At Barque Smokehouse, wine and cast iron skillets always lead to a good night — Photo courtesy of Kevin Hewitt / Barque Smokehouse
If you find yourself dreaming of chicken thighs, it may be time to put down the KFC and treat yourself better. Barque Smokehouse in the Roncesvalles area will help you to forge a better relationship with your poultry, consistently cooking some of the best BBQ in Toronto.
The place gets seriously busy — Photo courtesy of Kevin Hewitt / Barque Smokehouse
However, many people already know this. You may have to wait for some time for a table, unless you think ahead and book a reservation.
Once you have made the cut, sit down at one of the wooden tables or barstools, well situated to view everyone's flavor preferences. Calm your jealous stomach with the free popcorn, which is piled high in stainless steel buckets; it's the perfect vehicle for dipping sauces. (We could wax poetic about the dipping sauces themselves, but rumor has it that taking a straw to dipping sauce is not a classy move.)
It's far too easy to fill up on the free popcorn — Photo courtesy of Kevin Hewitt / Barque Smokehouse
You can get stuck into your meat fantasies early if you order one of the meaty appetizers, such as the one pound of smoked wings. We highly recommend the Barque Caesar, strewn with candied bacon. The salad is perfectly dressed, with enough dressing to make romaine lettuce appetizing, but not enough to detract from the upcoming meat-a-palooza.
Even the Caesar salad is redunkulous — Photo courtesy of Kevin Hewitt / Barque Smokehouse
The samplers are really the only way to do Barque right. There are samplers for one or two, allowing you to sample three meats and two or three sides.
You can go with brisket, beef ribs, stout sausages, competition chicken thighs or a half rack of baby back ribs. Choose what you will, but note that some dinner companions have commented, "Why do I ever eat anything but brisket?" after devouring the 12-hour-smoked breast meat.
Painted with more of the dipping sauce, it may induce a sigh or two. Don't worry: the staff are used to it.
Ribs that are all too happy to be called "food porn" — Photo courtesy of Kevin Hewitt / Barque Smokehouse
Portions are generous, and the sides help with slowing an over-eager carnivore. There are many options: fries, baby kale salad, wheatberry salad, herbed smashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and gemelli pasta. Each are sumptuously rich and filling enough to make a vegetarian happy. Just ask for the kitchen to ease up on the bacon.
Award-winning chicken thighs — Photo courtesy of Kevin Hewitt / Barque Smokehouse
Childhood friends David Neinstein and Jonathan Persofsky are incredibly proud of their BBQ heaven come to life. They left corporate careers to delve into a refined dining experience with recipes that are good enough for finger-licking.
The rest of Toronto knows about it. It's time you do, too. Be prepared: you will never look at meat the same way again.
Oh, yeah, baby! There are no words — Photo courtesy of Kevin Hewitt / Barque Smokehouse