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There are several foods that come to mind when you think of New York City: a toasty bagel, a slice of pizza, maybe a breakfast sandwich from a bodega. But there’s one food that nobody wants in New York City, and that’s barbecue.
Perhaps this is why I was so intrigued whenever I’d wander past a restaurant on 2nd avenue called Dallas BBQ. Why was it there? More importantly, why were people eating there?
Apparently curiosity had been gnawing at my friend Aaron as well because last week he called and asked if I’d like to try the place out. The location on 2nd Ave has since been boarded up, but thankfully they have other locations all around the city, including in Washington Heights, Chelsea, the Upper East Side, and Times Square (which should tell you everything you need to know).
Neither of us were under the impression that the food would be great, but we weren’t prepared for just how bad it would be. When we told any longtime New Yorkers that we planned to dine at Dallas BBQ their faces betrayed feelings of shock and disgust.
“Why are you going there? That place is the worst!” they would warn us, but we were determined to see for ourselves. One universal piece of advice that we received was that you go mainly for the drinks, not for the food. I decided to look up some reviews to see what I was walking into.
I’ve had quite a bit of food poisoning in my lifetime, but none that has put me in the ER for four days. Dallas BBQ must be doing something truly unique to their wings.
I met Aaron outside of the Chelsea location near his apartment and we walked inside. Thankfully the hostess promptly sat us at a table rather than running outside and cackling at cars. The restaurant is pictured below.
The entire interior of the restaurant had a faint red glow from the neon signs blazing in every window, and the customers inside seemed like the type of people who were at Dallas BBQ only because they didn’t want to walk the ten extra minutes to TGI Friday’s.
We opened the menu and looked at drink options. It’s worth noting that Dallas BBQ is “famous” (their word, not mine) for their frozen drinks that come in one of three sizes: normal, Texas sized, and Super Texas.
While most people know what to expect when ordering a frozen drink, at least one customer was upset that their frozen drink was “ice cold.”
I ordered the Royale Mango Mai Tai. It was an extremely sweet frozen drink that came with an overturned bottle of Barefoot Moscato and a test tube of 137 proof rum. I got the Super Texas size for the full experience.
Next time my doctor asks how many drinks I have per week, I’ll simply answer in terms of Super Texas Royale Mango Mai Tais.
It tasted like I was drinking maraschino cherries and nail polish remover. Aaron got the Super Texas Piña Colada.
I took one sip and knew instantly that it was going to make me sick.
We also ordered wings. The wings came soaking in a puddle of sweet, syrupy sauce. To eat them, we would pick one up out of the puddle and wait for most of the sauce to drip off before taking a bite.
After drinking half of my drink and eating a few wings I felt nauseous. It was no surprise that these wings put Amanda Henry’s man in the emergency room for four days. I was already drunk and everything was extremely wet and sweet. I tried putting down more of my drink but was feeling sicker and sicker by the minute.
For some reason, Dallas BBQ employs a photographer to take pictures of people eating and then offers to sell you photos in cheap cardboard frames like you’re riding a rollercoaster at an amusement park. At this point I was closer to vomiting from my drink and wings than I ever have been from a rollercoaster.
Eventually we paid our check and got up to leave.
“Wait!” exclaimed the waitress. “You’re forgetting the rest of your drinks!”
She poured the remainder of our drinks, which we were hoping to leave behind, into to-go cups and sent us on our way.
We went back to Aaron’s apartment where I promptly had explosive diarrhea while his girlfriend sat in the next room and politely pretended not to notice.
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We then decided, fueled by Royale Mango Mai Tai and Piña Colada, to show up at our one year grad school reunion that we hadn’t planned on attending. We showed up at the door and they let us in, even though we weren’t registered for the event and everyone else was wearing suits.
To sum it up, Dallas BBQ was horrific and ruined my life for about 24 hours.
We have two exciting dead rats of the roadkill variety. The first rat was located on the West Side Highway. Look at that beautiful coat!
The second rat, mere millimeters thick after being run over countless times, is more of a pelt than a proper rat and would make a nice rug. It was located on 9th street near Avenue A.
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