Fast food is on the hot plate these days. National chains are constantly being criticized for their calorie-dense fare that's served at price points even supermarkets can rarely beat.
It's cheap food to fill you up -- hence our current levels of obesity.
And when it comes to fast foods, no items are reviled or cherished as much as Mickey D's seasonal McRib sandwich.
In celebration of its return, d.b.a./cafe has rolled out its own version of the pork-like sammie.
Executive chef Evan Eisen along with sous chef Justin Gomes and food runner John Gigante developed the mock McRib, playfully titled the Rib McDibber, after a dare from a customer.
"It started with the Animal Burger from In-N-Out," says Eisen. "One of the regulars came in and was like, 'Hey, by the way, it's October: The McRib is coming out. What's up?"
Then it turned into a giant project. The team set to work attempting to find the perfect texture and flavor for its own version of the semi-porcine handheld heart attack. After about 15 variations, they settled on braised short rib pounded into thin strips, meat-glued together, and thrown into a smoker with mesquite wood chips for two hours. It's then floured, fried, and slathered with a mesquite barbecue sauce (intended to mimic the original McRib sauce). Just like the chain, it's served on a bun with diced onions and pickle relish. It's selling for $20.
The original pork patty is composed of pork (in some form or another), water, salt, dextrose, and preservatives (BHA, propyl gallate, citric acid).
While it may sound odd to some (meat glue, seriously?), d.b.a. can't keep enough of them in stock.
"We sold 15 in the first hour," says Eisen. "Some dude drove down from Boca."
So far, customer response has been positive. When asked, Eisen, an alumnus of acclaimed chefs (including Jean George Vongerichten and Michael Mina) said he too is a fan of the infamous sandwich.
"I love McDonald's McRib," says Eisen. "It's like late-night drunk food."
(For the record: Eisen also makes a mean vichyssoise with smoked salmon, caviar, and fleur de sel.)
d.b.a./cafe is offering the Rib McDibber daily. It is advised that you call ahead to make sure it has some in stock.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.