2006-05-10 / Restaurant of the Week

The Ranger Texas BBQ At Legends Has Good Eatin'

Reprint from May 4, 2005

Legends Sports Bar is a friendly, neighborhood place that offers a wonderful surprise inside. Beyond the hefty wooden bar filled with chatty folks, The Ranger Texas Barbecue cooks up some of New York's finest barbecued brisket, ribs, pulled chicken, pork and more, right here in Jackson Heights.

Jim Giannone has owned Legends Sports Bar for the past seven years, but it's the expertise of Chef Cenobio Canalizo that has this place literally smokin'. Each morning, Canalizo fires up the real wood smoker behind the restaurant and rubs a secret blend of spices into the finest quality beef brisket, slabs upon slabs of beef and pork ribs, short ribs, sausages and juicy brisket. The meats are then loaded onto the rotating racks and allowed to smoke slowly for hours while they soak up all that mouthwatering hickory flavor. This process renders the leanest, most succulent meat you'll ever try. Pour on some of their famous barbecue sauce and you'll think you've gone to pig heaven! The sauce is served on the side, so as not to interfere with the natural wood smoked flavor.

The Ranger Texas Barbecue menu is short and sweet, just like their ribs, so we were treated to a sampling of all they have to offer. We started with their barbecued brisket, slow cooked for 14 hours and served on a crusty Portuguese roll ($6.95). Pork shoulder is another fabulous dish that goes well with their homemade barbecue sauces, which range from mild to medium to mean to MAD! These sauces are very flavorful, but are not sweet and sugary as most mass-produced sauces are.

A specialty of the house is the North Carolina style pork, served with a special sweet and sour sauce that truly complements the tender meat ($6.95). Next we tried the ribs, which were so tender that, using only a fork, the meat came right off the bone. The smoky sausages make a great sandwich, at lunchtime or any time.

The Ranger also offers pulled pork, beef and chicken. After slow cooking, these meats are pulled off the bone into shreds. All of the Ranger's offerings can be ordered to go. These delicious meats can even be ordered by the pound to feed hungry family or an office full of co-workers. Just call in an order for pick up or stop by on your way home.

What goes well with barbecue? The Ranger's homemade, crunchy cole slaw, whipped potatoes. You'll also love their crunchy onion rings, crisp French fries and Yankee chili with a nice kick to it. An ice-cold beer from the tap is all you'll need to complete the meal. Since summer is the perfect time for barbecue, I know we'll be back again and again.

In addition, Chef Canalizo prepares daily specials which always include juicy rib-eye with French fries ($20.95), a nice New York strip steak, making the Ranger a place for an economical night out with friends or family. Other dishes such as shrimp scampi with garlic butter sauce and bacon clam chowder are more of the chef's nightly surprises.

The staff and clientele at Legends Sports Bar are gregarious and you'll feel very welcome at this casual, come-asyou are watering hole. Entire softball teams come in straight from the field to enjoy a freshly poured beer, choosing among Harp, Sam Adams, Yuengling and Amstel, among others. Brisket sandwiches are devoured while patrons enjoy live sports games shown on eight monitors. Families and friends come in for dinner and conversation, while straphangers from the 74th Street/Roosevelt Avenue station stop in for their favorite sandwiches and generous platters.

This is a place that begs to be shared with friends, so grab your buddies, coworkers and the kids and try some downhome cookin' at The Ranger Texas Barbecue at Legends Sports Bar. You can also let them cater your next gathering. This is an especially great idea if you don't have your own barbecue facilities, but want the taste of a big, backyard barbecue at home.

The Ranger Texas Barbecue is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner (Monday to Thursday 11:30A.M. to 10:30P.M.; Friday & Saturday 11:30A.M. to 11P.M. and Sunday 12 Noon to 10:00P.M.). Legends Sports Bar remains open until the wee hours for your pleasure. Whether you eat in, take out or have an event catered, you owe it to yourself to taste the stuff that Legends are made of.

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