Grace Smokehouse Sandwich

Cheap Eats: Smokehouse Thursdays at Grace Restaurant

Although I hate the idea of being thought of as a cheapskate, when it comes to dining out I'm always looking for a deal. Whether it be on the wine or the food, when something's a bargain it's a cinch for me to justify a little indulgence. It's in keeping with this logic that I've become quite the regular at Grace's Smokehouse Thursdays.

Held in the lounge space above the restaurant in Little Italy, 'The Smokehouse' got up and running about a month ago. Fittingly named for the fact that the food on offer is authentically smoked with applewood chips (none of that 'liquid smoke' stuff here), the various meals on offer strike me as one of the best deals on BBQ in the city.

Grace Smokehouse Chicken

Although the menu changes, so far it has featured ribs, a pulled pork sandwich, a chicken leg and a homemade sausage on a bun, each of which came with either coleslaw or potato salad. All for ten bucks. That's pretty good in and of itself. But what's BBQ without a little beer to wash it down? Well, that's covered too. In addition to the nosh, a bottle of domestic beer is included.

I know that in the past I've paid ten bucks for just a sandwich, so at that price for a full meal, I'm more than happy to shell out the extra two and half bucks for grilled corn on the cob. But, of course, a deal on food is only worthwhile if it actually tastes good.

Dustin Gallagher

Prepared and served by Grace's head chef, Dustin Gallagher, in the outside area behind the lounge, the food gets the expert treatment. And being a lover of southern style BBQ, I'm happy to report that this is the good stuff. The pulled pork sandwich in particular is that excellent combination of smoky and saucy messiness that delights the tongue and stains the face. I'd love it if the ratio of pork-to-bun tilted a bit more in favour of the pork, but for the money I can't really complain.

Grace Smokehouse Corn/>The sides hold up their end of the bargain too, but I favour the coleslaw over the potato salad.  Its sweetness is the perfect complement to the house-made BBQ sauce.  Stealing the show, however, is the corn on the cob.  Sure it's a bit extra, but it comes just a little charred, drenched in butter and dusted with a spice rub that's positively delicious.  I rarely get excited about eating corn, and especially not in June, but just thinking of it makes my mouth water.</p>

<p>With all this goodness, there's just one small problem.  Despite the attractive and understated dĂŠcor of the upstairs lounge at Grace, it's not set up that well for eating, particularly considering that this type of food can get messy.  Aside from the bar and a few couches, pickings are pretty slim when it comes to seating.  With such obvious care put into the food, it'd be nice to see a pragmatic issue like this given the same attention to detail.</p>

<p><em>The Smokehouse takes place every Thursday starting at 7pm.</em></p>

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