Smokehouse Bar-B-Que: Find 7 kinds of ribs in classy atmosphere
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Restaurant Critic
Thursday, October 18, 2012
3/28/13 at 8:04 AM
When Kansas City's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que opened almost 26 years ago, owner Darioush Ghasemi didn't want to have just another "hole-in-the-wall joint" in that 'cue-crazy town.
"I didn't see any reason you couldn't have a nice atmosphere to go with old-fashioned barbecue," Ghasemi said recently after opening his Tulsa restaurant, his fifth and the first outside the Kansas City area.
"I love stained glass, so that's why we have the Tiffany-style light fixtures in the restaurants. And somehow they seem to go with barbecue."
Ghasemi said he also figured a nice atmosphere called for more than just barbecue, so he installed steaks, seafood and even a lettuce wrap on the menu.
It was one of those non-barbecue dishes - actually a non-menu dish - that stole the show on our recent visit.
The fish of the day was grilled red snapper, and it was being offered at a special price at that: $11.95. What a bargain.
This was a large fillet, grilled over a wood fire, and came with a mellow lemon-butter sauce on the side. The fish was flaky and flavorful, and it was served with a sliced tomato, grilled zucchini and yellow squash, and a house salad.
The salad items were bright and fresh and included sliced tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, sliced mushrooms, bacon bits, croutons and a mix of spinach leaves and iceberg lettuce.
On the barbecue side, we ordered a porker sandwich ($8.95), a combo of baby back ribs and sliced brisket ($15.95), and a combo of beef short ribs and burnt ends ($16.95).
The short ribs featured a thick portion of meat around the long, flat bones. The meat was a bit fatty and greasy, which translates into big flavor, like a tender, slow-cooked roast beef.
The brisket was tender and moist, and the baby backs, meaty for that cut, were fine. The burnt ends were a little dry and chewy.
The sandwich came with a nice portion of pulled pork and a side of standard fries.
The restaurant probably has more variety of ribs than any place in town. In addition to those mentioned above, it has pork spare ribs, long end ribs, short end ribs, beef back ribs and petite pork spare ribs.
"Beef ribs are leaner than pork, so it's tricky getting them to come out as tender as you want," Ghasemi said.
I had an opportunity to taste the beef backs, and they were meatier and more tender than I expected.
The barbecued meats are cooked in a large brick-oven pit over hickory, and steaks and seafood are grilled over an open hickory fire.
Smokehouse Bar-B-Que has three sauces - hot, mild and sweet - and diners have to request what they want. I mixed the three until I hit a flavor and level of spiciness I liked.
The restaurant is known for a few of its side dishes, such as cheesy corn, hickory pit beans and coleslaw, and we sampled two of those. The beans, dotted with small bits of brisket, were sweet and tasty, and the corn simply tasted like creamed corn with some cheese melted in.
We also shared a lettuce wrap ($7.95) for kicks. It was made with a spicy chopped brisket and a little tomato and onion.
The restaurant has full bar service and sweet tea for those with Southern tastes.
7020 S. Memorial Drive
Service: (on a scale of 0 to 4 stars)
11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.
to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday;
accepts all major credit
Original Print Headline: 'Cue with class
Scott Cherry 918-581-8463
A combo of beef back ribs and beef short ribs is served with beans and cheesy corn at Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. Owner Darioush Ghasemi (below) opened his first Kansas City Smokehouse Bar-B-Que almost 26 years ago. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World