Number of Diners: 4 (Note: The review is for the food ordered by Mark and myself. Our two friends were just along for the ride!)
I never had a blog before. A real one. Xanga definitely doesn’t count.
Let me rephrase. A Xanga when you’re 15 years old and all you recount in your blog entry, is your day at school and the progress made in building up enough courage to say “hi” to your crush.
No, this is a real person blog, one with a purpose, one that is just a part of “adulting”, if you will. A descriptive blog built by two people who are in love…and lust…with food and have decided that they will eat wherever they decide together…but will put their two cents in (yeah!) and let others know how they felt about it (yeah! yeah!) while taking mouth-watering pictures of their experience (OMFG YEAH!). So friends, about-to-be friends, and haters (you can just leave the page at this point, sorry for wasting your time…) welcome to Mark and Christine’s first post of Letmegetuh!
Fink’s is a Southern BBQ restaurant, in Dumont, NJ in Bergen County. We chose this particular restaurant as our first because traditionally the weather is colder during this time of year in January and you typically exude feelings of comfort from the harsh elements. Envision sitting down to some ribs slathered with BBQ sauce, fried chicken and a bowl of gooey Mac and Cheese on a cold winter night. Works for me. As this year has been much of an anomaly, and about three days of the year so far have been below freezing, and the rest of the time it feels like the beginning of Fall, our vision doesn’t really work. However, our craving didn’t leave us.
From the entrance, Fink’s storefront is unassuming, and looks like a typical bar front with various beer brands lighting the windows. It quietly sits in the middle between its neighbors, two salons and is off one of the main streets in Dumont. Going in, you can hear rock music playing softly, noise level is comfortable, and an intense smoky aroma immediately tickles your sensory nerves. At the center of the room is the bar in a U-shape, to the left and right of this room are the two dining rooms. If you get bored or end up having to wait for a table, there is a game in the bar room, but I wasn’t there for the game, so don’t ask me what the name of the game was. At 7:15 PM on a Saturday night, the restaurant was not terribly crowded, it was full, but a few tables we saw were open. We were asked if we had reservations, which we did not, but it is good to know you can make one if need be. Nevertheless, our party of four was promptly seated in the left dining room in the back near the kitchen.
From a brief study of the menu, Fink’s has a good amount size of selections. Diving straight into the BBQ meat section first, you can choose from one type of meat (Pulled Pork, Fried-a-que Chicken, All-Natural Pulled Turkey, Chopped Beef BBQ, etc.) or a combination of meats (1/4 Chicken with Pulled Turkey, Rib and Chicken Combo, etc.). For a reasonable price of $4.95, you can add two sides, and if you’d like the Sweet Corn Souffle it’s about a dollar more added to the price named above. If your whole table wants to share one order, there is The Carnivore for 4 which sounds massive and includes ribs, chopped beef, pulled pork, hash, turkey, and chicken. If you’re not so much into the BBQ flavor, there are other entrees available that has a Southern flair such as the Chicken Fried Steak and the Buttermilk Battered Shrimp Basket. There’s also salads, sandwiches, and even hot dogs. If you’re vegetarian, there really is not much for you besides two salads you can choose from and some of the sides. The one thing that disappointed me is that Mac & Cheese is missing from the menu. To leave Mac & Cheese out of the menu of a Southern BBQ establishment feels wrong and I felt a little upset to not see it on the menu. I imagine that the chef and owner, “Fink”, doesn’t like to make Mac& Cheese if such lengths were not taken to put it on the menu.
Backtracking to the Appetizers section, the list was selective and the descriptions of the appetizers sounded very hearty, probably to detract you to focus on the BBQ meats instead. Porkenfries? It reads: “A mess o’ fries smothered with pulled pork, melted cheddar and muenster cheese, our cream, and scallion”. Woo! Despite the heartiness, we wanted to try an appetizer though and asked our nice and helpful waitress, Kat, suggestions. She preferred either the Texas Lollipops, Smoked Wings, or Porkenfries. We settled on the Texas Lollipops ($9.45) described as “Bacon Wrapped smoked Sausage on [a] stick dipped in our BBQ Sauce, served with horseradish cream for dipping”. This sounded perfect to whet our appetites and prepare our stomachs for our BBQ meal. Deciding what we wanted for the main course involved moments of deliberation but we finally settled on the Rib and Chicken combo ($15.95) with Spicy Southern Greens and the Sweet Corn Souffle ($5.99) as sides to share. Kat commented that this was enough for two people, which dashed our underlying concern.
Once the orders were in, it didn’t take a lot of time for the appetizer. Service was quick and efficient to our delight. The Texas Lollipops came drenched in a tangy BBQ sauce with a little cup on the side for the horseradish cream. The saltiness of both the sausage and the bacon was nipped a bit by the pungency of the horseradish. Additionally, the bacon still retained a crispy texture instead of falling to sogginess because of the sauce. Our entrée soon followed.
At first glance, the entrée looked quite big for just one person with six glistening ribs and two big pieces of chicken (a breast and a wing) right next to them, plus a soufflé dish of the corn soufflé as well as the spicy greens. Sharing was a great idea for this entrée. Taking a bite into the spicy greens, you can instantly feel the spice attacking your tongue and the vinegar hits you in the throat, however, the feeling quickly disappears after you swallow, allowing you to go back for more. Next was the sweet corn soufflé, a bite of this was creamy, moist and smooth. To be honest, it’s a dish that is good just to eat by itself for a snack. I chose to eat the ribs first out of the meats. On first glance, the ribs looked crispy on some parts, glistening from its fat juices. The ribs were marinated in a dry rub, were smoky in flavor and were very meaty. Lastly, the chicken was nicely cooked while still maintaining moisture. In areas where there was chicken skin, the skin was crispy and charred. Our hunger was satisfied but there was still food to bring home. A waiter instantly swooped by to wrap up the food I wanted to bring home and dishes were cleared quick.
We were left wondering if we should order dessert, but made the decision to have at least one bite. The dessert menu had around five-six desserts on it, three of which were fitting with the Southern theme (bread pudding, pecan pie, and a pineapple upside down cake). We chose the bread pudding ($6) and felt it was the most quintessential Southern dessert, in our opinion. The bread pudding had a crunchy, sweet top over the spongy bread with the just the right amount of sweetness to cap off a tasty meal.
With two people sharing, our total bill came out to be $42.14 with tax, which we thought was reasonable. Based on our experience with food, ambiance, and service, we rate Fink’s as Really Good and will be sure to return to try some of the other dishes out as well as cocktails. If you have a Southern BBQ craving, go check this place out as I’m sure you will be satisfied.
Fun fact #1: Soap in the bathroom is rose-scented and not the boring, pink, scentless, industrial soap which definitely masks any residual smoky BBQ scent on your hands.
Fun fact #2: Water comes in mason jars which complements the informality of the establishment as well as the theme.
Fun fact #3: If you don’t finish your food and take the leftovers home, the food makes for a good extra meal. With some restaurants, you can tell if the food loses its taste the next day. However, my leftovers didn’t lose taste or dried out. I found it to be the opposite, in which the ribs I took home, became more moist after warming up in the microwave.