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Blue Smoke or Beauty and Essex?

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I asked for input on another thread for good moderately priced places for a Thursday night, downtown, that takes reservations and doesn't have a deafening noise level. After researching all the suggestions, I think I'm between these 2. I know the food is completely different but both menus appeal equally and the price point of each is very close. Which would you say has better quality in terms of food and is one likely to have a lower noise level than the other?

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  1. See the Bloomberg review for B&E. Their critic measures noise levels with a decibel meter. He rates it at 80-85 dB, loud.

    1. I did a search on CH for Blue Smoke and not a lot of talk about it. How's the food?

      11 Replies
      1. re: plafield

        It's a crowd pleaser with something for everyone but not the best BBQ in town. Good deviled eggs, mac and cheese, burgers, pulled pork, ribs, chopped salad.

        It's not super quiet and it can be tough to hear if at one of their big round tables. Try asking for an upstairs table, or a booth.

        1. re: kathryn

          Who has the best BBQ in town?

          1. re: Pan

            Really been liking Brisket Town and Mighty Quinn's lately.

            1. re: kathryn

              Thanks. I love brisket, so I will keep Brisket Town in mind. At Mighty Quinn, is the brisket their strength or weakness? I forget what you and others have said.

              1. re: Pan

                Their brisket is also very good.

            2. re: Pan

              I like the ribs at Georgia's better than any I have had elsewhere.

          2. re: plafield

            I think that the burgers and sides at Blue Smoke are really outstanding, but the ribs are not so great. It's definitely not quiet, but you can usually make yourself heard, but it's loudest on the weekends after 7:00 or so (as you might expect). The jazz downstairs is usually great and you can get most of the menu (probably all of it if you ask).

            1. re: StevenCinNYC

              Thanks. The plan is to do dinner upstairs and then dessert in the jazz club. Hopefully it'll be a manageable din on a Thursday evening and we can hear each other enough to enjoy the gathering. I'm not expecting the best barbecue and am most drawn to the apps and sides so we'll probably make a meal from many of those with a couple of mains thrown in for good measure. I'll be sure to report back.

              1. re: plafield

                Sounds like a plan! Looking forward to your report. Have a great time.

                1. re: plafield

                  By New York standards, plafield, Blue Smoke (upstairs) is about as tranquil as your grandmother's salon. As far as the Standard (downstairs) is concerned, I can't imagine you'd want quiet there!

                  P.S. BS's deviled eggs alone used to be worth the trip to the bar; sometime in the last few weeks, though, the management has ruined the prep of the dish and upped the pricing of it to 'per one', thus terribly diminishing the reason for eating the dish. Only the Blood Orange Margarita outweighs that failing.

                  1. re: Phil Ogelos

                    I never realized Blue Smoke had an upstairs. I've gone and they said there were no tables available so ate at the bar on my first visit. I liked the bar so much that's where I normally eat at Blue Smoke. I think the ribs are pretty decent there.

            2. I don't think Blue Smoke is a quiet place, either.

              1. Thanks for the input. I think Blue Smoke will be just right in terms of location, menu and ambiance, even if it's a little loud. I've asked for a booth. We'll do an earlyish (7:00) dinner and then head downstairs to listen to the jazz at 9:00. I'll be sure to report back.

                3 Replies
                1. re: plafield

                  While some say it's not the "best BBQ" in town it is still pretty damn good food. Plus the service is very good. You should have a fine time. Enjoy.

                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    We did go to Blue Smoke and had a great meal and a stellar time. Full report here:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/899252

                    1. re: plafield

                      Hey, great report! I'm glad you had a good time. Thanks for letting us know! I still want to encourage trying their burger and the brisket for future reference!