The Early Word -- Woodburning Pit
Best Dish: Pork rib
I've made no secret of my enthusiasm for the Portuguese neighborhood barbecues of Newark's Ironbound, corner bars that hand-rotisserie massive racks of ribs and whole splayed chickens with pirir-piri sauce over lump charcoal.
Now Bay Ridge has its own Portuguese barbecue (known as a churrasqueira, not a churrascaria--that's Brazilian), The Woodburning Pit. The name constitutes something of a misnomer, since the open pit in the middle of the dining room uses charcoal briquettes instead of hardwood or lump charcoal, but the pitmaster deploys the same sort of contraption, which must be turned by hand, to cook the meat at high temperature with plenty of smoke.
Served with a double-carbo charge of good fries and good dirty rice, the pork ribs rule at the Pit. And the tariff of $14 for a full rack, $8 for a half-rack, is a great dining deal. While tender as all get-out, the chicken isn't quite as good--it's been rubbed with something that tastes like ketchup with a little hot sauce mixed in, which prevents the skin from crispening, and does nothing for the flavor of the bird.
Soups are a little disappointing, and not because they start out with a Norr-type soup stock (that's standard in Portugual and throughout much of Europe). The caldo verde was low on shredded collard greens and sausage, preventing it from becoming the kind of rib-sticker that Portuguese depend on, and the chicken soup weren't too good, either.
Still, as a barbecue with reasonable prices, The Woodburning Pit excels, and I'll be returning for the ribs, hamburgers, and egg-topped steak. 6715 Fifth Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, 718-630-9980
We were not impressed by the caldo verde