The Break Down:
Location: 14 East 23rd Street- New York, NY 10010 -(212) 353-2400
Cuisine: Southern BBQ
Items: 3 entrees, 2 cocktails , 2 sodas, 2 desserts
Cost: $88 (17% tip Included)
Best Dish: Key Lime Pie
Overall: Not a date place but a nice place to hang out with friends.
Live Bait is Southern BBQ done right…well as right as one would expect in NYC. The flatiron district is home to many pubs and restaurants but none quite embody the ambiance found at live bait. Ok so I’m stretching things a bit by calling what this place has ambiance. The décor has a distinct southern bayou feel reminiscent of the local greasy spoon, in some tiny little speck of dirt down deep in the Delta. Old fashioned signage, over-sized bottle caps and bright fluorescent lighting give this place a familiar feel. If you’ve ever traveled to the south you know exactly what I’m speaking of. I’m a southern girl at heart so I felt right at home. However, the mismatched chairs in the cafeteria-like setting nearly sent the city girl in me running for the hills. My friends were just as confused as I was. Where did this place come from and why oh why were we there? We laughed it off, settled in quickly and ordered cocktails. We each ordered a “Hurricane”, and it was good! Cool and refreshing it really took the edge off and gave us a chance to appreciate this little slice of southern fried hospitality. I was surprised to see actual glassware and plates, I half expected to be served from Styrofoam and plastic containers. Part of me wondered if this place was intentionally seedy looking or just the result of bad judgment.
I put all doubt aside when a small red basket filled with complimentary Mini cornbread muffins landed on our table.. Light buttery and still warm they really revved up our appetites for dinner. Our entrees arrived just as the last muffin was buttered. The “Dixie Smokehouse Spareribs Combo was a great value. A quarter chicken and a few ribs coated in sweet tangy BBQ sauce. Smoky flavorful and tender the meat just melted on impact. This was accompanied by baked macaroni and cheese and yams with marshmallow topping. Equally delicious were the “Robert E. Lee Chicken Fried Steak” and “Aunt Bea’s Boarding house Fried Chicken”. Both were served with mashed potatoes and gravy and collard greens. The mashed potatoes were creamy and buttery the gravy was a nice addition without being too thick or greasy. The collard greens though fresh tasting and really delicious should be skipped if you don’t eat pork. There are chunks of swine floating in it that were not mentioned on the menu. Slight lapse in judgment aside, dinner was a pleasant experience; we spoke loud and laughed hard without fearing the usual dirty looks and whispers. The potions were just right we were left satisfied without feeling overfed. Even though we were quite stuffed we just had to try a dessert or two. The Bourbon Butter Pecan Ice cream was rich creamy and oh so good, but the star of the show was the key lime pie. Light, slightly sweet, creamy and just tart enough, it was to die for!.I’m still having flash backs of the flaky graham cracker crust, it was that good. Though there are some salads on the menu I don’t recall seeing a single one leave the kitchen. This place is clearly not for the calorie conscious. I also wouldn’t recommend it for a hot date, but if you’re in the market for a good place to pig out with some great friends, this is it! My only regret is not ordering the Shrimp and Grits, I watched in envy as a well dressed woman sitting across from me scraped her plate with the last morsel shrimp on her plate. Oh well there’s always next time. Charming, unassuming, affordable and the kind of place where you can be loud boisterous, lick your plate clean and not a single person notices or cares. Good service great food make Live bait an easy place to get reeled in, just be careful you don’t get hooked!