What’s on the menu at Smoke Bar and Kitchen, an unconventional barbecue joint on Queen West

What’s on the menu at Smoke Bar and Kitchen, an unconventional barbecue joint on Queen West

Name: Smoke Bar and Kitchen
Contact: 638 Queen St. W., 416-203-8181, smokebarandkitchen.com, @smokebarandkitchen
Neighbourhood: Queen West
Previously: Lisa Marie
Owners: Scott Fraser and Glen Tymchuk (both of Hogtown Smoke)
Chef: Executive chef Sean Simons (Hogtown Smoke) and chef de cuisine Andrew Hernandez (Pick 6ix)
Accessibility: One step at entrance, washrooms in basement

The food

With a name like Smoke—and from the same team behind Hogtown Smoke—you’d expect classic barbecue at this new Queen West restaurant (in the old Lisa Marie space). However, while there are still ribs, grilled bird and brisket on the menu, the focus isn’t strictly on meat and the flavour profiles are far more global than strictly southern. The brisket, for example, gets an umami jolt from hoisin, while the ribs get some kick from gojuchang, and a cauliflower steak comes doused in chimichurri.

These yakitori-inspired shishito peppers come in a teriyaki sauce with slivers of fried garlic on top. $8.


These manchego-covered Tater Tots Bravas are part North American, part Spanish. $6.


The rainbow trout is cured in a mix of juniper, salt, sugar and gin before it’s cold-smoked over cherry wood. The fish, which comes to the table in a smoke-filled glass, is served with a grilled fennel and caper relish. $15.


Slow-cooked brisket is flavoured with hoisin, shoved in a bao and topped with a carrot-and-daikon slaw and some kimchi. $13.


To make the “watermelon ham” for the Meloumi (a grilled halloumi-watermelon sandwich), the kitchen brines the melon in a mix of sugar, salt and rosemary for 24 hours, before smoking it for an additional four hours. $14.


After almost six hours in the smoker, these ribs are dredged in a five spice-flavoured flour before being tossed in the fryer. They’re then drowned in gochujang before being plated with slaw and lotus root. $15.


This cauliflower steak is cooked sous vide for two hours before it’s finished on a flattop for a bit of caramelization. A few lashings of chimichurri, some onion strings and crispy chickpeas finish the plate. $14.


Is it even brunch without a belt-buster? The Elvis in Paris is a banana bread–based French toast that comes with bacon, fried bananas, strawberry compote and a good glug of maple syrup. $14.


There are four Bennies (all served on buttermilk biscuits) on the menu: straight-up traditional with peameal, a southern Benny with pulled pork, a veggie benny with avocado and asparagus, and this pescatarian option topped with house-smoked trout and fried capers. $14.


And here’s a whole spread.


The drinks

Cocktails steal the show at Smoke, with a whole bunch of potent potions that riff on classic libations. The taps, meanwhile, pour local heavy hitters (Amsterdam, Steam Whistle) alongside two Innis and Gunn brews and a rosé cider from Angry Orchard.

Even the negronis are smoked here. $14.


For the Tiki Torch Me, Daiquiri Me, smoked pineapple comes blended with dark rum, coconut rum and lime. $14.


Not all the cocktails come singed. Some, like California Love, are straight-up refreshing. This summer blend is a mix of vodka, blackberry and vanilla, served over crushed ice. $14.


And here are the taps.


The space

The 80-seat room looks onto Queen West through a roll-up garage door. The majority of the seating is communal, but there are a few two- and four-tops scattered around the space. A blown up photo from the 1904 Great Fire stretches across an entire wall (a hat tip to Hogtown’s past), while graffiti pops gesture towards Queen West’s present.

This hand-painted mural by Omen (Mitchell Lanecki) includes the Bellwoods white squirrel, as well as Toronto’s unofficial mascot (a raccoon) wearing Elvis spectacles—a reference to Lisa Marie, the restaurant that formerly occupied this address.