Memphis ribs, Carolina pulled pork, Texas brisket–all of these are common menu items all over New York City. Zak Pelaccio was looking to get rid of all those regional qualifiers when he opened Fatty Cue in Brooklyn 2010. His goal was a style of barbecue original to New York with the help of Asian spices and fermented fish. To his point, a few months ago he told the Washington Post’s Jim Shahin, “Kreuz’s or Smitty’s or City Market, it’s incredible … you order all this stuff. There’s a monotony to it at some point. It’s delicious, but there’s no distinction between the meats. Wouldn’t it be exciting if it went off in this direction and that direction?”
I might argue that these Central Texas temples of smoked meat are anything but monotonous, but looking over the menu while I sat at the newer Manhattan Fatty ‘Cue’s bar there was certainly a heavy variation in the directions it took.
I assured the bartender that I’d be ordering plenty of food, but could they possibly make some of the larger dishes as half entrees? No? Okay.
Duck laab was up first. I don’t think there was anything smoked in the ingredients, but when the server’s description included “then they take the fatty duck and grind it with foie gras” there wasn’t much question where I’d be starting. The presentation was what you might expect of Pei Wei chicken and lettuce wraps. I had to take just one big scoop from the bowl of steamy duck and I knew I was a few steps beyond fast-casual. The juicy meat along with the sweet heat made it hard to put down, but I had more to order.
Next stop? Pork ribs. This signature dish as described on the menu was seasoned with fish sauce, palm sugar and Indonesian long pepper. Three thick spare ribs came on a plate with a pool of the thin sweet sauce. The heavy palm sugar syrup