Sunday, March 1, 2015

Smoke & Barrel in Adams Morgan, DC

I know, I know it's been a month since I've last posted, same on me. To sum up my last month in one word: orgo (aka o-chem, organic chemistry, call of death). But excuses aside, I am determined to keep myself accountable this month and aim for three posts a week - sounds pretty doable right? 

Updates aside, here's a very late recap on one of my latest food adventures!
I've mentioned a few times before, but one of my best friends is vegan, so I am constantly on the look out for new and unique vegan-friendly restaurants to try out with her. Smoke & Barrel came up on my radar from a relentless Yelp search for a new brunch place to try out and immediately was drawn in by the vegan options. Did I mention that this is a BBQ place? Mind. Blown.
Located in Adams Morgan just a few steps away from some of my favorite places to grab a casual bite (Tryst, Amsterdam Falafelshop, Donburi), Smoke & Barrel's bare wood tables and exposed brick gives it a very "ripping-meat-off-the-bone-with-my-bare-fingers" rustic feel. I dig that sorta stuff.

My friends and I were the first table in for brunch that day, so we snagged a table on a sunny balcony and by the time we left (albeit two hours later - more on this later in the post) the restaurant was absolutely packed.

Vegan wings // muddy style // 9.95
To be quite honest, the vegan wings were what prompted me to visit Smoke & Barrel. They're drumettes of soy-based meat substitute wrapped around a small wooden dowel and can be served up wet (with BBQ sauce), dry (with spice rub), muddy (wet + dry), with chipotle honey butter, or with buffalo blue cheese. While I can't say that they taste like meat (but then again, I've never had meat substitute that actually tastes like meat), they were absolutely delicious and my friends and I immediately decided to order a second plate. Too bad that by the time we ordered, the kitchen was out of wings. There was only one other table in the restaurant at this point (who were also informed that they could no longer order the wings), so there were only five vegan wings in the kitchen the entire day? My friends and I had a good laugh at this.

Huevos rancheros // two eggs + pork + salsa + cheddar on a corn tostada with home fries + black beans // 10.95

Two eggs breakfast // two eggs + bacon + home fries + texas toast // 9.95
Chili cheese tofu scramble // vegan chili + vegan cheese + home fries + texas toast // 10.95
Classic BBQ sandwich // chicken + coleslaw + BBQ sauce + pickle + collard greens // 10.95
To be honest, aside from the wings, none of the food particularly "wowed" me. My chicken sandwich was decent and plentiful, but it lacked any of the smokey notes that I was craving. Not to mention a few bites in I realized that the meat tasted stale, like it was left over from the day before. 

The biggest thing that I was disappointed in though was not the food (after all, I don't think brunch is the best representation of a BBQ restaurant) but the terribly slow and inattentive service. We waited for a good half an hour before anyone came to take our orders, asked for the second plate of wings three times before being informed that the kitchen was out, and sat staring at our empty plates for a good 45 minutes before anyone came to drop off the check. Maybe they were just understaffed that day or still training their wait staff, so I don't want to be too harsh, but I couldn't help but feel extremely wary of coming back.

Smoke & Barrel
Smoke and Barrel on Urbanspoon
2471 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009