Sunday, November 27, 2011

Smoke gets in my eyes (and stomach)

A friend of mine told me about a new taco place in Homestead a couple of months ago called Smoke. We've been meaning to check it out for a while now, but we wanted to wait until we had a reason to go to the Waterfront as well.

Last night, with DB~'s brother in town from Cleveland, the three of us decided to check out a movie at the Waterfront and go to Smoke beforehand. The day before DB~ and I looked at the reviews online at Urbanspoon -- they had an amazing 95% approval rating.

We had heard that there was very limited seating at Smoke, so we were a little worried about getting there at 5:45 pm on a Saturday. Smoke only has 15 seats because of a Health Department regulation based on the fact that they only have 1 small bathroom. When we got to the restaurant (no illuminated sign so you have to keep your eyes peeled at night), all the tables were occupied but after a couple of minutes, the two young people at a 5 seat table invited the 3 of us to join them. We accepted their gracious offer.

Smoke is quirky and deliberatly so. None of the chairs match. There may be different silverware at the same table. There is a staircase that goes up to a dead end in the ceiling. The large incedescant bulbs reminded me of the bulbs that Nikolai Tesla (played by David Bowie) handed Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) upon arriving to his Colorado retreat. The bulb lit up in Angier's hand, due to the natural current running through our bodies and the current in the field they were standing. I didn't grab one of the lights last night to test that.

We spoke with our server and she told us that if things keep going well, the owners have plans to expand into the rear of the store plus renovate the downstairs as well. But first they have to add more bathrooms to accomodate the extra seating. The owners are originally from Texas and they couldn't find good tacos up here, so they opened up their own place. Because they are from Texas, they incorporated some barbecue efforts into their taqueria.

Prior to us going, we had read about how great the mac and cheese was, so we definitely planned to order that. Our dining companions did order it and got it before us, so we eyeballed them and asked them what they thought of the mac and cheese and the tacos they ordered. They loved it all. The guy and girl, both around 22 or 23, were very pleasant to talk to and we were very happy they allowed us to share their table.

DB~'s brother ordered the Brisket taco and an order of mac and cheese ($4 for the taco and $3.75 for the mac and cheese). The taco had sauteed onions, jalapeno pepper slices, and a barbeque mustard sauce. No lettuce, no cheese, no tomato. Each taco is served wrapped up in aluminum foil with a black magic marker scribbled on it to designate what type of taco it is. Each tortilla shell at Smoke is hand made when you order it, so they take a little extra time to arrive. The whole taco experience reminded me of what it must be like to eat at a taco stand in Mexico. From seeing them on TV, there are only a few chairs and you squirt your own sauce on the taco as it is laid in front of you.

DB~ ordered the chicken taco, with the sublime avocado cream sauce and picked onions (no hot sauce for her), and the mac and cheese. Both she and her brother really enjoyed the mac and cheese (so did I from the forkful that I had).

I ordered the pork taco with an apricot habanero sauce and onions. My side that I selected was the Red Potato Salad that had leeks and bacon ($3.00). It was equally awesome.

The tacos are small, so her brother and I each order another one before we left for the movie. He got the chicken taco and I tried the brisket taco. We both enjoyed our second tacos as well. Tacos that are on the menu also include: ribs, chorizo, a chicken apple, and a philly cheesesteak type of taco. They also serve breakfast style tacos all day long with eggs in them.

The drink I had with my meal was called horchata. I asked our server what it was and she told me it was cooked rice milk with the rice strained out. Cinnamon and organic sugar are added to it and served over ice. It was, with no exaggeration, one of the best drinks I have ever had. I wanted to keep ordering it and hang out drinking it all night, but we had a movie to catch.

Much like Blue Dust, there are good places to eat outside of the Waterfront, in case you want to try a local joint instead of a chain restaurant.


  1. Just wanted to let you know I went to Smoke based on your post. I already had tickets for the Loews so I stopped there first. I ended up getting the chicken apple taco and jalapeno apple slaw as the side. I tried the horchata but it didn’t really do much for me. The food was really good though.

    You left out an important part in your post though. What movie did you see?


  2. I'm 35, DB~ is 33, and her brother is 31. We went to see The Muppets.

    There. I said it. And I feel better for having done so.

    (It wasn't bad, not great, just OK).