We came in with high expectations for the food… which were not met.
We made reservations at Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry’s restaurant International Smoke in December, and yes, it was pretty much fully booked until March. The restaurant opened at 5pm for dinner on a Sunday and our reservations were at 5:15pm. As soon as we checked in with the hostess when the doors opened, they sat us immediately with some menus. Someone then came by with waters and dropped them off, as well as took our drink orders. We both ordered the Ninkasi Brewing Vanilla Oatis oatmeal stout beer ($8/ea). I thought the restaurant was cutely decorated. The bar area was really nice and I wanted to check out the seating area behind the bar as it looked like an atrium but I did not have the chance to see it.
Adam was our server for the night and he came by to see if we were ready to order. We ordered:
- Double Duck Wings ($16/ 5 wings) – the wings looked to be fried and were covered in this “green seasoning” which just tasted like a chimichurri sauce. We personally enjoyed the wings that were at the bottom as they were not smothered by the sauce as the sauce seemed to “overpower” the taste of the duck. Maybe a nice drizzle of the sauce would be more complimentary?
- Smoked Ribs Combo Rack ($48) – there was about 5 ribs per flavor
- American BBQ – hands down my favorite item we ordered. The BBQ sauce had a nice sweet and tangy and smokey flavor, everything I am looking for in a BBQ sauce. The ribs were fall out of the bone yumminess and very tender. Loved!
- New Mexican Adovada – my least favorite ribs. The dry rub had a lot of flavor, but something about it was just not really appealing to me. The ribs itself were dry.
- Korean Goghujang – nothing about these ribs screamed out Korean to me, but they were tastier than the New Mexican style and were even better the next day as leftovers.
- Argentine Rib Eye ($48) – The rib eye was not memorable and quite disappointing. Some parts were nice and tender, where as some parts of the meat were chewier. The red chimichurri and grilled veggies that accompanied the rib-eye took over the taste of the meat.
- Black Garlic & Miso Salmon ($34) – the blackened salmon was served on top of a kimchi stew. I thought the salmon by itself was lacking flavor. I had to over the kimchi all over the salmon for me to want to finish it. Just like the rib eye, not memorable and disappointing.
- Curry Cornbread ($6/ 2 cornbreads) – I downloaded the International Smoke app before coming in and registered a credit card and was able to redeem a free order of the cornbread. The order came with two muffin-sized cornbread with a red curry and coconut milk spread on top. The cornbread was delicious. Not dry. The spread was a nice added flavor. Would I spend $6 for it? No.
- Smoked Rib Tip Mac & Cheese ($13) – The mac & cheese was quite heavy and very creamy/cheesy. Not my type of mac & cheese, but it did have great flavor.
- Complimentary BBQ Chips with dipping sauce – the chips were yummy and came with a green sauce. I’m assuming it is the same sauce as the Double Duck Wings.
The food just did not live up to the hype for this restaurant and the amount we paid. Would I be back? Most likely not, but I’m glad I tried it out.
Note: If you do decide to go, ask if Adam is working and if he could be your server. He was AMAZING. Knew everything about the menu or at least played it off as he did. Seemed very knowledgeable of the menu (we overheard him talking to another table about food allergies and someone asked about gluten-free options and he asked a bunch of questions and another table talked about being allergic to shellfish). We thought he timed out bringing our food excellent so that we didn’t have a ton of food in front of us or that we were waiting for food. We felt as if we always had food. Plus, before our entrees came out, he came and took our appetizers and boxed them and gave us a ticket (think of it as a coat check) for our leftovers. Also, our water glasses were never empty, someone was always coming by and filling up our water. Even though our food was not memorable, the service we received was… so GREAT JOB!