Friday, September 08, 2006

Smokey Bones – All Sugar, No Spice

For lunch today, TW and I went to Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill on Winchester. It's a regular haunt for us, but I can't really explain why. Equal parts friendly, confusing, tasty, depressing, boring, freaky, bland, energetic, the whole place gives off a weird vibe. One visit doesn't really convey the message. It takes 6 or 7 trips before you become a convert.

Until today, I don't think anyone in our group has ever ordered the BBQ. Why would you order BBQ from a chain restaurant when you're in Memphis? Bar-B-Log, that's why. And, they have smoked beef brisket which is the closest I think I'm going to get to Texas-style BBQ around these parts. Overall, it was pretty lame. It's not reasonable to judge Texas BBQ based on a meal from a chain restaurant in Memphis, but I just did it anyway. It's lame. It didn't taste bad, in fact it was quite tender beef. I could imagine a more authentic and flavorful version, but the idea still bored me.

As I read over that last paragraph, I started thinking. Corned beef is pickled brisket. Pastrami is smoked corned beef. Texas BBQ is smoked brisket. WTF? I'd much rather have pastrami and swiss on rye.

Every Smokey Bones table comes complete with two BBQ sauces, and the waitstaff make quite a big deal about it when you arrive. They say one is tangy and one is sweet. Well, one tastes like steak sauce and one tastes like BBQ candy. There will be no sauce secrets uncovered today.

Now, forget everything you've just read. None of it matters because Smokey Bones has one thing that allows me to forgive any other shortcomings. A Bag of Donuts. "What?" you ask. For dessert they offer a bag of donuts – fresh to order cake donuts covered in cinnamon sugar and served in a paper bag with a side of raspberry dipping sauce. Ideally, the waiter shakes up the bag at your table to distribute the sugar and pours the donuts out on a plate. Usually, you have to do that part yourself. It really doesn't matter what you eat for lunch if you can finish with a bag of donuts.

The crummy BBQ puts them in the tourist trap category. The bag of donuts earns them 4 stars. I can offer no better summation of the dichotomy that is Smokey Bones.

NOTE: In the last photo you'll see that TW mistakenly ordered broccoli and cheese soup to accompany his smoked turkey sandwich with broccoli and cheese. That's just funny.


aunt katherine said...

mmm...who cares about the bbq sauce?
that pecan butter and cornbread is "a little bit of heaven and a little bit of sin all wrapped up in one."

Jocular Schlemiel said...

Personally, I can't stand Smokey Bones. We have a Tennessee's BBQ place around here, and I hear they have great BBQ (for a chain restaurant).

We don't have good BBQ up here in the North...but I'm off to Houston in a couple weeks. I'll sure to be eating as much BBQ as I can handle.

sal said...

I like smokey bones only when there is a special or coupons, the it is worth it. But the bag of doughnuts were a complete thumbs down..salim