Thank you for all your suggestions! I was surprised to see the place buzzing, even on a Wed night. Our party of 6 ordered:
1 Chipotle Chicken Wings with Creamy Blue Cheese Dip
3 Rib Samplers
2 Blue Smoke Burgers
1 Creamed Spinach
1 Sweet Potato Fries with Maple Dip
1 Spicy Cheese Fries
1 Macaroni & Cheese
Personally I enjoyed the burgers (so thick, so juicy!) over the rib samplers, but the ribs were decent too. My boyfriend really enjoyed the maple dip that came w/ the sweet potato fries. I usually love mac and cheese and creamed spinach, and I found both sides to be good, but nothing amazing. Next time around, I wouldnt do the spicy cheese fries -- since the burgers came w/ sides of fries! Wish we did the barbecue chips, but next time around...
No room for dessert unfortunately.
As a born-and-bread southerner, this place touches me in a funny place that only collard greens made with good hambone can. My BF loves the frybread, I'm not so keen (it is after all an unsugared donut). I do not like mac n' cheese as a rule, but hold that rule when at Blue Smoke. It's delicious. Be sure to share a side, as it's verrrry rich.
I can't agree on the ceasar, though. I thought it limp and lackluster. But then, I take extreme issue with restaurants serving ceasars who do not DRY the lettuce before tossing it with the dressing. In my very conservatively-bent-in-all-matters-ceasar-mind, there is a delicate proportion and texture that the perfect ceasar exhibits, and BS doesn't make one.
I do however highly recommend trying whatever special salad they offer as a first course. The last few times I've been, they've been incredible. One was a fried green tomato salad -- and let me just tell you that my grandma didn't make better f.g.t. The other was a true chowie dream: high and low cuisine mixed in a watermelon salad: slices of watermelon stacked up with goat cheese, balsamic reduction, and greens. Beautiful, delicious, and a good way to begin what will probably be the heaviest meal of your life.
Agree on the St. Louis Spareribs--best of the bunch. Pulled pork didn't blow my skirt up, as I felt it was a little OVER smoked/marinated. Too saucy, and falling-off-the-bone shouldn't mean dissolving-on-my-fork. The fish dishes are great, though less traditional.
Oh, and the fruit cobblers....sigh.
Best cocktail, if you're a Pimms fan, is the Porch Swing. Sometimes we go just to have that.
Appetizers - Chipotle Wings, Hush Puppies and Fry Bread. And some of the NC Salt Peanuts.
Entrees - I love the Texas Beef Ribs there. And they have the best burger in the city, in my opinion. Also the moist brisket is pretty good too. For specials, I had the country fried steak and it was good, as well. I don't particularly like the smoked chicken which is part of the Rhapsody in Cue.
Sides - Mac and Cheese is pretty much the only side I get every time I go there.
The absolute musts are the mac and cheese and the fry bread. I can't even walk within 3 blocks of Blue Smoke without ordering those. You're gonna need more than one of each. Deviled eggs also make a great appetizer.
As for the entrees, everything is slightly-above-average. Order whatever you generally like. A rib sampler or pulled pork sandwich is always a safe bet, but the daily specials are usually better.
An absolute must is the barbecue potato chips starter, even if you don't like barbecue potato chips. The deviled eggs and the sausage sampler are also two great starters.
I honestly think that Blue Smoke has one of the best ceasar salads ever, so if you're a fan, give it a shot.
As for entrees, just about all the ribs are good. My favorite is probably the St. Louis Spareribs. My girlfriends parents say that their fried chicken is the best they've ever had, although I don't find anything that remarkable about it personally. Then again, I'm not too keen on fried chicken in general.
Great place though, enjoy!