Cambodian Cuisine becomes The Smoke Joint
I had no idea Cambodian Cuisine had closed its doors. While never its biggest fan, I liked the idea of this place as it provided an nice dining alternative for the area. It was just different and I loved the corner of land it occupied. Taking over its spot is The Smoke Joint, serving honest to goodness, real barbeque in Brooklyn! And it's REALLY GOOD!
DMR and I got some takeout to bring to Balgavy's the other week, where we caught up on the television shows we had missed while our interwebs and cable was indisposed. (For those keeping score at home, it took Time Warner 11 days to fix everything: 3 actual appointments and 1 made-up appointment where the technician showed up despite us never confirming the date or time.) Balgavy went with the mammoth beef short ribs and a side of fries shaken in the house "jointrub." I went with a half rack of baby-back ribs, while DMR chose the tips and bits drowned in the house sauce, "jointsmoke." We also shared an order of fries, mac n' cheese and greens.
I devoured my dry-rubbed ribs, which came 5 or 6 to the order. I liked being able to dip my rib into the sauce to control the amount. They were meaty and tender, and I licked them clean. DMR was a little hesitant about his tips and bits, as it was difficult to tell what was meat and what was bone amid the sea of sauce. Still, the sauce is damn good, and the crusty end bits made up for accidental gnawing on cartilege. Neither of us was overly fond of the other sauce - which was probably the brown-sugar chilie. The fries, served in a brown paper lunch bag, were a big hit. The Smoke Joint's jointrub is reminiscent of Utz's bbq chips, with sweetness coming from granulated sugar. Personally, I opt for Carolina-style bbq chips were vinegar provides a tang, but these fries were so tasty, it didn't matter. A fry can widthstand sweetness much better than a thin chip can.
I had read some reviews that said the greens needed work and the mac n' cheese was fantastic, but my experience was the opposite. My greens were slightly smoky and not overwhelmingly vinegary at all as some reports stated. The mac n' cheese, on the otherhand was too unctuous and the sauce didn't have much of a bite. And where were the crusty parts? Oddly, I enjoyed this side more the next day, when I reheated the leftover portion for a snack. The cheesiness was more prominent and the sauce had broken so it wasn't overly creamy.
We can't wait to go back and try the fantastic selection of beers owners Ben and Craig have put together. While we waited for our order, we chatted with Ben, who regards the Smoke Joint's beverages like his own children. A PSG favorite, Blue Point Toasted Ale is sold in bottles for $3.50. There is also a selection of cans from Butternuts Beer and Ale in upstate New York, each just a couple bucks and with great names (Pork Slap Pale Ale, anyone?). Dale's Pale Ale from Colorado, which I recently tried at Floyd is on the menu, too. Ben mentioned his favorite of all is Hennepin from the Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown.
There is still much on the menu, I want to try. Coleslaw, Brooklyn Wings and Hacked and Stacked, I'm looking right at you! You are warned, even though it will be difficult to not the ribs the next time around.