I was surprised when Ayesha Curry wrote a cookbook and of course in the back of one’s mind you wonder if her success is partly due to being married to famous basketball star Steph Curry. I’m sure that helped, but it doesn’t mean she’s NOT a great cook. I admire the fact that she’s trying to be more than just an athlete’s wife, and she’s always seemed really nice. When Michael Mina decided to work with her to create a restaurant, I was even more intrigued. So International Smoke has been on my to-try list for a while.
Things did not start off great. We had reservations for 8:30pm on a Monday night which is already pretty late for a dinner. Even though the restaurant was surprisingly busy on a Monday, I was still shocked we had to wait half an hour before we were able to be seated at 9pm. At least the hostess was apologetic and checked in with us regularly. Because of our long wait though, I was dying for a cocktail haha. I got the horquito: cinnamon-spiced coconut cream, coconut milk, and Don Q Anejo rum. I love creamy milky cocktails, and this was no exception. It tasted refreshing and comforting and helped lift my spirits.
We got complimentary potato chips with green sauce. I have no idea what the green sauce was made of but it was like crack. We could not get enough of it! Luckily they refilled both for us. They should’ve just brought us bigger helpings of them to start haha.
Can’t resist burrata when I see it on the menu either so we ordered the smoked burrata appetizer as well, served with greens and prosciutto. The presentation of the dish was really nice. It came covered with a tall glass lid and filled with smoke which was really cool. The burrata was tasty but I don’t think it’s something I would feel the need to order again.
It took a while for us to get our final appetizer. We’d actually wanted to get the double duck wings but they were out so we went with the wagyu shaking beef appetizer served with lettuce wraps. The server cooked the beef tableside, completely unexpected and really cool to see. They brought out the beef raw and threw it on a small hot skillet with some sauce and started the cooking process, then put it on the table for us to decide when we wanted to grab the beef based on our desired doneness level. The wagyu beef was really tender too, which was great. I would definitely recommend this.
Just when I felt like it was taking a long time for our entrees to arrive, our waiter dropped off a platter of ribs for us saying it was an apology from the kitchen for our food taking so long. What a great apology! The ribs wound up being my favorite part of the meal, so if I ever come here again, I’m totally ordering them as my entree. He gave us the combo platter so I was able to have one of each type: American BBQ (my favorite), Korean Gochujang, and Mexican Adovado (my 2nd favorite, had a nice kick). The ribs were perfectly cooked and so tender. Finger-licking good too.
I ordered the lamb chops for my entree which came with a side of tomatoes and feta cheese. The lamb chops were cooked perfectly, and I got more meat than I expected. I loved the lamb; International Smoke really does a great job cooking meat. I wound up having to box up half of it since I’d filled up on the ribs haha.
Our first side was the whipped potatoes and duck fat gravy. Basically the menu had me at duck fat gravy. Yes please! Also whipped potatoes made me think of Joel Robuchon’s whipped potatoes, which I love. This dish was divine. I loved it although it was a tad salty if you care about that.
Our other side was the smoked rib tips mac and cheese. That I was much less impressed with, but I think it’s also because I don’t really need my mac and cheese cluttered with add-on items (unless it’s lobster in which case go ahead and throw that in haha). I would go with a different side on a return visit.
Definitely give yourself a lot of time if you plan on dining here. Expect your meal to take a lot longer than you would normally anticipate since things seem to get really backed up. At least the staff is aware and tries to make up for it. Some dishes are fantastic and others are just ok. I don’t think you can go wrong with a meat dish though (at least with the ones I tried).