By Bill Cary. Read on lohud.com.
Sometimes you just get an overwhelming urge for barbecue — big and meaty and messy, with lots of starchy sides, a cold beer and perhaps some greens or a salad.
I’ve long heard good things about Q Restaurant & Bar in downtown Port Chester, and a recent Friday night dinner had everything I want and expect in a barbecue joint. The room is informal and welcoming, the menu had me wanting everything, and the food is hot, fresh and full of smoky flavor.
This place is a keeper, and perhaps my next meal will be take-out. Throughout our meal, a steady stream of people hurried by, with big bags of food in both hands. They’ll even deliver it to you curbside.
The decor is almost fast food, but dressed up in modern orange and white, very clean and fresh.
The service is fast, deft and friendly. As soon as you walk in, you’re assigned a table with a number, then you order everything, including drinks, from the large overhead menu board. Pay for it all, then wait at your table for the big plates of food to be delivered from the kitchen.
Most of the plates and combos come with two sides and cornbread, which was light and very good. They don’t take reservations, but the place is big and the tables seem to turn pretty quickly. Or you can park yourself at the bar in front while waiting for a table.
What we tried
Combo plate with pulled pork and ribs: You get St. Louis-style ribs here, which are meatier than baby backs and leaner than spare ribs, according to the menu. Meaty, indeed, and very tasty and cooked just right. The pulled pork was big and delicious, with the deep flavor of a long braise and not too vinegary.
Combo plate with brisket and barbecue chicken: The marbled, fatty brisket was our favorite — bursting with meaty flavor. You can also order it lean. We opted for the dark-meat chicken, which was fine but on the ordinary side.
Barbecue chicken wings: OK, it’s a tie. These smoky, goopy wings were right up there with the brisket. Each charred wing (you get five per order as an appetizer) is large and meaty, not separated into two pieces and not at all gristly. Dredge them in the creamy blue-cheese dressing that’s made in house, and say thank-you for the stack of packaged wet napkins on the side.
Iceberg lettuce wedge: This was huge, with crispy lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red onion and bacon, and the same blue-cheese dressing on the side. When we ordered, they asked us if we wanted the wedge chopped in the kitchen, and it was certainly easier to eat this way, in a bowl and chopped into bite-size pieces.
Sides: The coleslaw was a pleasant surprise. I tend to like my slaw with largish, lacy pieces of cabbage, and this was finely chopped and ordinary looking. But it was bright and crispy, with a nice kick. The house-cut fries were flawless. The mac ‘n cheese was creamy and mildly cheesy — piping hot and freshly made. The baked beans were fine, sort of what you might get out of a B&M can, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all.
Drinks and dessert
Among the specialty cocktails, we tried the Kentucky lemonade, made with Knob Creek bourbon, triple sec and homemade lemonade. Very good, but I was wishing I’d just ordered a beer once I dove into the barbecue. We were way too full for dessert, but the list includes homemade pie, layer cake and banana pudding.
The full range of folks that any barbecue joint draws: after-work couples, groups of hungry guys, big tables of teenagers, families of all sizes and ages.
Amazing for a barbecue joint, but there is a vegetarian menu, along with gluten-free and nut-free. Give the staff three days’ notice and you can get a whole hog.
What we will order next
Burgers. We could see them being seared and flamed on the live grill in the kitchen.
The Capitol Theatre is just around the corner, on Westchester Avenue. It now has a nice lobby bar called Garcia’s. And Port Chester is a great place to shop for Latin foods.
The 411 on Q Restaurant & Bar Cuisine: Barbecue Prices: Most plates and combos are $15 to $19.75; full slab of ribs, $26.95; half-pound burger, $10.75 Great for: Big Groups, Cheap Eats, Date Night, Solo Dining, Take Out, Craft Beer, Cocktails, Dining at the Bar, Girls’ Night Out, Kid Friendly, Late Night Eats, Meeting for a Drink, Going Out on Mondays, People Watching, Private Room, Dinner with Grandparents Noise level: Not bad at all, considering how busy it was Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, till 10:30 Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. Go: 112 N. Main St., Port Chester, 914-933-7427, qrestaurantandbar.com