208 West 23rd Street off Seventh Avenue
a large enough bill for 20 people including drinks and tip
R.U.B., or Righteous Urban Barbeque, was the only restaurant in the city that was accommodating to more than 20 people. We had a few things to celebrate at work and, as usual, I got stuck with the task of organizing a get-together. Daisy May’s did not want a large group before 8pm. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que was too far for my co-workers. Virgil’s was too touristy. After bowling at Leisure Time in the Port Authority Terminal, we all took the subway down to Chelsea to eat. R.U.B. does not take reservations, but the guy on the phone told me coming in with a big group before 6pm won’t be a problem. Sure enough, we were seated on a long table in the back after giving them a call ten minutes beforehand to tell them that we were on our way.
I’m not a barbeque expert but I later found out that R.U.B.’s specialty is Kansas City style. I also realized after my visit that it’s not my favorite. I thought the ribs were a little dry. I much preferred the pork butt which was very soft. The meat fell off the large bone and it had an addicting burnt cover I could not stop picking on. The fried green tomatoes and the cornbread were comparable from what I’ve tasted elsewhere. Their sandwiches were served with only pickles but the rest was far more generous. They got sufficient beer on tap, but none were my personal favorites.
R.U.B.’s space is a little tight. The friendly staff makes it an anomaly in the Chelsea neighborhood, but there’s nothing wrong with that, even if you come out smelling like smoked meat.