170 E 81st St, New York, NY | Directions 1002840.775822 -73.956863
Neighborhoods: Upper East Side, Midtown
Almost Like Home – Pearsons is the closest thing to REAL Texas BBQ that Ive found in NYConly because they use a dry rub of spices (that could be more flavorful), and they dont mop sauce on the meat while its cooking. While the place smells good, they havent mastered the art of slow smoking (18 hrs) b/c the ribs are over cooked, the meat is not moist, nor does it fall off the bone. The chili & cornbread were decent the side portions could be bigger. They tried too hard with the decorations, so it looks cheesy. The wait staff does not aim to please or cater to your needs not at all Texan. Last thoughts: Go there for the rub & a Lone Star beer.
Best Brisket in NYC – The brisket is the best I've had in NYC and comes close to my all-time favorite from the Salt Lick in Texas. The interior is nothing fancy so I wouldn't come expecting any sort of fine dining. Come to have a few beers and eat the brisket. Other reviewers have commented that the ribs are not the best. Save them for a trip to Blue Smoke. One more time....get the brisket. It's good.
An outerborough pit master and a city-slick restaurateur go hog wild on the Upper East Side. – The Scene
Barbecue aficionados have followed Robert Pearson's every move. First, to Long Island City; then to Jackson Heights, where he still does brisk business in the back of a bar; and finally, to Manhattan, where the Brit-turned-pit master is in cahoots with restaurateur Ken Aretsky. Long waiting lists, funky Formica tables, leather banquettes and roadside photos--it may not look like a barbecue shack, but it sure smells like one.
Thanks to low-and-slow mesquite heat, the dozen-plus barbecues are intensely smoky and tender. Regional purists: Check your biases at the door. A Texas brisket sandwich, brimming with full-flavored slices, is the house specialty, but North Carolina-style chopped pork, meaty beef short ribs and snappy kielbasa also stand out. Sample the three ketchup-based sauces with a trio of chopped barbecue "sliders" on mini-Portuguese rolls. Porky collards and creamy cracked corn would make a Southern grandma proud.
Best Cue in NY – THE BEST CUE IN NY! The place is in the middle of nowhere (but only a few blocks from my apartment) and the ambience and service is adequate at best. BUT THE FOOD! One reviewer complained that the meat wasn't heavely seasoned. That's the point. It just tastes like smoky meat. If you want more salt or spice, you add more sauce. And trust me, the hot sauce is VERY hot. Be careful, this place can become an addiction.
Not Much Flavor – The atmosphere and service were great. But who cares when the food is only mediocre. My ribs were tastless and my friends chopped chicken was so-so. The BBQ sauce tasted good but it is not worth the trip. I heard about this place in the paper and on the Food network but I have no idea why!!
okay, good sauce – I got the half order of pork ribs to-go. Am I missing something? The only bbq place in NYC I've gone to where the ribs were tender is Biscuit in brooklyn. Pearson's ribs were rosy, but the meat certainly wasn't "falling of the bone". The ribs were pretty bland too, but the KC sauce was really good. the Med sauce was watery. The accompanying cole slaw was mediocre. Not only that, Biscuit is cheaper and gives you 2 sides.
Pricey but fun BBQ – The atmosphere was great, we had a great waiter and the overall ambience was fitting for a BBQ place. However, our food was lukewarm which was disappointing & we felt as if it wasn't fresh off the grill but had been put under heat lamps. For the price, the quality and appearance (served on cafeteria type trays) of the food was disappointing. The beer were cold & lemonade was good. Just a bit pricey all things considered. You'd be better off in Brother Jimmy's.
So much better!!!! – I'll admit, my first experience here was nothing to write home about. The BBQ was okay and the sauces were super thin. BUT - the BBQ is amazing now. I crave the chopped chicken sandwich and they have a new sauce that is thick and super good! Also- now that it is summer the outside tables rock and there is almost NEVER a wait like there used to be! Be sure to get the onion rings.
Great Authentic BBQ – I am surpriswed by the negative reviews, must have been early visitors. I travel a lot in the south and I can testify that this is as authenic BBQ as your going to get in NYC. Briskit and pork ribs are the highlights. Service was very good.
Not great, C- – I visited Pearsons because I heard they had worked out the kinks. Unfortunately, either the kinks remain or it isn't a great place. I tried the sample BBQ platter and only the pulled beef sandwich was good. The rest of the meat was dry without much flavor. The side dishes were average. I really can't recommend it, especially when compared with Blue Smoke.
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