Barque Smokehouse, at 299 Roncesvalles Ave; call (416) 532-7700
On the 30th, I was fortunate to have a wonderful birthday dinner with Sean and Anne at Barque Smokehouse. It was truly an evening to remember.
I started with a Barque Cesar ($10), which was fine way to begin the night. The actual concoction is a perfectly suitable spicy cesar. The twist twist is it’s rimmed with crumbled bacon. Bacon tends to make things better, and this beverage was no exception to that dicta.
In order to spread out the love a bit, we ordered the Barque sampler for two ($45), electing for merguez sausages, sliced brisket, and baby back ribs. For sides, we picked fries, smoked asparagus, and chilled asian slaw. Overall, the quality of the food here is high. The smoked asparagus indeed had a deep smoky flavor. I thought the ribs and brisket could have used more smoking, the ribs being far from fall-off-the-bone done. Still, there was a deft hand here, as well as care put into the process. That’s about as much as you’d expect from a BBQ joint in Canada. Fries and asian slaw were well-executed, but not memorable.
To gild the lily, we added the smoked dry-rubbed chicken wings ($12). This was one of my favorites of the night, with the smoke treatment adding substantially to chicken wing preparation. Barque is proud of its smoke program, sometimes even smoking liquors that go into their cocktails. At times it seems superfluous, but these wings were anything but.
Prior to ending this post, I have to give credit to the front-of-house staff at Barque, which is genial and professional. And of course, a big thanks to Sean and Anne for treating me to such a delectable birthday dinner.