When it comes to restaurants Huntington is a hot spot. Its diverse eating place serves the food of Italy, France, Greece, Argentina, Thailand, Japan, China, Mexico, Afghanistan, Spain, Portugal and Iran. Huntingtonians thought they had every kind of restaurant in the universe, then the first two barbecue restaurants opened, proving them wrong.
I visited one of them, Old Fields Barbecue, which opened in May on New Street in a space that Orlando’s occupied for many years. It seems to aspire to be both rustic and trendy, pretty well accomplishing both. Patrons order and pick up their food at an unglamorous counter in the back and take it to their tables heaped on metal trays lined with thin sheets of paper.
Speaking of paper, there are rolls of it on every table instead of napkins. Other down home touches include ingredients stored on open shelves behind the counter, a wall made of old wooden crates cobbled together, a red 1947 Schwinn Whizzer and lamps made from toaster parts and old chicken feeders. Yet, the whole place has a gastropub industrial interior feeling about it.
Chef Israel Castro presides over a basic, predictable menu of brisket, pork ribs, smoked chicken, pulled pork and housemade sausage enhanced by five different sauces. Available too is an array of mostly traditional sides (baked beans, potato salad, collard greens, mac and cheese, etc.) There’s also one dessert (if you don’t like peach cobbler ($5) forget it).
The mellow, mouth-watering brisket ($12) is the undisputed must order here. There’s nothing much wrong with the slightly dry pulled pork ($9) that a squirt of one of the two barbecue sauces on the table can’t cure. When ordering keep it simple. The chunky potato salad ($4) laced with bacon bits is fine. But the watermelon salad ($7) consisted of unripe melon squares, not redeemed by mediocre pieces of kale. The generous loaf of cornbread ($4) too was rather ordinary and unexciting. Yet, that peach cobbler with lots of whipped cream was first rate.
You get the idea, Old Fields Barbecue is an unpretentious spot (don’t expect them to have decaf coffee) but portions are generous, prices are modest and the menu replicates that at many a Southern BBQ.