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Jan 25, 2009 06:10 PM

Is Smokin', well, smokin'?

We've moved from Pico-Robertson to Valley Village over 18 months ago and are desperately looking for a decent take-out and/or sit-down place.
We've been extremely disappointed with pretty much every offering in the area (Tierra Sur is an excellent option, but it's a drive).

Anybody try Smokin'?
Aside from the owner's own posts, I haven't found any actual reviews.

ganeden, you seem like a very nice person, so I'm going to give your place a shot regardless of the reviews (if any appear), I just want to know what to expect :)

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  1. BS"D

    There was a negative review by Cholent Fresser in another thread, with a rebuttal by Toothdr818, in the thread Kosher in North Hollywood to which you yourself contributed today. There are reviews on Yelp (both positive and negative) and on in their kosher database. There is one review on whrrl.

    1. Well, it's no Tierra Sur :) but then, few things are.

      We've eaten there once, and were satisfied. It reminded us and our friend (who'd moved from the area to NYC) of Smokey Joe's in Teaneck--same brown paper covered table casual vibe, similar menu, though a smaller menu and smaller portion sizes (which we think is a positive).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kochav


        Kraft paper tablecloths are ubiquitous among BBQ restaurants, as is plasticware and paper plates (unless like some places, everything is served on butcher paper), which is why it was adopted by us, and before us, Smokey Joe's. We found that the Jewish kosher-keeping community, largely inexperienced with the BBQ genre, did not respond favorably to the plastic utensils and paper (foam) plates, so we switched to real plates, as airbornir mentions below. It's a real hassle to clean them, though, and we'd love to be able to switch back to disposables. In most things we offer 2 portion sizes, and most people opt for the smaller, less expensive portions. 1/4 lb of cooked meat is not large, but it's all most people need (and larger than a 1/4 lb burger, which is raw weight precooked). 1/2 lb will satisfy most hungry eaters. In this day and age of supersizing and obeisity, as well as expensive kosher meat, there's no good reason to give large portions unless specifcally requested. As an aside, I know that many consumers like to see large portions as a sign that they are getting their money's worth. However, as a restaurateur, it's often difficult to justify providng larger portions than will be comfortably eaten by consumers. There's no justification for a consumer wasting food, and there's no good reason to stuff food down one's gullet when one is already satiated, just because one doesn't want to waste it. I am pleased that Kochav views the smaller portions positively. For those who must have them, or wish to split plates, the larger portions are available. Finally, the smaller menu reflects the difference between Smokey Joe's and ourselves- Smokey Joe's is a Tex- Mex restaurant strongly featuring BBQ, whereas we're a BBQ restaurant. The scope of the restaurant dictates the menu. Smokey Joe's offers a much broader spectrum of food, probably appealing to a wider audience. As an example, we're not really a good place to take a group which includes vegetarians (although given enough prior notice, we can generally whip something up for them). We pretty much offer meat and sides, and the meat is largely spicy and smoked. Smokey Joe's offers tofu creations, Mexican foods, less spicy foods, the gamut. But, we're just a hole-in-the-wall, miniscule in seating capacity compared to Smokey Joe's. Which means that table space is at a premium on busy days, and we're built for take-out rather than table service. And it means that if we ever get a big catering job, we'll probably need to close the restaurant temporarily to concentrate on the catering job.

        1. re: ganeden

          "As an example, we're not really a good place to take a group which includes vegetarians (although given enough prior notice, we can generally whip something up for them)."

          That's definitely a problem for us--we have one vegetarian in our family. Just saying!

      2. if you are looking for a different kind of place, a different taste for meat and sides, Smokin is the place. well if you love BBQ and the Texas feel of the place and they finally got real plates too. I say finally because you need to get used to the feel of the place. if you want shwarma this aint the place but if you want real meat the way it is supposed to be then yes it’s for you and like I always say we should support our local establishments.

        1. The wife and I gave the place a try and LOVED it.
          Fantastic smokey flavors, great eats.