It was Sunday, and Spanky’s BBQ was forlorn and deserted. They warned us the kitchen was about to close. Not a good omen. “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you,” the boy manager said. So it was no surprise that we had to lasso a server and tell them what to do (plates, forks, more plates). Then out came jerk-rubbed and smoky chicken wings with a pineapple dip that rocked even the Venetian countess. She tucked into the onion straw fries - greasy (and why not?) and potentially addictive. Warned that the housemade poppers were peppery hot, she gingerly took just a half. “Not so hot,” she said, helping herself to the other half. Meanwhile, we three barbecue-hounds cannot quite believe how good it (mostly) all is - the pulled-pork sandwich, the juicy St.-Louis–style ribs (not too sweet, not too soft, not too chewy), even the coleslaw. I must admit, we are so obsessed with the classic essentials, we don’t get to the gumbo or the chicken-fried steak or slow-smoked mu-shu pork. Buffalo short ribs should have been juicier, but we’re wild for the racy cheese grits underneath that easily outclass the fries. And smoked-brisket Texas chili is a divine swamp of goodness. Beer is what goes with this grub, especially since this is a Heartland Brewery seedling. Look for the flying pigs at the front door.
127 West 43rd Street near Sixth Avenue. 212 575 5848