Ever since I started writing about burgers, people have harped on me to try Danny Meyer’s contribution to the burger world. I doggedly avoided patronizing the obvious invention of Shake Shack, opting not to anguish in long lines and potentially overrated smash burgers. Today I decided to sample his other beef emporium, Blue Smoke.This mouthwatering St.Louis natives BBQ joint features signature “cue” favorites such as ribs,beef,fowl, southern vegetable sides,mac and cheese and home-style desserts and pies. Their Blue Smoke burgers are on the list as a must try on many restaurant critics lips and today was my privilege to give Chef Kenny Callaghan and the genius restaurateur Danny Meyer’s creation a shot to see what the boys have learnt.
As I followed the manager to my table, I admired the factory/abattoir chic decor, surrounded by red-hot oversized booths, steel and concrete fixings and large close-up photos of pickles, potato, and various other historic nostalgia. The bar was a giant man perch, perfect for sampling the many home brews, while watching sports and gnawing on pork and beef treats. My table was in the back of a lively dining room in which the sound of jazz, jovial conversation and rib bones clanking in galvanized tins provided as makeshift BBQ spittoons filled the room. I ordered my Blue Smoke burger medium with good old American cheddar cheese and maple-cured bacon. The patty was a ground sirloin and arrived on a freshly toasted homemade brioche bun. After fixing an annoying wobbly table with a stack of coasters, my waiter proceeded to execute the story of the creation of my anticipated beef pleasure. He explained that my burger would be seasoned and char grilled with a secret mix of herbs neatly packaged and labeled “Magic Dust”. Although the name scarily reminded me of the other less legal kind of dust, I was confident that I was safe and secure with his description! After a short while my burger arrived with a mountainous portion of crispy French Fries and fresh lettuce and tomato. The taste of the burger was flavorful but, unfortunately was overcooked and left a dry aftertaste following a few bites. The bun was an excellent complement to the burger with its firmness and texture.
Despite all the state of the art high-tech barbeque grills,smokers and other pit masters essentials that are present in kitchen, the Blue Smoke burger was sadly disappointing. Hopefully Mr. Meyer and Chef Callaghan have targeted their talent here more toward their BBQ, because their burger skills were lacking this day. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the extensive menu and live jazz music which makes Blue Smoke a fun and entertaining pig-out spot. Try the ribs, brisket and home-style desserts and maybe leave the burgers for some of Mr. Meyers other restaurants!