*2/19/10 Since 1963 closed pretty quickly and became Bueno, which also closed. The space has been shuttered and it's windows covered with brown paper for a good while now. Not sure what's to become of this "jinxed" space. Seems like nothing lasts long there. Shame, since it's a really great location.*
My first reaction to the name of the new restaurant to grace the space formerly occupied by Trout and Gravy was one of scorn and derision. Since 1963 (102 Smith St., at Pacific St., 718-237-3141) is such a dumb name to me. It makes me think of the Gap (since 1969) and feels as though they are trying so hard to be part of the fabric of the neighborhood before they've earned their chops. Y'know? Still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and check out the new place, I went there for dinner with the BF to see what it was all about.
The menu consists of a bunch of different cuts of meat (chicken, beef and pork, all from Los Paisanos butcher shop down the block, smoked at Whiskey Sunday in PLG and carted back to Smith St.), the aforementioned meat sandwich-style, plus sides (collard greens, friend mac & cheese, etc.) as well as PBR and Lone Star beer. If you'd rather have something good to drink, you can go to Trout (which maintains an open-air bar next door) and bring your drink back to Since 1963. (Ugh, really, every time I have to say that name I flinch). The other thing that was lame was the fact that everything was plastic - forks & knives and cups. I mean, c'mon?! In this day and age using disposable plastic is completely irresponsible. Maybe it's because they just opened and they're awaiting their delivery of regular cutlery and glasses. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
You have to get a minimum of half a pound of everything except the chicken, so we got a bunch of stuff to share and ended up having to take some home. The Pulled Pork Sandwich with Pineapple Salsa came on two small, puffy buns and were quite tasty. The Cole slaw and pineapple added a nice crunch and zingy flavor to the meat.
The St. Louis Cut Pork Ribs were amazing. Tender and juicy and wonderfully seasoned; there were three to a half pound.
The 12 Hour beef Brisket was good too, and juicy, but the cuts we were served had lots of fat on them and were less well-flavored than the pork. This is a half-pound order which was quite substantial, and next to it is a cheddar biscuit which was just OK; it wasn't warm and it wasn't especially cheddar-y.
We also got a side order of the collard greens which came densely packed in a take-out container. Made with bacon but not particularly smoky, they were nicely vinegary but not overwhelmingly so, and were good to cut the greasy, meaty-ness of everything else.
I'm not sure what to think of Since 1963. The food was decent, the place itself seems a bit of a mixed-up jumble with really loud music playing despite the fact that we were the only customers eating inside, and a main dining room that was too musty for us to stay and eat in. That corner spot seems cursed, but maybe they'll pick up steam and have a good run there. Let me know if you end up checking it out.