189 Columbia St (Sackett & DeGraw)
City: Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 522-3981
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: Red Hook
Entree Price: $15-20
Hunting for some barbecue on a rainy Friday evening we found ourselves at Jakes on Columbia Street along the Brooklyn waterfront. While the streets outside seemed a bit desolate, inside there was a party going on with a dozen or so twenty-somethings in full celebration mode. And there is good reason to celebrate because the food at Jake's is quite tasty and a steal, especially at a time when folks appear to be tightening their belts.
But beware. The food may actually widen your belt. That's because portions are quite healthy. We started with a batch of warm biscuits (2/$1.75); nice and fluffy on the inside and perfect with a pat of butter. Beer-battered onion rings ($4.95) are also quite good. At Jake's they're cooked up nice and crispy with thick rings of sweet onion slices inside. Even my son (an onion hater) found himself munching on these. A garden salad ($4.95) arrived with crisp greens and healthy slices of tomato along with a delicious balsamic vinaigrette. The steak fries ($3.95) are thick and resemble wedges of a baked potato. They come with a choice of dips including garlic mayo, blue cheese and homemade catsup. The baked beans are also better than most with ample maple flavor and an added kick from slices of jalapenos.
At this point jou may be wondering about the ribs. We sampled the pork ribs and let me just say they are among the best in the city. They are not the smoky variety that you might expect at places like R.U.B and Daisy May's. These have a nice char and tender pieces of meat that literally fall off the bones. The ribs are smothered in a tangy barbecue sauce giving them lots of flavor. A full rack ($25.95) could easily feed three people. Our entire meal, complete with sodas and a slice of key lime pie, came in at just around 50 bucks. You can't beat that these days. You'll also find beef ribs and fried chicken at Jakes alongside burgers, brisket and steaks.
There are some drawbacks. No beer and wine is sold (as of this writing), but you can bring your own. And the noise level can be a bit overbearing when the place is packed. But those are small prices to pay for a delicious rack of ribs.
Review By: Thomas Rafael