Thursday, May 10, 2012

Smoken Bones

Address: 7-1701 Douglas Street (the Hudson)
Phone: (250) 391-6328
Price: $10-22
Notes: Southern-style barbecue and soul food, lots of daily specials.

Smoken Bones has recently relocated to the downtown core, opening up in the new Hudson Building. The restaurant space is massive, with high ceilings and large expanses of wall covered in beautiful murals and food-inspired art.

I have to confess, I ate at their previous location in Langford on a number of occasions and was totally and completely underwhelmed every single time. I think part of it was that I previously wasn't really into meat on the bone, so I would order around what they are most famous for, but I have come around to this delicious phenomenon.  Plus, I was schooled by a few people on what to order... and have been more impressed with my food since retrying it in the new location.

The menu feels incredibly massive with plenty of options! There are also great specials to be found every day of the week. Obviously, the menu is not very friendly for vegetarians but if you like meat there is quite a lot of options. The sandwiches are in the $10 range, while the mains are closer to $20. For $40-50, you can get sampler platters "for two or more" but from what I heard from people, emphasis on the "OR MORE" part!

May 1, 2012
This was my partner-in-food-and-life's choice. It was pretty tasty, but didn't match up to the image of gumbo that we both have in our head, which was with rice and much more tomato based edited to add: they sent me a message to say that this tomato-based style is more creole, where as theirs is in the cajun style! (Good to know!) The flavours were pretty good, though, with a definite taste of green. In case you are interested, the wikipedia article on Okra is Quite fascinating! I won't bore you by regurgitating the facts. The cornbread was Most excellent and moist.

Cheeseburger with beans and cabbage
I don't know what sucked me into the burger, it wasn't what I was planning order before we came. I think it was the idea of "bayou swamp sauce" (Great branding!) and smoked tomato relish (amazing!) on the burger that really got me, not going to lie! As burgers go in this town, it was pretty average. Nothing to write home about, but ticked all of the boxes! Local bun, so nice and fresh. The patty was thick and not too dry, but not as juicy as I prefer. They have a selection of cheeses, and I had the waitress choose and she came back with an aged cheddar, which was a great choice! I really liked the buttered cabbage as a side, with really nice browning creating lots of delicious extra flavour. I ended up paying a little extra for beans as well. They felt like they had been sitting waiting for a while, the top layer of beans was a bit dry, but there was lots of sauce down the bottom of the bowl. They were still way less dry than I was expecting, but had really nice baked bean flavour to it!

January 27, 2012
This was my first visit, back in January, during a foodie tweet up event. I often don't blog my experience of these events (my rationale for this is below in the service review). BUT - I do want to share a description of some of the things I had, because I think they are things worth ordering! I don't have photos of everything because I forgot to charge my iPhone, and there was a trivia contest and I used up all my juice (lesson learned!).

The appetizer that really sticks out in my mind was the Hush Puppies - deep fried goodness! I would definitely try them again, although I am also dying to try the deep-fried pickles to see how they compare to Red Fish Blue Fish.

Funny (?) side note: on a visit to the washroom, I saw a young girl in her teens wiping a tear-smudged face before returning to the restaurant. I had visions of a poor, hormonal girl, recently having made the Very Important and Righteous decision to be a vegetarian forced to go out for dinner with her family... at a barbecue restaurant. It was in her honour that I ordered the only vegetarian thing on the menu: the stuffed peppers. They were actually freaking delicious, and I would totally order them again!

Bacon ice cream
I had to order the bacon ice cream for dessert! It wasn't even... an option not to! It was pretty heavenly - sugar coated bacon rolled around a ball of ice cream. Not too savoury as to take away from the idea.

I laughed at the name of the drink once I said it out loud, but I was really sucked in by the bacon vodka (are we sensing a theme?). I think the vodka was a bit too subtle in the overall flavour of the drink although it certainly was stronger than I anticipated so I don't think it was a lack of booze, but we also had a shot with a bit more mix to vodka ratio and that worked better!


May 1, 2012
I think they were a little under staffed today, but they handled it really well. We were seated right away, and our server came to collect our drink orders right away, but then there was a massive lag for our food order. Our server was very apologetic - she had been serving a large table, and in the end our food came up quickly so it wasn't a bad experience overall. The service was very polite and efficient without taking away for the little bit of casualness required while working in a barbecue restaurant.

January 27, 2012
So the reason that I don't always blog about special events (like the one I went to on this day) when they are organized as foodie event that I am pretty aware that restaurants recognize the table is full of influencers of the Victoria food scene. It is part of my personal code of ethics that I like to have some anonymity in my reviewing. I want to have the experience of a typical restaurant customer. This wasn't a typical experience, but it was still really awesome! They had two massive tables set aside, some free appetizers and a trivia contest. It was a grand time.