I go out to eat a whole lot more in New York than I did in London. I'm guessing that's due to a combination of price and ease. Just the walk from my apartment takes me past numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars, all of which seem to be open all the time. And as I have some vague memories of a time long ago, back in New Zealand, when restaurants refused to seat you past 8:30pm, it seems only fair and reasonable to make the most of this.
So from now on I'm going to do the odd restaurant review, because I really like eating. Here to ease you into this new genre is Dallas BBQ, an under-appreciated establishment tucked away in the back streets of Chelsea...
Or not. In actuality, Dallas BBQ is about the size of, well, Texas (sorry, no other way to describe it). It's not in Dallas, and it bears no resemblance to any barbeque I've ever been to.
Important Note #1: This is no way is a bad thing
To truly understand the eating experience to be had at Dallas BBQ, you have to put yourself in my shoes. So imagine this scene, if you will. It's...a time. 11pm, maybe. Lets say 11pm. You've already eaten dinner - some hours previously, in fact. It was a delicious, filling, reasonably healthy vegetarian meal. Since that time you have been in a taxi, on a street, in a lift, on a roof, in a bar, in another bar, and back on the street. All manner of different glasses have passed through your hands. But your hands are now empty, and so you wander, looking for something that will fill them.
And then you pass a big neon sign, that speaks to you and your friends, and entices you inside.
Important Note #2: The sign does not actually speak - I don't want anyone to be disappointed
In you go, curious and...something. A strange, low down feeling. As you breathe and look around, you place it. It's hunger. You're hungry.
"But we've already eaten dinner!" you laugh. "We can't possibly eat again!"
You're wrong. As was determined by our small group of four, three meals in a day is a completely arbitrary rule. So you approach the host, who tells you there will be a wait for a table.
"Even at 11pm?"
Yes, even at 11pm. In the city that never sleeps, three meals a day is not sufficient, as you and your friends and all the other wise people in Dallas BBQ have realised.
You agree to wait, start to settle in, and - aha! Here is the host again. A table is free? Already? As you walk, you see it with your own eyes, still shiny from the disinfectant spray. You sit, and the menus come, and it is universally agreed that it is completely necessary to get the jumbo buffalo wings, which are actually from a chicken. For health reasons, you also decide to get the two vegetarian options. And you don't need to think about whether to add the giant frozen margaritas, because they were the reason you chose to be here in the first place.
In a matter of minutes, plates of food are on the table in front of you. Jumbo chicken wings. Vegetable tempura. And hot chips.
Important Note #3: Yes, everything was fried
Then the drinks come out, and they are giant, just as anticipated. At the waitress's respectful suggestion, you have stuck to two drinks between four people. This is a wise decision.
And then, somehow, the four of you devour this fourth meal, in a blur of batter and hot sauce. It is the best meal you've ever eaten. It puts all other regular timed meals to shame. It makes you agonise that you have spent nearly 27 years eating only three meals a day.
Important Note #4: The agony will last only as long as the effects of the frozen margarita
Once you have finished eating, the bill will come. For enough food for four people, for enough to drink for four people, for a good tip, you will pay as much as you did for one round of drinks in a hotel's rooftop bar.
After double-checking with the waitress that it's correct, you will pay and leave, sated and happy and full of intentions to return there soon.
Important Note #5: You will never return to Dallas BBQ
Dallas BBQ - Chelsea:
Food: At this point in the evening, sensational
Drink Size: Impressive and unanticipated
Price: Quite disconcertingly cheap
Level of Intoxication: Um, drink and food, together? Off the scale