1 Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA 02139
Located in the same block as Mamaleh’s and The Friendly Toast, among other restaurants, The Smoke Shop is Chef Andy Husbands’ latest BBQ joint. Paul and I stopped by during Halloweekend, so we were greeted by some interesting costumes and a welcoming interior (with really solid lighting for food photography!). At the heart of the extensive menu are the BBQ Plates, which come with a choice of meat and two sides, and we decided to share two plates: the Brisket Plate and the Pulled Pork.
With the Brisket Plate, we ordered sides of Bacon Collards and Corn Bread, and it came with one and a half slabs of juicy brisket. It was incredibly tender, though definitely on the fatty side. The cornbread was a bit dry, and the collard greens were only okay. “Any BBQ restaurant needs some healthy vegetables to balance the less-than-optimal-for-your-arteries main fare,” Paul said. “These greens seemed saturated with oil to the point of being soggy.”
We ordered the Pulled Pork plate with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Crispy Brussel Sprouts as our sides. The sweet potatoes added a sweet touch to the meal, especially with the sprinkle of candied pecans, and the brussel sprouts were perfectly lightly crispy. “The pulled pork was wonderfully cooked and allowed me to enjoy the tangy golden BBQ sauce,” Paul explained. I agree that the sauces were another highlight of the restaurant, adding another dimension to the meals.
Lastly, we also tried the Pong’s Spinach Salad, which came with butternut squash, bacon, toasted walnuts, parmesan crackers, and spinach (obviously) with a bacon vinaigrette. “The salad was over-dressed which is surprising given the uncovered nature of the entrees,” Paul said. “But, I would definitely recommend The Smoke Shop as a fun place to grab BBQ — the whiskey list also looked extensive which begs exploration.”
Overall, The Smoke Shop is a welcome addition to the Kendall Square area. I’m not a BBQ aficionado by any means, but I agree that the restaurant adds a fun diversity of flavors to the area with large portions and a lively atmosphere.