What Is Summer for But Barbecue, Ice Cream, and Vegetables?

Hill Country knew what Adam Platt's rating would be, and made it a design element.Photo: Morini for New York Magazine

Summer's end is already in sight: The All-Star Game is in the books, and another Fourth of July has passed without America being challenged by either the British or savage conquerors from another planet. All that remains are the most basic elements of summer eating: barbecue, ice cream, and fresh vegetables. And that happy trinity constitutes this weeks food section. Adam Platt finally finds barbecue happiness at Hill Country, so much so that the loquacious critic was reduced to declaring the ribs really, really good. Also on the subject of barbecue, Rob and Robin announce the debut of three more places, from a New Hampshire Yankee, a former boy-band star, and two exBlue Smoke cooks. The Robs also give the world their definitive list of the citys top four ice-cream places (the best one rhymes with Tom). Finally, there's a conspicuously healthy recipe for zucchini with mint and scallions via the Slow Food haven Frannys, in (where else?) Park Slope.

Adam Platt couldnt very well give more than one star to a restaurant that serves its food on butcher paper and whose side dishes he considers essentially an afterthought. But his love for the barbecue, particularly the beef, shines through like the Texas sun off the Big Mans naked scalp.

Justin Timberlakes restaurant will probably do well, and Johnny Utahs mechanical bull will no doubt earn it a following among exhibitionist administrative assistants; the third of Rob and Robins new rib joints has the lowest profile and lands in an unlikely spot for barbecue: the Lower Eastpacking District.

All four of the ice-cream emporiums the Robs profile, meanwhile, are wildly successful and likely to remain so.

And finally, after all the talk of fatty beef brisket and high-butterfat ice cream, a simple recipe for zucchini wraps it all up for another week.

Head for the Hills
Hog Wild
Ice Cream Rules!
In Season: Zucchini [NYM]