Ribs and chicken struggle to escape the french fry quicksand.
Love barbecue but hate paying top dollar? Jump on the PATH train, which swoops over the picturesque Meadowlands, and take a quick trip to Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, just a few blocks from the terminus of the PATH at Newark’s Penn Station.
The neighborhood is dotted with small corner barbecues, which use big brick-and-metal pits, much as it’s done in Texas. Instead of hardwood, fast-burning and unadulterated lump charcoal is used, often imported from Argentina. The charcoal cooks the ‘cue much hotter, leaving the inside of the meat moist, smokey, and tender, and the outside slightly charred.
Meats available at Ferry St. Barbecue–conveniently located right on the main drag–include pork spare ribs, pork kebabs, chicken, rock bass, T-bone steaks, and beef short ribs. Each serving comes with a shitload of good fries and better buttered rice, and there’s so much you could probably feed four with this meat-and-starch hoard. The order shown in its shiny carryout container is the chicken/pork ribs combo, which includes a big half-bird and seven meaty ribs. The cost: $13. 89 Ferry Street, Newark, NJ, 973-344-7337
Turn page for dessert.
Little pasteis da nata pastries from Riviera, in Newark’s Ironbound.
If there is a class of eatery that Newark has in equal number to the barbecues, it is the pastry shops. Portuguese are dedicated cafe sitters, and the little yellow pies called pasteis (“pahsteesh”) da nata–associated with the Lisbon neighborhood of Belem–are a favorite snack. The rich yellow color reflects the presence of extra yolks in the custard, suggesting that this pastry may have originated in North Africa and been brought to Iberia by the Moors. Riviera, 124 Ferry Street, Newark, NJ, 973-491-9000
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 16, 2009