The 420 Smokehouse
Yes? Hi! We saw the new place on the Parliament that is doing the BBQ. It is the 420 Smokehouse and they had some of the best ribs so far in the Toronto. They also are doing the smoked meat but we didnt do the eating. Maybe the next time.
The ribs had the good smoke ring and the dry rub and werent the silly to saucy. They had the really good bark and chew. It was the yum!
Do they have the hookah to smoke after the BBQ? Should I go over at the 4:20 pm for the best smoke rings?
I've eaten there three times and I can say that it's a great addition to the neighbourhood and it will hopefully only get better with time. This is somewhat of a long review, but I like this place and I really want it to succeed (we need more places like this in Cabbagetown).
I've had the smoked meat sandwich, the St Louis ribs, the fried jumbo chicken wings, and the pulled duck sandwich (an off-menu special).
Smoked meat: I had some of my wife's (she ordered it lean) and later got one of my own (I got it fatty). I have to admit, I wasn't a huge fan of hers; I found it a bit bland. I liked mine quite a bit better, so it might be the fact that mine was fatty or that they were still tweaking the recipe (the first visit was the week after they opened, the second was about two or three weeks after that). I found my sandwich to be very satisfying, although I wouldn't complain if they upped the smoke and spicing somewhat.
St Louis ribs: despite being advertised as a dry rub, they came sauced, which I thought was a bit strange. They also didn't remove the membrane on the back of the ribs, which I'm not a fan of. That being said, the ribs had a great smoke flavour and were cooked perfectly. I liked these very much (I also note that they've since changed the menu to show that you can have them as a dry rub or with ale sauce, so maybe you actually can get them dry).
Chicken wings: these were indeed jumbo...pretty huge, actually. They're not really like battered fried chicken (more like breaded and fried), but the coating was quite tasty regardless. I wasn't a huge fan of the hot sauce they drizzled over them, but the wings themselves were great. Could maybe use a bit more seasoning in the batter (and maybe have the hot sauce on the side), but otherwise very good.
Pulled duck sandwich: I was expecting loose pulled duck on a bun, so it was a bit strange to get what looked like a duck burger patty. When I tasted it, though, I really liked their version. The patty seemed like it has been fried in a pan, and was somewhat crispy as a result (which was very nice). The sauce and other toppings complimented the duck very well.
Fries: the only time I had the fries was with the duck sandwich, and I thought they were a bit over-fried. I normally like extra crispy fries, but these ones had a ridiculously crispy exterior and almost no interior (some of them were essentially hollow, like the inner potato part had been fried completely away somehow). They were nicely seasoned, though, so they're not bad by any means. A bit less cooking and I think they'd be great.
Coleslaw: I'm not a fan of this. It's vinegar-y (not creamy), which I normally like, but it frankly doesn't have much taste.
Side pickled vegetables: they now offer a pretty good choice of sides (fries, rice & peas, sweet potato, kale, cornbread, potato or caesar salads, poutine (for a small extra charge) or smoked meat poutine (for a larger extra charge)) with your ribs (they didn't when I first went), so I'm not sure if they're still offering the pickled vegetables we got with the ribs (and with the chicken wings). Anyway, they have to do something about these. They were essentially tasteless. My least favourite part of the meal. I hope they've phased them out.
The two-top tables near the window are strange...I don't think they're restaurant tables (they have little drawers in them that open, they seem somewhat fragile, and they're a bit too narrow and too high for two people to eat comfortably). They should get better tables for these seats. Other than that small comment about the tables, the restaurant has a nice decor and a nice feel (although the chalk board is riddled with spelling mistakes, which makes the OCD speller in me cringe). I could definitely hang out here for some drinks.
On that note, beer selection is generally pretty good, wine selection seems very good (although I've only ever got beer).
The staff has always been very nice when I've been there.
Price-wise, some may think it's a bit on the expensive side. The recent change to the menu whereby you get a free side with a few of the items (they should really offer a side with all of them...why do you get a side with the pulled pork sandwich and the pulled duck but not with the smoked meat? Or the chicken wings? Any why are you forced to get the caesar salad as a side for the calamari sandwich?) definitely helps, though. I personally don't mind paying for good food so I'm okay with the prices.
Overall, as I said, I think that this is a great addition to the neighbourhood. Looking forward to seeing it get even better.
My visit (only one) pretty much supports your review. Overall it IS worth a visit but some of the choices are a little quirky.
My ribs were fine (no membrane) but - yes- the St Louis 'style' wasn't! It was sauced. But I really liked the smokiness, which was more dominant than most I've had in Toronto. Also loved the texture - I'm fed-up with 'disintegrate off the bone' - I want some texture and 'bite' to my ribs, and these were perfect for me.
The fries were indeed a little off-kilter - I speculated 'triple-fried' to get that slightly burned flavour. I actually liked them (compared to the usual fare in Toronto) - not my favourites but certainly held interest.
Would have preferred more 'crunch' in my coleslaw, but otherwise fine - I liked the vinegar.
I also had their Bisque, which was not bad, but unexciting. I'd hoped for some smokiness (not present) and maybe some croutons to add texture, but flavour was fine (albeit 1-dimensional).
Service was also pretty good - they're clearly trying hard.
I found the pricing fair. With minor tweaks (which already seem to be occurring, based on your review), this can be a solid place.
Tried out 420 with two friends. We all loved our meals. Two had smoked near sandwiches (one as a Reuben -- the daily special); the third the fish and chips. All fresh and delicious. If this place were in my neighbourhood, I'd eat there once a week. Good prices too.