By Anne Santos, Food Correspondent
UNION, NJ — There are many Portuguese Churrasqueira in Union County, but Burnet B.B.Q.#2 on Stuyvesant Ave. in Union stands out with exceptional food and service. This restaurant is today’s choice for hearty comfort food on a frigid day.
When we arrived, it was nice and toasty inside and my two guests were quite hungry. The first thing we noticed was a brick oven where meat was suspended on a rotisserie-like grill above a charcoal-filled pit that was burning bright red.
The cook was basting the meat with what was described as a mild hot sauce. People who were standing in line to place their orders could not take their eyes off the grill. Not only did it look delicious, but it smelled wonderful.
The menu offered quite a variety of items: soup, appetizers, fish, meats,
BBQ, sandwiches, salads, desserts and beverages. To begin our meal, we ordered clams in onion and garlic sauce as an appetizer. For the main course, we selected steak with mushrooms, a half combo of chicken and ribs, and the beef short ribs. The entrees come with a choice of two sides — rice, french fries, vegetables and beans.
One of the things I noticed while we were waiting for our food to arrive was that this is one busy place. We noticed also that the tables become occupied rather quickly and you have to time it just right to get a table. The phone never stopped ringing with customers calling to place orders for either pickup or delivery. It’s easy to understand why the food is always fresh here! Here’s a quick suggestion before I forget: Calling ahead can cut your wait time considerably.
We were happy when our appetizer arrived because it was absolutely delicious. The clams were prepared just right — steaming hot in a garlic-and-onion sauce. And fresh hot bread was just waiting to be dipped in the tasty sauce.
After we devoured our starter it didn’t take long until the entrees were served. Giant, giant portions! We all knew immediately that we were going home with leftovers. It was much too much to consume in one meal. The chicken and ribs combo was delicately seasoned with a slight bite from the hot sauce. The steak with mushrooms was huge and definitely enough for two more meals. It was cooked to perfection, and the mushrooms complemented it perfectly.
Both my companions really enjoyed their side dishes. The rice was cooked just right with a mixed-in blend of peas and carrots. And the vegetable side was also terrific. It was a perfectly cooked combination of cabbage, carrots and boiled potatoes that were so fresh.
For my entree, I had the short ribs which were cooked just right — slightly rare, to bring out the the flavor and tenderness of the meat. And the side of french fries was lightly salted, just the way we all like them.
For dessert we enjoyed cappuccino, espresso, flan and cheesecake. While some customers decide to skip this portion of the meal, I strongly urge everyone to reconsider. The cappuccino was creamy and hot and the espresso was made from good coffee. The flan and cheesecake were a creamy delight. We savored every bite.
We really enjoyed the meal and look forward to returning. If you haven’t tried Burnet B.B.Q. I recommend you do so soon. Like so many people have come to realize, you won’t be disappointed.
Our review was of Burnet B.B.Q. #2 , located at 1275 Stuyvesant Ave. in Union. Telephone 908-688-8897.
The owners of the restaurant also have four additional locations:
• Burnet B.B.Q. #1, 1363 Burnet Ave. in Union;
• Burnet B.B.Q. #3, 685 Chancellor Ave. in Irvington;
• Clark B.B.Q., 1419 Raritan Road in Clark; and
• Bloomfield Ave. B.B.Q., 391 Bloomfield Ave. in Newark.