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There has been a lot of hype over Barque Smokehouse lately and since Mike is a huge fan of barbeque, we made the trek over to Roncesvalles. We wanted to go for an early dinner and arrived just before they opened for dinner (at 5). Not surprisingly, there was already a crowd outside awaiting its opening. While waiting outside, we realized we probably should have called to make a reservation. This is usually my job, so I guess I dropped the ball on this one. Luckily, we were able to get a seat; although the hostess informed us this table was reserved at 7.

Popcorn - served with a Carolina-style mustard sauce and Kansas-style bbq sauce

Our server came over to explain the menu to us. She recommended the sampler and informed us that their brisket is one of their specialties. She also dropped off a bucket of complimentary popcorn for us to start with. It was certainly a nice change from the bread we normally get. The popcorn was also served with two types of sauce to dip the popcorn in – a Carolina style mustard sauce and Barque’s Kansas-style barbeque sauce. Kansas-style barbeque sauce is a sweeter variation of the sauce which typically contains molasses as opposed to the vinegary Carolina-style, which Stockyards uses. I prefer the Kansas-style, since I prefer my barbeque sauce sweeter.

Brisket Poutine

Barque has several St. Ambroise beers on tap and a small wine selection. They also have house sparkling water (which I’ve never really seen served on the house). As for the food, we started with the Brisket Poutine ($9). It consisted of cheddar and mozzarella cheese melted on top of the brisket and fries. The brisket had a fantastic smoky flavour and tasted delicious with the flavourful gravy. The fries were really thin, and although decent, weren’t really anything to write home about. The cheese was just a large glob on top of the entire dish. I would’ve enjoyed it more if the cheese was incorporated all throughout the dish instead. Overall, the brisket and gravy alone were great; could’ve done without the fries and cheese though.

Smoked Miami Ribs

We also ordered the Smoked Miami Ribs ($8) to start. This caught my eye since I’m a big fan of Miami ribs (beef ribs which have been cross-cut and are thinly sliced). The serving was a lot larger than I expected as it came in a small cast iron skillet filled with the ribs. They looked and smelled amazing. Although I really enjoyed the sweet flavour of the ribs, I found them too chewy for my liking. But Mike didn’t seem to mind as he just demolished them (likely because he was starving).

For our main, we decided to share the Barque Sampler for One ($22). For this sampler, you get to choose 3 of the following (along with your choice of 2 sides):

  • Competition chicken thigh
  • 1/3 rack of baby back ribs (spicy or rubbed)
  • Brisket
  • Beef rib
  • Barque Sampler for One - Competition chicken thigh, 1/3 rack of baby back ribs and brisket

    They also have a Sampler for Two, which basically come with the same options, except with double the portions and an additional sides We decided to go with the Competition chicken thigh, 1/3 rack of baby back ribs (rubbed) and the brisket. The chicken thigh was probably my favourite item on the sampler. It was cooked well and was really moist. But my favourite part was the sauce! It had an amazing flavour to it. I certainly didn’t leave Mike with much of it to eat.

    As for the ribs, we went with the rubbed, since the other option was spicy. I’m generally not a huge fan of rubbed ribs since I prefer my meat covered in sauce. I thought I would have to dip the ribs in the barbeque sauce they provided us for the popcorn. Although the ribs weren’t falling off the bone, they were really tender and had a great flavour to them. No additional sauce required at all!

    Barque Caesar

    My least favourite item on the sampler was the brisket. I only had one piece, so maybe that was the problem. But I found it really dry, which ruined it for me. It just didn’t taste as good as the brisket I had in the poutine… maybe because the brisket in the poutine was covered in gravy!

    For our sides, we selected the smoked asparagus and Barque Caesar. The smoked asparagus was well-cooked – nothing worse than overcooked vegetables. The Barque Caesar was nothing special. Mike said the croutons were chewy and not crispy which he didn’t like. I guess I’ll have to take his word for it since I didn’t try any of them. The one thing that did stand out in the Caesar was the smoked candied bacon. I could’ve eaten a whole plate full of this. The balance of the sweetness and saltiness was perfect.

    Homemade Pecan Pie with Gregs Roasted Marshmallow Ice Cream

    Although we were stuffed after the sampler, we decided to try the Homemade Pecan Pie with Greg’s Roasted Marshmallow Ice Cream ($8), since it came highly recommended by our server. The pecan pie was served warm with a small ramekin of the roasted marshmallow ice cream. Although I’ve only had pecan pie a couple times, I thought this was amazing. Mike agreed (and he loves pecan pie). The addition of the roasted marshmallow ice cream just elevated the dish to a “wow” level. Several people have recommended this ice cream to me before, and I finally understand what the hype is about. Five stars for this dessert alone!

    Overall, there were a few things I really enjoyed and a few things I could’ve lived without. The service here was great! Our server was really warm and friendly. She took the time to explain the menu to us, made recommendations along the way and always checked back with us to ensure everything was okay.

    Barque Smokehouse

    At a glance:

  • Open from 5-11 for dinner
  • Barque also does brunch on the weekends
  • They take reservations (recommended as it gets pretty busy)
  • Fantastic service – great servers
  • Ratings (out of 5):

  • Food: 3.5 stars
  • Service: 4.5 stars
  • Atmosphere: 4.5 stars
  • Barque Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

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