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Nov 18, 2007 06:18 PM

Smokey Joes in Teaneck

Am I the only who was not impressed at all by Smokey Joes and will not be going back...

Maybe it was a bad night...but I felt that the place pretty much stunk.

The service wasn't great, even though it wasn't too busy. The host was the only nice part of the place. He was eager to seat us right away. The server didn't seem to care what was going on and took forever for water, to take our order, etc....

The cornbread wasn't fresh. We ordered buffalo wings as an appetizer and they didn't have the sour cream sauce for it. The buffalo wings didn't taste any different than anywhere else.

My husband got the BBQ brisket sandwich. It was awful. The brisket was sliced paper thin and dried out and over doused with an awful sweet BBQ sauce. It was enedible.
My Portabello burger had no flavor. The fries were coldish. The sliced burger veggies that it came with looked as it had been transferred from someone elses plate.

It's really too bad. I was hoping this novelty restaurant would turn into a "go-to" place.

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  1. BS"D

    As with any restaurant, you'll find a spectrum of opinion. There have been negatives and positives written here in the past. It's pretty much been covered. I think the general concensus , though, has been that service was pretty good, so unless things have deteriorated fast, you probably just caught the server on an "off day". As far as the barbecue, as to the food, it looks like either you like it or you don't, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that it's consistent in terms of taste. I will say that brisket is difficult to smoke in such a way that the collagen breaks down without the meat getting somewhat dry, and you can find dry brisket in any nonkosher BBQ joint as well, even those known for their excellent brisket. And one of the past criticisms of SJ has been the sweet sauce, though it has also been one of the things that some people like best. But aside from BBQ, SJ does a variety. Good things have been written about the brisket chili, good things have been written about their burger, about their chicken mole.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ganeden

      If you go to their website you can send them comments about the food, of course they only seem to post the good comments but I'm sure they are reading the bad as well:

    2. I'm sorry you had a bad experience there. Frankly, I think most reviewers are so dissapointed how far downhill Dougies has gone, that anything better by comparison is considered great. Perhaps Joe's is experiencing a similar slide... Let's hope not. The owner is usually there, and you really should tactfully give him your feedback under the premise he'll try to make it up to you, and perhaps be more vigilant with quality control.

      1. I went a few months ago and we were quite diassappointed. Th eportions especially left a lot to be desired. A tiny bowl of the "special" cole slaw could not have had more than two forkfuls, a small piece of cornbread, etc. I ordered a "large" order of ribs, was quite surprised when I received four small bony pieces. What would a regular order be? The meat was definitely over rated, way over rated. I have made homemade pulled beef sandwiches that are way better than anything we had there.

        1. We walked in tonight (Sunday) at about 5 PM. We were two people with no reservations. One table was occupied. Someone asked us how many we were and asked us to wait a moment. About two minutes later, someone approached us and asked us if we had reservations. When we said no he said very loudly that they were completely booked and could not seat us that night and then proceeded to warmly greet the people behind us. Needless to say this left a really bad taste in our mouths-- we would have sat at the counter had they offered it to us, or even waited a few minutes to see if there were cancellations. I've never eaten anywhere that wouldn't seat you, even they have to make you wait a long time. I'm not sure I want to go back and try it.

          6 Replies
          1. re: curly0114

            in all fairness, Sunday night is every restaurants busiest night,
            and most probably they booked a party or two, so despite
            being empty when you arrived, I'm sure they had a business
            reason to turn you away, however distressing it may be.
            fortunately there are many Kosher places on that block,
            so I'm sure this didn't upset your dinner plans very much.

            1. re: Joe Berger

              I totally understand this. BUt there was something very off-putting about the way he told us that both my husband and I noticed. We were more bothered by this than the fact that they had no room.

              1. re: curly0114

                We too were at the restaurant last night (Sunday) as a party of six. As expected it was crowded B"H, and while we had reservations we did have to wait. I'm a regular restaurant frequenter - this week alone it was three. (Four of us don't live anywhere near Bergen County). Over the years you can write books about restaurants, their service, food, atmosphere and even their rest rooms. The proprietor Smokey Joe went out of his way, over and above the norm to make us feel comfortable and welcome with some appetizers. The service was good - the food was good, only one 'wish I ordered something else'. This guy will make it bacause he truly knows how to treat people. Kol H'Kovod. There will always be unhappy people, some justified and some not. I'm sure if you went in during the week you can have any table you wanted and be seated immediately. Be thankful you have such a wonderful, certainly change of pace - clean and good food with reasonable prices right in your backyard. Ata boy Joe ! .

                1. re: RichardGee

                  All I meant to say is that he could have handled the situation in a much nicer way. He could have called us aside and told us that he had no room, or told us to come back at 9:00, instead he basically shouted it in our faces, in front of others too, in a way that said "we don't really care about your business," That just left a bad taste in our mouths about the place. I also am a regular restaurant frequenter and have never experienced this. Restaurants always try to accommodate our party of two somehow, and this gives us the choice of whether we want to stay or not.

                  I am also surprised that after my experience Sunday your party was made to wait. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of turning away people without reservations?

                  I probably will go back and try it (I live in Teaneck) just to see for myself if it is worth all the hype.

                  1. re: curly0114

                    I hear you. That kind of treatment is not tolerable. If and when you do go back, and you should - during your meal you should call him over and call the incident to his attention - you'd be remiss not to. As far as our reservations, there was a party with 'nudgie' kids, the poor children were hungry and cranky too. So we accommodated. No one wants to listen to kids screaming.

                    Tonight we're off to Highland Park.

                    1. re: RichardGee

                      For those Chowhounders, who are not satisfied with Smokey Joes, you have the opportunity to air your grievances by emailing them at


                      They do respond.

          2. So here's what I don't understand. Their website says they're glatt kosher. Yet their menu features chicken wings with sour cream sauce. Huh? You got your meat and your dairy together on the same table? And they serve ribs. Uh, what sort of ribs? The menu says they serve a half rack and a full rack -- so they can't be serving beef ribs, because it would take a big crew o'hungry folks to polish off a rack of beef ribs. So -- lamb ribs? Deer ribs?

            'splain, please?

            2 Replies
            1. re: ozhead

              The sour cream is fake, pareve stuff, a la Tofutti. There's a little starred note at the bottom of the menu explaining this, at least in real life.

              1. re: ozhead

                And, yes, the ribs are beef. I don't know how they come so small either.