A little while back I was researching BBQ joints in the city when I came across Smoque. It had a ton of great reviews and had been featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”. (You can see the segment here.) It looked pretty darn good so I thought I should probably give it a go.
What I learned from the show is that the guy that opened this place had little restaurant experience and no professional cooking experience. He was just an IT guy who decided he’d “rather make ribs”. So he and a couple of his buddies traveled around the country figuring out BBQ. They decided not on one style, but a variety of styles from the likes of Texas, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. Kinda cool, I thought.
The other great thing about the menu is that there are plenty of different combo options for maximum sampling. We ended up with 3 meats and 3 sides between 2 of us.
The St. Louis Ribs were definitely delicious. The held together when you needed them to but were super tender to bite into. Good and smoky with plenty of sauce for dipping.
Here you see our half and half sandwich. It’s pulled pork in the foreground and sliced brisket behind. Both delish but for me, hands down, the brisket wins the grand prize. I’d go so far as to say that next time, I’d skip the others and eat A LOT of brisket.
We were less enthused over all with the sides, especially the beans. Kind of disappointing after watching the video and getting excited to try them. They were just way too sweet for me. The slaw, too, was a little less than exciting.
The mac ‘n’ cheese, however, merits its own picture. This was dangerously delicious. All I had to say about it was, “Oh my God. This is what mac ‘n’ cheese is supposed to taste like?” I’ve never been a mac ‘n’ cheese person but maybe because I’ve never had a good one. Until now. It was creamy and cheesy and moist. Not at all dry and sticky with pasta so overcooked it’s impossible to stab, like most versions I’ve tasted in the past. This one was worth the calories!
I have to say that I’m a little sad that we didn’t try the peach cobbler. Oh, well. Next time.
The place is obviously a quick-serve restaurant. Very casual as you can see by the styrofome containers and plastic ramekins. You order at the counter and hope that there’s a seat available for the ‘host’ to direct you to. They’ll call your number in a few minutes for you to go up an retrieve your food on a cafeteria tray.
I think we must’ve walked in at just the right moment because as soon as we sat down, the line had stretched all the way out the door. The good news is that these guys crank it out so even if you do have to wait, it’s not for long. But that also applies to you so just know that this is not a place to linger. It’s just understood that you are expected to get up the immediately after you’ve finished. Understandable, though.
The Short Version (Out of 10)…
Service: 9 (friendly and fast)
Ambiance: 6 (it’s not about the ambiance)