BY KRISTEN SULLIVAN
Bobby Q’s Smokehouse on 32 Orange Ave. in Suffern, NY, former longtime site of Ireland’s 32, has a new barbeque style menu, as well as a new look, thanks to chef Dave Finkelstein and owner Dan Quirk.
Finkelstein offers a variety of unique entrees for example, “fried-aque” chicken, which is half a chicken that he smokes and then flash fries to keep the skin crispy and the meat juicy. Bobby Q’s also has a carving station seven nights a week with fresh cooked brisket sliced to order. The cart rolls right up to you and you can pick whatever slice you want.
Each of the meats Finkelstein makes gets its own seasoning rub. The chef especially raves about his Cajun spice rub, which seasons the Cajun pork loin. The pork loin gets grinded for two days, cured for two days and then smoked for a day; a five-day process overall. Bobby Q’s also features a fried pork loin that is pounded out and fried.
Fun appetizer favorites served at Bobby Q’s include the Louisiana Lollipops, which are chunks of Cajun pork loin wrapped in bacon presented on a stick like a lollipop. The Rockland Times got to taste one and they were absolutely delicious. Check out the video on The Rockland Times website to get an exclusive look of Chef Dave at work!
Everything at Bobby Q’s is homemade from the salad dressings to the sauces, Finkelstein boasts. The wing sauces and desserts are made from scratch on the premises. Owner Dan Quirk explains, “Everything we do here is fresh and made in house. We don’t buy any sauces or anything from Restaurant Depot, it’s all made here.”
So why a smokehouse? Quirk says that growing up, his favorite type of food was barbeque. As he got older he started venturing to the south for work to states such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Florida and along the way he got to try different styles of barbeque.
Quirk says there are a lot of interpretations of how barbeque is done but having had the chance to taste a variety of places down south in the heart of barbeque country he has a sense of what flavor to bring home to NY.
While contemplating his mission as a restaurateur Quirk linked up with Dave Finkelstein at his restaurant in Dumont, NJ. Quirk explained, “We became close and I loved his food and what he had to offer so we came together and put Bobby Q’s together.”
Finkelstein has quite an impressive background. He went to culinary school at the New England Culinary Institute in the mid 90s and then went on to an apprenticeship at the Commander’s Palace, a five star restaurant in New Orleans. It was number one in the region and top five in the country at the time he worked there.
It was also the last restaurant Emeril Lagasse worked at before moving on to Emeril’s and his other projects, Finkelstein said. It was very high intensity, high volume and quality, seating about 500 people. Finkelstein has been working in Rockland and Bergen Counties for the past 15 years and is also the head chef at Fink’s Barbeque in Dumont, NJ.
If you’ve heard of Bobby Q’s, you’ve probably heard about their famous corn soufflé. Chef Dave has been making corn soufflé for the past 15 years, so it is safe to say he is a soufflé expert. He worked the soufflé station for about two months during his time at Commander’s Palace and on a busy night he made up to 700 soufflés to order! He started making his signature corn soufflé as a side dish at a local New Jersey restaurant called Mexicali Blues.
When he worked there, Finklenstein says they were a top restaurant in the state. He said, “Everywhere I’ve worked, generally has the corn soufflé, so I do some variety on it sometimes since I’ve been making it for so long. Sometimes I stuff them with cheese or in the autumn I’ll make sweet potato or squash soufflés. We have a chocolate soufflé on the dessert menu. On a busy Saturday I might sell 100 of them!”
Finklestein’s cooking style is not only delicious, but also extremely unique. He describes it as a southern style with New York influences. Dave grew up in the NY area so he uses the flavors and textures he grew up with and works them into the barbeque slow cooking, slow wood smoking popular in the south. He said, “We’ll do a Taylor Ham because right over the border in New Jersey, Taylor Ham is where it’s at. We don’t go with an over heavy mesquite wood like they do in Texas because people around here are looking for a lighter smoked labor of the meats.”
Dan Quirk explained, “The reason why I feel like we’re a unique barbeque place is because we pull from a lot of different regions but we use a lot of New York and New Jersey ingredients and try to fuse them in with our barbeque and some of our dishes. We do what is popular up here fused with authentic barbeque from the south.”
Bobby Q’s seems to be pleasing most customers who come through the door. Chad Gelinski from Suffern, NY told the Rockland County Times, “It was very good. I had the Philly Cheesesteak and it was out of this world. I will be back!”
First timer, Mark Reniri from Airmont, NY said he was satisfied. “So far it was pretty good but I’ve only tried it once. I got the country- fried steak, it was a big portion and it was good,” he said.
Brian Baez of Tappan, NY said, “The valet service is impeccable and the food is delicious.”
Frequent customer Rob Pfister, also of Tappan, opined, “The ribs are out of this world and the smokehouse wrap is so good that you could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!”
Bobby Q’s offers larger than average sized portions with most of their entrees. The restaurant serves food on heated plates to keep the food warm for the entire duration of the meal.
Also featured at the Suffern BBQ joint is an extended late night menu on Fridays and Saturdays and happy hour from 12 – 6 p.m. Monday-Friday featuring drink specials and a scaled down cheaper menu.
Bartender Vinny let the Rockland Times try his famous Electric Blue Raspberry Lemonade and it tasted like an electric slushy, the perfect drink for summer. Check out the video of Vinny working his magic on The Rockland Times website.
Entering Bobby Q’s one immediately notices the work management has put into the look of the place, remodeling both of the main rooms and introducing flat screen TVs in many locations.
Bobby Q’s has valet service Fridays and Saturdays starting at 5 p.m. They also do catering and pig roasts for events such as graduations, weddings, communions, pool parties, family barbeques and much more as well as in restaurant karaoke and entertainment. Nightlife is coming soon so be on the look out for information on that. Catering for Fourth of July is also available so be sure to check out their menu!
In the future Dan hopes to do a lot more catering, live entertainment, music and karaoke. He wants to keep expanding the bar and dining room menu and keep trying different things. If you’re interested in this new barbeque restaurant in Rockland County, be sure to follow them on Facebook, where they always post their specials.
According to Quirk and Finkelstein, Bobby Q’s most popular dishes are:
1.) Pit sampler
2.) Corn soufflé
3.) Pulled pork sandwich
4.) Wings- 9 different sauces and rubs to choose from and always feature a premium sauce per week it always changes so big variation
5.) Boneless country rib hero