Freedmen's Bar pitmaster Evan LeRoy hails from Hill Country Barbecue Market in NYC, otherwise known as the best barbecue restaurant in the tristate area. And while his brisket was moist and tender and the craft cocktails flowed mightily, not much could tear us away from the bacon peanut brittle. (Not even the West Campus location.)
We sidled up to the historic building on a balmy evening earlier this week. The antique bar from Brownsville, Texas, and the Prohibition-era aesthetic are reminiscent of places like East Side Showroom, but we liked the large, unassuming patio and the down-home menu with a modern twist.
Back to the brittle: We thought we were over the whole bacon trend, but this appetizer? dessert? renewed our faith. Candy like that is usually sickeningly sweet, which is where the bacon came in: The large slabs of the almost sticky brittle featured studs of smoky bacon and crunchy peanuts, offsetting the sugar. The caramel overtones worked well with the cured meat, and the whole dish represented, to us, what Freedmen’s is doing: mixing the familiar with the unexpected for an incredibly addictive treat ($4, 512-220-0953).