Last week, we decided to try something we’ve heard great things about but something that was totally different for us: Smoke barbeque taqueria in Homestead. They’re apparently known for their unique tacos wrapped in house-made tortilla–and for their macaroni and cheese. I was intrigued. Tacos aren’t something we normally do, and I’m a real wimp when it comes to spicy food. But we kept hearing how wonderful it was, so we went to see what all the hype was about–and when all was said and done, I was definitely impressed.
We headed across the bridge to Homestead and missed the restaurant the first two times we went by it. The sign is low in the window and the lighting inside was dark enough that it really didn’t stand out. We nearly missed it even walking by, on high alert for it. When we went in, surprisingly, we were the only customers there, though a fairly steady stream of people came in while we were eating, both for take-out and to sit down and eat. It’s a small place with a throw-back sort of feel–the tables and chairs are neat, antique-y looking pieces in a delightful mismatch, the colors are rich and dark, and a giant staircase on one side of the restaurant leads to nowhere. It’s small, about 5 tables and some seats at a bar–and really, it seemed like they could fit 2 or maybe even 3 more tables in without feeling crowded. But it did make the place nice and open, which was refreshing. It’s BYOB, but we hadn’t brought anything, so Chris just got a lemonade–which I was later envious of, as it came with freshly-grated lime rind and really refreshing flavor.
On to the food. Of course we ordered the mac and cheese, which was pretty awesome. It wasn’t drowning in cheese, but the cheese they used was still rich and flavorful. There was a blend of cheeses–including white cheddar and mascarpone, so it was a little sharp and a little nutty. Some of the cheese was just grated into the macaroni, so it melted together without being too much of a sauce. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I think it was better–more real and fresh-tasting, if that makes any sense. I was also intrigued by their chili and mac–chili on top, mac and cheese on the bottom, and the chili sounds pretty quality, with a different kinds of meat than your standard ground beef (that’s just too boring!). I might get it next time–and I don’t know if I’d be sharing or not. ;)
And then there were the tacos. All of the meats were house-made (house-smoked?), and in fact, a new batch of ribs had just come out when we came in to eat, so the whole place smelled amazing. Chris and I each got two different tacos. He got an apple, chicken, and bacon taco with a smoked jalapeno mayo. This was quite tasty, and as I got to try a bite, I can say that I would absolutely try that for myself next time. He also got a chorizo taco with pinto beans, potatoes, and a smoked pepper pico de gallo sauce. I didn’t try that one, but Chris said it was a little dry; he would have preferred a bit more sauce with it. As for me, I got the special that night–a chicken taco with strawberries, toasted pecans, and a strawberry-serrano sauce. It was awesome, but perhaps a little more heat than I was expecting. I don’t know what I was thinking (serrano pepper was totally in the description…), but the thing that I liked about it was that, despite the heat, there was a lot of flavor. It wasn’t just an overwhelming heat for the sake of blowing out your taste buds, but it was well-balanced between the heat of the pepper and the sweetness of the strawberry–it kept me coming back for more. My second taco was a rib taco with pickles, onions, and porter barbeque sauce, which was also quite tasty. The pickle was an interesting addition that I never would have thought of, but again, it added a nice contrast and balance.
Overall, we really enjoyed this little place. I hear that it can get pretty busy at prime dinner time and I know people who’ve tried to eat there only to find that there were no tables left. Chris and I might even do take-out, as it’s so close, and then we can avoid the possibility of not getting our tacos. It was spicy, but flavorful, and there’s enough interesting things to keep us coming back to try something new.