On this particular trip, after some time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park, my omelette rival and I headed to Blue Smoke, a self-described "urban barbecue." I chose this among MOR's proffered options because, well, it looked fun. It looked like a place where you could comfortably unwind after negotiating your way through a city that simultaneously drains and feeds your energy.
And it was fun. As is the case in all of New York City, I am constantly amazed at how great the service usually is, followed up shortly by a revelation that most of the servers in the city are, in fact, auditioning for their next acting gig. Hey, I'll take it. I don't care.
After ordering a dark rum mojito (an interesting twist but still quite good) and a Peak Organic beer (reportedly very tasty), we started with the calamari, which was about 50% fried batter and 50% calamari. I like fried batter as much as the next girl, so it wasn't the worst thing, but it was a little strange for a dish called "calamari." From there, MOR ordered the "Rhapsody in 'Cue," a pun-ny twist on the all-we-make-on-a-plate concept featuring Kansas City spareribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken, and sausage. The spareribs were too spicy for me, but the pulled pork and chicken were delicious, offering a good mix of moisture and smokiness. Blue Smoke offers a lazy susan of sauces at each table with which to dress everything, making me think that perhaps I, too, should get a lazy susan of sauces for my dining room. Everything's a little better with barbecue sauce, you know?
I opted for the sliced Texas beef brisket, with a 50/50 mix of marbled and lean. The ability to mix (or choose one) was ingenious, in my opinion, and I'm glad I got the mix. The marbled was delicious and rich, but an entire plate would have been too much. The lean was -- you guessed it -- a bit more dry, but still very good, especially with the Kansas City barbecue sauce. Accompaniments of fried onions and mashed potatoes were appropriate and delicious, if not more than a little rich.
Which made dessert all the better. I opted for a refreshing key lime pie, which was just that. MOR got a peach and blackberry cobbler, interestingly topped with small drop biscuits. The fruit was fresh, but dessert after that meal was a little much for both of us.
In addition to bubbly wait staff, Blue Smoke also offers live jazz downstairs, lots of seating and a handsome bar. All in all, a fun place to stop and eat -- and within walking distance of Penn Station. What's not to like about a place with its own handi-wipes?
Blue Smoke is located at 116 E. 27th Street, New York, http://www.bluesmoke.com/.