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  Opening in December - Smoque BBQ

  Opening in December - Smoque BBQ
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  • Post #91 - December 22nd, 2006, 4:29 pm
    Post #91 - December 22nd, 2006, 4:29 pm Post #91 - December 22nd, 2006, 4:29 pm
    I doubt you'd have trouble finding a table but it's not like anyone could really tell from 3 or 4 weekdays what it will be like. Hopefully it will be busy and have good turnover, for the sake of the quality of the meat.

    Anyway, to follow up on my picture of brisket above:

    I liked Smoque. Greatest BBQ in America, no. One of the two best BBQ places on the north side, seems pretty damn likely.

    BBQ is an inherently variable product so I have no shock that people at different times had different experiences-- as they certainly do at Honey 1 or anywhere else. The best BBQ comes from picnics where you eat on the meat's idea of the perfect time, not on yours, and when it's gone it's gone. Any BBQ restaurant has to deal with the practical reality of having food ready whenever people walk in-- which means holding it, it means it will get drier or wetter depending how you hold it, it will soften up around the edges, any number of things. The question is, was it pretty good barbecue when it was totally fresh, and did they hold it in a way that reasonably retained its quality over time?

    At Smoque, the answer was yes, yes, and needs work, when we went there. Ribs were too tender, they said as much, but they were pretty good, really-- good smoky flavor with a little bite. Brisket was probably pretty fresh and juicy and I liked it a lot. I also would have liked the pulled pork a lot if it hadn't retained too much moisture in whatever way they were holding it and gotten a little mushy. They agreed that was a problem and talked about ways to control that, but I thought the flavor of the pork and their tangy, vinegary sauce was excellent.

    Fries were excellent, nice and crisp fresh-cut fries, beans were good, slightly tangy, cole slaw is simple (similar to Wishbone's vinegar-no-cream style) and tasted good to me. In any case, I definitely added Smoque to my casual-places-the-kids-can-handle list, and will be back.

    Image
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  • Post #92 - December 22nd, 2006, 5:44 pm
    Post #92 - December 22nd, 2006, 5:44 pm Post #92 - December 22nd, 2006, 5:44 pm
    With BBQ, like comedy, timing is everything.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #93 - December 22nd, 2006, 9:18 pm
    Post #93 - December 22nd, 2006, 9:18 pm Post #93 - December 22nd, 2006, 9:18 pm
    stevez wrote:With BBQ, like comedy, timing is everything.


    So freakin' true. :)
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #94 - December 23rd, 2006, 3:43 pm
    Post #94 - December 23rd, 2006, 3:43 pm Post #94 - December 23rd, 2006, 3:43 pm
    My brother William and I have tasted everything on the menu. While we think it's all terrific we especially love the brisket - fatty, tender, and deeply flavourful - it's as good as our mom's famous Chinese red-cooked beef - and that's what she said after tasting it take-out. The sides really do set Smoque apart - I could do a degustation of just those. And to think that the fries almost didn't make it on the menu. Some members of the Smoque family argued that they didn't want just filler food, while others said they could make them something special. They achieved the latter - they're some of the best I've had anywhere in the world.

    Here are some photos on Flickr:
    http://www.flickr.com/gp/95305287@N00/2G2E97

    BTW I just learned last week that the clever name Smoque came the wife of one of the five co-owners - who happens to be a long-lost friend of mine!
  • Post #95 - December 23rd, 2006, 4:37 pm
    Post #95 - December 23rd, 2006, 4:37 pm Post #95 - December 23rd, 2006, 4:37 pm
    How was the chicken, Louisa? You seem to be the only one so far who could tear themselves away from pork or beef...
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  • Post #96 - December 23rd, 2006, 5:33 pm
    Post #96 - December 23rd, 2006, 5:33 pm Post #96 - December 23rd, 2006, 5:33 pm
    Mike G wrote:How was the chicken, Louisa? You seem to be the only one so far who could tear themselves away from pork or beef...


    As good as it looks - crispy lacquered skin, smoky juicy flesh. My brother actually commented that he might order salad himself sometime because you can get it topped with chicken.
  • Post #97 - December 23rd, 2006, 6:52 pm
    Post #97 - December 23rd, 2006, 6:52 pm Post #97 - December 23rd, 2006, 6:52 pm
    Me and the sweetheart went to Smoque tonight at about 4:30 p.m. after stocking up on frozen pierogis for the holidays at Alexandra's. The place was empty when we got there, but it was kind of a between-meals time, so I wasn't surprised.

    We had all of the following: pulled pork, brisket, St. Louis ribs, chicken, cobbler, beans, mac & cheese, slaw, and thus got to sample three different sauces as well, one for each meat.

    The pulled pork was great, and clearly the highlight of the meal, along with the coleslaw. It was soft, juicy, lightly smoky, and when combined with the slaw (as I like it), made for one heck of a sandwich. The coleslaw certainly is a love it-or-hate-it affair, as others have noted, but for me it's a resounding "love it." I don't like the mushy, creamy coleslaws and the simple crunchy fresh cabbage-with-vinegar and spices is exactly how I like it and prepare mine when I'm making coleslaw for myself.

    Unfortunately, the brisket (chopped) that I had must have been like stevez's. It was flavorful, but very dry, and disappointing. But like it has been said, timing is everything, and it seems from these posts that the brisket is the best that Smoque has to offer, so I'll have to try it again some time.

    The St. Louis ribs, however, I would not order again unless something changes. As has been noted, their texture was a little bit on the mushy side, and the rub had turned into a wet, messy paste from (I assume) being held in a damp-ish environment for too long. They were nothing like meat jello, but the texture was unappetizing for me. They were maybe on the same level as a place like Smokedaddy's. Then again, when you get spoiled by places like Honey 1 and Uncle John's, it's hard to keep up with those benchmarks in Chicago.

    As for the three sauces, the pork sauce was a tangy, vinegary barbecue sauce with a distinct (to me anyway) Worcestershire note. Maybe I'm imagining it, but I swear I taste Worcester sauce in there. It's got a nice zing to it, but not my favorite sauce. The beef sauce is a little sweeter and thicker, with a strong taste of cumin. It does pair up quite nicely with the brisket. The chicken sauce is probably my favorite of the bunch, being runny and tangy like the pork sauce, but without that Worcestershire flavor (or whatever it may be).

    As I said, the coleslaw is among the best I've had in the city. The mac and cheese was very good and its variety of textures a bonus. Beans were fine. Cobbler was very good (sweetheart declared it the best part of the meal. I only had a tiny bit, so couldn't really judge).

    In the end, I would return for the pulled pork and perhaps chicken (and the brisket to try once more and make my decision about it), but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. We'll see where they're at in a few months.
  • Post #98 - December 23rd, 2006, 7:33 pm
    Post #98 - December 23rd, 2006, 7:33 pm Post #98 - December 23rd, 2006, 7:33 pm
    Well, just to provide another POV... we were there an hour after you, Binko, and the brisket was, again, quite juicy. (And the place was filling up fast.)

    All I can say is, don't decide what you think about any barbecue place based on one meal!
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  • Post #99 - December 23rd, 2006, 7:36 pm
    Post #99 - December 23rd, 2006, 7:36 pm Post #99 - December 23rd, 2006, 7:36 pm
    Mike G wrote:All I can say is, don't decide what you think about any barbecue place based on one meal!


    Of course not. I was actually disappointed by Honey 1 my first go-'round, but that quickly changed. I will definitely give the brisket another shot. It's also possible that I just don't like brisket, as I've never had one that I particularly liked, and never had any down in Texas where they know how to make it. (But the one I was served was definitely drier than what your pictures showed.) I'm very much a pig person.
  • Post #100 - December 23rd, 2006, 11:40 pm
    Post #100 - December 23rd, 2006, 11:40 pm Post #100 - December 23rd, 2006, 11:40 pm
    Mike G wrote:
    All I can say is, don't decide what you think about any barbecue place based on one meal!


    How very true!!

    As noted in my prior posts on this topic I was enamored with Smoque's sliced brisket, however, both varieties of ribs left me disappointed. Others in this forum were very satisfied with the ribs, which compelled me to give them another try.

    To make a short story longer, EVERYTHING tonight was "spot on" perfect. Brisket, baby backs, and pulled pork could not have been any better. Smokiness, overall flavor and texture scored a perfect "10" IMHO.

    P.S. I spoke with one of the ( owner? ) managers and he said that they have been revising procedures based on feedback, i.e, leaving slabs as full halfs for takeout as opposed to slicing them up. I must have given off the LTH vibe again, because he joked that LTHers could be a "tough bunch" Funny, I NEVER told him that I was from LTH--Go figure.

    Based on tonight's experience, I feel that this place has set the standard for Northside BBQ. I will heartily recommend it to friends.
  • Post #101 - December 24th, 2006, 12:17 am
    Post #101 - December 24th, 2006, 12:17 am Post #101 - December 24th, 2006, 12:17 am
    I must have given off the LTH vibe again, because he joked that LTHers could be a "tough bunch" Funny, I NEVER told him that I was from LTH--Go figure


    Asking perceptive questions will do it every time. Detailed knowledge of a location you have never visited before can be another tip off. Of course it is always a plus when the restaurant even knows we exist.

    More often than not they don't realize where you are coming from, then you get the two-headed stare! :D

    Take it as a compliment in any case!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #102 - December 24th, 2006, 11:30 pm
    Post #102 - December 24th, 2006, 11:30 pm Post #102 - December 24th, 2006, 11:30 pm
    I agree with Buddy Roadhouse on the personal preferences about cole slaw.

    Went to Smoque on Saturday around 6:30. Place was filled with families and police (go figure).

    I think the reason for the differing opinions may be

    1. Quality control
    2. The difference in the cooking style than typical Chicago barbecue.
    This is not a heavy sauce style. Just let the meat do the talking.

    I thought it was about mid-tier compared to my Texas bbq joints in Austin and Houston. Better than a Luthers/Bill Millers (more juicy meats). A little less than the "temples" like the Salt Lick.

    Main issue was with a bit excessive saltiness of the meats.
    Ate the Brisket (sliced) and the STL ribs.
    Texture was right.
    Good juiciness.
    Sauces (different for each) was nice and light. (a little vinegary for some, but I preferred them to the "too much molasses style of others")
    Cole slaw was indeed minimally seasoned - This is a GOOD Thing.

    All in all, definitely a good effort.
  • Post #103 - December 26th, 2006, 12:56 am
    Post #103 - December 26th, 2006, 12:56 am Post #103 - December 26th, 2006, 12:56 am
    LTH,

    Count me in the I like Smoque category, love the energy, enthusiasm and general feeling of glad you're here, love the fries, quite like the vinegary Western* North Carolina BBQ sauce, found the fresh vinegary lightly sweet crunchy slaw tasty and was pleasantly surprised at Smoque's brisket. Though, if Smoque is going for lean as a style choice, as Steve Z mentioned upthread, dry brisket is going to be a recurring issue.

    Smoque Brisket
    Image

    As of Thursday lunch the pulled pork needed work, hinting at promise, though marred by a slightly watery texture which denuded flavor and compromised the few bits of bark.

    Fries and Pulled Pork
    Image

    Saint Louis Style Ribs were overly tender for my taste, though not fall off the bone meat jello, and I thought the rub needed fine tuning, though the rub may be a style choice on Smoques part. No baby back ribs available at that moment or I'd have tried those as well.

    Smoque Saint Louis Style Ribs
    Image

    Ribs, Brisket, Pulled pork
    Image

    Barry Sorkin w/ribs
    Image

    Liked the beans, though I found the corn muffin quite dry and, frankly, would rather have had the perfect BBQ accompaniment, white bread, even if only offered as an option.

    In just 4-short days of operation Smoque showed potential to be the best North Side Style BBQ** in Chicago. If I had been to Smoque more than once I might say it already is the best, even with a fumble or two, but even a fellow as in love with hyperbole as myself needs to try a place more than once prior to making a sweeping generalization of that magnitude. ;)

    Barry/Al
    Image

    Just as a reality check, I should point the two areas where they have similar products, spare ribs*** and pulled pork Honey 1 is more to my personal taste, though I'm looking forward to a return visit to Smoque.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    * As a general rule Western NC BBQ sauce has some type of tomato product, Eastern NC not.
    ** By which I mean Southern Pride or similar gas powered rotisserie smoker as opposed to a Chicago Aquarium style tempered glass and metal wood burning BBQ Pit.
    *** Saint Louis style ribs are tip-off trimmed spare ribs.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #104 - December 26th, 2006, 2:30 pm
    Post #104 - December 26th, 2006, 2:30 pm Post #104 - December 26th, 2006, 2:30 pm
    G Wiv wrote:In just 4-short days of operation Smoque showed potential to be the best North Side Style BBQ** in Chicago.
    ...
    ** By which I mean Southern Pride or similar gas powered rotisserie smoker as opposed to a Chicago Aquarium style tempered glass and metal wood burning BBQ Pit.


    Beautiful... only a few posts back, I was not sure whether there exists an indigenous Chicago barbecue style... now I learn there are two!
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #105 - December 26th, 2006, 3:25 pm
    Post #105 - December 26th, 2006, 3:25 pm Post #105 - December 26th, 2006, 3:25 pm
    I ate lunch today at Smoque. I'll echo GWIV's critique of the ribs, slaw and beans. I enjoyed them all. I also had a brisket sandwich-1/2 sliced and 1/2 chopped. Both very good and not too dry, as it was 12:30. When I return to Smoque, I'll order the chopped. There is more flavor to the chopped when mixed with some of the sauce. Speaking of the sauces, I enjoyed both of them. I was very impressed with the fact that the sauces were served hot, so that they did not cool the food upon application. Finally, the friendliness of the crew is refreshing. Each owner made a point of stopping over to get my comments. And even the counter seemed to care that I enjoyed my meal and said that I would see them again.
  • Post #106 - December 26th, 2006, 5:18 pm
    Post #106 - December 26th, 2006, 5:18 pm Post #106 - December 26th, 2006, 5:18 pm
    Had a nice meal at Smoque. My 2 cents:

    1) The brisket was really good. Nice flavor. Nice texture. I had the sliced version and in no way was it tough. I think this was the highlight of the meal for me.

    2) St. Louis style ribs. I agree w/ most of the folks here that these were considerably too tender, not quite to mushy, but definitely not done to my taste. The meat flavor was smoky and good. They were a little heavy-handed w/ the rub. Don't get me wrong, I think good rub is integral to quality ribs. But, this was a good bit too salty and applied a good bit too much.

    3) I tasted some pulled pork. I can't give a real opinion, but it seemed pretty good to me. That'll be tried on the next visit.

    4) I really enjoyed the beans. They were in a pretty sweet, oniony sauce.

    5) Fries - hand cut and good.

    6) Sauces - I enjoyed both of them. One was what I'd consider Kansas City style in that it was a bit sweeter/spicy. The other was vinegary and spicy (NC style but w/ something red in it). I honestly believe that sauce preference is a totally personal thing. What I like, you may not. So, no use arguing over that.

    7) Service - they were packed but everything was reasonable. The owners came around and talked a bit w/ us and the table next to us. They seem really interested in doing it right. They are well on their way there.
  • Post #107 - December 26th, 2006, 5:32 pm
    Post #107 - December 26th, 2006, 5:32 pm Post #107 - December 26th, 2006, 5:32 pm
    HT70 wrote:1) The brisket was really good. Nice flavor. Nice texture. I had the sliced version and in no way was it tough.


    I think most of the comments have been that it was too dry, rather than too tough. How was yours in the moisture dept.? I'm planning to return soon to give the brisket another chance and to sample the pulled pork for the 1st time.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #108 - December 26th, 2006, 6:24 pm
    Post #108 - December 26th, 2006, 6:24 pm Post #108 - December 26th, 2006, 6:24 pm
    stevez wrote:
    HT70 wrote:1) The brisket was really good. Nice flavor. Nice texture. I had the sliced version and in no way was it tough.


    I think most of the comments have been that it was too dry, rather than too tough. How was yours in the moisture dept.? I'm planning to return soon to give the brisket another chance and to sample the pulled pork for the 1st time.


    Mine was actually pretty moist...really good all around. Perhaps I just got lucky on my trip.
  • Post #109 - December 26th, 2006, 10:35 pm
    Post #109 - December 26th, 2006, 10:35 pm Post #109 - December 26th, 2006, 10:35 pm
    Return visit for takeout early this evening.
    Man, they were really firing on all cylinders tonight.
    Sliced brisket was amazing (smokey, moist, flavorful).
    St. Louis slab was really good.
    By ordering sauce on the side, I could really taste the smoke of the meat.
    Mrs. Johnny compared the side of slaw to what you'd find in some Asian joints - which is good!
    I'm beginning to understand the complexities of serving consistantly good BBQ - which explains why I've had both amazing and underwhelming meals at all my regular spots (Honey 1, Hecky's and more recently Smoque).
    Both owners were working the room. Their enthusiasm is impressive.
    Tonight's meal was one of the best I have had in recent memory.
  • Post #110 - December 27th, 2006, 2:35 pm
    Post #110 - December 27th, 2006, 2:35 pm Post #110 - December 27th, 2006, 2:35 pm
    On my way back from O'Hare last night I had to stop in. I only live a block and a half away from it, and the smoke smell kind of pulled me in as I walked by.

    I got the pulled pork platter with the 1/4 slab of St. Louis ribs. I thought both were great. Great flavor in the pulled pork, but it needed the sauce. Not that it was dry, but it benefited from absorbing some of the flavor from the sauce.

    The St. Louis ribs were outstanding. They didn't need any sauce at all, although the sauce was good. But the rub was really tasty, and the texture of the meat was perfect. A nice amount of tug off of the bone, not meat jello at all. Service was quick and friendly. Reading previous comments, I'm glad I was out of town a week ago. Sounds like they worked some kinks out. I will definitely be returning, but it's not like it's much of an effort.
  • Post #111 - December 27th, 2006, 9:15 pm
    Post #111 - December 27th, 2006, 9:15 pm Post #111 - December 27th, 2006, 9:15 pm
    I returned to Smoque for a 2nd try of the brisket for lunch today. I also had a pulled pork sandwich, slaw, beans and mac 'n cheese. The sides remain outstanding, though I still wish they would all a bit of heat to the beans to balance out the sweet profile (a minor quibble). On the brisket front, I feel they totally redeemed themselves after my initial less than optimal experience. The pork sandwich was good enough, but today's brisket was fatty, moist and damn good. Next time I want some brisket and I don't have a spare 10 hours to cook my own, I'll be back to Smoque. For my money, they serve the best commercial brisket in Chicago.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #112 - December 28th, 2006, 9:23 am
    Post #112 - December 28th, 2006, 9:23 am Post #112 - December 28th, 2006, 9:23 am
    I stopped in for dinner last night since with the holiday season the diversion up the Kennedy from my normal downtown-DuPage I55 route wouldn't be too awful. Got there after 6 so I could park on Pulaski.

    I ordered a 1/2 chopped 1/2 sliced brisket platter, and the $4 1/4 St. Louis rib add-on, no sides.

    Having been warned about the brisket maybe being dry, I dove in. The taste was excellent, and the center of the sliced pieces were a little dry (and got the sauce) while the edges of the brisket were fantastic. I wish they had a "beef and a half" version like the Italian Beef houses do. Even a little dry, the sliced brisket cut with my plastic fork.

    The St. Louis ribs were fantastic as well, needing a very little dab of sauce to be enjoyed.

    They were doing a very brisk business for a Wednesday night, not full, but busy. Smoque and Honey 1 make two sides of a BBQ coin, I like both but would go back to them for different things. Or, if I didn't live so far away that taking it home became problematic, I'd carry-out from both for the same party.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #113 - December 28th, 2006, 9:05 pm
    Post #113 - December 28th, 2006, 9:05 pm Post #113 - December 28th, 2006, 9:05 pm
    Nice review G wiv. I haven't been to this spot yet but it does sound good. I love bbq, both eating it and preparing it. Anyone know what they're cooking with back there?
    “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are”

    Brillat-Savarin
  • Post #114 - December 28th, 2006, 9:33 pm
    Post #114 - December 28th, 2006, 9:33 pm Post #114 - December 28th, 2006, 9:33 pm
    MacMyRoni wrote:Nice review G wiv. I haven't been to this spot yet but it does sound good. I love bbq, both eating it and preparing it. Anyone know what they're cooking with back there?


    It's a Southern Pride using wood (not chips).
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #115 - December 28th, 2006, 10:21 pm
    Post #115 - December 28th, 2006, 10:21 pm Post #115 - December 28th, 2006, 10:21 pm
    Do we need more Smoque opinions at this point? Probably not, but here's mine.

    I can say the same things about Smoque that I can say about Fat Willy's:

    I like the brisket, I don't like the ribs, the mac & cheese is great, and it's a nice place for the neighborhood.

    My sliced brisket was moist and tender and had good flavor. I can see myself eating this again.

    The ribs, both back ribs and spares, had a spongy-soft texture that I really dislike. In fact, I prefer boil-and-bake, meat-jello textured ribs to this texture. I also didn't like the rub which had kind of an earthy taste to it without much spice at all. I ate one of each rib style and didn't want to touch another one.

    I went with my friend Mitch who is a serious consumer of food, but I never pegged him to have discriminating tastes. When we left he said, "If I go back, it'll be a brisket sandwich with mac & cheese and fries." He surprised me and hit the nail on the head. That's a good meal he described and I'm happy it's available in my part of town.

    Oh yeah, and I love the crisp, vinegary cole slaw. That's my favorite style of slaw.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #116 - December 28th, 2006, 10:54 pm
    Post #116 - December 28th, 2006, 10:54 pm Post #116 - December 28th, 2006, 10:54 pm
    stevez wrote:
    MacMyRoni wrote:Nice review G wiv. I haven't been to this spot yet but it does sound good. I love bbq, both eating it and preparing it. Anyone know what they're cooking with back there?


    It's a Southern Pride using wood (not chips).


    It seems like they're a benchmark of sorts. The first time I saw a Southern Pride was in a friends BBQ joint in FL. I asked him where it was made and he reluctantly but knowingly said "Land of Lincoln." Too funny.
    “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are”

    Brillat-Savarin
  • Post #117 - December 29th, 2006, 5:39 pm
    Post #117 - December 29th, 2006, 5:39 pm Post #117 - December 29th, 2006, 5:39 pm
    With Brisket on my mind, I decided to give Smoque another chance. If I wasn't in the same room, I'd say it was a different restaurant. The brisket is now outstanding.

    I ordered 1/2 sliced brisket sandwich, sauce on the side with fries. This is what I paid for. (I also asked for both sauces, as the KS wasn't offered the first day I was there)

    I received. 1/2 sliced brisket sandwich, 1/2 chopped brisket sandwich both with sauce on them and a side of carolina sauce, fries. I commented that I had ordered sauce on the side, but I wasn't particularly upset, they do have a light hand. The owner offered to remake it, but I was in a hurry and really it was fine, I just wanted to try the other sauce.

    Being able to try the two textures was nice, I think I prefer the chopped, which was almost "pulled". It held the meat juices better than the sliced. More fat was defiitely visible. I never would have ordered it, fearing it would come out like a Maid-rite. The KC sauce is good, sweet and vinegary at the same time and a little thicker. The Carolina sauce has evolved as well - brighter vinegar flavor and alot less pepper.

    About 5 minutes into my lunch, the owner stopped by with a peach cobbler and apologized again. I thanked him, let him know it really was fine but I appreciated it and that the meal I enjoyed today was 10 times better than the one I had on their second day. He thanked me and let me know they were fine tuning things. If only they had brewed Iced Tea instead of the concentrate machine, I would be there at least weekly.

    And the egg buns...so perfect for the sandwich - they really hold up.

    I have to agree with eatchicago though, the ribs are just not for me. I can turn out better ones on my El Cheapo Brinkmann.
  • Post #118 - December 29th, 2006, 9:26 pm
    Post #118 - December 29th, 2006, 9:26 pm Post #118 - December 29th, 2006, 9:26 pm
    Tried Smoque for the first time tonight. I don't have much to add to this already extensive thread, but I will say that my wife and I enjoyed the meal and we will definitely be returning.

    Cool sighting--the great Hot Doug was there, chatting it up with one of the owners. I felt a little civic pride seeing that: I love dining in this city of wonderful independent restaurants run by discerning perfectionists who seem to really love their customers and food in general.
  • Post #119 - December 30th, 2006, 11:27 am
    Post #119 - December 30th, 2006, 11:27 am Post #119 - December 30th, 2006, 11:27 am
    We were there too!

    I restrained myself from taking paparazzi shots of Doug :) or telling him that Griffin and I had been engaged in encasing our own meats all day.

    A couple new views: we ordered the brisket platter but failed to specify sliced, so we were served a chopped brisket platter. Smoque was hitting on all cylinders and the brisket pile had some nice bits of bark (a plus for getting the chopped!) It was not quite as moist as the pulled pork, but the vinegary tomato sauce brightened the brisket right up!

    Chopped Brisket (Left), Pulled Pork (Right)
    ImageImage

    We thought the pulled pork was moist and smoky and excellent. We had recently tried Calvin's for the first time, and while we were pleased with pulled pork we got there ($9 per pound, especially good doctored up with Your Pal Will's recommended (GWiv) mustard vinegar sauce). The Smoque version was head and shoulders above.

    The coleslaw was lovely, fresh crisp strips of cabbage in a vinegar base. This version and finely chopped mayo-based versions should really have different names to avoid confusion. (In PA Dutch Country they differentiate the two when both are available, and call this "vinegar slaw".) Having cut my teeth on pulled pork in Carolina, this was the version I enjoy with my pork.

    The fries were also great, served in their own grease soaked mini lunch bag. Nicely browned. Not the soggy mess one often gets under a pile of ribs or hotlinks.

    Image

    Also here's some love for the mac n cheese, served in its own little oven reheatable cup (great idea for a number of reasons -- you are guaranteed your share of "topping" and you can take it home and reheat in the toaster oven which is preferable to the microwave). Inside is a creamy bechamel-type base, topped with tasty real cheddar and bread crumbs. I like a little more browning/burnt on my edges -- but the quality cheese on the top made this a fine example.

    The place was packed but tables turned over quickly. Service was very friendly and the owner worked the room when he had a spare moment. I hope he could tell by the empty trays and full stomachs that everyone's joy was genuine. Many folks were BYOBing, just a note that you should BYO glassware too if that's important to you.

    Yum!
  • Post #120 - December 30th, 2006, 12:55 pm
    Post #120 - December 30th, 2006, 12:55 pm Post #120 - December 30th, 2006, 12:55 pm
    Stopped by Smoque around 8:00 last night for my third visit to only find they were out of brisket. The place was jammed and hopping with wine bottles on several tables. (Wine and Que? Hmph)

    Only caring so far for their brisket and sides decided to continue on to the superb Honey One for a large Tips. The usual porkcstacy followed. Only wish for the sake of great Que that there were a few more diners to accompany me. There were 2 newcomers who were quickly becoming converts though. I find it disheartening that often times, the actual quality of the Que, seems to take a back seat to things like the sides or sauce in determining, at least, the popularity of so many barbecue places. Not a knock on Smoque which seems to have some potential but already seems to be headed in a different demographic direction.

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