Please note: This review was conducted when the establishment was still called 'Blue Smoke' but has been updated to reflect the new name. Please read below this original review for an updated version.
So, here's a little bit of info that you may not know. I LOVE PORK RIBS. I know they are kind of boganish but I just can't help myself.
In actual fact, I haven't been able to get the pulled pork I saw on Jamie Oliver's Visit to America series out of my head.
To feed my addiction, I used to regularly visit Stetson's Steakhouse and Saloon Bar which is not that authentic, but never-the-less, very tasty and reminds me of home. (There used to be a Steto's in my home town.) In fact, the frequency C and I would visit was a little embarrassing so I was delighted to discover somewhere else in town that served ribs and buffalo wings with blue cheese. I thought all my dreams had come true.
I rang to make a booking, and only one table left for 2 people at 7:00- perfect, just what we were after. I then proceeded, as is my usual routine, to start researching.
My dreams started crashing around me. I was reading reviews on a number of sites including menufeast, urban spoon etc and basically there were a concerning number that suggested the service was terrible and the food wasn't much better. I started to get a little anxious- was I going to waste a dining opportunity and be pushed out the door before I could manage to pull the meat off the last bone? Because that, to say the least, would be very unsatisfactory and would probably upset me to no end.
I consulted C on the matter- questioning should we, or should we not go? In the end I decided, the worst that could come of our visit would be a bad meal, equalling a bad review. At least my curiosity would be cured.
I was a little nervous walking in, to tell the truth. I am scared of mean staff, and the reviews pretty much suggested that the staff were flat out rude.
Anyway, I tentatively walked in and asked for our table, to which we were taken by a lovely guy.
We were then served by another Scottish gentleman who was absolutely charming and continued to be all night. He explained the menu to us, gave us suggestions without being condescending and was generally chatty and helpful.
He (sorry to refer to him as he but I didn't catch his name) also had an excellent grasp of the menu (may have been the owner- i think) and was happy to explain all about their in-house smoking. I learnt that Blue Smoke are only QLD restaurant that smoke all their BBQ in house.
Not only was the service impeccable for us, I was keeping a close eye on other tables around the restaurant, and the other staff seemed to be attentive and polite. I'm sure whoever was responsible for the bad service listed on menu log etc are now gone, or were definitely no where in sight on the night I visited. We were not under any pressure to leave.
Not only was the service impeccable, the food was great. I know some people aren't a fan of BBQ/Southern styled foods, but if you are- seriously visit blue smoke.
We ordered the blue hot buffalo chicken wings for $14 as an entree and then both had a main of Kansas City Pork Baby Back Ribs for about $30-$34 ish.. (can't remember exactly) The waiter politely suggested that I might like to go for a half size, but clearly he wasn't aware of my capacity when it comes to ribs.
Complimentary corn bread landed on our table which I didn't love- but hey, I'm not a real cornbread fan. I don't like to waste my time on such things, when I know what is coming.
The buffalo chicken wings arrived and were luscious! Courtesy of the hot sauce, they had a nice zing and were really tender. The blue sauce added dimension and C loved it, even though he is not normally a fan of a 'really blue' cheese. I was really nibbling down the on wings as I saw other plates of plates of ribs go past. Oh NO! They were huge, and I had made a point of ordering a full serve. I knew I had better slow up on the wings, If i was even going to get through half the ribs, but I just couldn't stop! Oh well... I'd just have to leave shamefaced.
Of course, that didn't really happen. The ribs arrived timed perfectly with my second glass of wine- and I devoured the coleslaw side. The coleslaw was creamy and very simple. The chips left relatively untouched on the side of my plate because all my attention was focused on the ribs. OH the ribs. Smoky, I mean really really smoky, slightly charred and still moist near the bone. The flavour from the sauce wasn't as intense as Id have liked but the meat was delicious. So delicious, I polished off the whole plate of ribs.
I must say, the waiter was suitably impressed but I did almost fall off my chair when C decided to order a bloody brownie. Seriously? How could you. But when he brought the nutty brownie out- I did try a small piece, and then ended up devouring half. How, you wonder? I don't know. My stomach works in mysterious ways. The brownie was delightful, and made on the premises- like everything else at blue smoke.
Blue smoke was fab. The service was professional and friendly- perfect for the establishment. The meat was oh-so-smoky, the wine list contained some gems, the cocktail list looks interesting and the buckets they give you to put the wing bones in are super cute.
I'll definitely be going back, and hopefully soon. Maybe I'll have to start getting some disguises ready, so I can go more often than is socially acceptable.
Tell me, have you ever been turned off a restaurant because of a bad review, only to discover the place isn't so bad after all???
UPDATE: I've been back since this establishment changed it's name from Blue Smoke to the Smoke and had some lovely food, but also encountered some shocking service. So bad we waited for almost 1/2 hour after our booking and it was obvious that the table we were to sit at was empty, it just had to be cleaned. Several groups including walk-ins off the street were seated before us whilst the staff watched us stand awkwardly outside. Something was really going on with the staffing that night. Besides the service, the food was good. The ribs were sticky with sauce and well smoked, and the wings were incredibly moreish, it was just a shame we were made to feel so unimportant before the meal even began.
The Smoke BBQ
85 Merthyr Road
New Farm 4005
07 3358 1922