Smoque BBQ on Pulaski
I was born and raised in Chicago although I no longer live there. All my family still lives there however and I visit at least twice a year so I still eat in Chicago often.
Of course I seen and heard about this place from Guy Fieri on Diner's, Drive-In's and Dives on the Food Network like most others have. So on my recent trip in July 2009 I wanted to try this place.
I ordered the pulled pork platter that came with their cole slaw and I got the two extra side dishes of fries and corn bread.
The pulled pork was the most soft and silky pulled pork I ever had as far as texture goes. That was the best part of it, the texture. The taste of it with the homemade BBQ sauce was good but nothing spectacular. Their BBQ sauce is more of a tangy variety and I like sweeter ones better but that is my personal taste. The pork was seasoned well and the texture was top notch so overall it was good.
The fries were good with good flavor and they gave me A LOT of them.
The cole slaw they make is very different from any one I have ever had. I have never been to the BBQ havens of Texas, Kansas City or the Carolina's and maybe this is how they make cole slaw in one of those places but this cole slaw was not creamy and sweet how I am used to it. This one was very tangy with a heavy vinegar flavor which I did not like at all.
The corn bread which was just a small cupcake size was awesome with a heavy butter flavor.
Overall the place is good but not my favorite. It was too small there for how many people are coming there now because of Guy Fieri but the owner said he is trying to expand and is getting resistance from the neighborhood.
I like Smoque and my meal of preference is the pulled port platter - I love that pork! As much as I like the pulled pork I think the sides are a weakness at the restaurant. Don't think the restaurant's popularity is because of Guy Fieri - there have been lines out the door since about the first day of business.
Definately forget going here on a weekend. Try on a weekday between the busiest hours, say go at 2 p.m. or so and seating shouldn't be an issue.
The neighborhood is bad for parking, so I don't know what good an expansion would do. They should probably locate customer parking as an expansion idea before the restaurant.
The Guy Fieri episode was a long time ago, probably just getting replayed.