30 West 26th Street, between Broadway & 6th Avenue, Chelsea, (212) 255-4544
Getting There: 6 to 28th Street; B to Herald Square
Widely regarded as one of the top barbecue eateries in Manhattan, Hill Country combines smoky southern slow-cooking with live music and casual dining to provide an authentic barbecue experience that would make any Texan feel right at home. Positioned safely on a relatively quiet block in Chelsea, the restaurant is a simple, old-fashioned barbecue joint throwback, with long tables fit for large families or rowdy groups.
Part of the charm of Hill Country is what separates it from its peers. Instead of traditional restaurant seating, patrons are handed menu cards and once seated, are invited to lineup separately for both tender, smoked meats and generous portions of tasty sides. The lines transition quickly and seamlessly as each order is placed and patrons are handed large helpings of meat, wrapped in conventional butcher paper. Hill Country offers some barbecue basics, but their slowly cooked, hickory taste truly sets them apart. The moist brisket, bone-in pork chop, and the salty Kreuz Sausage (price varies based on weight) are as savory as they are sizable. We especially like the market chicken, which surprisingly was not “over-smoked,” as compared to several rival barbecue spots and the Beef Ribs, which while fatty, were tender and literally falling off the bone with flavor.
Restaurant Review: Hill Country
The selection of sides and trimmings, both hot and cold were equally mouth-watering. The creamy and rich, cheddar mac & cheese and the hot German potatoes were thick and lip-smacking, which complemented the aromatic meats admirably. Although the delicious cornbread and cinnamon butter can stand alone as an accompaniment to the meal, we like the confetti cole slaw and the green bean casserole, with its silky, velvet cheese smothered with fried onions and fresh green vegetables.
Perhaps the most noticeable feature of Hill Country’s menu is the appetizing Sweets & Treats menu, featuring old favorites like banana cream pudding and red velvet cupcakes, but the original PB&J Cupcakes are the clear cut standout of the entire lot. Just make sure to save some space for them, which can be difficult in the face of the variety of meat temptation mentioned above.
All in all, Hill Country’s food can stand alone as a barbecue pit in the heart of the Flatiron District. But when coupled with live music and weekly specials that can fit any budget, it is unmistakable that this eatery has emerged victorious in the battle of southern comfort restaurants.