Hill Country is a good spot to know about because it works for just about any situation, assuming it’s a situation when you’re looking to eat dry-rubbed, slow-smoked meat off of butcher paper. The upstairs at this massive spot in Flatiron has outdoor, bar, and communal seating, all with a direct view of at least one TV playing sports. It works for casual group dinners or drinks and a bite after-work, when there are $6 well drinks and shot-and-beer combos during Happy Happy (4-7pm and 10pm-close). There’s also an equally large downstairs with a stage for live music. No matter who you come with or where you sit, you order food at a counter upstairs, where meats are sold by the pound and sides change daily. There’s a pitmaster special - brisket, pork ribs, chicken, sausage, and two sides for $32 - but we recommend focusing your attention and stomach space on the peppery ribs and spicy sausage, which, along with the cornbread, are the best things here.
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Sushi By Bou
Sushi By Bou is a hidden sushi spot in Flatiron where you can have a 12-course omakase for $50, in 30 minutes flat.
The Flatiron location of this Spanish tapas chain has a casual space that’s good for groups.
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Estela might not be the cushiest restaurant in NYC, but it’s still an excellent choice for a fun night out or next-level brunch in Nolita.
Elephant & Castle
Elephant & Castle is a well known West Village Chronic Brunch establishment, with a unique menu and possibly the single greatest brunch invention of all time: Eggs ’n Apples Benedict on French Toast With Maple Syrup.
Camperdown Elm a neighborhood spot deep in Park Slope where you can get some creative American food in a nice, casual environment.
Suggested by our writers
John Brown Smokehouse
While we enjoyed our time with John Brown Smokehouse, we didn’t quite go crazy over the BBQ the way others have. Though if you and your crew appreciate trays full of BBQ and massive bootfuls of beer, John Brown should be on the radar.
Holy Ground is a below-ground Tribeca spot that looks like an old-school steakhouse, but actually specializes in slow smoked meats.
A long time Infatuation favorite. Blue Smoke is still serving some of the best BBQ you can find in NYC.
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