Looking for a welcoming spot with great food and a laid-back atmosphere for your next date night in Toronto? Make a beeline for Smoque N’ Bones, which brings the best of the South to the Great White North. With deliciously smokey ribs, succulent pulled pork, and some of the best beef brisket in the city, you’re guaranteed a lively evening of food, fun, and southern hospitality.
When you walk in to this Queen West temple to barbecue, you’re greeted by the welcoming aroma of hickory smoke that fits in perfectly with the exposed brick, salvaged wood, and Mason jar glasses you see all around you. Smoque N’ Bones is a cozy little nook and it fills up fast, so get there early to avoid a wait. There are some cute high-top tables, but you’ll want to grab your sweetheart by the hand and snatch up a couple seats at the counter — where all the action is — before someone else does. Feast your eyes on the massive Southern Pride smoker (and the bodacious racks of ribs within) as you sip on a sweet, toasty Mill Street Tankhouse Ale, and be sure to steal a sip of your date’s refreshing house-made sweet tea.
There’s nothing more romantic than splitting a rack of pork ribs, especially when you watch the chef pull them out of the smoker and carve them up right in front of you. There’s an amazing house-made barbecue sauce, but take your first bite naked. With just the right amount of char, the tender, slightly chewy pork slips off the bone with very little convincing. Then grab the handy slathering brush–that’s right, slathering brush–and paint your next rib with tangy, delicious sauce just to taste the difference. When you need a respite from the powerfully smokey goodness, bite into a crunchy buttermilk onion ring, or scoop some sweet, creamy homestyle coleslaw into your gob. And don’t let your date hog all the healthy stuff — pile some of those delicious, vitamin-filled (we assume) collard greens onto your plate as a leafy complement to all the meat.
The only thing more romantic than smokey meat is smokey bourbon. Smoque N’ Bones has more than 40 types of bourbon on the menu, but the place’s cocktails intrigue you. Order up a Maple Bacon Old Fashioned, where the walnut and orange bitters nicely balance out the sweet maple syrup and spiciness of the bacon-infused Bourbon. For your date: The Spiked Hickory-Smoqued Lemonade, where the blend of citrus and smokiness, combined with Red Stag Cherry Bourbon, make for a deeply flavorful refreshment. Sip and savor together while you take turns wiping leftover barbecue sauce off each other’s faces. If you two can still laugh and have fun after a messy meal like this, it just might be a match made in heaven.