This posting was originally supposed to be about the Village Voice’s Choice Eats event. Sadly, it was so noisy, so crowded, so hot and so horrible that Spoon and I and our dear friends the Salad Tongs left quickly to find refuge and a great place to eat.
As an aside, if you are ever in the East Village, stop by Porchetta located at 110 East 7th Street, Manhattan. The little porchetta sandwich was the saving grace of this debacle, so much so that we went back for seconds!
But I digress…..
As we emerged from the Armory, Spoon and I looked at each other and knew there was just one place to go…BLUE SMOKE! Blue Smoke is one of the legendary restaurants in the Danny Meyer stable. And, as with all his other restaurants, it’s fantastic.
We were so happy to arrive at Blue Smoke. It was crowded, but we knew that after a short wait we would sit in a nice big booth, with a wonderful server, and plenty of good food!
Iced tea alert – very large glass, fresh tea, bottomless. Can cutlery ask for more?
Spoon and I love Blue Smoke, but seldom make it past the appetizers! They are so good and so plentiful that we have a hard time getting to the mains so we thought having the Salad Tongs with us would help in delving further intot he menu this time!
We were lucky enough to get a nice big booth for the 4 of us. Can’t we just order one of everything on the menu? No, no, of course not.
We ordered everything at once, t his way we could just pick and pick and pick on everything.
The service at Blue Smoke is usually extraordinary. Sadly, on this night, it was not. Most of our order came at one time and was thrown on the table – yes, seriously thrown by the runner. And the waiter was not necessarily terrific. It’s not that he was bad, he was basically non-existant.
You simply cannot eat in Blue Smoke without the BBQ Chips and Blue Cheese Dip. The chips are made fresh to order, are always very crispy, and always warm. The Blue Cheese Dip has just the right abount of blue cheese. They always taste like more! We resist the temptation as there is so much more more to come! But just thinking of these wonderful chips make me hungry and wanting Blue Smoke and more chips!!
Next come the Hush Puppies with Jalapeno Marmalade. Hot, crispy, moist in the center, served with the yummist jalapeno marmalde. The marmalade has a tiny bit of kick to it, far less than one would expect with a jalapeno, but is very balanced with sweetness. Again, MORE PLEASE.
You can see why we never get past the appetizers!!
All of the appetizers are large enough to share, the Mac & Cheese is no exception. It is bubbly and crispy on top and very rich and creamy underneath. The cheese is plentiful and the macaroni perfectly cooked.
For some reason we changed our usual course at this point and tried the Roasted Cauliflower Gratin. And in all the years that we have been going to Blue Smoke, this was the first disappointing thing we have ever ordered. I couldn’t have been roasted, it hardly seemed cooked. The cauliflower was raw. There were some bradcrumbs sprinkled on top and then a quick time under the broiler. There was no sauce, there was no cheese, there was no taste. Very sad.
The ribs at Blue Smoke are always seriously good! And they are all good, no matter which ones you try. These were no exception. They were Fred Flinstone big and their BBQ sauce (which you can buy up front) is finger lickin’ good.
Can we fit dessert? Does Carter’s have liver pills? Their dessert sampler is perfect in those situations where you just cannot decide which of their amazing desserts to try. There is a piece of their infamous Chocolate Layer Cake, Cobbler of the day (oh, yes, with ice cream), Key Lime Pie, Bana Cream Pie, and Sticky Toffee Pudding. Just enough for a few sweet bites each! Perfect ending to a great meal with great company.
On other adventures to Blue Smoke we have tried the Sweet Potato Fries with Maple Dip (YUM), Iceberg Wedges, with Blue Cheese & Bacon Dressing (Can anyting with bacon possibly be bad?), Jackie’s Fry Bread with Chipolte Butter (Bread, Fry & Chipolte in a single description!), and the Fried Chicken (GREAT!)
The bar drinks at Blue Smoke are large, cold and delicious. Their specialty cocktails are great, and their beer menu has a lot to choose from! This is a BBQ lover’s dream!
Downstairs from Blue Smoke is the Jazz Stndard. There are usually two shows a night. Tickets are very reasonably priced. Their is a menu downstairs that is slightly different from Blue Smoke, but if there is something on the restaurant menu that you would like in the Jazz Standard they are more than happy to accomodate you.
Blue Smoke accepts reservations and is located at 116 East 27th Street (bwt. Lex and Park Ave. So.). Jazz Standard sells tickets in advance and the doors usually open 15 minutes before the show.