I had my first meal at Blue Smoke tonight. The prices were reasonable and the portions generous. I doubt any Texas smokehouse could charge less and be located footsteps from Park Ave. While it might not please purists it's definitely a better restaurant than many people have given it credit for. Toss out expectations of authentic barbecue and think solid mid-priced restaurant with a wealth of solid offerings and you should be pleased.
Granted, I didn't order a traditional barbecue spread as I wasn't that hungry and wasn't in the mood for the usual post-cue immobility.
I really enjoyed the 1/2" thick cut smoked baloney sandwich which had the flavor of a really good veal based hotdog. The sandwich was loaded with coleslaw, pickles, and raw onion(which I added) that provide a nice sharp and crunchy counterpoint to the meat.
I got a lean order of brisket with some green beans on the side. The brisket was as moist as a lean cut could be but benefited from a sprinkle of the house magic dust to liven up a pretty boring cut of meat. The beans were buttery and had a nice snap to them.
My rib loving dining companion was knocked out by his large order of a half-rack of baby backs but he wasn't in a sharing mood.
My wife's grilled smoked salmon had no smoked flavor but was a very juicy piece of salmon just cooked to perfect creaminess. The accompanying vegetable chili was terribly bland and underspiced though.
The servers were younger and less experienced than most of the pros in Danny Meyer's empire. The one thing that has got to go is the music, which was loud and insipid classic rock.