Sunday, August 26, 2007

Warming Up to Hill Country

I admit it. I had preconceived notions about Hill Country before I walked in the door. As you may remember, I had the opportunity to try some of their beef ribs at The Big Apple BBQ aka The Happiest Day of Krys’s Year. Mih. They just weren’t that good. All bone and little squishy meat. As with any new restaurant on the scene, the hype started to build, and I was more and more turned off and confused.

Hill Country was like Jessica Simpson: Texan, loud, seemingly untalented, but considered hot to everyone but me.

So, I had pretty much made up my mind about the place before I walked in. I sidled up to the meat counter and grudgingly ordered 1/2 pound of the moist brisket (the deckle), 1/4 pound of the market chicken, and 1 ring of Kreuz Market Sausage, shipped from Texas. Just in case this wasn't enough to sate my ever-growing appetite, I ordered a small portion of Texas Black-Eyed Caviar on the side.


It was a charming set-up, I admit. Everyone was super-friendly, and it was pretty much a cafeteria-style process. You ordered your meat at one counter, your sides at another, and a waiter will make sure you have a refreshing beverage to wash down your cholesterol. I wanted to hate it, but I was starting to become seduced.


The brisket was a bit fat-ladden, but you couldn't accuse it of being dry. That sucker was moist. Moist and flavorful. I think it may be the best brisket that I've had in NYC, and that's including Katz's. Admitedly, brisket isn't my favorite cut of meat, but this was damn tasty.


Never having been to Texas, I had never tasted a Kreuz Market Sausage. Yum. It was impossible to take a semi-appetizing photo, because the butcher's paper became increasingly more grease-stained. I take that as a sign of quality.


A true standout of the meal turned out to be the market chicken. Even the white meat was moist and tender, and the smoky-sweet skin didn't need any additional sauce.

Okay, fine. It's a good restaurant. Are you happy? I tried to find fault, and I just couldn't. My only complaint it that the black-eyed pea caviar was a little dry and not all that noteworthy, but that is really being nit-picky. I really, really enjoyed Hill Country. That doesn't mean that I have to put Ms. Simpson on my ipod.

And finally, to clear up any doubts I had, the wetnaps proved that everything is indeed bigger in Texas.


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