Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blue Smoke, NYC

Had a fabulous meal at Blue Smoke Saturday night. Blue Smoke, if you are not familiar, is part of the Danny Meyer empire of NYC restaurants. It had been on my list for a long time, and since my husband is a huge BBQ fan and it was his birthday, I thought this was the perfect excuse (like I ever need an excuse for venturing to a great restaurant)! 

No party is complete without proper cocktails, eh?  We arrived early so we could spend some time at the bar and what you see above is a perfect Mojito (him) along with a sublime Blood Orange Margarita (me).  The bar was packed but a band of attentive bartenders kept everybody happy. We ordered the Warm BBQ Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Bacon Dip as a proper accompaniment to our drinks.

Seated now, we prepared ourselves to be amazed by dinner, and it did not disappoint.  I ordered the Texas Salt and Pepper Beef Ribs, which were succulent, smoky and delicious. 

Barry indulged in the Sampler Plate: Memphis Baby Backs, Kansas City Spareribs and Texas Beef Ribs, only instead of the Texas Ribs he substituted the Pulled Pork.  The KC Spareribs were superb - juicy, spicy, and in a terrific sauce.  The Pulled Pork was amazing - tender, just vinegary enough, and probably the best I've ever had (and I've had great examples in North Carolina where it's their stock in trade).   We ordered three side dishes: Braised Collard Greens with Bacon, Hush Puppies with Jalapeno Marmalade, and Baked Pit Beans with Pork. I am not a huge fan of collards, but Barry was thrilled with it.  The hush puppies were outstanding - light and full of deliciously corny flavor with a not too spicy marmalade.  The beans were smoky and creamy.

True to form, the legendary Danny Meyer service was evident last night. The wait staff is friendly (without being overbearing), water glasses are quietly refilled without asking, drinks come when ordered, and all while the house is fully committed.  It's a sad commentary that this is the exception rather than the rule, but most restaurants cannot pull this off.  

To finish the meal, we thoroughly enjoyed the Key Lime Pie, a just tart enough, creamy custard served ice cold in a honey graham crust.  

NYC has an abundance of celebrity chefs and restauranteurs but they don't always live up to the hype.  Blue Smoke does.  Next on my Danny Meyer checklist: Maialino, his tribute to the summer he worked in Italy and without fail ordered "maialino" (roast suckling pig) every night for dinner.  All I can say is,  "andiamo!"