Smoke City Market, a Sherman Oaks BBQ joint touted recently by both Jonathan Gold and Neil "Bigmista" Strawder, and a place we've never been to before. They're both right: Smoke City is the real deal. It's super casual with picnic tables, wax paper instead of plates, and napkins from pull-down dispensers on the wall. The smoke you smell when walking up is incredible, making every tastebud stand on end. For anyone who's a fan of real Texas BBQ, the kind where the smoke ring is purty and pink around the edge of the brisket, where the rubs help create flavor but don't mask the meat, where ribs, both beef and pork, are king, this the place for you.
If you can't decide which meats you want, get the BBQ Beast. You get three top contenders stuffed between a bun, topped with cabbage-apple slaw and hot vinegar. What's not to love - a deliciously smoked link, pulled pork and brisket all in one. Deeelish. And everything else? They were out of beef ribs last night, so we got a three-meat combo and a couple of sides (see below for the whole spread) to share with a friend. Lesson #1: whatever you do, don't miss the pastrami. Lesson #2: get more napkins than you'll think you need.