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Hill Country Barbecue and The Boot Bar (Downstairs) - 7th Street and Indiana Avenue in Penn Quarter

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#1 hungry prof

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 09:15 PM

The popular NYC BBQ joint is coming to a 13,000 sq ft space two blocks from the Verizon Center.

Anyone eaten there in NY? More mediocre barbecue in the District, or is this reason for hope?

#2 DonRocks

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 09:26 PM

The popular NYC BBQ joint is coming to a 13,000 sq ft space two blocks from the Verizon Center.

Anyone eaten there in NY? More mediocre barbecue in the District, or is this reason for hope?

Since he says "This coming spring" (for the chicken joint), followed later in the paragraph by "Next fall" (for the Verizon Center opening), I wonder if he means 2010 or 2011.

I've had long discussions about the use of "this [Thursday, Summer, etc.]" vs. "next [Thursday, Summer, etc.]," including some with professional writers, and have yet to determine a satisfactory rule for usage.

If "next fall" is 2010, then what is "this fall?" Also 2010? As of when? And when does "next fall" become 2011? I don't like this.

Calling Carol Blymire.

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#3 tfbrennan

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 09:40 PM

Since he says "This coming spring" (for the chicken joint), followed later in the paragraph by "Next fall" (for the Verizon Center opening), I wonder if he means 2010 or 2011.

Last summer, Tom S. reported Penn Quarter location would be opening July 2010 (link).

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#4 leleboo

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 09:43 PM

Since he says "This coming spring" (for the chicken joint), followed later in the paragraph by "Next fall" (for the Verizon Center opening), I wonder if he means 2010 or 2011.

I've had long discussions about the use of "this [Thursday, Summer, etc.]" vs. "next [Thursday, Summer, etc.]," including some with professional writers, and have yet to determine a satisfactory rule for usage.

If "next fall" is 2010, then what is "this fall?" Also 2010? As of when? And when does "next fall" become 2011? I don't like this.

Calling Carol Blymire.

The rule isn't dissimilar from the formal differentiation between ceci and cela if you think of "this [Thursday]" as "here" and "next [Thursday]" as "there". English would like the nearer[est] item to be identified as "this," so "this Thursday" is the one that is imminent.

The problem is more with "next" because English has an informal rule that something in the past, if closer, can also be designated by "this" -- in full sentences the verb takes care of us knowing; English is contextual, after all -- but can result in the problem that since last December is closer (in space/time) than the December of 2010, Dec 09 becomes "this December" and Dec 2010 is "next December" (at least informally if not technically). Ideally I'd differentiate -- "this past December" or, preferably, "the past December" -- but English, as we all know, is far from ideal.

So, sadly, you're not going to get a satisfactory answer, because the same way that most people walking around on the streets of Limoges or Marseille will use "ceci" in casual conversation even when they mean "cela," we aren't going to follow the rule that "this" is always the one on the horizon, and "next" is the one after.

(Thank the CMS for that. Also read Biting the Wax Tadpole by Elizabeth Little for more grammar quirks from around the world, and check the acknowledgements page when you pick it up.) :angry:

(Don, you can delete this -- I know it's not germane to the thread. :lol:)

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#5 DinerGirl

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:37 PM

Since he says "This coming spring" (for the chicken joint), followed later in the paragraph by "Next fall" (for the Verizon Center opening), I wonder if he means 2010 or 2011.

I've had long discussions about the use of "this [Thursday, Summer, etc.]" vs. "next [Thursday, Summer, etc.]," including some with professional writers, and have yet to determine a satisfactory rule for usage.

If "next fall" is 2010, then what is "this fall?" Also 2010? As of when? And when does "next fall" become 2011? I don't like this.

Calling Carol Blymire.

Oy, why people don't just say Month/Season, Year I will never understand.
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#6 Hannah

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:43 PM

Well, "this coming" is always the closest instance of the thing referred to, so "this coming spring" would be March/April this year. "Next fall" could be this year or next in this case; there's not enough context to tell which.

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#7 Adam23

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:47 AM

Anyone eaten there in NY? More mediocre barbecue in the District, or is this reason for hope?

I've eaten there a few times in NY and really really enjoy it. Their BBQ is a lot better than mediocre DC BBQ so I think this will be a huge success. It's actually really pretty good. Plus the concept is sort of interesting - You order drinks from a waiter and then you go to stations and order the BBQ and sides. They pull the meats right out of the smoker and carve it in front of you. You pay by the pound for meats and sides are in sizes. Its a great concept as you can try everything and eat as much or as little as you want. Their moist brisket (with all the fat) is particularly outstanding. And they have beef ribs which is nice for a change.

#8 DanielK

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:59 AM

My wife (raised in Austin) is thrilled that "real Texas BBQ" might be coming to the area. "Hill Country" is an area around Austin, fyi.

Capital Q is terrible, in her opinion.

#9 mdt

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:20 AM

I've eaten there a few times in NY and really really enjoy it. Their BBQ is a lot better than mediocre DC BBQ so I think this will be a huge success. It's actually really pretty good. Plus the concept is sort of interesting - You order drinks from a waiter and then you go to stations and order the BBQ and sides. They pull the meats right out of the smoker and carve it in front of you. You pay by the pound for meats and sides are in sizes. Its a great concept as you can try everything and eat as much or as little as you want. Their moist brisket (with all the fat) is particularly outstanding. And they have beef ribs which is nice for a change.

If they are claiming to be Texas Q the brisket better be good! :angry:

#10 hungry prof

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:27 AM

I've eaten there a few times in NY and really really enjoy it. Their BBQ is a lot better than mediocre DC BBQ so I think this will be a huge success. It's actually really pretty good. Plus the concept is sort of interesting - You order drinks from a waiter and then you go to stations and order the BBQ and sides. They pull the meats right out of the smoker and carve it in front of you. You pay by the pound for meats and sides are in sizes. Its a great concept as you can try everything and eat as much or as little as you want. Their moist brisket (with all the fat) is particularly outstanding. And they have beef ribs which is nice for a change.

One can only imagine how much business this place is going to do before and after a Caps or Wizards game. Frankly, the food could stink (which I sincerely hope it doesn't), and they'll still make a killing. Oh, moral hazard. . .

#11 sphere777

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:05 AM

One can only imagine how much business this place is going to do before and after a Caps or Wizards game. Frankly, the food could stink (which I sincerely hope it doesn't), and they'll still make a killing. Oh, moral hazard. . .

Evidently the original was favorably received in 2007. See the New York Magazine review here.

#12 Joe H

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:53 AM

My wife (raised in Austin) is thrilled that "real Texas BBQ" might be coming to the area. "Hill Country" is an area around Austin, fyi.

Capital Q is terrible, in her opinion.

There are a lot of places in "Hill Country" that have truly mediocre bbq. It's taken me about 30 years but I now believe I've been to most of them (my company has a subcontractor in Manchaca with several there who are absolutely obsessed with bbq). For the reason that many in Austin drive to Llano (Cooper's) or Luling (City Market) it is really difficult to find outstanding marbled brisket with a 1/4" + pink streak under the crust crust or a great link where the juice explodes in your mouth when you bite into the casing. I have not been to the New York restaurant but the idea of a New York version of an Austin bbq joint does not thrill me. Still, Austin's Ironworks is probably better than anything in D. C. and places like the County Line on the Hill and the Salt Lick in Driftwood have a great deal of ambience. But I believe that even in Austin you have to drive. I'd add a couple of places in Lockhart, Louie Mueller's in Taylor and a place in Elgin. There's also a place that Texas Monthly raves about which is a church that sells Q on the weekends. I haven't been to yet but will find a way this Spring.

You're not going to find a pit in D. C. like Luling (or the original Kreuz in Lockhart or Louie Mueller's) where when you walk into the room the smoke is so thick that the walls and ceiling have blackened with time or the pit man has a smoker's cough and has never smoked a cigarette. You're also not going to find brisket that smokes for 20+ hours (two + days at Clark's in Tioga north of Dallas). What I would expect would be a place like Rudy's (all over Texas and New Mexico) which are attempts to recapture the authentic pit ambience but the brisket, ribs and links come up short. For a lot of people Rudy's will be incredible. But for someone who is able to eat at Rudy's and Cooper's hours apart the difference is night and day.

Regardless of what opens here or is in Manhattan, for truly great bbq you're still going to have go to Texas. And there you are really going to have to search for it. There are only a few places left that really do it right.

The New York Magazine article fails to note that the original Kreuz Market moved nine or ten years ago from the 100+ year old building it was in. They built a new pit. The old one is now called "Smitty's."

#13 sphere777

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 12:35 PM

I emailed Hill Country to find out when they were arriving, and the message follows:

Rob,

Thanks for your interest in us!!! We are coming Fall 2010, and can't wait. Should be October/November.
I will put you on our NYC mailing list to keep you abreast of our progress!! In the mean time please come check us out next time you are in NYC!!

Warmest Regards,
John

John Shaw
Operating Partner & COO
Hill Country Hospitality
30 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10010



#14 southdenverhoo

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 01:16 PM

There are a lot of places in "Hill Country" that have truly mediocre bbq. It's taken me about 30 years but I now believe I've been to most of them (my company has a subcontractor in Manchaca with several there who are absolutely obsessed with bbq). For the reason that many in Austin drive to Llano (Cooper's) or Luling (City Market) it is really difficult to find outstanding marbled brisket with a 1/4" + pink streak under the crust crust or a great link where the juice explodes in your mouth when you bite into the casing. I have not been to the New York restaurant but the idea of a New York version of an Austin bbq joint does not thrill me. Still, Austin's Ironworks is probably better than anything in D. C. and places like the County Line on the Hill and the Salt Lick in Driftwood have a great deal of ambience. But I believe that even in Austin you have to drive. I'd add a couple of places in Lockhart, Louie Mueller's in Taylor and a place in Elgin. There's also a place that Texas Monthly raves about which is a church that sells Q on the weekends. I haven't been to yet but will find a way this Spring.

You're not going to find a pit in D. C. like Luling (or the original Kreuz in Lockhart or Louie Mueller's) where when you walk into the room the smoke is so thick that the walls and ceiling have blackened with time or the pit man has a smoker's cough and has never smoked a cigarette. You're also not going to find brisket that smokes for 20+ hours (two + days at Clark's in Tioga north of Dallas). What I would expect would be a place like Rudy's (all over Texas and New Mexico) which are attempts to recapture the authentic pit ambience but the brisket, ribs and links come up short. For a lot of people Rudy's will be incredible. But for someone who is able to eat at Rudy's and Cooper's hours apart the difference is night and day.

Regardless of what opens here or is in Manhattan, for truly great bbq you're still going to have go to Texas. And there you are really going to have to search for it. There are only a few places left that really do it right.

The New York Magazine article fails to note that the original Kreuz Market moved nine or ten years ago from the 100+ year old building it was in. They built a new pit. The old one is now called "Smitty's."

does look to me like the inspiration for this venture comes straight from Lockhart (as opposed to Austin, say)

Though I doubt Kreuz, even in the "new" building, has anybody with the title "operating partner and COO", nor do I believe the word "hospitality" is included in their entity name, not that that of necessity precludes the production of good Texas Q. Now if Hill Country DC establishes a

"No Sauce (nothing to hide) No Forks (they're at the end of your arms) No Kidding (see the owner's face)"

policy I will DEFINITELY be impressed

#15 sphere777

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:52 PM

My wife remembers driving to Cooper's now and then, but Ironworks, County Line, and Salt Lick were regular stops. We have nothing approaching any of them around here.

When I went to Austin on an internship in 2000, I discovered the joys of BBQ (despite visits to Ruby's and a nearby Rudy's). It was enough to take a self-designed BBQ tour with my dad a few years later. From my experience, Cooper's and Louis Mueller's are extraordinary while Black's was also notable. I don't think I'll be headed back to Austin anytime soon though, so if Hill Country is even decent I will welcome them with open arms. And if they are better than that, it'll be gravy.

#16 wonderbill

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 02:48 PM

I've eaten there a few times in NY and really really enjoy it. Their BBQ is a lot better than mediocre DC BBQ so I think this will be a huge success. It's actually really pretty good. Plus the concept is sort of interesting - You order drinks from a waiter and then you go to stations and order the BBQ and sides. They pull the meats right out of the smoker and carve it in front of you. You pay by the pound for meats and sides are in sizes. Its a great concept as you can try everything and eat as much or as little as you want. Their moist brisket (with all the fat) is particularly outstanding. And they have beef ribs which is nice for a change.

I was in NYC last month and ate twice at Hill Country. The brisket was really awesome as were the ribs. However, it was very pricey! I am definitely looking forward to it opening up here.

#17 sphere777

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 02:19 PM

I was in NYC last month and ate twice at Hill Country. The brisket was really awesome as were the ribs. However, it was very pricey! I am definitely looking forward to it opening up here.

According to the City Paper, Hill Country D.C. is opening this month at 410 Seventh Street NW. Looking forward to it....

Rob

#18 pqmvt

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:59 PM

According to the City Paper, Hill Country D.C. is opening this month at 410 Seventh Street NW. Looking forward to it....

Rob

Citypaper admitted today that they didn't do there research on that item - they just picked up a bad fact from Zagat.

http://www.washingto...d-to-years-end/

Hill Country is looking more at an end of year opening.

#19 sphere777

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:02 PM

Citypaper admitted today that they didn't do there research on that item - they just picked up a bad fact from Zagat.

http://www.washingto...d-to-years-end/

Hill Country is looking more at an end of year opening.

Thanks for the correction--I just found out myself.

Rob

#20 pqmvt

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:25 PM

Thanks for the correction--I just found out myself.

Rob

I was REALLY looking forward to Hill Country when I first learned they were coming. I'm still looking forward to it but I've dialed my enthusiasm down a notch after trying the original location in New York City. The prices were through the roof for BBQ! For a brisket sandwich, one small side (pinto beans), one small dessert (banana pudding) and a soda my check came out to just shy of $25. Between myself and my dining partner I sampled 3 sides. None were anything special yet they each cost >= $4.75. I did enjoy the smoky goodness of the brisket although next time I will go for the lean cut.

#21 weinoo

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 09:38 AM

Hill Country is definitely one of the better NYC BBQ places that have opened since the millenium (I like Blue Smoke too, but they offer a heck of a lot more than just bbq). While the prices aren't what you'd expect to pay in Austin, Greensboro or KC, for that matter, they're not at all out of line for NYC or DC...after all, $15 or more for a burger ain't chump change.

There are also plenty of specials to be had. Lunch specials every day. On Monday nights, it's all you can eat BBQ for around $25. Two happy hours a day also. So, let's keep the price in perspective.

BTW, moist brisket is the way to go. As a friend and I were devouring a plateful one night, brisket pudding was the best way for us to describe it. Beware, it's not for the weak of heart.

#22 Sthitch

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 11:25 AM

They are staffing up, this is the most current craigslist job posting for the restaurant.

#23 sphere777

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:50 PM

I am on their email list and so far they have not said anything about DC. Guess they are keeping their cards close to their collective vest.

#24 ad.mich

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 10:57 AM

I am on their email list and so far they have not said anything about DC. Guess they are keeping their cards close to their collective vest.

There is a dc mailing list now, fyi. Still no word on an opening date though. I'm happy to pay through the teeth for real brisket and a Kreuz jalapeno cheese, and if they do the same $25 ayce monday night special that they have in ny (brisket, pork ribs, chicken, and sides) then I'm going to need bigger pants.

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#25 sphere777

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 11:16 AM

Looks like we finally have some official news! According to this missive, Hill Country DC will be opening in a few weeks ("mid-March").

Rob

#26 rbh

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 11:13 PM

OpenTable is accepting reservations for Hill Country DC beginning Sunday Mar 13.

#27 ad.mich

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 02:33 PM

Sunday opening confirmed by email.

"Yes sir come on down."

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#28 squidsdc

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:27 PM

I have corresponded with them re: an upcoming event to be possibly catered by them, and was informed via email that they are opening Saturday--not sure if she misspoke or not, but thought I'd put that out there in case anyone wants to pop by on Saturday to check them out.

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"--The Great Oz


#29 silentbob

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 12:28 PM

I have corresponded with them re: an upcoming event to be possibly catered by them, and was informed via email that they are opening Saturday--not sure if she misspoke or not, but thought I'd put that out there in case anyone wants to pop by on Saturday to check them out.

Anyone know if they have a working phone number yet? We'd love to grab an early dinner before Les Boulez vs. the Blakers tomorrow night if they're actually open. Because if not, we'll go to the General Store before heading into the city -- not fond of the moderately-priced options in Penn Quarter.

#30 hillvalley

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 11:42 AM

Last night was a friends and family preopening so I imagine they will be serving today.

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#31 synaesthesia

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 01:59 PM

They are opening at 6pm today. Phone number is 202.556.2050

ETA: Address is 410 7th St. NW
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#32 MelGold

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 04:23 PM

Also noteworthy, it's dinner only for the first week.

#33 laniloa

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 08:06 PM

A very welcome addition to the area. My co-workers and I had a bit of spring fever today so we ducked out a little early to check it out. One the guys is from Texas and has had a goofy grin all week anticipating the meal. The set up is not obvious at first, but everyone was very helpful explaining it. If you sit at the front bar, you can order off a bar menu, but the really good stuff is in the market in back. They give you a card when you enter and lead you to your table. When you go through the various stations of the market, they mark it on your card. You give your card to the cashier on the way out. They had a bit of a line to check out and offered apologies by way of complimentary cookies. For being open just a few days, staff handled the crowd from St. Patrick's Day, the NCAA tourney, and regular happy hour rush very smoothly.

I got the brisket special -- 1/3 pound amazing lean brisket, corn bread, and a side. I got the green bean casserole. It was much more than I'd normally eat at dinner and I just couldn't stop. The lean brisket wasn't so lean as to be dry. I love the idea that you can order brisket by the slice and next time plan to get both lean and moist brisket to compare. The ancho honey butter for the corn bread put it over the top. I had a taste of the German potato salad which had a really nice kick to it and the bite of prime rib I had was ridiculously tender. I do wonder how the counter service is going to flow when this place gets mobbed, because it should get mobbed. My only complaint was having to start a tab and getting a single bill for drink service at the table. It would be nice if that was marked on your card to skip the additional step and, since you have individual cards, make it easier to pay individually. A belly full of great brisket more than makes up for it.

#34 weinoo

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 07:42 AM

I love the idea that you can order brisket by the slice and next time plan to get both lean and moist brisket to compare.

Be careful of the moist brisket. A friend once described it as "brisket pudding."

#35 dcandohio

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 08:04 AM

We went last night amid the early NCAA March madness - all those Bucknell fans were cheerfully spending money here in the District! Here are the good things about Hill Country. They take reservations, so we breezed in even though it was a mob scene at 6:30. They can easily handle large groups. There are numerous large tables and the paying system makes it easy for everyone to be responsibile for his/her own check (think Vapiano's system, sort of). The staff was very pleasant and unruffled even though it was kind of crazy. The lean brisket, as described above, is still juicy and to my tastes, is mighty delicious. The collard greens were flavored with a lot of bacon, and who doesn't love that? Servings for sides are huge - too much for the average person, I think. I would like to get half orders of two sides rather than a large portion of just one with the combo specials.

Here are the negatives from my view. At 6:30 the place was so loud we had to shout across a two-top. Seriously, I had a headache from the noise when we left. The music was blaring and all those hard surfaces create a lot of clatter. The ordering system is highly self-service, as described above. It's very quick to get food, but if you want to relax and be doted on, this is not the place! The line to pay was very long. I imagine that this will become the biggest complaint at this place. If you are in a hurry, there's no escape from the cashier line, which was as long as 30 people at some point. It was a very CVS moment, saved, as described above, by the offer of a free cookie while waiting. Finally, I tasted some of the +1's chicken and it just wasn't very good - an overly sweet taste from a brine or rub completely permeated the meat, overpowering any smoke or poultry flavor. I realize chicken might not be the best choice here, but +1 is a big chicken fan and she was disappointed.

The noise factor and the highly self-serve nature of the place means that I am far more likely to take out (a pound of brisket for picnic sandwiches? Yes, please!) than dine in. I did see a yummy looking sandwich headed to the bar, and I don't think it was available on the main menu, so I might try the bar dining experience at an off time when it isn't so noisy.

Shut up and pour another glass of wine, please.


#36 sphere777

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:18 AM

The noise factor and the highly self-serve nature of the place means that I am far more likely to take out (a pound of brisket for picnic sandwiches? Yes, please!) than dine in. I did see a yummy looking sandwich headed to the bar, and I don't think it was available on the main menu, so I might try the bar dining experience at an off time when it isn't so noisy.


I looked at the Hill Country menu and there was a Barbecue Beef Sandwich available at lunch for $9.50 (with a 16 oz soda available for an extra $1).

Rob

#37 Go for Gin

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:40 AM

Is there a schedule of the live music and are there cover fees for it? If the live music is in the same area where people are eating I can see how it would be hard to have a conversation, so I would have to set my expectations for it. I like the Texas style roots music but I'd like to know the schedule in advance so I could pick & choose.

#38 laniloa

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:51 AM

Is there a schedule of the live music and are there cover fees for it? If the live music is in the same area where people are eating I can see how it would be hard to have a conversation, so I would have to set my expectations for it. I like the Texas style roots music but I'd like to know the schedule in advance so I could pick & choose.

I left before the music started yesterday, but they were setting up downstairs. The calendar of acts is on their facebook page and it says there isn't a cover unless otherwise specified and none are.

#39 mr food

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 03:04 PM

country music only

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#40 eatdrinkmore

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 03:08 PM

The food was definitely good at Hill Country. Don't forget to leave room for desserts, because the banana cream pie mason jar (can't remember the real name) was delicious.

I am not a fan of their pricing system (carrying around a card the whole evening), and overall I think it can get really expensive really fast. I paid $27 for a few meats and one side. In fairness the side was the mashed sweet potatoes and it was big enough to share. Apparently, they pay by the pound in texas, but I have never been to texas for bbq, so the tradition was lost on me.

We did a full review over on EatMore DrinkMore if you're interested. http://eatmoredrinkm...ll-country-bbq/

I would love to try American Ice Co, Hill Country, Standard, and Inspire BBQ all in the same day to see which new BBQ joint comes out on top.
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#41 ad.mich

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:43 AM

I would love to try American Ice Co, Hill Country, Standard, and Inspire BBQ all in the same day to see which new BBQ joint comes out on top.

Sounds like fun - I just didn't know American Ice was actually serving something close enough to be called BBQ now. Good pickles there, but the meat I've been served has been mediocre at best. And frankly, serving misc shredded and pulled meats is great for a bar menu, but unless you're knocking everything out of the park it's pretty tough to seriously compare with what's going on at a place like Hill Country. Even in the BBQ wasteland of DC.

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#42 jiveturk21

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 02:06 PM

Wow, that was expensive! Granted, I think that it is the best barbeque that I have eaten in this area, but $85 (including tax and tip) for my wife and I for lunch is pushing it.

We had two mixed drinks - Amarillo Highway and Mayor of Lockhart - which pretty much sucked. Everything else we had was great, but I would pass on their cocktails and stick with beer or straight liquor. Also, no free refills here, so go with the 32 oz. of sweet tea ($3) as opposed to the 16 oz. version ($2) because, as we all know, you always want more sweet tea.

Half pound of lean brisket, two beef ribs, one original sausage, one small side of mac and cheese, one small side of baked beans and one order of cornbread. It was a good portion for the two of us, and way too much for a weekday lunch, but on the weekend, it was enough to make us full, but not sick to our stomachs. The ribs were our favorite, by far, but the lean brisket and sausage was great as well. We liked the sides, with the beans winning in this competition, but I would be very interested in trying other sides when I go back again, they all looked great. The cornbread was OK, didn't like the ancho honey butter that they served with it. No room for dessert, but the variety was impressive and the stuff in the display case looked pretty damn good.

The service structure seemed weird to me. We had at least three servers come to our table, but the only thing that they did was grab our drinks for us, the rest of the time, they just asked us if we were OK. All the food is self service, so we were confused how to tip in this situation. We left 15%, but it seemed way to much to bring us three total drinks during lunch.

Overall, the food was solid and I liked the space, although it is easy to tell that it gets unbearably loud there when busy. The prices, however, are as high as you can get and will probably keep me from going back on a more regular basis. And, for someone like me who spends money like it grows on trees, that is saying a lot.

#43 sphere777

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 02:47 PM

The prices on the menu have definitely caused me to avoid the place up to this point. I guess the $24 deal for one is ok, but that means that I end up with at least $30 with tip--probably $40 or more with a beer. What if I want to mess around with the menu? I suspect the damage would be worse.

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#44 ad.mich

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 08:23 PM

The prices on the menu have definitely caused me to avoid the place up to this point. I guess the $24 deal for one is ok, but that means that I end up with at least $30 with tip--probably $40 or more with a beer. What if I want to mess around with the menu? I suspect the damage would be worse.

Yes, it's pricy. Yes, the ticket thing is silly. But considering the options before Hill Country opened were to (a) bitch about the lack of bbq in the district or (B) eat mediocre (and often just as overpriced) pulled pork sandwiches, I'm of the opinion that we're better off having them here. At $22/lb I won't be a regular, but there's brisket to be had in DC that wouldn't be laughed out of Texas now. That saves me money simply by putting off a plane ticket.

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#45 srhuddle

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:59 PM

I've been twice for lunch and tried the pork ribs, sausage, brisket, and chopped beef sandwich. All good, with a slight preference for the brisket (a little of the sauce helps). Both the beans and mac and cheese sides are top notch. I did think the cornbread is a bit on the sweet side, but perfectly acceptable.

Both times I've been my tab has been ~ $20. Thats without beers or dessert (too full), and a fair deal for that quality in that neighborhood.

I do wish they would fix the ticketing scheme -- they already have severs coming to the table, why not take their order? Or go the other way and do tray service and drinks and pay when you get your meal. The hybrid model is really worse than either option..

#46 DPop

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 10:25 AM

A bit of a "me too" post, but I agree with everything that's been said. I've been twice now, everything I've had (moist brisket, sausage (regular and jalapeno/cheese), mac and cheese, baked beans, corn bread, collards) has been between "very good" and "OK".

The moist brisket is definitely the reason to come here, although I'll disagree with the posters above that suggested it needs sauce and is more like brisket pudding. I found mine to be quite meaty, fatty, and very pleasing until your body attempts to break down and digest all of that fat an hour or two later.

The sausage was also very tasty, smoky and a nice loose pack, which was refreshing as these days you tend to get the overly ground, mushy interior. I preferred the regular to the jalapeno, which I think completely dominated the flavor of the sausage.

The mac and cheese is also incredibly heavy but a very tasty, creamy version of a dish that gets screwed up more often than not. The collards were nice, but not a light vegetable side at all, they were pretty greasy (as collards can be). The corn bread and baked beans both fell into the category of OK but probably wouldn't order again. The corn bread was drier than I like the and baked beans, which sound like they would be the best side on the menu (burnt ends!) were cloying and sweet. I couldn't eat more than half of a small side of this if you paid me.

Overall a really great addition to Chinatown, I get the feeling that this place is going to do incredible business in this area and have the right model to do it (lots of fresh product coming in regularly and getting sold pretty quickly).

#47 jparrott

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 10:38 AM

Yeah, moist brisket, beef ribs, and regular sausage are the winners here. Pork is OK. Beef shoulder is not. The cutters are surprisingly good at providing small portions of brisket when asked.

Collards are the side I've enjoyed the most.

Last time I was there there was still a lot of vaporware on the whiskey list, so make sure you can see your preferred bottle on the back bar. That said, Weller 107 heals a lot of wounds.

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#48 brr

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:39 PM

Had lunch there last week. $10 +tax/tip got me a jalapeno sausage, two pieces of corn bread and a bowl of corn pudding. All were very good so while I can see how it could get expensive quickly I thought this was a good deal.

The food is good but as others have said, the whole ordering schtick is a bit precious, and quite frankly confusing for first timers. And whats with the rope cordoning off the bar and eating area? If I worked there I'd be pissed to have to move that rope back and forth 350 times during lunch

#49 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 05:19 PM

I thought the attitude of the front desk staff left a LOT to be desired. Gee, I've never been there before. I need a minute to figure out if I want to sit in the bar or dining room or do carry out. No need to be snippy. And explaining all the options would have helped rather than giving me grief.

The moist brisket was very good. Was very sad to see the guy doing the cutting toss a huge chunk of fatty goodness in the trash.

Not sure if I'd be back at that price point until the staff sorts itself out a bit.

#50 jiveturk21

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 02:27 PM

Second trip to Hill Country last night. The food was very good, as it was the first time. But, I am pretty convinced that if they don't get the seating/service/billing process in order, it will have a negative impact on their business.

We arrived at 5:15 PM, the place was empty, but it still took them 5 minutes to seat us. And, when they sat us, it wasn't the type of table that we asked for (we wanted to be able to see the impending Caps game), but she had to ask the hostess if it was OK to seat us elsewhere, which caused another delay. Our waiter had a hard time with our drink orders all night long, maybe because he isn't really a waiter, he is a guy without a real job to do at a self service restaurant! Getting our sides was a debacle. We first got our four sides in four 8 ounce cups, then we got them in four 32 ounce cups and then we finally got the right order of four 16 ounce cups. Checking out, again, was painful, as it took them an eternity to ring up our order properly.

The funniest thing of the night, however, had to be when we asked to bring our remaining dessert home with us. We ordered three desserts, which were excellent, but only ate half of each of them. So, we asked to take them home and they brought us out a bag. Yes, just one bag. Not a bag to put containers into, they didn't have containers, just a bag that they generally use at Chinese retaurants to put your spare rib appetizer order in. How the hell are we supposed to put desserts in that thing!?

Anyway, the food is great, but they need to get their shit together.





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