After having had a pretty good experience with the brunch at Smoke & Barrel (minus the service), I decided to head back with a friend for dinner. On this particular Saturday night, it was packed, to say the least. They told us we'd have a 45-minute wait so we headed downstairs to see if we could grab a drink at the bar. Smoke & Barrel is a medium-sized BBQ restaurant in the heart of Adams Morgan. The downstairs area is a first come, first serve casual atmosphere and it was packed down there as well. After standing by the bar for about 30 minutes, we discovered the wait would be longer than expected so we took a seat at the bar and decided to order there.
I ordered a Negroni, which was pretty strong and my friend had an Old Fashioned. They tout themselves as a bourbon bar so we decided to order some whiskey. I really enjoyed the Knob Hill brand. We finally gave up on ever being seated and instead ordered at the bar. Shortly thereafter, they texted me to tell me the table was ready so we had the awkward close-out with the bar and headed upstairs to our table. There we waited another 15 minutes or so for our food as everyone around us got served before us. We were a bit frustrated to say the least. And our server did not offer any information about when the food would arrive.
Our food finally arrived. As far as the Vegan Spare Ribs go, I liked the texture of these soy- and seitan-based ribs, but they didn't taste any different than the ones you can buy in the grocery store. In fact, I'm pretty sure these are not made in-house. They were sweet and savory with a crispy texture and cooked just right. However, mine looked nothing like the one at the table next to me that had everything as described including pine nuts. It's like they threw mine together and forgot half the elements. Ugh. The asparagus was okay, but nothing special. I added a little spicy BBQ to give it all some more flavor.
My friend ordered my favorite -- the Sweet Potato and Oat Burger, which was much better than my meal. The sweet potato fries were delicious as well.
After this experience, I have to say this will be my last visit to Smoke & Barrel for a while. Some of the food is good and some of it is just so-so. It is inconsistently prepared as I could see how different the girl's entree across from me looked. The service was pretty bad with the server barely checking in on us and eventually I had to flag her down to get the check. The wait was longer than anticipated. And, once again, it was freezing in the front of the restaurant. It's a shame because this place has so much potential. S&B -- let me know when things improve so I can stop by and give you another try. Until then, I'll be dining elswhere.
March 4, 2014
January 11, 2012
Smoke and Barrel
2471 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009