Vibe Rater: Hill Country Barbecue Market, 30 West 26th Street

“I feel like I just stepped into Alabama.”

Indeed. Except it was the eastern edge of Chelsea, where Hill Country Barbecue Market opened recently. Still, the random gentleman who made that remark wasn’t far off–the joint exudes a decidedly un-Manhattan flavor in both its cuisine and its service.

First, the cuisine. At the end of the order line (you wait in line to wait in the order line, and then go to your table) a manager named Kip greeted us. Kip in earnest seriousness quickly recommended several servings of beef and pork for a reporter clocking in at a trim 170 pounds. Regardless of the quantities, the Southern fare is truly delicious, including, oddly enough, the salad.

And the service was to be savored as well: cheerful and helpful, as refreshing as sweet iced tea on day like this and in an era when customer service seems a grim joke.