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Aug 16, 2010 12:48 PM

TX. BBQ coming to Van Nuys:

Just heard about this TX. BBQ joint that's moving into the old Hot House location on Van Nuys Blvd near Magnolia next to Sumo Sushi.

Has anybody else heard about this yet?

We could use a good barbecue restaurant in that area.

Thank you,


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  1. Stuart, you already have good bbq in the area as you well know - the boneyard bistro.

    This place is owned and presumably operated by one Michael Gans who is a bar owner who wants to get into the food business. He owns the Den in Weho, has been or still is involved with the Fifth on Riverside & Whitsett. If you get good food, great, but don't hold your breath.

    This location has a VERY checkered past, meaning Pampas Cafe before Hott House which was there for about 30 minutes, and previously Natural Gourmet and prior to that, the best one of all, Zio & Co., still the best and most lamented Italian restaurant in the valley that no one, save a few of us, ever knew.

    This new place will be called Smoke City Market, so the dba on the ABC license shows.

    1 Reply
    1. There's nothing at the Web site but a rambling essay on Texas BBQ -- no indication that they know more about the subject than you can find on Wikipedia or that the kitchen team has a Texas background. An la.eater article says the whole concept is based on one trip to Texas by the owner. It advises, "Think along the lines of Texas' Luling City Market, Smitty's and Kreuz's," casually naming three of the giants of Texas BBQ (no doubt getting the idea from the Smoke City flack). Imagine if someone from Bakersfield had a couple of meals at Langer's and then announced he was opening a deli in his hometown with great Langer's-style pastrami. Would you believe it?

      Incidentally, la.eater, "Luling City Market" is a second-rate place in Houston. I hope you're thinking about the City Market in Luling, Tex., a whole 'nother animal.

      All that said, I'm ready to declare Smoke City great, if it is. The proof is in the tasting, not bungled PR. According to latest estimates, we need approximately 10,000 more good BBQ places in Southern California, so let's keep our fingers crossed.

      4 Replies
      1. re: hnsbmg

        You must have missed this part of my post: still under construction:

        And if you already think a place is going to be bad, why even bother going?

        1. re: reality check

          I wasn't replying to your post, R.C., and did not complain because the Web site had nothing about menus, hours, etc. My gripe was, how can they scoop up all that boiler-plate -- implying they are Texas BBQ experts -- without including one or two sentences describing their experience actually cooking Texas BBQ?

          "And if you already think a place is going to be bad, why even bother going?"

          My answer was: bad PR doesn't necessarily imply bad food, and we need more good BBQ places in California. So I'm ready to try almost anything.

          Smoke City has missed its first chance to impress, but I do intend to give them a shot.

          1. re: hnsbmg

            missing credentials aside, the views expressed in the second half of the webpage have my full approval. =)

        2. re: hnsbmg

          Kreuz's in Lockhart outside of Austin Texas is the best BBQ I've ever had. This new place has a lot to live up to if they're throwing out names like that.

        3. I'm no BBQ expert, but "smoked over natural oak" sounds good.

          I live in Van Nuys, so I hope this joint is a success. That location DOES seem to be jinxed, though.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Dogbite Williams

            Hopefully, it will be better than the terrible BBQ I got at Mom's the other night. The beef ribs were so dry, they had the texture of beef jerky. (The fried chicken, on the other hand, was fantastic.)

            1. re: Jwsel

              Anything other than pork at Mom's is a mistake. Plus beef ribs always suck.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. According to Smoke City Market's Facebook page, they are having a soft opening tomorrow. But, no phone number listed.