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Restaurants & Bars 5

Smoke Daddy and Glory

JeffB | Feb 19, 200311:59 AM

Smoke Daddy is old news, but I read somewhere recently that it is under new ownership/management. So I picked up a rack of spare ribs to go late Saturday night (after 11) when the place was in full swing, and I was very impressed with the product. The ribs were huge, fatty and untrimmed (the tips and other ugly bits were there in their glory) -- just the way I like them. They also were deeply smoky, pink to the bone, and came dry (not disguised in a thick blanket of sauce)as they should. Memphis-style pretty much sums them up. (Daintier, neater baby-backs are available too.)

The sauces, on the side, were both ketchup based and pretty good, especially the hot version which was, aside from the heat, thinner, more lightly colored and much less sweet than the mild. My only quibble with the ribs is that SD "finished" them on a hot grill, resulting in extra char. I actually don't like this, although the charred bits are tasty, as it tends to dry out the meat, IME. I'd rather eat warm or even room temp ribs. But reasonable BBQ aficianados disagree on the merits of last-minute charring.

The french fries that came with were simply horrible, since they apparently were fried (probably for the third time) a couple of hours before I got them. That's OK by me, since ribs and fries have an inverse relationship on the time/tastiness continuum. Earlier in the day, I'm sure the fries were good, but the ribs less so. (I guess they could try frying them to order.) Anyway, as of this past weekend, I'd give the nod to Smoke Daddy for best ribs on the North Side. Bad fries, very few sides to choose from, but good smoked pork.

I also recently visited Glory, the New England place in Bucktown. Reveiws have been mixed, and I concur. The place is bright and freindly enough, with a very wide range of prices and offerings. For now, I would suggest that diners start on the low end of that range. My meal was merely ok, yet it set me and my friend back $40 each without drinks (since there are no drinks, as the place is still BYOB).

Started with the daily "simple salad" which has no price listed. Mine was a fist-full of rocket with maybe six raosted almonds and a half-dollar of goat cheese. Nine bucks, I later learned.

Then I went for broke and ordered the "lazy man's clam bake." Good but relatively modest amount of cod and shellfish in a beer broth with some rouille: maybe six smallnecks, a quartet of mussels, a PDA-sized portion of cod and a couple of small shelled lobster claws. Also, half of a small potato (no corn on the cob or any other filler in sight). Twenty bucks. The claws, unfortunately were rather overcooked -- clearly they had long steeped in the pot and were not added at the last moment. I probably would have been less critical if the price were a tad lower and service a tad better. Although it was a slow night, it was murder getting bread, flatware, water, the check, etc. Bread was relly at a premium. It never came. And I had the $20 soup, mind you.

The similarly priced lobster roll seemed authentic enough in terms of preparation. But again, a lighter hand needs to work with the lobster at this price. Fresh-from-the-bag potato chips on the side didn't do it for my dining companion.

For dessert, I had Boston Cream Pie -- a huge slice with good custard and chocolate on top. Unfortunately, two words came to mind when I dug in: day old. Intelligentsia coffee, Boston style, was very good.

I really wanted to like Glory, and I think the menu looks good; indeed the food was "fine." But after my recent $80 dinner for two, I can't afford to give it another chance. Maybe I was there on an off night. Bruno seemed to love it.

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