By Connor Beach
When Old Fields Barbecue opened its door on New Street in Huntington village just over a year ago, the succulent smell of freshly smoked meats wasn’t the only thing that came flowing out of the kitchen.
Hungry diners flocked to the restaurant to experience a taste of authentic southern-style barbeque right here on Long Island.
Owner David Tunney, who also runs Old Fields locations in Greenlawn and Port Jefferson, said visits to barbecue joints around the county helped to create the vision for Old Fields Barbecue.
“We really wanted to bring authentic barbecue to Huntington,” Tunney said. “We all really love barbecue, and we thought it was something that Huntington lacked.”
Tunney and his partner Rory Van Nostrand created in Old Fields Barbecue a restaurant that “brought Nashville and Brooklyn together.” The traditional counter service that is typical of many country barbeque joints melds seamlessly with a hip, vintage décor.
After a yearlong learning curve for the counter service idea, Tunney said that there were some changes in the works.
Customers used to have to order their food from the counter, drinks from the bar and pick up their orders when they were ready; Tunney said customers can now sit down after they order their food from the counter, and a staff member will take their drink order and bring the food to the table.
This subtle change in service will still afford customers the authentic experience of surveying Old Fields’ selection of fresh smoked meats at the counter, while providing a level of convenience that many expect in a Huntington restaurant.
In addition to the new and improved counter service, chef Scott Goldstein has been working on some new menu items that incorporate a few of the favorites from Old Fields in Greenlawn.
“We are known for our burgers in Greenlawn, so people were asking if they could get a burger in Huntington,” Tunney said.
The new burger, which Goldstein planned to debut this week, is formed from Old Fields unique blend of beef and topped with lettuce, tomato confit and a smoked cheddar cheese. The burger may look simple, but one taste and you’ll understand why customers have been clamoring.
The burger is perfectly cooked letting the complex taste of the beef shine through. The tomato adds sweetness, while the cheddar provides the familiar smoky taste of a barbecue restaurant.
Another new menu item is the Blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich topped with fresh slaw. Although a fish sandwich might seem out of place in a barbecue restaurant, this one is not to be missed. The sear on the meaty portion locks in the flavor and moistness of the fish, while the slaw provides a coolness that helps balance the sandwich.
Tunney said brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches, fried chicken and onion rings and fries are also slated to be rolled out as part of the new Old Fields menu.
In addition to the new items, the Old Fields menu will still feature the favorites from the smoker, including the Beef Brisket ($13/half pound). Tunney said the brisket is the backbone of the menu, and the tender, juicy meat is a pleasure to eat.
The Ribs ($13/half rack) are another classic that Goldstein said take about four hours to cook. The local oak that Old Fields uses in their smoker leaves a deep smoky flavor and a crispy bark on these ribs.
The Pork Sausages ($5 each) have a little kick that floods onto the palate with each snap of the skin.
No barbecue restaurant is complete without a selection of southern sides, and at Old Fields the sides are as good as the meats.
The Baked Beans ($5) has some chunks of burnt ends mixed in that makes this side a must have.
For the non-carnivores in the group, the Beet Salad ($7) isn’t just a vegetarian afterthought in this meat-centric restaurant. The salad is well-dressed, refreshing and packs a sweet punch from the colorful beets.
When paired with a craft cocktail like the Electric Kool-Aid or the Old Fashioned with banana infused bourbon, a meal at Old Fields Barbecue is sure to leave you satisfied and thinking about your next visit.
Old Fields Barbecue
15 New Street, Huntington
Cuisine: Southern Barbecue
Price: Meats: $5-$13; Side: $2-$7
Hours: Monday-Friday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, noon- 11 p.m.; Sunday, noon-9 p.m.