Smoke & Grill

Smoke & Grill

Introducing Smoke & Grill, Balham’s newest modern restaurant and bar, a short walk from both Balham Station and Clapham South.

Smoke & Grill - Restaurant & Bar in Balham

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Restaurant review: Local restaurateur ventures out with BBQ ...

Review analysis
food   drinks  

Caron Ben Groshell, of popular local restaurants Palm Valley Fish Camp, North Beach Fish Camp, Julington Creek Fish Camp, Safe Harbor Seafood and Marker 32, is back at it with a new barbecue concept: Valley Smoke.

Groshell’s new restaurant, situated on the Intracoastal Waterway, is a looker — spacious, with a bourbon "library," modern bar, clean colors, waterfront seating and expansive dining room.

We began with house barbecue potato chips accompanied by a thick, buttermilk blue cheese dip ($6), and the mini farmhouse ham sandwiches ($8).

Eager to try the ’cue, I got the two-way combo ($18) with Valley Smoke’s sliced brisket and Carolina style pork.

Served with thinly sliced pickles and a slice of buttered garlic toast, you also select two sides — I landed on the local Congaree Penn jalapeno rice grits, which I loved, and the bacon garlic green beans, which weren’t memorable.

Review: Ayesha Curry's Restaurant International Smoke Has Little ...

Review analysis
food   menu   staff  

Just not of her restaurant: International Smoke, the sprawling, globally inspired, don’t-call-it-barbecue spot she opened with Michael Mina (his 33rd restaurant), street level at the slowly sinking Millennium Tower, in November, to much hype and booked-solid reservations.

Scanning the menu was like taking a quick culinary trip around the world: from wagyu shaking beef to jerk-rubbed duck wings to Argentine rib eye in a chimichurri to a Punjabi-spiced fish fry to a carne asada-stuffed baked potato alongside togarashi-spiked sticky rice.

Although she intended Smoke to be a mash-up of true international flavors, it played more like a muted, Epcot imitation fit more for an Anywhere USA mall than a sophisticated food city.

The place certainly had its pros: the frothy, coconut-milky, crushed-ice Horquito rum cocktail and the crisp fennel-radish-carrot crudite; the buttery-sweet curried cornbread and the garlic-chile hominy that should be bagged and offered to road-trippers as a substitute for corn nuts.

And the smoked ribs, trimmed to an easy-to-eat St. Louis style, came coated in a too-mild Korean gochujang, spicy New Mexican adovada, or sweet, sticky American barbecue.

What the Critics Are Saying About Ayesha Curry's International Smoke

Review analysis
staff   food   menu  

Restaurant critic Michael Bauer gave International Smoke three out of four stars in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Bauer appreciates the restaurant’s diversity, noting that it attracts “one of the most eclectic crowds,” including a mix of Mina acolytes, Ayesha Curry followers, and fans of her basketball player husband Steph Curry.

But, for now, Bauer is “all in” on International Smoke, and it would seem, Curry has a new fan.

The Doesn’t Live Up to the Hype News Eater SF restaurant critic Rachel Levin is also a fan of Curry — just not of her restaurant.

• At International Smoke, Mina Curry fire up a delicious global grill [SF Chronicle] • There’s Smoke But Little Fire at Ayesha Curry’s New Restaurant [ESF] • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes [SF Weekly] • What People Are Saying About Ayesha Curry’s Debut of International Smoke [E]

Restaurant Review: Blue Smoke and North End Grill - The New York ...

Review analysis
food   staff   desserts  

His seafood boil is outstanding, every ingredient cooked the way it should be: the little potatoes, the crisp baby carrots, the fat, wonderful gulf shrimp and a head of boiled garlic that is delicious spread on Saltines.

The comeback sauce goes with all of it, just as the chunky and aromatic tomato sauce goes with the very fresh pan-seared red snapper, gulf shrimp and crab meat to make a Cajun court bouillon, or coo-bee-yon.

Late last year the pastry chef Emily Isaac rode in to the rescue, and while she is only beginning to introduce her own desserts, the recipes she inherited are already greatly improved.

I gave the restaurant two stars in 2012, but even then I thought Floyd Cardoz’s menu was hard to pin down: It had an egg section, but also lots of fish, and meat cooked on the wood grill seemed to be important, too.

I loved the way Mr. Korsh had seared and deeply scored the skin side of a raw Spanish mackerel, leaving intact the rest of the slab; to lighten the oily fish he had brought together pink grapefruit, hot chiles, cucumber and radishes.