A meal from Addy’s BBQ. Photo credit: Sameer Sarmast.
By Sameer Sarmast
Over the past half-decade or so, a revolution of sorts has taken place in the back kitchens and front offices of culinary America. With a wave of economics and growing American tastes converging together, many high end gourmands have begun to take their skills, artistry, and expertise from the gourmet kitchens of New York and Paris to fast-casual chains, food trucks, and local joints. While he may not be as famous as Chef Nate Appleman, or Danny Meyer of Shake Shack, Chef Adnan of Addy’s BBQ has a product just as good as any of these heavy hitters across the river.
Originally the owner and operator of Good Eats—a more fine dining establishment— in Englewood, New Jersey, Chef Adnan had to close up shop due to bad business and a few years later decided to open up a more casual oriented joint in Teaneck, New Jersey. Though the venue and formality of dining might have gone down in size, the food maintains the standards and flair of a gourmet restaurant.
At Addy’s, Chef Adnan combines his South Asian techniques and flavors and slathers them onto home-style American classics. Always one eager to try a venerable mashup of two cuisines close to my heart, I arrived at Addy’s with high expectations of filling my stomach once again with great food and nostalgic flavors.
The first dish to arrive to the table were Addy’s BBQ wings. Unlike at other places that might cheap out on the chicken, Adnan serves his customers meaty wings completely smothered in sweet and smoky BBQ sauce. When eating these, do not attempt to keep clean; it is a futile attempt that will only detract from the heavenly flavor and experience of being primal with your food.
Following the lone appetizer, Chef Adnan came out with a full on spread of beef including his steak mushkaki, beef ribs, and chili cheese burger. Unlike an American steak that is typically simply salted, thrown on the grill, and served whole, the mushkaki was cubed up on top of rice and red cabbage slaw and emanated the veritable spice blend consisting of a mixture of masala, garlic and chili. The thought alone of being able to get such a dish at a place that also served American classics brought tears to my eyes—not at all induced by the spice level of the food.
Just like his wings, the BBQ ribs came complete with enough sauce to make the adjoining cornbread and vegetables palatable to even the most carnivore of eaters. The ribs themselves were smoky and were cooked long enough to have the fat and meat completely melt in your mouth after taking a bite. Last up to bat was the chili cheese burger. At only $7.50, the value for money on this dish is unbelievable with a side of chili big enough to warrant a place on the menu itself and enough cheese to make you think you just came from a fondue dinner. Like all the dishes preceding it, eating while being clean is a challenge so I suggest you just load up your bun with all the fixin’s and dive mouth first into the burger worth its taste in calories.
Though I was originally going to wash this meat feast down with a giant glass of ice water, I immediately changed course upon seeing that Adnan offered lassi’s at Addy’s. The mango lassi itself is bursting with sweet flavor and it’s yogurt base will help cool down anyone’s mouth who might have some trouble taking the heat of some of Addy’s more spicy offerings.
So while Addy’s might not fit a Michelin or Zagat definition of what a 5 star restaurant might be, the fact that the Chef behind the counter cooks up food that tastes just as good as anything at that level means it’s a reasonably priced and secret dive spot for us—at least until this post goes viral.
Editor’s Note: Sameer Sarmast is the president and executive producer of Sameer’s Eats, the first and only Halal food review web blog and video channel on YouTube. Sameer has been recognized by local and national media outlets as well as the U.S. State Department for his efforts in highlighting Halal cuisine. Sameer resides and works full time in New Jersey as a Vice President in Wealth Management for a major financial institution. When he isn’t working, he loves to travel and spend time with his friends and family. Follow him on twitter @SameersEats. The views expressed here are his own.