*WRITERS NOTE* Some changes have been made to the article for clarification. 5-13-12
By way of introduction, let me say I do read Yelp reviews on a place before I try it, just to get an idea, of what the "Average Joe" thinks about a place .
Surprisingly, most times, they get it right...
After reading about Smoke City Market in Sherman Oaks, located on Van Nuys Blvd., I went there open-minded, even with the negative reviews.
When I arrived I was greeted by Kevin Kelly, who has been working at Smoke City Market for a few months and has lived in Austin, Texas for six months. He was nice and answered any question I had. When he pointed out the owner Michael Gans, I received a glare from him and nothing more.
I thought this was odd, that an owner didn't greet new customers, but I was there to see if this brisket I heard about, was any bit as good as Dr. Hogly Wogly's brisket, which is truly second to none.
I ordered a quarter pound of the moist brisket and macaroni and cheese, but before paying you have to wait until they weigh it out, which was something unfamiliar to me. The whole process was odd, watching one guy cut and weigh it, while another plate and bring it to the front. Seemed unnecessary in my mind and when I saw my brisket plated, I knew this was no Hogly Wogly's...
The brisket looked moist, but also had a good amount of fat that had to be taken off. (At Hogly Wogly's, they cut the fat off before they cook it.) Kevin said they slow cook it for 15-18 hours, (which I do have to say it was moist) but had no flavor to it whatsoever. I tried to add flavor by using their vinegar and their barbeque sauce and neither of them tasted remotely good. The vinegar was tangy, and the barbeque sauce had a little spice to it, but not a rich, savory taste a sauce should have.
They also said their mac and cheese was their best side order, and not only was it not good, I would rather have had it from a box, as the boxed mac and cheese at least tastes good.
I would have tried more, if my palette was even slightly interested, but if that was the best they had to offer, I knew it would be pointless. After I left, I went to the closet fast food joint and ordered a chicken sandwich and ice cream sundae... It was that bad.
Decent customer service from an owner can go a long way when the food is not good, but that wouldn't have helped Smoke City Market. Kevin on the other hand, was great and helpful throughout the visit, and even checked to see how I was doing.
So, the "Average Joe" was right on this one, and Smoke City Market, is a place I definitely will not be back at. I will stick to Dr. Hogly Wogly's on Sepulveda and Roscoe, who have been doing the best barbeque in Calif. for years!