by Michael Goodberry
On Veterans Day, I went to Smokey Bones BBQ with my father.
Walking up to the restaurant, I noticed the outside looked modern with neon lights. Yet, it still looked old fashioned with the brick siding. On the inside the restaurant feels like a family friendly bar. The lights are heavily dimmed while there are neon lights around the bar with television screens everywhere showing any sport event you want to see.
Although the large bar is the first thing seen when you walk in the booths for families somehow takes up more room.
We were seated at a tall table with tall chairs and I ordered a blackberry lemonade, which is always perfect. It starts sweet due to the blackberries then has a tart after taste. I ordered their pulled pork, St. Louis style ribs with a side of French fries mac and cheese. While waiting we tried the sauces they put out on the table.
The food arrived and everything was cooked perfectly. The pulled pork was juicy and tender and the sauces on the table added to the flavor while highlighting the natural flavor of the pork. I had a hard time choosing between the sauces. Classic Kansas City sauce that is a tomato-based sauce with flavors that are sweet, smoky, and had the right amount of twang to it. The Carolina mopping sauce was another favorite that is an apple vinegar based sauce that had an acidic level to it, yet remained sweet and helped bring out and enhance the natural pork flavor. I alternated sauces with each bite.
After I finished the pulled pork, I dug into the fries because most fries do not reheat well. They serve a thick stake fry that is fried to a perfect golden brown then perfectly salted and seasoned.
The mac and cheese is very buttery and very cheesy. They add a lot of fresh cheese and melt the cheese so the side dish is very stringy. The mac and cheese also incorporates some seasoning I could not put my finger on. Whatever it might have been, the seasoning was a great addition that made the mac and cheese seem fancier than normal.
By this point, I was very full and I was struggling to eat more. I managed to take a few bites of the St. Louis ribs. They were high quality ribs with a nice bark (the dark char most good BBQ has that holds most spices and smoky flavor). The sauce was great; it was like the Kansas City sauce with more of a spicy kick that was very noticeable but not too overpowering. While I was picking at my ribs the waiter brought over free doughnuts and informed my father there was a ten percent discount because my father served in the military.
I did not have to chance to try the doughnuts because everything else was so filling. Overall Smokey Bones is easily one of the top BBQ spot in the northeast with great food and great service and I always enjoy eating there.