Gallery: Smoke Jazz Club: Can A Former Ballerina Save Jazz Club Food?

Heirloom tomato salad
Heirloom tomato salad

Juicy, sweet, and acidic, those tomatoes were a perfect match for the creamy, slightly tart buffalo mozzarella—especially with its perfect Maldon sea salt and fresh basil grace notes.

Caesar Salad
Caesar Salad

Anything but the typical tired Caesar you'd expect from a jazz club kitchen. The romaine cups were so fresh they practically leapt off the plate; the cheese was sharp and tangy, the garlicky dressing creamy, and the white anchovies lent the whole thing an incredibly briny, salty air.

Here's Smoke.
Here's Smoke.
Seafood meatballs
Seafood meatballs

Shockingly light, misshapen orbs made with scallop, shrimp, and clams, looking like decidedly non-kosher mini-matzoh balls. They came in a white wine parsley broth made with an intense shellfish stock. An insanely buttery toast stick allowed us to finish that broth in style.

Buffalo chicken wings
Buffalo chicken wings

Though an item you would definitely expect to find on a jazz club menu, these were deftly executed. They were served with the predictable celery stick and blue cheese accompaniments, but the blue cheese was in fact a ramekin of blue cheese fondue. Classic as Coleman Hawkins playing "Body and Soul."

Creamy tomato soup
Creamy tomato soup

Undistinguished and a little dull, and not even the mini-grilled cheese crouton could rescue it.

Entertainment
Entertainment

The food was great; the music was better.

Black truffle coq au vin
Black truffle coq au vin

A seriously delicious plate of food, one full of long, deep flavors—braised chicken in red wine, black truffle oil, pancetta, mushrooms.

Baby back ribs
Baby back ribs

With bacon-braised collard greens and apple cider baked beans. The accompaniments were better than the ribs, which were tender enough but utterly unremarkable.

New York strip steak
New York strip steak

Perfectly cooked medium rare, as ordered, with a charred exterior crust and light red, juicy interior. Its Yukon gold mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach with garlic accompaniments were fine supporting acts.

... and inside.
... and inside.
Burger
Burger

On a brioche bun, it had a surprising amount of beefy flavor, though it was delivered to the table well-done instead of the requested medium-rare. What were described on the menu as "oven baked fries" turned out to be great housemade potato chips.

Semolina pasta
Semolina pasta

With parmesan cream, roasted tomatoes, and tomato confit, this was a terrific plate of Italian comfort food, though I wished the hand cut pasta had a bit more of a bite.

Berry shortcake
Berry shortcake

Perfectly flaky biscuits topped with local blueberries and strawberries and vanilla whipped cream.

Brownie sundae
Brownie sundae

The chief object of sweet desire by the Serious Eats crew. And what's not to desire: hot fudge sauce, wet walnuts, vanilla whipped cream, strawberries, chocolate ice cream... a tighter dessert ingredient ensemble would be hard to find.

Peach upside down cake
Peach upside down cake

Intensely peachy and downright delicious, topped by buttermilk ice cream and peach drizzle, which tasted like peach juice cooked down to a syrup.

Cheese plate
Cheese plate

Maytag blue from Brooklyn, Iowa, a goat gouda of unknown provenance, and a piece of Parmigiano Regggiano were augmented by soaked raisins, ginger, fig preserves, and candied hazelnuts.

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20100823smokeprim.jpg