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Midvalley Restaurants: Smoke

Todd Hartley's picture

Calling itself “Modern Barbecue,” Smoke satisfies a carnivorous urge in the midvalley with ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken and everything else one might expect to find in a classic barbeque place. So it’s only natural to wonder what, exactly, modern barbecue means.

The answer is a new take on a classic theme. While the food suggests some smoky roadside joint on the outskirts of Memphis, the upscale furnishings and lively bar have the look and feel of a trendy urban nightspot. That dichotomy perfectly describes chef and owner Jamie Theriot’s vision for Smoke, which is located across from Triangle Park in the Willits Town Center.

The main attractions on the menu are the slow-cooked meats, which are seasoned and smoked without sauce and served dry. Each table comes with a collection of three barbeque sauces and a spicy mustard for augmenting the ribs and other fare. Plates of the meat also come with your choice of side dishes, all of which are excellent. Whether you choose the mac and cheese, the baked beans, the cheese grits or the creamed spinach, you can’t really go wrong.

The rest of the menu is equally tasty, with some of the highlights being the corn muffins served with an out-of-this-world cane butter, the rotating mac and cheese specials and the pepper burger with blue cheese and bacon. The pulled pork and beef brisket are also available as hearty sandwiches served with a heaping helping of fries, and the smoked prime rib and Louisiana “BBQ” shrimp with grits and sausage are house specialties.

The inviting bar area at Smoke sees a steady crowd drawn in by the generous selection of beers and liquor, the friendly service and a happy hour with bargain-priced drinks and such tempting appetizers as riblets, chicken wings and oysters. There is also a well-thought-out wine list designed to pair well with the various dishes.

With nothing on the menu more expensive than $20, Smoke is a great place to bring the family for an affordable dinner, and with an ample seating area and a large deck for al fresco dining, Smoke can generally accommodate most parties without reservations and without waiting. For even more cost-conscious patrons, Smoke features a rotating $8.50 lunch special with po’ boy sandwiches, pork quesadillas and BBQ hash, a lively concoction of potatoes and crispy nuggets of beef.

In addition to the restaurant, Smoke offers take-out food, including a boxed lunch, as well as catering services. Call 970-927-5158 for more information or to make a reservation, which are suggested for parties of six or more.