Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque

I took a mental health day (lovely) on Monday and figured the only way to truly rest my mind was to feed it some quality food. Given the nice sunny day I decided to hop over to Stillwater with my girlfriend to take in the antiques, cool shops and most importantly, Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque. I parked the car and the headed straight to the restaurant only to find out that it didn't open until 4 p.m. (at least on Mondays). So much for rum and pork on my lunch ticket! We skipped around the quaint shops and antique stores for a few hours and purchased a few items (I got a a nice antique mezza luna!) before we grabbed a glass of wine to prime our bellies for a seriously comforting meal on a cool autumn night.

We finished our vino and headed back to Smalley's and were amazed to see how vacant it was given the buzz around this place. However, it was a Monday night in a weak economy, so I wasn't too concerned. Our server came out and gave us the run down about how they're only one of three restaurants in the U.S. to use authentic pimento wood for their Caribbean (Jamaican/jerk) Barbeque. I figured that was impressive enough, so we dug right into the menu. The waiter came back to take our order and was very knowledgeable and friendly, which is always appreciated.

We started off with the fried green tomatoes. I love fried green tomatoes and have been longing for the version I used to feast on at Big E's before the Minneapolis soul scene was abruptly shaken up. Regardless, these bad boys were little discs of bliss. Perfectly fried in a corn meal batter and accompanied with a nice light aioli. The crisp breading offered a nice textural contrast to the firm tomatoes, and they were perfect for dipping in the delectable sauce. Needless to say we were off to a good start.
Now, it's important to remember that this is Caribbean Barbeque, so if you are used to Memphis or Texas Barbeque this will be different. My family has been smoking (not herb, but high quality meats) for quite some time and I have grown an appreciation for the complexity smoking can bring to a meal. Smalley's did not disappoint on that end at all. I ordered the brisket and chicken combo. The meat was really moist and super flavorful. The smoke was present in every bite. You could see the nice smoke coloration on both the brisket and chicken, yet the flavor of the meat was still present. It's not the same hickory or mesquite that I'm used to, but I thought it was unique and brilliant at the same time. Jess had the pulled chicken sandwich with bacon and it was killer too. The accompanying sauces (on the side) left a bit to be desired in my mind, but I would have no idea why someone would want to dilute the pure smoky, salty goodness I was experiencing with a thick glob of sauce anyways.

The sides were killer too. Jess got a side of sweet potatoes (or was it yams?) with sausage that rivals their counterpart over at Brasa. I had the mac and cheese with chilies and bacon and was ready to surrender next to the warm fire and take a nap after digging into the comforting tranquility - that is after the wonderful bite supplied by the chilies mellowed a bit. I also had a decent bowl of red beans and rice, but any dish short of greatness would have played second banjo next to the rich mac and the perfect sweet potatoes anyways.

We gorged until we could eat no more and packaged the rest up for lunch the following day. Needless to say leftovers have never been so eagerly anticipated. You'll have to run up there for yourself though and let me know what you think about this BBQ joint. It's well worth the drive, and I'll have to find an excuse to get up there again soon.

Happy Eating,



kat said...

I lvoe BBQ but I'd go for the fried green tomatoes alone!

Bhobbs said...

You've got me hankerin' for some BBQ. Nothing could be so cruel than to have to read about that savory smoked flavor as I dig into a month old candy bar and my 12th hour of work. Thanks for nothing.
Maybe I'll go this weekend with my brother.

Sarah said...

I starred this for follow-up and finally made it! Thanks for the encouragement and review! :)

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