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How Maspeth BBQ joint stayed under the radar

A selection of sliders from Slide Bar-B-Q
Photo by Suzanne Parker
By Suzanne Parker

When we stumbled upon Slide BBQ, tucked away in the depths of residential Maspeth, we wondered how come it slid under our radar for almost two years. No buzz in the foodie community. No tips from our barbecue fanatic friends. Nada. We set out to find out why.

Slide BBQ has the look and feel of the current crop of gastropub/sports bars. Dark, repurposed-looking wood, ochre tin ceiling, two large TVs tuned to the game and a bar running the length of the space define the feel of this establishment. Their website makes a big deal of explaining that real barbecue involves long slow smoking (as opposed to grilling), and that they are the real deal.

They also boast that “…what separates slide BBQ from other BBQ establishments is that we also specialize in gourmet sliders that were developed by Madison Cowan who is a British-American chef, best known as the first ever Grand Champion of Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ and of Food Network’s ‘Iron Chef America.’”

We stuck to the two menu categories that are emblematic of Slider BBQ’s culinary identity: the sliders and the barbecue platters. Although not really designed as starters, we decided to dive into the sliders first. They come as triplets, and you cannot mix and match, so we had to order three separate sets to sample three types.

We waited interminably, beers in hand, without benefit of peanuts or chips, until our first trio arrived. Three tepid portions of fried chicken with token schmears of bourbon apple butter and spicy slaw came stacked between rubbery waffle quarters. Nuff said. The next arrivals, Pulled Smoked Pork sliders with “Cowboy coleslaw” and barbecue sauce were good enough, in a traditional ‘cue way, although the buns should have been fresher. Ditto for the Burnt Ends sliders, served with cheddar cheese, pickled red onions and garlic aioli. Decent meat, but stingy with the condiments, and semi-fresh buns.

The plates of barbecued meat come with a choice of two sides, along with a miniscule cube of dense cornbread and a choice of barbecue sauces. No white bread, as is the custom in the South, or biscuits. The brisket sort of met our standard for barbecued brisket, except that it was served with a slathering of their choice of barbecue sauce already applied. The sauce in question tasted like Worcestershire with a squirt of hot sauce. The St. Louis style ribs were tough, recalcitrantly adhering to the bones despite our best efforts. Our chosen sides, collards, baked beans, fries, and mac ‘n cheese, were all competently prepared. The baked beans approached praiseworthy, with a generous dose of bacon therein.

The Bottom Line

Slider BBQ is an unfortunate case of failed aspirations. Their website says all the right things about what goes into making great barbecue. The problem here is with the crucial interval from smoker to plate. If it’s not speedy, it’s a deal breaker. Slider seems to have failed to attract the following that would create the necessary critical mass. As a result, you are likely to get food that has been reheated or left to languish.

Suzanne Parker is the TimesLedger’s restaurant critic and author of “Eating Like Queens: A Guide to Ethnic Dining in America’s Melting Pot, Queens, N.Y.” She can be reached by e-mail at qnsfoodie@aol.com.

If you go

Slide BBQ

52-75 65th Place,

Maspeth NY, 11378

718-565- 0565

slidebarbq.com

Price Range: Sliders: $9.95-11.95; Meat Platters: $15.95-28.95

Cuisine: Traditional BBQ

Setting: Gastropub/Sports Bar

Service: Professional

Hours: Kitchen Open Sunday – Thursday 11 am to Midnight Friday and Saturday 11 am to 1 am (Bar open till 4 am)

Reservations: Optional

Alcohol: Full bar

Parking: Small lot in rear

Dress: Casual

Children: Welcome

Music: Karaoke on Saturdays

Takeout: Yes

Credit cards: Yes

Noise level: Hey, it’s a bar

Handicap accessible: Yes

WIFI: Yes, but doesn’t always work

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