I have been in the food business for the last 15 years as a restaurant owner, employee, and caterer and also traveled the world sampling all the good (and bad) food out there, including the best that the US has to offer in terms of BBQ from the south etc. I know a good place when I eat there. I saw this place from Hwy 1 last week and decided to give it a try. Smoqe is a total original.
Me and a friend walked in at about 5pm on a Saturday night and the place was packed with 5 people waiting in line to order. There is not another restaurant that can claim that right now. I was expecting the worst based on some pretty harsh reviews that I saw on urbanspoon and yelp but went in with an open mind. The service is over the counter...they give you a number and then they serve you at the table. EXCEPT...once you are seated servers will get you drinks and desserts if you want. Pretty cool.
I ordered oysters on the half ($11), 16 oz ribeye steak w/ chipotle butter ($21), sweet potato fries($4), wedge salad ($6), glass of Dover Canyon zinfandel and a slice of lemon meringue pie.
I'll break this down per item.
Oysters: beautiful presentation on a long, thin plate. 6 super fresh steamboat oysters on rock salt w/ lemons, cocktail sauce and serrano pepper mignonette. I have never had steamboats but they are my new favorite. They are med size, light, briny with a deep thin shell. According to the owner they are from Puget Sound in Washington State. I was very impressed to have not only something I hadn't had before but to have it in a BBQ/pizza joint.
Ribeye Steak: I used to live in Austin Texas and have got my carnivore on at Austin land, Backstage, Ruth Chris etc…I am a steak fanatic and super critic. Folks…the ribeye at Smoqe is the best steak I have had in years. Seared perfectly in the 700 degree wood fired oven, this is red meat heaven. Expertly executed to med rare w/ a big chunk of chipotle butter melting I cut into this huge steak and the juices literally poured out. Sweet Baby Jesus I am in love.
Sweet potato fries: totally great. Crispy, fresh and sweet with out the coating that most restaurants use.
Wedge Salad: Big wedge of Iceburg w/ house-made Roquefort, sourdough crouts, grape tomatoes, crispy garlic. Totally fresh, excellent dressing with big chunks of Roquefort cheese. Great with the ribeye.
Dover Cyn "Cujo" Zinfandel: Recommended by Josh at the front counter. This is another item that Smoqe offers that I have not had. This is a beautiful big Zin from Paso Robles. Full bodied, fruit forward with a mellow oak. Worked real well with the steak.
Lemon Meringue Pie: What a way to finish! Lemon pie on steroids. I have never had a lemon meringue this good. Super lemony pie, flaky crust topped with the most amazing brown sugar Italian meringue…it stands about 8 inches high and is on another level.
Terrible service and mediocre food.
Friday night 8:00 stopped in for some BBQ and woodfire pizza. 3 people in our party. Ordered BBQ ribs and 2 cheese pizzas. We did not get our food until 9:30!! We had to chase down a service person to keep inquiring about our order. To add insult to injury, this meal was pricy. No thanks.