I'll admit to being fascinated by the smoked vs. deep-fried throw down over on Grub Street. For me, there’s no question. Fried anything beats all (in fact, just two nights ago there was an impromptu canned biscuit frying session that erupted in my kitchen). I’ll dabble in the smokier side every now and then but I’m not passionate about barbecue. Though after seeing Little Children (admittedly, a more conventionally satisfying film than Old Joy, the last one I saw. I can’t resist those movies about nothing, especially when they’re steeped in northwest-ness) at BAM, it seemed silly not to check out nearly new Smoke Joint up the block.
For once, our timing was right. There was only one other table occupied and the order counter was free and clear. Of course, after we grabbed a four-seater and our food arrived, the fairly small space became completely swarmed and guilt set in for occupying a large table with two unused chairs (but then I force myself into inconsiderate, oblivious NYC mode and all is well). The circumstances did cause me to eat faster than usual. At prime dining times, I can see the set up definitely lending itself to take out.
It probably wasn’t the wisest to order two pork dishes but it happened. We tried the ribs and the hacked pork. The loose meat came with coleslaw and an assortment of pickles. The bones stood alone. I didn’t have a problem with either, though the ribs had a slight edge over the shredded meat, which leaned towards dry. Or maybe that was just the relentlessness of pure unadulterated flesh that got to me. I had to intersperse bites with the cabbage and cukes to stay sharp. We rounded out the meat with fries and corn on the cob, both chile spiced.
For the record, they serve Blue Point Toasted Ale in bottles and it tasted nothing like the problem pint at Sheep Station. (I have no qualms about Sheep Station, if it were walking distance, I’d pop in every now and then, but I was amused by this line in last week’s New York Times review, “Make sure the tap lines at the bar are clean!” Ahem.)
Smoke Joint * 87 South Elliott Pl., Brooklyn, NY