Barbecue has made its way into Roncesvalles, an area known as the centre of the Polish community in Toronto. Competing against local favourites like Cafe Polonez, Barque Smokehouse has been smoking the streets with a sampling menu and a killer atmosphere. Though one can order a la carte, Barque offers guests sampler options that lets one choose from a list of meats and sides, depending on the party size. Because I had my eye set on specific items that I just had to try, I went with the sampler for one.
The dish came with slices of beef brisket that were tender and juicy, and just sucked the smoke right out of the smoker. It was as though all the flavour was packed on this one meat. I still salivate just thinking about it.
The chicken thigh, ordered due to popular demand, had a remarkably fall-off-the-bone texture; though I would have liked the skin to be more juicy and crispy, as that’s my favourite part of eating chicken with the skin on.
The famous baby back ribs were cooked to near perfection with a bit of pink on the center and crunchy almost brunt outer shell. The ribs came with a dry rub that was slightly overpowering for my taste. One can also order them with the sweet and spicy sauce, which will make the meat less dry; however since I can’t handle spice that well, I would have liked a mild sauce option as I found I am not the dry-rub kinda gal.
Believe it or not, the highlight of the night for me were the sides. The caesar salad was probably one of the freshest and tastiest I’ve had at a restaurant. The lettuce leafs were bright green covered in a house-made dressing with a sweet and tangy flavour. Topped with candied smoked bacon and a nutty-flavoured Parmesan cheese, Barque definitely smokes all other contenders out.
The other side that impressed my taste buds was the Spinach Spaetzle. This was basically a soft spinach egg noodlewith a light creamy sauce, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes and Parmesan crisps for texture. The pasta was gooey and flavourful, yet the lightness of the sauce balanced it well to complement the strong taste of the meats.
With a 500-pound-capacity smoker imported from Tennessee and an atmosphere “a la Terroni“, Barque is a spot one must visit, especially on cold winter days when barbecue season seems so far away.
Until next time Foodies!