Smoque co-owner Barry Sorkin says the origin story of the institution’s new project Old Irving Park BBQ seems made up, but it’s true. The restaurant received an incorrectly marked case of brisket and opened it to find striploins. He decided to experiment with them in smokers and was quite pleased with the results.
“I’m sure I’m not the first to smoke a steak, but I wanted to see what was going to happen, and it was really good,” he says.
From there came the brainstorming. At first, the plan was to throw a smoked steak night on a certain night of the week at Smoque’s original location, but the more Sorkin and his team thought about it, there was enough excitement and interest that the idea be its own thing. Now the team behind Smoque is launching Smoque Steak, a new Avondale spot featuring their smoked and seared steaks.
The team started working on the concept of Smoque Steak before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but fans of the original Smoque have been asking the team for some kind of expansion for years, and it was the steak .
“We wanted to wait until something inspires us in the style of barbecue,” says Sorkin.
Sorkin says beef and smoke make a natural pairing, and smoking a steak adds a level of richness and complexity that complements the classic medium-rare steakhouse cooking and presentation. “What we offer still has that familiar dining experience, but it’s a different flavor profile,” he says. “The smoke adds something that makes it very special.”
In addition to the beef itself, Sorkin says Smoque Steak will offer a “pretty full steakhouse spread,” including smoked and non-smoked seafood selections like scampi with shrimp, sea scallops and their popular smoked salmon. The team plans the menu to feature vegetarian options, classic steakhouse sides, desserts and cocktails.
Sorkin says that in addition to the unique menu, Smoque Steak seeks to take the classic steakhouse experience and offer excellent food and hospitality without the opulence and excess that is sometimes associated with an upscale steak dinner. .
“The best steakhouses in town are much more suited to special occasions and expense accounts,” says Sorkin. “It’s really hard to find a great steak environment designed for everyday at a price that’s more suitable for everyday. We want to build something that’s suitable for a special occasion but doesn’t require it.”
Smoque Steak recently began the construction phase at the 3310 N Elston location, and Sorkin says the team is aiming for a fall 2022 opening. For more information and updates, visit the restaurant website.