Saturday, June 20, 2009

Review: Island BBQ & Grille

Island BBQ & Grille took over the space in downtown Islip that Green Cactus Grill used to be in. It hasn't been there long, probably since around the first of the year (2009). I did see a sign that they had a grand opening or re-opening or something on June 13. As of the date of this review there's no website.

This place is pretty bad. We got take out from there the other day: the appetizer sampler ("Oasis Sampler Platter"--chicken wings, pork "sliders", crab cake, BBQ nachos), pulled pork with half a slab of baby back ribs, and pulled chicken. Both entrees came with two sides each. We got onion rings, mac & cheese, southern-style green beans, and corn & bacon saute.

The good: onion rings, pulled pork, the nachos with pulled pork, and the take-out girl was cute

The mediocre: pulled chicken, mac & cheese, crab cake

The heinously awful: everything else

I can safely say those were THE WORST ribs I've ever had, anywhere, at any time. Tough and no flavor at all. (I got them with sauce, not dry rubbed.) And real southern-style green beans are slow-cooked in water or broth for hours. These were barely cooked and were drowning in bacon fat. God knows I likes my bacon fat, but this made me gag.

Also, it's "Island BBQ & Grille", but I don't see anything "island" about it. The interior is all wood and burgundy, like maybe a crappy French restaurant or a steak-house. No funky island vibe going on anywhere that I saw, which would, you know, make sense. And there isn't much on the menu that's island, either. It's basically just a BBQ joint.

Some pics:

Oasis Sampler Platter

Pulled pork/ribs combo with green beans and mac & cheese

Pulled Chicken and corn saute

The entrees range from $11.99 (except for one that's $8.99) to $29.99. Typical over-priced BBQ on Long Island. Wraps and sandwiches from $7.99 to $9.99. After tax our meal was $51.00 and change.

2 out of 5 stars (= yuck)

Island BBQ & Grille
591 Main Street
Islip, NY 11751


At 11:50 AM, Blogger Regnon said...

Ok, now granted this place is short on ambience, but I give it a five on food. And let's face it, if you show snapshots of the takeout from any restaurant it looks unappetizing.
Originally I enjoyed Smokin' Al's in Bay Shore, a BBQ joint that still has style to spare. But Al's changed their fare and upped their already astronomical prices (Real BBQ isn't exactly haute cuisine, people!) and now you couldn't PAY me to eat their cruddy undercooked, WAY over-sauced slop.
Island BBQ has terrific food. Granted I've only eaten chicken and pulled pork, but it was memorable. And the sides are top-notch. The mac'n'cheese is out of this world (At some point Al's replaced theirs with the m'n'c that comes in a Swanson frozen dinner) and they make a Corn Saute that has peppers, bacon and corn.
The biggest problem with Island BBQ is its identity and marketing crisis. I had the same problem that this poster had in identifying what was "Island" about it. Turns out it's not "island" bbq in the classical sense (picture women in grass skirts serving various types of pig), but "Island" bbq... as in Long Island. Confusing? Well yes. So much so that my wife and I avoided it for about about six months. Once we went in, we were thoroughly underwhelmed by the place, which seemed half-staffed. But we were ecstatic about the food we were eagerly shoving in our mouths. Great seasoned chips for your bread bowl (Want a pre-meal nosh at Smokin' Al's while you wait an eternity for pre-cooked food? No problem, you can start with hush puppies... for eigght bucks!). Great size portions and great sides.
If only they could get their marketing straight and figure out how to tell the greater Islip area they're a straight-up memphis barbecue joint right here on LONG Island... not American Samoa or HAwaii or some other island. Doesn't matter anyway. I think they'll close soon if folks don't begin pouring in on Fridays. Try to get some of this food before it disappears. Serious taste without insane prices per entree.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Regnon said...

I should also direct this to ButterLover (disappointed that you're not the guy in the photo. He seems quite food-trustworthy!). It sounds like you're more adventurous than we are in exploring restaurants. I'd LOVE to hear about a decent BBQ joint you HAVE eaten at lately around here. We can't find one, and I would be happy to drive a pretty good distance if you know of one.

At 9:09 AM, Blogger Butter Lover said...

5 stars for food? Come on. I want to believe this is a disinterested customer, but it reeks of an owner or manager of the restaurant. And I don't want to see any place close up shop, but I have to be honest in my reviews.

I don't like Smokin Al's either, which I said in my review. It is overpriced, and the food sucks.

No, I haven't found any good BBQ places on Long Island. Which is too bad. The best BBQ I have on Long Island is the stuff I make.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Rancher said...

I have to agree with the commenter that I really enjoyed Island BBQ&Grille. We actually went almost every weekend since opening and even did take out with friends. The ribs were some of the best I ever had. Awesome creamed spinach and mac and cheese. My favorite hummus in the world ...better than any Greek place I've been to (until they took it off the menu). Great ambiance when they played Jimmy Buffet. The only reason we don't go as much as we did is because my favorite, and his favorite dishes, went off the menu. His second favorite for some reason keeps getting messed up when we order take out (they put on the sauce and cheese when we ask for NO sauce and requirements). Quality was always very good, staff very nice. Terrific bang for the buck. We'll probably go back once I find a hummus I like somewhere else.


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