Thursday, June 23, 2016

Smoque N' Bones

Graffiti off Queen street in Toronto
 One of the many perqs of being a father, is Father’s Day.

We deserve that day.

I say that because by the time our kids are grown and off on their own, our hair is gray, our joints sometimes fail to cooperate as they once did, and we don’t always hear every little detail going on in our surroundings, we have long since become accustomed to putting our wives and kids first.

This past Father’s Day those I put first, put me first.

How so?

They treated me to some of the most delicious barbecue I have had in a long, long time. The venue for this feast was Smoque-N-Bones at 869 Queen street West in downtown Toronto.

They say on their website that they serve barbeque. Tomayto, tomahto; barbecue, barbeque, bar-b-cue, bar-b-q, BBQ; a treat by any other name tastes just as awesome. This joint doesn't just offer mouth-watering chicken, ribs, and brisket, they also offer a Bourbon bar with forty-two different Bourbons to choose from.


Jonathan, Harris and I hung out on Queen street in front of the restaurant, while the girls perused the local frock shops. Fortunately no harm came to our wallets while we waited for our table.

There's nothing that makes a newly-minted 64 year-old feel twenty years or more younger, than being considered cool enough to hang out with the Queen street tattoo-ed and pierced set for an evening. Eating to-die-for, smoky, slow-cooked ribs and brisket from prospector (or prison issue?) tin plates was the added delight that made this evening exquisite hedonist heaven.

When asked by the 'kids' what I thought of the experience, I enthused that this might well be not just great BBQ, but perhaps the very best barbecue I have been privileged to enjoy these last 64 years. I was told "Oh, Toronto has even better to offer!" Given my experience as a life-long committed meatatarian, I highly doubt that there is better than this on earth, but hey, by all means, let the search continue!

Service was on the slow side, but in fairness it was Saturday night. The company was first class, the conversation was delightful, and the evening parade on Queen street provided entertainment galore. We weren't suffering in the least. Besides, I had a nice shot of Four Roses Bourbon to savour and that made the wait hardly noticeable. I am sure Stephanie Yue would concur that Bourbon makes any situation downright enjoyable, even a summer evening besieged by bugs of every description. I blame Steph for introducing me to the joys of Bourbon.

About the meal... I know tastes are a matter of opinion, and that something that might be kick-ass for me might be merely meh for another, but geez this was good.


Please forgive me for focusing only on the ribs. I beg forgiveness because everything we ate was just incredibly good.

The ribs were generously meaty, tender, juicy with just the perfect amount of firmness, and graced with a delicious blackened-but-not-burnt crust. So, so tasty, that when you get your lips on the rib, and begin sinking your teeth into all that goodness, all your other senses shut down to allow your brain to process the pure delight. Sasquatch might be looming over you from behind your back, a madman might be in front of you wielding a throwing axe, the fire alarm might have gone off, and your wife might be yelling in your ear that a thief was busy breaking into the Audi R8 you rented for the evening, but your entire brain would be consumed by that rib, and you would just be sitting there oblivious to the mayhem, with a rib in your mouth, and a stupid blissful happy look on what was left to see of your face.

Yes, they were that good.

Trust me.

As some point I chanced a trip past the bar and down to the bomb shelter-like space where they stash the restrooms and the Bourbon cupboard.


They warn you that the stairs are steep, and that the lighting is dim, and the ambiance is definitely as WWII London bomb shelter bunker as they proudly claim on their website, but I went exploring all the same. The hoard of Bourbon was impressive and worth the nasty bloody scrape I picked up on my calf somewhere along the way. It was a tribute to the Bourbon that I have no clue when precisely that happened.


What's a summer evening adventure without a shot of Bourbon and a flesh wound?

15 comments:

  1. David, by all means stop talking about those ribs. They were my favourite meat dish back when I was still a carnivore. Secretly I miss it, and there is no vegan surrogate for it. But maybe that's a good thing.

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    1. As a meatatarian exploring a new city I regret to say that there will be more meat porn. Perhaps I should preface the future such post titles with NSFS (Not Safe For Sonja) :)

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    2. Appreciate the disclaimer ;-)

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  2. My mouth was watering, so I went and poured myself a bourbon (Makers Mark) to take my mind off food.

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    1. Maybe we could go viral with a Bourbon diet!

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  3. David

    You had me salivating from the description, now I have to go eat something, it got my tummy rumbling.

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  4. Ok, I'm charting a course from Philly to Toronto. I have to see this 42 Bourbon list...

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    1. Liz the list is on their web site. But if you must ride to Toronto I'll buy you a Bourbon shot and some ribs.

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  5. David, I know nothing about bourbon but I like what I saw and what I've read re: those ribs. A First Class outing to be sure!

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    1. Doug I know next to mothing about Bourbon but I think I'm going to buy a bottle. I have a fascinating houseguest on his way.

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  6. The food, the barbecue, looks delicious. Your description only adds to my desire for a taste. Sitting here now eating my shredded wheat mixed with raisin bran suddenly isn't that special. My post-heart attack drugs remind me that looking is fine...

    Spending time with family, that's the real gift -- seems to not happen enough here...

    Happy belated Father's Day David!

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

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    1. Sorry Steve, truly. Ride into the sticks, lie on your back, watch some clouds. Much, much healthier in so many levels.

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  7. That sounds like a fabulous evening all around. Good company, good drinks, stellar food, and a totally different environment to immerse yourself in and enjoy. Who knew BBQ could be that good so far north? I do hope you get to explore and experiment more. :-)

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    1. Thanks Kathy. There is very good southern fare here, in Toronto and in Montreal. Usually it's because there is genuine southwrn talent in the kitchen.

      There's little exploring now cause we're up to our necks in renovations.

      This too shall pass.

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