The Smokehouse Grille recently opened in South Norwood, on Washington Street. It is not on Route One and is not a big restaurant, but is essentially a Mom & Pop take-out place, with just a few table for dining-in. The owners, Bob & Teresa Demarais, were extremely courteous & friendly. I want this place to be good, as I think the Norwood area needs a good Q joint (I ran into Steve Uliss from Fireflys last year at a Phantom event and literally begged him to find some space in the Norwood area he said at the time that he was looking).
I stopped by the Smokehouse Grille recently to sample the baby backs and the pulled pork. I believe that if a BBQ joint cant get baby backs and pulled pork done right, they shouldnt be in business. Similarly, if I go to a new Italian place, I always try the Chicken Parm if they cant get that staple done right, Id have little faith in the rest of the menu.
Curiously, the back of the take-out menu shouts Look for the Smoke Ring! and goes on to say we smoke our meats with only the finest hickory wood to ensure a smooth, even smoke for a full and hearty flavor! Well, I didnt detect too much smoky flavor in either of the pork offerings, nor did I detect much of a smoke ring in the ribs. I ordered both the ribs & the pulled pork naked, with the sauces on the side, so I could taste the pork alone.
The ribs had very little rub on them, and very little flavor. Actually, for baby backs, which are the typically very lean, these ribs were a bit fatty. And they were also over-cooked, as the meat very easily peeled off the bone, when there should be a little resistance. They tasted like pork ribs, but not like smoked pork ribs.
The pulled pork was a bit more flavorful, and pretty lean, and I actually devoured my pulled pork sammich. This might be nit-picking, but I was a little disappointed with the cole slaw. It tasted just fine, but the cabbage needed to be shredded much more finer than it was. I had big hunks of cabbage falling out of my pulled pork sammich, which may have been alleviated if the cabbage had a finer shred.
The Grille offers 3 sauces Texas Hot with Chipotle Peppers, Smoky Mild, and Bourbon Peach. I tried the first two, and didnt like either of them. Both sauces resembled ketchup in look and consistency. The mild sauce actually tasted like ketchup with seasonings added, and then just warmed-up and not cooked. The hot sauce indeed brought some heat, but wasnt too flavorful. I would love to see a vinegar-based sauce, which would have been perfect on my pulled pork sammich.
Fortunately, this place is about a mile away from home, so Ill be stopping in there again and will certainly sample additional menu items.
Not the Phantom Gourmet