serving staff are really VERY, perky, though.

So, we got the biscuits, which the usual flaky and buttery marvels, and I got the half rack of ribs with mac n' cheese and potato salad. The ribs were dryer and leaner than the ones I remember from the Flatbush joint, and judging from some of the comments at this Brooklynian post most of the purists would like them that way. I must say a light drizzling with cider vinegar suited me just fine.

Mrs. Cutesome had the BBQ chicken, and got through most of it, and seemed to approve of the vegetable medley. The pair at the table next to us demonstrated the deep fired chicken, and to my eyes it looked to be done to a T. For me the place does it pretty well, though I'd hesitate to put it up there with Blue Smoke.

But it's got two demographics going for it. The drunk crowd would probably swarm there, although it lacks convenient subway access the way the old place did, and is a teeny bit more expensive. And then you've got the kidz. This place seems tailor-made to appeal to the same crowd that goes to Two Boots. It's pretty unpretentious and the food is pretty uncomplicated. I can see the childs loving it. And before you say that Fifth Ave does not have sufficient monsters to support such an enterprise, I will point out that the Fifth Ave bedlam on Halloween, while a shadow of that on Seventh, was still pretty bad. We got you strollers. Oh yes.

Judging from the buzz, DINKY twentysomethings should probably amble over to The Smoke Joint in F Greene. Though I have not visited it.

More reviews, done less pretentiously:



Which means that I can't really say I own this joint. But that dubious-looking fusion joint going up on the corner of Prospect and Fifth. That's f***in' going to be mine. Same for the Jamaican place.

This weekend we have the Black Keys at the Nokia Theater, and maybe massive geekery. Nice.


At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post about Biscuit. My only comment would be that the subway access is actually pretty good. Have you ever heard of the Union Street Station at 4th Avenue. Its pretty much one block from Biscuit and you can catch the M/R and go one stop to connect with the D/N.


At 12:34 PM, Blogger Gringcorp said...

True, but it ain't an express stop, leastaways during regular hours. I tend to divide my attention between 7th Ave and Pacific.


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