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Smoke City Market in Sherman Oaks - They are doing something different!

liu Feb 13, 2011 01:02 PM

Smoke City Market in Sherman Oaks is not the usual BBQ place. I was pleasantly surprised by how good their food is!

When you walk in, you are immediately struck by that smoky BBQ aroma; it is not obnoxious but says that they are serious about smoking their meat.

I think they weigh their servings, but 1/2 rack of baby back ribs (maybe 7 or 8 ribs) is about $13.00. They are dry -- not at all greasy - and not saucy. Two sauces are on the table (one is a hot vinegar sauce and the other is a very flavorful BBQ sauce). I have tasted no other sauces quite like these; the BBQ sauce is loaded with cumin and the vinegar sauce has a nice tang. There is a sign on the wall that says to first try the ribs without sauce; they stand well on their own and without the sauce the smoke really comes through.

The brisket is very moist and again, does not need help from any sauce. One order of brisket is about $8.50, but you can add or subtract by weight.

Although we tried only two side dishes, they were both remarkable. The red cabbage ($2.40 for a small container) is warm and tastes like what it is...I like that! The German potato salad ($2.90 for a small container) was extraordinary! The skins were left on the potatoes and it was delicious; again, it tasted like potatoes and did not contain much or any grease. So often, potato salad is loaded with mayonnaise or other fats; this was not.

Our order came with several slices of very fresh white bread. I am not sure what the bread is for -- perhaps a brisket sandwich? Actually, it was perfect for swabbing the BBQ sauces from the brown paper liner that the ribs are served on.

The place is casual. There are towel/napkin machines on several wall posts and you order at the front and then pick up your order there as well. We were there on a Saturday night about 5:45pm and we had no trouble getting a table. However, when we left about an hour later, they were crowded.

I highly recommend Smoke City Market:

5242 Van Nuys Boulevard
Sherman Oaks

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  1. r
    reality check RE: liu Feb 13, 2011 01:08 PM

    Guess you missed the other thread about Smoke City Market?

    Smoke City Market
    5242 Van Nuys Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91401

    3 Replies
    1. re: reality check
      liu RE: reality check Feb 13, 2011 02:01 PM

      Hi, reality check!
      I actually did a quick search before I posted and I came up with nothing.
      Thank you for catching my error and I do apologize.
      Can you please post a link to the other thread that you saw?
      Nevertheless, my take on Smoke City Market stands. I like it a lot!

      1. re: liu
        cdub RE: liu Feb 13, 2011 05:00 PM

        i agree with your take on the brisket. i wasn't blown away by their pastrami but their beef ribs are damn good. pricey but well worth trying. one rib would way over 1/2 pounds. i've even gotten one that was over 1 pound. i'll need to try their other stuff when i get a shot

        1. re: cdub
          liu RE: cdub Feb 13, 2011 06:03 PM

          Thanks for your concurring review, cdub!
          When you return, do try the German potato salad!

          The apple coleslaw looked good, too, but it looks like it might be too creamy for my tastes. I'd love to hear from someone who has tried it -- and any of the many other sides.

    2. s
      selfportrait93 RE: liu Feb 14, 2011 12:20 PM

      Tried their smoked brisket, sausage, bb ribs, chicken, corn and potato salad . What stood out for me was their baby back ribs with its falling off the bone meat. The Vinegar was also a favorite with its slight heat that you notice halfway through the meal. The potato salad tasted good. But was it really "German" potato salad? It reminded me of "Costco" potato salad (not in a bad way).
      I'll come back and order the other meats they have plus BB ribs. I'll also try some Shiner Beer if I come with a designated driver. Never seen /tasted this beer before.

      4 Replies
      1. re: selfportrait93
        liu RE: selfportrait93 Feb 14, 2011 02:30 PM

        Thank you for posting your experience, selfportrait93!

        "The Vinegar was also a favorite with its slight heat that you notice halfway through the meal."

        Just as we were preparing to leave, I could feel the heat from the Hot Vinegar. It was not that unbearable heat that you might experience from a habanero, however; this was just a heat that lingered for a few moments and then became calm.

        1. re: liu
          selfportrait93 RE: liu Feb 14, 2011 08:35 PM

          I just wanted to add that they have transparent plastic disposable fork and knives, I guess, for customers who prefer not to use their bare hands in digging in. These utensils just get lost on the paper lined tray that the food is served on......or maybe it's just my failing eyesight.

          1. re: selfportrait93
            liu RE: selfportrait93 Feb 14, 2011 09:00 PM

            How interesting that you noticed that, selfprotrait93!
            ...but you need a spoon or a fork for the side dishes.

            I was actually surprised by how dry (in a good way) the baby back ribs were. Although my hands smelled like smoke when I left, they were not greasy from the ribs. It was easy to switch between using a utensil for the sides and then going back to the ribs without too many napkins.

        2. re: selfportrait93
          Hershey Bomar RE: selfportrait93 May 28, 2011 03:05 PM

          Why is falling off the bone good. So tired of that skunk. Did you hear that in a commercial? I'd never want my meat falling off the bone unless it came out of a crockpot.

          hunger is making me cranky I need some toothy brisket!

        3. Phurstluv RE: liu Feb 15, 2011 02:56 PM

          Good to hear, liu, thanks for the review. I almost made it there last week after a dr's appt in the area, but had to come home instead. Now I will definitely check them out. And I too couldn't find another thread on them when I looked them up here last week.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv
            liu RE: Phurstluv Feb 15, 2011 03:18 PM

            "And I too couldn't find another thread on them..."

            Thank you, Phurstluv! I felt harshly chastised, when, in fact, I did try to find a previous post. There may be one, but I did not locate it. I appreciate your very sensitive support on this.

            Please post after you try Smoke City Market. I am very interested in your opinion.

            1. re: liu
              selfportrait93 RE: liu Feb 15, 2011 03:44 PM

              I believe it is this one.


              1. re: selfportrait93
                liu RE: selfportrait93 Feb 15, 2011 03:50 PM

                Ah...good searching, selfportrait93!
                I did not find this in my search, so I thank you for posting it.

                1. re: liu
                  Phurstluv RE: liu Feb 15, 2011 03:59 PM

                  I didn't either, so you're not the only one. And I'm not sure what crime there is in starting a new post on a restaurant, esp. a review, even though there are other threads on said restaurant.

                  We can be a tough crowd, don't take it personally. ; )

                  1. re: Phurstluv
                    liu RE: Phurstluv Feb 15, 2011 04:27 PM

                    "...don't take it personally. ; )"

                    You're very kind, Phurstluv. It's not a problem...I move on quickly!

                    I do, however, see the advantage for all of us in keeping all information on one restaurant in one place. It's just more efficient and neater that way. In practice, though, it doesn't always happen -- for various reasons.

                    1. re: liu
                      selfportrait93 RE: liu Feb 15, 2011 04:36 PM

                      That is exactly why we have a group of hounds that help out each other in terms of experience,views and opinions as well as researching past posts and threads.

          2. c
            cdub RE: liu Mar 10, 2011 08:05 PM

            just had them again. their brisket is the truth. pretty much on par with the best in the city. tried their baby backs and i was not impressed in the least. as far as i can see, i'd stick with the beef here. the beef ribs and the brisket are both incredible.

            17 Replies
            1. re: cdub
              trojans RE: cdub Mar 10, 2011 08:13 PM

              Agreed. Brisket is near perfect. Love, this place.

              1. re: trojans
                liu RE: trojans Mar 10, 2011 08:37 PM

                trojans, did you try any of their side dishes? Which ones...and what did you like?

                1. re: liu
                  trojans RE: liu Mar 11, 2011 07:23 AM

                  No side dishes, never. I just like to have the brisket with bread onions and cheese.

                2. re: trojans
                  reality check RE: trojans Mar 10, 2011 09:54 PM

                  I thought their brisket was average at best. Dr. Hogly Wogly has better brisket. Bludso's has better brisket.

                  The beef ribs are the most overpriced item in the Valley.

                  1. re: reality check
                    cdub RE: reality check Mar 11, 2011 06:51 AM

                    couldn't disagree more. i think consistency is the key and while i had excellent brisket at both dr. hogly and bludso's, the last few times they were dried out and tough. i've never had a bad piece of brisket at smoke city.

                    everything at smoke city is pretty expensive. value vs. quality i think bludso's wins hands down but it's nice to get excellent bbq in the valley. the beef ribs are excellent. expensive but very good.

                    didn't have any of their sides. nothing sounded all that great. stuck with the bbq. the baby backs were dried out and tough. not a good combo.

                    1. re: reality check
                      trojans RE: reality check Mar 11, 2011 07:26 AM

                      They cost the same, the beef ribs, as they do in Texas. I bought two ribs from Black's BBQ in Lockhart Texas two months ago and was a little shocked at the $30.00 price. But they are big and meaty. As for Smoke City I've been three times and all three times I have received a stellar product.

                      1. re: trojans
                        cdub RE: trojans Mar 11, 2011 07:59 AM

                        that's interesting. didn't realize that bbq in texas was just as expensive. i think that's one of the reasons i'm blown away by bludso's. good product. cheap price. however, with gas prices now, smoke city is the cheaper proposition for me.

                        i've had the beef ribs 3 times at smoke city and they have been stellar every time as well. no issues ever with the brisket. the only other items that i've tried there, the baby backs and pastrami, was not impressive to me.

                        1. re: trojans
                          reality check RE: trojans Mar 11, 2011 09:48 PM

                          Swingin Door has a better BBQ beef rib and it's about $3-$5lb less.

                        2. re: reality check
                          orythedog RE: reality check Mar 11, 2011 09:18 AM

                          EXCUSE ME REALITY CHECK (capital letters mean that I am pretending to be angry...although I am just shocked) ...but did you just say Dr. Hogly Wogly and Bludso's IN THE SAME SENTENCE? Bluso's is my fav and honestly I can't compare it to anything in LA least of all HW.

                          1. re: orythedog
                            cdub RE: orythedog Mar 11, 2011 09:25 AM

                            Would recommend you give smoke city's brisket a shot. Bludso was my favorite. The salt and pepper rub on smoke city is addictive. Super moist too.

                            1. re: orythedog
                              reality check RE: orythedog Mar 11, 2011 09:47 PM

                              You need to read the entire post. For brisket Dr. Hogly Wogly is better than Bludso's.

                              Bludso's is inconsistent, dry brisket one time, good moist brisket the next.

                        3. re: cdub
                          liu RE: cdub Mar 10, 2011 08:36 PM

                          I like the baby backs! They are dry and different...not the usual greasy, fatty ones that you might get elsewhere.

                          cdub, did you order any sides?

                          1. re: cdub
                            mucho gordo RE: cdub Mar 11, 2011 08:33 AM

                            They have beef ribs?? Better than Tony Roma's? Do they sell by the slab??
                            Damn, I ask too many questions........

                            1. re: mucho gordo
                              Servorg RE: mucho gordo Mar 11, 2011 09:02 AM

                              Does anyplace sell beef ribs by the slab? I can't ever recall seeing that before...Or are you just talking about pork ribs with the slab question?

                              1. re: Servorg
                                mucho gordo RE: Servorg Mar 11, 2011 10:24 AM

                                I always buy beef ribs by the slab @ Roma's. I think it's 6 or 7 ribs to a slab and I'm not sure I remember the price...It comes with 2 free sides. We get 2 slabs ( to go) with the 2 free sides each and I order an extra pint of beans and slaw. Bill is usually just shy of $50 and includes a beer that I drink while waiting.

                                1. re: Servorg
                                  Hershey Bomar RE: Servorg May 28, 2011 03:08 PM

                                  Every real Q place in LA sells beef ribs by the slab. Just had em at Phillips the other day -- look under a la carte.

                                2. re: mucho gordo
                                  cdub RE: mucho gordo Mar 11, 2011 09:22 AM

                                  They sell them by the pound and cut them from a pretty big slab when you order so I'm pretty sure you can get one as big or as small as you'd like. Gets kinda pricey though. I know I got 2 ribs once and it was almost 3 pounds and over $30 for it.

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