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Feb 13, 2011 01:02 PM

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

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. 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

      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

        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

          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. 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

        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

          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

            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

          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. 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

            "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: selfportrait93

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

                1. re: liu

                  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

                    "...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

                      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. 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

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

              1. re: trojans

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

                1. re: liu

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

                2. re: trojans

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

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

                        2. re: reality check

                          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

                            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

                              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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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

                                  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.