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Smoke Joint -- already on the decline?

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After enjoying a number of wonderful meals from the Smoke joint over the past 2 months or so, I'm starting to wonder whether all the "tinkering" they're said to be doing is making things worse. Their short ribs, mentioned specifically by Asimov(?) in his review a while back used to be sublime; 2 nights ago they consisted of 2 rather small dry, chewy pieces of meat, not the generous, succulent fall-off-the-bones offering just a few weeks ago. Ditto the hacked chicken. The beans, while never "great," were at least pleasant. Now I'd prefer a can of Bush's. I don't know what's going on with the sauces, but it's akin to russian roulette -- you're never quite sure what you're going to get. The only thing that's stayed fairly consistent (and good) is the greens. I don't eat pork, so I can't comment on the ribs.

Isn't it a little early for a restaurant to fall off so dramatically and so quickly? I REEAALLYY want these guys to do well, since it's a relatively short walk for me, but my meal on Sunday was disappointing.

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  1. Did you speak with the owners? They are very friendly and open to comments from their customers. An important way to keep new restaurants from going downhill is by letting the owners/managers know. This also applies to a kitchen's inconsistency.

    I'm planning to eat there this weekend so I'll report back.

    4 Replies
    1. re: wojohowitz

      I do take-out, so speaking with the owners after a disappointing meal isn't possible.

      1. re: Clinton Hiller

        Maybe Sunday is cook's day off?

        in a small operation that can make a big diff. These guys care - Id communicate with them and not write it off after one poor meal.

        1. re: jen kalb

          That's a very good point about Sundays. And I haven't written them off -- it's a nice place with a good vibe. I'm just trying to understand the changes.

        2. re: Clinton Hiller

          Just cause you get take-out doesn't mean you can't give them feedback. Either call and let them know or call and ask for an email address and email them.

      2. I had the opposite experience. My first meal there, a few months back, was hugely disappointing - I chalked up all the initial rave reviews to people wanting this place to be good, rather than it actually being good. The short ribs I got the first time were literally nothing but fat and grizzle - almost to the point of being inedible. Got them last week again and they were, to use a word of the poster, sublime. Tender, generous, flavorful meat - and large portions.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dcardoni

          That's good to hear -- I'll try them again next week, but not a Sunday, as jen kalb suggests

        2. FWIW, I have found the consistency of Brooklyn BBQ to be a problem. Dallas BBQ is consistently Ok but never really fantastic.

          1. their baked beans had the consistency of refried beans. their ribs were blackened, not smokey. except for the mac and cheese, there is little to be interested in here. one poster put it best: 'its far from a destination place but its nice to have some bbq in the area.'

            1. we were looking foward to trying this place after all of the praise, but it was pretty underwhelming. beef short ribs were fairly tender but not very flavorful and the spare ribs were very bland and pretty chewy. the wings were great, though, and i liked the accompanying "hollapeno" sauce quite a bit. as for the sides, the smoky greens and the vinegar slaw were decent but i wouldn't order either again. the creamy slaw looked much better. as everyone has said, staff were very friendly.

              1. We finally tried the Smoke Joint on Friday night and thought it was great. Had a full rack of spare ribs and they were incredibly meaty, tender, juicy, with a nice crust--really finger-lickin' good. Didn't even really need the two sauces, actually I was underwhelmed by both of the sauces and felt that was the one weak item. They need to work on the sauces. The smokey greens were great, as was the mac n' cheese (really cheesy!) and the baked beans were good too, with chunks of sausage in them. If this place were closer to me I'd be taking out from there often!