About a year ago, a restaurant called Smoque was reviewed on our local TV restaurant review show. It got high marks. It should. I hesitate to highlight it here lest it become overrun with barbecue hounds. Then again, the lack of comments on my posts suggests that teeming hordes are not clamoring to read my blog, so maybe we're safe.
Another little place opened in our neighborhood a couple months ago. They serve the ubiquitous Chicago specialty "Italian Beef" (roast beef sliced paper thin and simmered in a broth heavy with spices and herbs, served on a hearty roll with some of the "jus" and "sport" peppers optional. I do not care for this delicacy even when it is well prepared. This place, well, soaking leftover sliced beef in hot water just doesn't cut it. Even if they try to spare the customer from eating bad beef by serving miserly portions.
Likewise their "barbecue pulled pork sandwich" was a major disappointment. Some kind of pork, cooked and pseudo shredded, scantily dabbed on a doughy bun with a smidgen of commercial barbecue sauce - uh, ya, no!
This place, so close, makes me glad to know that when I want GOOD barbecue, I can get it. At Smoque, not here! Smoque serves up delicious shredded pork or sliced brisket, cooked/smoked to melting tenderness and each served with an appropriate sauce, engineered especially for the taste and texture of the meat. Each is served on a glossy crusted roll with hand cut fries. We usually get one of each sandwich, cut each in half and swap, and divvy up the generous portion of well cooked fries.
We have not yet tried the chicken or ribs. I have no reason to think they will not be delicious. Apart from an excellent vinegary cole slaw, the other sides we have sampled are, in my humble opinion, unnecessary - good mac & cheese and cornbread and serviceable beans. The dessert, an individual peach cobbler, could not stand up to the memory of dad's homemade cobbler, cooked in a cast iron dutch oven in the campfire. I'd rather have more fries or another bite of that brisket.
I know some people believe that "real barbecue" cannot be had in Chicago. I don't care about that. I care about good. The barbecue at Smoque, real or imaginary, is good.
Here's a hint. Call ahead and place your order. When you breeze in (if you can find a place to park) and sail past those in line, you will enjoy their dismay that they did not think of it too!
Quotable Quotes; in the category Can't talk, eating!
"Smoke is the soul of true barbecue". Steven Raichlen, Barbecue University