Monday, September 17, 2012

Smokey Joe's

OK. When I think of BBQ. I think of smoked pork with a equal amounts of love, flavor and portions. Southern BBQ is one of my all time favorite foods to eat, it is my comfort food. Just great food all together. My issue with this type of food is that everyone thinks that they can copy it or pass theirs off as an alternative. This is one of those instances of trying to make something more than what it is.

When I go a restaurant that claims to have southern BBQ, I expect to feel like a place of BBQ. I would expect to smell the smokey grill and pork in the air. I expect the place to be everything anyone would expect a BBQ place.

Smokey Joe's is located in New Jersey in the town of Teaneck. I had heard that this place had some inspired BBQ dishes. I had my doubts, they were to be confirmed.

I walk into the establishment and I was not so kindly greeted by some man. He gave me a look as if I were out of place or I walked into the wrong restaurant. I shrugged it off and proceeded to my table. As he left he told me that my server will be out shortly to greet me. I assumed shortly meant within 2 min. I was at my table waiting for about 10 min before I had attention. I know what you are thinking, there must have been a lot of people there. No there wasn't, there was one other family there. So it wasn't that this guy was too busy. When the waiter approached he did not introduce himself or welcome me either to the restaurant. I proceed their "signature" dish, brisket with sweet potato wedges and vegetables.

That is what I had to deal with at first. Let me talk about everything else. The decoration and layout felt more like a place to eat Mediterranean or Spanish food. The walls were colored with a color only to be described as pumpkin. Music being played seemed a better fit for Temple then a southern BBQ place. Oh yes I forgot to mention that this place was Kosher. 

While I waited for the food they brought out some cornbread and some type of preserve. The cornbread was fresh and hot, but it was too dry. The preserve was very well made. It was sweet and savory, it complimented the cornbread very well.

I also wanted to touch on their menu. It was big, confusing and with very little selection. Their food was very poorly marked off. I had to read the menu several times to actually find some other dishes.

The food finally comes out and I was fairly excited. It came out faster than I had expected.

Yes, it looks good, but you know what they say about looks they can trick you. I started with the vegetables. They were very well prepared. The flavor was there. Then I moved onto the brisket. The first bite was great. I had to kind of take a step back of how good it was, but I also realized that I was very hungry at that point. So I continued to eat and realized all the faults. There was not enough sauce. The sauce really made the plate amazing. It really brought out the flavor and texture of the brisket. The issue was that there was not enough. I don't know why they didn't use it more on the meat. I am sure it was not to overpower or take away from the meat itself. As I ate I realized that the brisket was overcooked. It was taking me more time to chew the meat. I was hypnotized by the sauce. I am going to guess that the sauce has a lot of Asian influence to it. It was sweet and savory, it didn't really taste like traditional "gravy". So I asked for more of it so I can power through the meal. It saved the meal all together. Then I came upon one slice that did NOT have any sauce. I was curious. I ate a slice and was immediately turned off. It was overcooked, dry and tasted almost like cardboard. I immediately put the sauce on it to cove the taste up.

Here is the score
Service: 1
Food: 2
Decor: 1
Price: 1
Total: 1.25

I do not recommend going to this place. They are trying very hard to be something that BBQ is not. They tried to make it fancy and sophisticated.

My final note. I left the restaurant hungry. That is a shame on them. BBQ is known for its large portions and heartiness. I should have left that place satisfied and full. Instead I left hungry, disappointed and broke. The meal cost me $30 with tip.


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