2012-08-08 / Restaurant of the Week


By Teresa Barile

Mexi BBQ Kitchen & Draught is your ‘go to’ place for 48 draught beers on tap, sexy cocktails, awesome barbecue, Mexican specialties, and plenty of good times right here on 30th Avenue in Astoria. Mexi BBQ Kitchen & Draught is the brainchild of owners and friends Dimitri, John, Dino, and Rick, who wanted to offer something different on this busy strip in Astoria. You’ll be greeted warmly by the very friendly greeter as she welcomes you into the dining room and bar that features exposed brick, sturdy tables and booths with stainless steel tops, and whimsical light fixtures made from glass jugs. Outside you’ll find picnic tables on which to enjoy summer time barbecue, tacos, beer and more with plenty of room for friends and family.

Start as most people do with one of their draught beers such as Negro Modelo, Red Wagon IPA, Dog Fish Head, and Long Trail Beary Wheat. The Happy Hour runs from 3pm to 7pm, Mondays to Fridays and offers fabulous $5 margaritas and $3 Dos Equiis beer. There’s a ‘reverse’ Happy Hour too, from 10pm until midnight, Monday to Thursday, so come and try their margarita classica or spicy passion fruit jalapeño margarita that really packs a punch. My friend’s spicy Santa Maria was made with their own Bloody Mary mix and silver Mezcal tequila for a flavorful, spicy concoction. Summery, fruity margaritas and martinis are available as well, made with juicy watermelon, mangoes, or blood oranges. Chef Jonathan mans the kitchen and his approach to the menu includes southeastern style barbecue and Mexican specialties. Many of Mexi BBQ’s dishes incorporate beer, bourbon and tequila for extraordinary tenderness and flavor. We started with some of their most popular appetizers including crisp, light mini chimichangas, filled with savory meat and served with ancho chile sauce, pico de gallo and Mexican crème ($8). We devoured the BBQ pork meatballs baked in the house’s own sweet and smokey BBQ sauce, served with maple pecan roasted yams….yum! Guacamole is hand mixed to order and small groups love the trio of guacamole with your choice of classic, lime-poached shrimp, crispy pork, or chicken cracklins. Three spice wings are a house favorite and come eight to an order. These jumbo, spicy, marinated wings are served with three sauces: BBQ, cilantro and habanero hot sauce ($10). Fiesta nachos and dip is a real crowd pleaser with eight layers of cheddar cheese, japaleños, beans, salsa, pico de gallo, olives, crème and guacamole ($9). Every item on the menu offers a suggestion for a beer pairing, so you can maximize your dining experience. What’s more, the friendly bar staff offers one-ounce beer tastings so you can be sure you’ll enjoy your brew.

Mexi BBQ’s barbecue is exceptionally good with kudos to Chef Jonathan’s smoked beef brisket. This house specialty and favorite takes a total of nine hours to make. First this quality beef is braised in tequila and smoked for a few hours. Then it sits in the oven for several more hours rendering it so supremely succulent and flavorful, whether you order it in the brisket tacos or on a platter with a side of roasted corn. This brisket is a “must have” so don’t miss it. The baby back ribs are equally as delicious; rubbed, smoked, and slow cooked for hours so that the meat renders easily from the bone, with a choice of sauces that include achiote BBQ, sweet and smokey BBQ, or South Carolina tangy mustard BBQ. The accompanying goat cheese and jalapeño corn bread and fries make this a hearty meal, in half rack or full rack portions. Visit Mexi BBQ Kitchen & Draught on a Tuesday evening when you can take advantage of “Pig Out Tuesdays” with all-you-can-eat ribs for just $19. The South Caroline pork skillet is another popular dish, served in a cast iron skillet full of crispy citrus marinated pork topped with tangy mustard BBQ sauce, creamy cole slaw and corn bread ($16).

I’m a huge fan of Mexi BBQ’s tacos and these soft corn tortillas are filled with either succulent ‘carnitas,’ which is slow-cooked, braised, smoked pork tossed in salsa verde with fresh onions and cilantro ($8 for two generously sized tacos). The Baja fish is probably my favorite, made with fresh, flaky grouper that’s been beer battered and fried, served on a soft corn torilla with guacamole and pineapple salsa. Adobo chicken gets its unique flavor from chile adobo sauce and is shredded so that it melts in your mouth. Meat lovers will dig into the grilled steak burrito, served with a side of cowboy beans that have been stewed with beer. Quesadillas are great as an entrée or can be shared as a first course and include the Azteca with chicken, white cheddar, corn and scallions, and the Norteña, made with chorizo sausage, goat cheese, onions and jalapeños. Of course, classic burgers, veggie burgers, turkey burgers or the Mexi BBQ burger make a great dinner or late night snack.

Though you’ll be very full, please try one of their fabulous desserts, such as the chocolate nut torte, topped with a cloud of whipped cream, or the classic tres leches cake made with three kinds of milk. Pecan pie and fried ice cream are decadently delicious.

Mexi BBQ’s weekend brunch has them lined up out the door, served on Saturdays from 11am to 4pm and on Sundays from noon until 4pm. Brunch items such as the “Hangover Cure”, breakfast quesadilla, eggs Benedict made with smoked salmon or smoked brisket, or French toast encrusted with frosted flakes make this spot so popular.

Mexi BBQ Kitchen & Draught has great barbecue, cocktails, and beer in Queens and is open seven days a week from 3pm to 1am for dinner. The bar stays open later and the weekend brunch is a big hit. Don’t forget “Pig Out Tuesdays” with all-you-can-eat baby back ribs and B&B Mondays where you can get a burger and a beer for $10. Visit their Web site for more info and menus. Cheers Mexi BBQ Kitchen & Draught!

Mexi BBQ Kitchen & Draught

37-11 30th Avenue  Astoria


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