By Ava Stryker-Robbins
Barbeque holds undeniable importance in America’s food portfolio. But while this cooking method is widespread and delicious, there are different varieties that each have their own taste.
Au Jus on the Upper West Side features Oklahama-style barbeque. Among its dishes is a corned beef platter. While the slow-cooked beef is juicy and tasty on its own, Au Jus offers four homemade barbeque sauces to enhance the flavor: two tomato-based (one spicy, one sweet); one honey mustard, called “Oklahoma Gold”; and one vinegar-based, recently added due to frequent requests from North and South Carolinians.
The platter comes with a choice of two sides, including cornbread, string beans, BBQ baked beans, mac-n-cheese, fries, stuffing, potatoes, and more.
Patrick Griffin, the restaurant’s principal, told WSR in a phone interview that barbeque held a special place in his childhood in Oklahoma. “It’s something I’ve been doing since I was a kid with my dad,” he said. He remembers piling into a station wagon with his nine brothers and sisters to drive to barbeque events. “It was part of the social fabric of growing up.”
Griffin spent most of his childhood cooking brisket. He first encountered corned beef when he was a 16-year-old student at Columbia University. He went to a restaurant near campus called Take Home, where he had a corned beef sandwich, and instantly fell in love with the taste. He eventually wanted to incorporate it into his restaurant.
Griffin—who is also a doctor working in the biopharmaceutical industry—explains that knowing chemistry has helped him understand barbecue. “It’s just chemistry,” he said.
Au Jus has three locations throughout New York City. All meat smoking is done in the Harlem location, but the corned beef is brined in-house. Griffin said that part of the struggle with barbeque is making the food taste consistent, and he is extraordinarily happy with how his staff maintains the flavor of the food. “I’m particularly blessed here in New York to have a great team helping me out at all the locations.”
Au Jus opened on the Upper West Side in 2020 because, among other reasons, Griffin’s children—who live in the neighborhood—no longer wanted to travel to East Harlem in order to have barbeque. “They said ‘Dad, why don’t you open a place on the Upper West Side?’” While the timing of the opening was not ideal—March 15, 2020—and the restaurant was forced to close within a month due to the pandemic, it persevered and is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
The corned beef platter costs $17.50.
The Dish: Corned Beef Platter
The Restaurant: Au Jus (99th and Broadway)
Read all our Here’s the Dish columns here.
What makes this BBQ “Oklahoma” style? Memphis style is pork-centric with sweet dry rubs. Texas focuses on beef and relies more on its wood smoke to impart flavor. Kansas City style means it’s covered in sweet, syrupy sauces. Carolina style uses vinegar-based sauce. So what’s Oklahoma style?
WSR followed up with Patrick Griffin, who said that Oklahoma style is “All about meat quality. And just the right amount of slow cooking/smoke. Sauces are peripheral.”
7th st burgers are decent and greasy. No place to sit. While sitting at their back table had the audacity to see a delivery man who just picked up your order stick his dirty hands in your delivery bag and take out a handful of fries. Unbelievable.
Immediately brought it up to their workers who didn’t seem to mind.
So now we pay a delivery service to eat our food and tip them for the privilege of doing so.
Eat there if you can find a seat but be aware you’re sharing your food and tipping your delivery person for doing so.
One would think it’s a reflection on the restaurant but clearly, they don’t care either.
I’ve noticed many deliveries come in stapled or otherwise sealed bags (and sometimes stapled bags inside stapled bags). Maybe avoid buying from restaurants that don’t seal their bags before giving them to the delivery person.
Au Jus is a hidden gem and I’m thrilled that it’s getting some exposure. The staff is very friendly and the food is consistently good. Thank you for this!
I live in the neighborhood, and it is such a welcome addition. I LOVE the jazz performances right outside the restaurant – organized by the restaurant. I hope it survives the slow business.
Yum yum! Looks and sounds delicious. Can’t wait to try it.
The place Mr. Griffin encountered corned beef was famously dubbed Takome; not Take Hone.
Dear Mr. Griffin: In NYC when beef brisket is corned (brined) and then smoked we call it pastrami. Oy vey iz mir!
I better eat some breakfast; I’d eat Ava’s photo if I could…
Is it possible the food was the delivery guy’s dinner? They have to eat, too. 7th Street is so delicious I’m still going to go there, will just pick up myself as usual.
agree it’s great to have a good BBQ place in the neighborhood. You can’t eat this stuff every day, but when I do, I go for the brisket or pulled pork platter. Sides are decent, but the meats (as Oklahoma style apparently requires) are the main attraction. They also have an unusually good selection of bottled & canned craft beers.
I’ll start off by saying I have no idea if Au Jus is authentically Oklahoma or not, but I WILL say that I’ve very much enjoyed their food, the people there are friendly, and it’s become one of our local favorites.
So happy to see the place do well. They were set to open in March 2020, and thankfully have stuck it out and successfully become a local business for great BBQ. Keep it up!
We have a celiac in the family. It’s so frustrating trying to get a straight answer at Au Jus over whether he can eat there and what he can eat. I’ve gone in, called the on the phone — nobody seems to know anything and sometimes they give conflicting answers. And then it’s call when this person is here but that person’s never there. I want to spend my money at this place but can’t.