It was a long time in the coming, but we were unable to resist the siren call of BBQ, especially from newcomer Daisy May's BBQ U.S.A., located in Hell's Kitchen. After reading what seemed like countless articles in the Times, as well as hearing wonderful things from Paul and other readers, we made from the trek from Times Square to a relatively deserted stretch of 11th Avenue with this BBQ mission's companion, Mike C of Meccapixel. And we knew we were close to some BBQ when the air was filled with the smoky sweet scent of meat cooking. Mmm...meat...
Located on the corner of 46th Street and 11th Avenue, Daisy May's is a bright, cheery, and efficient storefront. The menu is straightforward: The meat dishes, or "Eats," all cost $8 (tax included in all prices) while sides, "Country Fixings," cost from $3 to $10 depending on the size. Per Daisy May's Chef Adam Perry Lang's suggestion, we tucked into a Tasting Menu, complete with sweet tea in a Mason jar, as we talked to Lang about his store.
First we tried the Oklahoma Jumbo Beef Short Rib (right), which Lang told us was smoked for 14 hours. When we poked at it with our plastic forks, the tender meat fell off the bone. The meat was rich, hearty and delicious, and we alternated between the short rib and our side fixings: Baked Beans with Burnt Ends (perfectly mellow), Creamed Spinach (decadent), Rustic Corn with Wisconsin Cheddar (a surprising and delicious combination), and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar (heavenly). Daisy May's doesn't have tables but does have a small counter where you can stand eat, a tribute to Gray's Papaya.
While Lang and his team make 2000 pounds of BBQ a day and could succeed solely as a catering and take-out operation, Lang wanted to have a storefront presence so everyone could come, try the food and talk to the staff. And it is a smart idea, as we witnessed a post-work rush of people come in, with at least five different people tell Lang how excited they were about Daisy May's. Lang was in his element, fielding questions from customers.
Then came the Kansas City Sweet and Sticky Ribs (pictured above). Armed with extra large Wet Naps, we tore in. The sauce was tangy and luscious, and the meat was succulent. Then Memphis Dry Rub Ribs (right) were last, and with these ribs, we could taste the pork more intensely (sweet and juicy). We added some Peaches in Bourbon to our mix of sides and fell silent, happily taking a bit of ribs, then having some spinach, more ribs, then some corn. Beans. Dry rub rib. Etc.
Though it was surprising how many people were in the store at 7:30PM, given the location, it reveals a passion for BBQ in the city - if you build it, they will come. After his experience at fine restaurants like Daniel and Monzu, Lang wanted to concentrate on the food and give customers a great, affordable meal. One customer came up and told Lang she had stopped by one afternoon, but Daisy May's was closed. It turns out the store will close when the BBQ runs out, and on that Friday, they shuttered the store in the early afternoon and broke out the champagne. The customer's husband asked if delivery was restricted to just the West Midtown area and Lang assured him that one of the Daisy May's vans would get to him. "Even Upper West Side?" the skeptical but hopeful man asked. "Even the Upper West Side. Call us," Lang said, adding, "better to call early." As people streamed into the store and contemplated what they should order (occasionally glancing at our spread and asking what we were eating - and we were only too willing to engage in some BBQ dialogue), we knew that we'd be having some more Rustic Corn with Cheddar and Peaches in Bourbon would be in our future, maybe with a Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich or the wonderfully messy and yummy Sticky Ribs.
Daisy May's BBQ U.S.A.
623 11th Avenue (at 46th Street)
212 977 1500
Delivery all over Manhattan (just call and ask)
Open Monday - Friday, 11AM till the BBQ runs out
Oklahoma Jumbo Beef Short Ribs
Kansas City Sweet and Sticky Ribs
Memphis Dry Rub Ribs
Tennessee Bourbon Beer Can Style Half Chicken
Texas chopped Beef Sandwich
Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich
$8.00 Even (Tax Included) for Each Eat
Baked Beans with Burnt Ends
Mashed Potatoes with Wisconsin Cheddar
Cajun Dirty Rice & Beans
Creamy Cole Slaw
Peaches in Bourbon
Apples in Brandy
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar
Corn Bread with Jalapeno
$3.00 Even (Tax Included) - 8 oz. Fixings
$6.00 Even (Tax Included) - 16 oz. Fixings
$10.00 Even (Tax Included) - 32 oz. Fixings
A taste of Daisy May Eats and Fixings - Ideal for groups of 5 or more
$20.00/ person Even (Tax Included)
Sweetened Tea served in a Mason Jar (32 oz.)
$3.00 Even (Tax Included)
Canned Soda $1.00 Even (Tax Included)
Gothamist went to the 1st Annual Big Apple BBQ