Bootleg Smokehouse reimagines typical barbecue fare through the lens of sharing-style small plates.
With a menu divided into land, sea and garden categories, it’s recommended diners order two or three plates per person to encourage a feasting mentality where you get to try a little of everything while still indulging in prime rib, leg of lamb, or suckling pig.
A tuna ceviche ($17) is the first sign that this will be no ordinary steakhouse meal, equal size chunks of luscious, rich cold-smoked tuna loin and crunchy Asian pear tossed in an oily chimichurri and topped with sweet chili and microgreens, served with corn chips.
Shrimp cocktail ($16) shines, Bootleg’s signature smoke blending cherry, apple and maple woods clinging to the fluffy jumbo prawns. Cold-smoked then poached, they’re served on a bed of perfectly complementary, thick and sweet house cocktail sauce.
Tartare ($19) is made with tenderloin that’s been cold smoked and given a quick sear before chopping and mixing with mustards and pickles. It’s topped with chive and egg yolk, meant to be mixed in thoroughly before scooping up with tortilla chips for a softly smoky, rich snack.
Hot smoked salmon ($18) is plated on a bed of romesco and topped with pickled long chili, the skin crispy and the flesh soft and flavourful.
Pork back ribs ($19) are given a two- to three-hour smoke with Bootleg’s three signature woods, plated atop purple and white cabbage slaw on a board dabbed with house smoked-tomato-based BBQ sauce.
The delicate portion of four ribs are somewhere between chewy and fall-off-the-bone, not tearing away immediately but still tender.
Accompany with the cornbread du jour ($5) served with a fragrant smoked butter, today’s a sesame variety that has, dare I say it, a bagel vibe going on. Other rotating flavours might include jalapeno, dill or maple.
Baked beans ($8) are also a good vegan, gluten-free side, soaked stewed pintos in a mild maple smoked tomato sauce, not at all mushy with a bit of bite.
Dishes like smoked cauliflower ($10) also happen to be vegan but manage to take centre stage, smoke flavour permeating the veg to an unexpected level. Sitting on a bed of pureed stems and coconut milk, beet slivers and greens add freshness.
Harlem Sunset ($15) is kind of like a sweeter, more aromatic Negroni, made with Romeo’s Gin from Montreal, Aperol, lemon, and just a hint of lavender and elderflower.
The restaurant is housed in a two-storey freestanding structure dating back to 1898 with a homey yet modern feel, dripping with wooden chandeliers.
A lower floor reserved for walk-ins seats 40, an upper floor seating 50 and a private dining room up to 20.