The Smoke Joint is passing the taste test–and the smell test–among New York’s notoriously picky barbecue hounds. Fort Greene’s new ‘cue house has a smoker built in the South and is turning out worthy brisket, baby back ribs, and hacked chicken and pork. The owners–who have cooked at such higher-end places as Picholine, La Grenouille, and City Hall–bill their food as “real New York barbecue”–meaning they’re not going for a single regional style but instead draw on various traditions, like Texas for the brisket and Memphis for the baby backs.
“It’s damn good barbecue,” says Happygirl, “and the prices are sweeeeet!”–$7 for sandwiches or a half chicken, $9 or $10 for a half rack of ribs, $10 to $12 for brisket, hot links, or hacked beef or pork. “Smokin’ success!” declares Mike R., who endorses the brisket tips and baked beans. Among the sides, greens, macaroni and cheese, and fries (spiked with the spice mix used on some of the meats) win praise. The beer selection is small, well priced, and intriguing, including Dale’s Pale Ale from Colorado and Porkslap Farmhouse Ale from Butternuts brewery near Cooperstown (“How could you not order this at a BBQ place?” wonders gingercakes).
Some missteps: gamy spare ribs, a few dried-out meat plates, and overdressed salads. “We were less impressed,” says bobjbkln. “I don’t think R.U.B. or Dinosaur need to worry–at least not yet!”