Recently, Mike and I took our first trip to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Some of you may ask, “Where is that?” Others may say, “Ikea!” Both of these responses are legitimate because a) You can’t even take the subway to Red Hook and b) Swedish meatballs.
In case you’re wondering, there’s a FREE (on weekends) ferry from Lower Manhattan to Red Hook that only takes about 15 minutes and — bonus — it drops you off in front of the Fairway Market. Just about two blocks from the water is Hometown Bar-B-Que, a newish spot that specializes in pit-smoked meats.
Drawing on a Texas staple, Hometown’s mac is paired with queso. “Doesn’t that just mean cheese in Spanish?” I asked, only a few months ago when visiting Austin, TX for the first time. Well, yes, but in Texan parlance it also refers to the mix of melty cheese (think Velveeta) with chilies that they eat with everything. Up North you’ve probably had it with nachos, but it’s unlikely you’ve had it with pasta.
Hometown’s mac is pretty straightforward: medium-sized elbow pasta drenched in a queso sauce. And while it has a teeny tiny bite from the chilies, it’s not a spicy dish and the kick is almost not noticeable if you didn’t know what you were looking for. This is a very gooey, stove-top style mac, meaning there’s no topping or crust from being baked in the oven. It also means you need to eat it immediately or risk digging into a congealed mess.
That being said, it is pretty heavenly when eaten right away. The sauce is incredibly thick and rich, so you can probably only stomach a few spoonfuls, but when you’re eating it with a side of house-made cornbread and moist, savory pulled pork, that’s not such a bad thing.
Hometown Bar-B-Que, 454 Van Brunt St, 347.294.4644