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Restaurant Thu Mar 01 2007

On the BBQ Bandwagon

I've had to run to catch up with it, but I'm jumping on the "People Who Write About Food Who Are Excited About Smoque BBQ" Bandwagon. Having spent many years in San Antonio and Austin, Texas and many more near the Virginia-North Carolina border, I feel as if I have a thing or two to say about barbecue, and what I want to say right now is that a barbecue joint with a manifesto ain't jokin' around.

The brisket: the best I've had outside of Texas. The pulled pork: as good as anything I've enjoyed living in the Southeast. The side order of macaroni and cheese: holy, indeed. And don't let what those other folks are saying about the St. Louis ribs fool you. Just because the meat doesn't fall off the bone and melt in your mouth, does not mean it's not freaking delicious (see the manifesto for Smoque's philosophy on this matter). When I was met with a little a resistance as I pulled that smokey sweet meat away from the bone with my teeth, I felt all primitive, and my husband swears he heard me grunting.

The BYOB north side restaurant opened early this winter and has been staying busy ever since. For good reason: other than fabulous food, the prices are reasonable and the service is friendly. One of the owners greeted us as soon as we entered and checked on us twice to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. Service like this isn't common at a restaurant where you order at a counter and get your food when your number is called.

Upon leaving, both of us blissfully on the verge of a food coma, we noticed something: there's a black top that looks like it might just be a place for picnic tables when the weather gets nice. We felt the bittersweet longing for the warm, sunny day that can't come too soon as we trudged through the snow and ice back home.

Ed / March 1, 2007 5:25 PM

I agree entirely on the service, which was great, and the sides, which were very good. The ribs, though? Eh. Closer (to me) to chicago fall-off-the-bone than, say, chicago aquarium-smoked (like Honey One, Uncle John's, etc). And not in a good way.

The spares at Honey One are like eating bacon (in a good way). The spares at Smoque are like eating baby backs (in a bad way).

Benjy / March 4, 2007 7:54 PM

My 7 years living in the south taught me to appreciate good BBQ, so when I heard about Smoque I was very excited. I've made three visits so far, with mixed thoughts. The pulled pork on my first visit was too mushy but was decent the second time (although missing the crispy outer bits). The third trip I went with the half and half of the two types of ribs. I wasn't impressed with either. I thought their BBQ beans were OK, their cole slaw was nice but not really BBQ slaw, and their fries were among the best I've had anywhere. I do plan to go back and try the brisket sometime.

However, for ribs I'll stick to Honey1.

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