I first found Blue Smoke in the September before I started Brunch with Bear. My family was in town, and it was my cousin’s birthday so we were trying to find a good restaurant that was allergy-friendly. The Flatiron District—named for the steaks, of course—has some really great barbecue places, and my cousin is basically a carnivore, so Blue Smoke seemed like a nice enough restaurant.
Turns out “nice enough” means “why don’t we come here more often?” When I came back into the city for the start of the fall semester this year, I spent a few days down in the Flatiron District. Paired with an evening at Newsies, a trip to Blue Smoke was the perfect welcome home-away-from-home.
Blue Smoke is located on 27th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. The closest subway station is the 28th Street stop on the 6 train, but you can also walk from the 28th Street stops on the 1, N or R trains. Blue Smoke also has a Battery Park location, but currently Bear has only visited the flagship Flatiron location.
Blue Smoke reminds me of one of my favorite restaurants back home in California. It has the same old-fashioned barbecue feel with a little bit of that big city flair. The restaurant is also attached to a jazz club, so the whole joint is pretty swingin’ without being hokey or overly greasy. The bar and the booths are roomy and there’s a basin outside the restrooms for the sole purpose of washing barbecue sauce off your hands and face (and hair and clothes).
Our waitress this time around was like a cross between Zooey Deschanel and Emma Stone: doe-eyed and very personable. I love their Memphis-style baby-back ribs and so she checked and double-checked on the allergy situation. Turns out the fries are fried in the same oil as the allergy-hostile onion rings, etc. but the sweet potato wedges can be baked as a good substitute.
Blue Smoke has consistently delicious meat and sides. However, unlike the massacre that happened in May at Hill Country BBQ, this meal was more refined. Blue Smoke has a plethora of sauces to tailor to all the different tastes at the table, and the waitstaff is not shy about bringing more napkins. The baby-back ribs were delicious, and the sweet potato wedges—while a little undercooked and firm—balanced out the mess of meat.
The clientele at Blue Smoke covers all sorts of New Yorkers. Feel free to bring people for all occasions ranging from family birthdays to business lunches to third-date-and-things-are-going-pretty-wells. Though I’ve only had the ribs—what else are you eating at a barbecue restaurant?—sources say the pulled pork sandwich and the veggie burger are also great.
Blue Smoke is the perfect balance between upscale NYC and neighborhood comfort, which is something the Brunch with Bear team always appreciates. We can’t wait to go back soon!