Smoke City Market in Sherman Oaks is not the usual BBQ place. I was pleasantly surprised by how good their food is!
When you walk in, you are immediately struck by that smoky BBQ aroma; it is not obnoxious but says that they are serious about smoking their meat.
I think they weigh their servings, but 1/2 rack of baby back ribs (maybe 7 or 8 ribs) is about $13.00. They are dry -- not at all greasy - and not saucy. Two sauces are on the table (one is a hot vinegar sauce and the other is a very flavorful BBQ sauce). I have tasted no other sauces quite like these; the BBQ sauce is loaded with cumin and the vinegar sauce has a nice tang. There is a sign on the wall that says to first try the ribs without sauce; they stand well on their own and without the sauce the smoke really comes through.
The brisket is very moist and again, does not need help from any sauce. One order of brisket is about $8.50, but you can add or subtract by weight.
Although we tried only two side dishes, they were both remarkable. The red cabbage ($2.40 for a small container) is warm and tastes like what it is...I like that! The German potato salad ($2.90 for a small container) was extraordinary! The skins were left on the potatoes and it was delicious; again, it tasted like potatoes and did not contain much or any grease. So often, potato salad is loaded with mayonnaise or other fats; this was not.
Our order came with several slices of very fresh white bread. I am not sure what the bread is for -- perhaps a brisket sandwich? Actually, it was perfect for swabbing the BBQ sauces from the brown paper liner that the ribs are served on.
The place is casual. There are towel/napkin machines on several wall posts and you order at the front and then pick up your order there as well. We were there on a Saturday night about 5:45pm and we had no trouble getting a table. However, when we left about an hour later, they were crowded.
I highly recommend Smoke City Market:
5242 Van Nuys Boulevard