Smoke City Market
5424 Van Nuys Blvd
Smoke City Market was suppose to open, at least according to an LA Eater story, back in September. That didn't happen.
Then according to their Facebook page, they were going to have a soft opening on October 28th. That didn't happen.
But, finally Smoke City opened on November 4th. A friend who lives nearby told me about the opening, and a group of us dropped in.
This is billed as a Texas style BBQ, mean brisket and beef are king. But the Texas BBQ I like, is smoked with mesquite. Smoke City meats are smoked with oak.
All meats are sold by the pound and are very pricey. $18/lb for beef ribs, $8.25/lb for brisket, and $8.50/lb for baby back ribs.
I'm all about pork ribs, I prefer spare ribs but baby backs are fine. This half rack of baby back ribs was dry, salty, and just overpowered with smoke. Smoke should enhance the flavor of the meat, not overwhelm it. There was very little to no rub, but the salt and pepper seasoning was too heavy on the salt. The ribs, actually all the meats, were dry because they had been sitting in a warmer for too long.
This was not worth the $8.50/lb price.
The beef ribs at $18/lb, must be the most overpriced BBQ meat I have ever had. The ribs were huge, I'll give them that. But otherwise, it was dry, fatty, and lacked flavor. I rib I got was slightly over a pound and not worth the roughly $20 price tag.
The brisket is the best meat, I had at Smoke City. They have three selections of brisket. Lean, moist, and cutter's choice. The cutter's choice is a mixture of the lean and moist brisket. The brisket was a bit fatty. Look, I know brisket has a lot of fat. But when the right pitmaster works on the a cut of meat, he can turn that fat into flavor. The moist brisket was more fatty, than the lean, but still too much fat. The lean brisket was dry, and while it didn't have as much fat, it was too dry.
But, for three people our bill came to $100!!! This was not worth $100, not even half that amount. Ok, I'll grant you, we didn't have to order the beef ribs at $18/lb. But even at that price, we got about 3lbs, that's still $40 for a lb of brisket and half rack of baby back ribs and a few sides, which I didn't touch. The last time I went to Dr. Hogly Wogly, I was able to get a brisket and beef rib combo, with two sides for about $20 and their brisket and beef ribs are much better than Smoke City.
Service was very good at the restaurant. The people are nice and friendly and they really want you to enjoy your dining experience. But, while their use of
Facebook is a good thing, what good is it, if you give the wrong information. They were suppose to have a soft opening on Oct. 28th, this is their post:
"Smoke City Market Hey Fans!!! We are ready!!! After all this time, effort, and research we will be opening our doors for a soft launch on Thursday, October 28th! Thank you all for your support and we can not wait to serve you!
October 24 at 9:51pm"
But that soft launch didn't happen. The food trucks are using Twitter and Facebook to get the word out. If the trucks tweeted they were going to be at a location at 7pm and didn't show, they wouldn't have many customers anymore. Thus it's important to have accurate information!! Look, I know it's a pain to get permits and other things. But at least inform the people by updating the Facebook page.
I wish Smoke City Market, success. I hope they do well. They are nice people in person. But the high prices, poor quality of BBQ, and not giving accurate information on social websites, are three strikes against them. I won't go back here and to be honest, I would be shocked if Smoke City is still open next November 4th.