Big Crow is the new backyard BBQ joint from Anthony Rose that opened recently behind his still-newish first restaurant, Rose and Sons on Dupont.
The outdoor hall, encircled by trees features long rows of communal picnic tables that extend back towards the shipping crate-made kitchen where heavenly thick smoke billows from the custom pit and is fanned into the yard. It's a perfectly laid back kind of place where passing plates around the table and eating with your hands is not just encouraged but almost necessary.
The menu lists starters, little and big crow plates, sides, and desserts. Everything is conducive to sharing and even cocktails by the pitcher can be ordered for the table. I stop in over lunch hour on a recent blazing, hot afternoon and was thankful for the shade provided by the tented canopy.
The headliners at this daily cookout — helmed by executive chef, Christopher Sanderson — are likely the baby back ribs ($26/slab) or grilled lobsters ($36/1.5lb), but for lunch I try out a couple of the smaller plates starting with Porchetta Sausage ($13). The peppery, circular coil of meat is served over a slice of Thuet bread and balanced by a sweet, red pepper condiment. While a simple dish, it's exceptionally tasty.
The Swordfish ($14) steak with fresh salsa is grilled perfectly so that it's firm but juicy. This one is topped with a mango and red onion salsa that's best slopped up by the single slice of bread supplied... if only there was more bread.
Dessert is campy in all the right ways with ice cream sandwiches ($6) loaded onto brioche buns. I try the S'mores assembled from thick cut slabs of Chapman's vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, crushed graham crackers and toasted marshmallows on top. Picking it up is out of the question; the eggy bun ends up absorbing the ice cream as it melts turning it into a delicious pudding.
As mentioned above, cocktails from Churchill star bartender, Quenton Fortune, are available by the pitcher ($24-26) or glass ($9-12). I try the house punch which today is a refreshing blend of; strawberry purée, limeade and gin, though it'll be switched up frequently and can be done alcohol free. Local brews like Beau's Lugtread Ale and Kensington's Watermelon Wheat are available on tap, along with select bottles and wines.
Big Crow is looking into weatherizing for year-round feasting. Currently the mess hall can seat about fifty at a time and opens for dinner early in the week at 5pm and then for lunch at 11am from Thursday to Sunday. Nightly, they're open until whenever. Limited reservations are accepted but walk-ins are encouraged. If you do find yourself waiting, there's standing tables upfront so you can get started on some cocktails and at least feel like you've already arrived.
Photos by Jesse Milns