Smoque N’ Nights and Southern Delights
“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start” – Anthony Bourdain
Savory. Traditional. Southern comfort. These are just a few words used to describe Smoque N’ Bones BBQ and Bourbon Bar.
This cozy BBQ joint located on Queen Street West in Toronto’s exciting art and design district takes pride in offering authenticity to their customers as soon as they step through the door. From their classic Southern BBQ menu to their moody dining lights that date back to WWII, tradition certainly does not go unnoticed at Smoque N’ Bones!
Let’s get seated!
In restaurants with open kitchens, my favourite spot is right at the high-tops so I can be in front of all the action. After all, who doesn’t love a dinner and a show? Watching the chefs at Smoque N’ Bones pour their hearts into each dish, making it from scratch and smoking their meat in-house, makes me enjoy the wait almost as much as the food itself!
We ordered the sampler for two, which includes: a choice of 3 meats + any 3 sides. Unable to make any wrong decisions with their menu, we chose to go with the 1/2 rack of ribs, 1/4 lb pulled pork, and 1/2 chicken. As for the sides, we were drawn to their beet salad (that’s right – you can have it as a side!) and their crispy golden onion rings. Our final choice of side was obvious to us – after all, a BBQ is not complete without coleslaw!
Time to dig into these Southern delights!
Bibs fastened and sleeves rolled, we were ready to dig right in. The sides arrived first. While the accompaniments are only second to the entrees, Smoque N’ Bones have ensured that all their sides are just as delightful as their mains. Deliciously crispy, the onion rings had the perfect layer of buttermilk batter fried to a golden brown. Their vinegar-based coleslaw had the perfect balance of cream – I absolutely hate coleslaw that is drenched in mayonnaise. Lastly, their beet salad with crumbled goat cheese, scallions, and pecans added the summery feel necessary in a classic BBQ.
Finally the main event had arrived, beginning with the pulled pork. Smoked for 18 hours and delivered nude, the pulled pork was almost buttery in texture. Next up: pork ribs. Smoked for 2.5 hours and then grilled over an open flame, the rib meat was so tender that it practically fell off its bone. Lastly, the BBQ chicken arrived. Offering a mix of white and dark meat, Smoque N’ Bones smokes their chicken for 1.5 hours. The result is deliciously crispy skin and incredibly juicy meat. The best part? Their sauces! Not only is it absolutely delicious, but Smoque N’ Bones always adds extra sauce on the side, each specific to its dish. Blending Southern BBQ styles from Memphis, Texas, Kansas, and the Carolinas with our city’s own local style, Smoque N’ Bones creates a unique flavour that makes this restaurant stand out in the busy streets of Toronto.
Wet My Whistle
Although I didn’t get the chance to go upstairs to their bourbon bar, KOHL, I did enjoy a couple of customized drinks whipped up just for me. I am truly impressed. Our server managed to tailor my drink based on only 3 words: gin, sweet, and fresh. Fully stocked with various liquors and bitters, he invented a drink that perfectly fits my tastes. Served in a vintage coupe glass, my gin-based drink had the zesty scent of lime but the sweetness of elderflower. Although my cocktail was not a keynote, the food was definitely not the only memorable aspect to this Smoque N’ evening!
Overall, I had a delightful Southern style dinner at Smoque N’ Bones. The food was delicious, the staff was friendly & knowledgeable, and their restaurant was clean. At times, servers would approach us asking the same few questions. So although staff communication could be improved, I’m pleased that their staff is so focused on ensuring that customers’ needs are met and that they’re happy. So if you’re looking for a nice BBQ joint and a little southern comfort, give Smoque N’ Bones a try. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!