Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: OC's Fat Boy BBQ

Name: OC's Fat Boy BBQ
Address: 317 N Salina St Syracuse, NY
Phone: (315) 435-2453
Neighborhood: Near Northeast
Menu: View menu
Cuisine: Barbecue, Pizza, Calzones, Standard Bar-Fare
Kitchen Hours: Monday to Saturday 11 AM - 12 AM
Bar Hours: Monday to Saturday 11 AM to close
Parking: On-street, Private Lot
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Takes Reservations: No
Take-Out: Yes
Delivery: Yes

Yes, there is barbecue joint just north of Clinton Square. And no, I am not at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. It's OC's Fat Boy BBQ.

I was finally able to check this place out recently. It's been on my "to go to" list for a few years now and figured during an SU game was as good as any time to stop in for some food and a beer.

OC's is situated on North Salina Street just a few blocks away from Vinomania and Columbus Baking Co and across the street from Thanos Imported Grocery and Barbieri's Italian Diner.

While the outside of this old, 4-story brick building could probably use a facelift, the inside was awesome. It's a classic dive bar: old wooden flooring, neon signs in the window, tin ceilings, tables and cocktail tables in the back room near the kitchen and ordering station, framed pictures all over the walls, SU memorabilia hanging up, and about 8 or so TVs scattered around the place. It's an excellent dive. And judging by the fact that I've heard literally nothing about this place since living in 'cuse for about 6 years, I'd say it's a very underrated one, at that. Especially for catching a game on TV.

There's an ordering station near the kitchen with a big chalkboard overhead displaying everything on the menu. The menu is huge (really huge), so I'll have to summarize. Ready?

Specialty pizzas, calzones, wings, pastas (stuffed shells, chicken riggies, baked ziti, lasagna...), desserts (deep fried oreos, frosted M&M brownies...), fish diner on Fridays, salads, 1/2 pound burgers, wraps, hot and cold subs, appetizers (burritos, garlic knots, nachos, loaded fries...), barbecue dishes (NY strip steak, pulled pork, bbq chicken...), and entree sides (mac and cheese, tomato and cucumber salad, roasted potatoes, chili...). Give their menu a gander for a whole list.

Plenty of things looked intriguing, but I was there to get a taste of their barbecue.

The order...

Blue Moon: $4.50
BBQ Lovers Fiesta: $13.95
Total amount with tax and tip: $22

Before the meal, the waitress brought over a few plastic squirt bottles of their house-made sauces. There was their original (classic barbecue style, but a tad ketchupy for my liking), the Louisiana (sweet and spicy), the Chipotle (spicy and smoky), and Blazzing (peppery, oniony, and very spicy with a hint of cilantro). The Blazzing was probably my favorite as it had the most flavor, followed by the Louisiana.

Pictured above is the BBQ Lovers Fiesta: pulled pork, beef brisket, 1/4 rack of ribs, coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread.

The standout for me were the ribs. I'm normally not a rib guy, but these were very good. They weren't fall-off-the-bone style, but they were a bit more tough and meaty. Some of the house sauces made an excellent (and pleasantly messy) combo when drizzled on top.

Also good was the pulled pork, which was sweet and had some nice flavor in there with all the excess fat.

The thinly sliced brisket was different. I'm used to a dry and smoked brisket and this was more like braised beef with a thick barbecue sauce. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't what I was expecting. I didn't shy away from it, as it was juicy and flavorful, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it brisket in the traditional sense.

The sides were so-so. The cornbread was moist and dense and had a nice texture, but was served a bit on the cold side. Coleslaw was fresh and crunchy, but kind of overly dressed for my liking (I prefer a lower ratio of mayo to cabbage, but it was still tasty, none the less). And I'm fairly certain that the baked beans were of the canned variety with a hefty squirting of their original BBQ sauce in the middle of it. Normally I'd find this strange, but it tasted just like the brand I usually get at the grocery store and one that I'm kind of partial to, so I suppose I can't criticize too much.

Other notes...

- "League night" for darts seemed a little intense on this night. There's about 2 or 3 boards here. If you like darts, I'd recommend it (it's electronic though).

- No free water. Bottled water only.

- Beer selection was good. About 15 drafts, if I recall correctly. Mostly standard stuff you'd find in upstate NY bars.

- The bartenders had nice ta tas were very friendly and helpful with the menu and any questions. This guy had no complains in being called "babe" and "sweetie". It's the little things that count sometimes.

- OC's does catering and also delivers.

- Parking is on-street, but there's also a private lot for OC's customers across the street next to Thanos.

Overall, I liked their sauces and the dive bar atmosphere the best. As of right now, I'd opt for a beer over food, but there's plenty on the menu to test out, so I'll be back again to give some other stuff a try for next time. And as you can tell, there's a lot there to think about ordering for the next visit.

If you're looking for a change of scenery, are into dive bars, or looking for a good place to catch a game, I'd say give OC's a shot.

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