The Smoking Joint is located at 308 Aguirre Ave., BF Homes, Paranaque City
When looking for a place to eat, Micah and I pretty much always use Google to help us decide. It’s how we find the occasional hidden (to us, at least) gem such as Don Limone. It’s also how we find the countless overrated restaurants being propped up by phony customers who might actually be the owners of said restaurant. Simply put, results found on the internet for great places to eat are a mixed bag.
The Smoking Joint is one of the places we’ve come across numerous times in our research. Garnering mostly positive reviews, we were highly intrigued with the prospect of trying the food out. After seeing the pictures of the food (the salad looked gorgeous in the picture), it was decided; The Smoking Joint was the next restaurant to be crossed off in our BF Checklist.
Located along the famous Aguirre Avenue, The Smoking Joint steers clear of the limelight by being positioned quite a ways away from the other popular foodie destinations such as Crazy Katsu, The Burgery, and Hanakazu. It is located right across Puregold Jr., and due to the high number of cars in the area due to neighboring restaurants such as Flaming Wings and Ritchie’s Diner, finding decent parking can be quite a chore.
PRO TIP – Go during off-peak hours. Around 11 a.m. or 1 p.m for lunch and 6 p.m. for dinner is ideal.
The interiors are decorated in a very simple manner, meant to keep your attention on the star of the show: the food. With a set-up of 7 tables, The Smoking Joint can seat around 40 people. The kitchen, right next to the dining area, gives off an intoxicating scent which only serves to further whet the appetite of the diners.
We started off with an order of a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich (Php 150), which was exquisite. The bread was soft and doughy yet was sturdy enough to not get soggy despite the saucy pork. The pulled pork was insanely tender and flavorful, smoky and sweet with a touch of southern spice. The barbecue sauce brought even more umph to the dish, influential without becoming overpowering. Even the coleslaw, usually a mere sideshow in this smorgasbord of smokiness, brought with it a unique freshness and requisite crispness to contrast the rich pork beautifully.
As mentioned above, the salad played a big part in why we chose to come to The Smoking Joint. We ordered the Brisket Salad (Php 185)
and a Sweet Potato Corn Melt (Php 100)
. The salad was disappointing, to be frank. Lettuce, grated parmesan, bits of corn, and shreds of beef brisket, held together by a dressing that tasted like a cross between honey mustard and caesar comprised the salad. It was disappointing simply because we’ve had better salads at home, whipped up in under 10 minutes. If we didn’t know what we ordered, we wouldn’t even have known that there was beef brisket in our salad.
As for the sweet potato corn melt, it looked really good upon being placed on our table, the melted cheese bubbling ever so slightly from being freshly placed under the salamander. Ordered as a side dish to the ribs, the expected harmony between sweet and savory was undermined by a slightly strange taste that can not be described as normal. The corn and sweet potato didn’t mesh as well as expected, and overall the dish just felt a bit flat.
For our main, we chose to split a Half Slab of Ribs (Php 490, no sides included),
with an order of smoked seasoned rice for our side. The half slab had 5 bones of glistening ribs with additional barbecue sauce served on the side. The meat was fall-off-the-bone-tender, giving credence to the low’n’slow type of cooking that makes good ribs great. The smokiness permeated into the meat, and the slightly burnt meaty bits were the highlight, as they always are. The flavor of the sauce was more sweet than spicy, and I would have liked to get a bit more sharpness from the sauce, with maybe a dash of spice.
The smoked seasoned rice was enough to share, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. I could barely taste the smoke and could barely taste the seasoning. The final product did not do the name justice.
Overall, the dining experience at The Smoking Joint was a mixed bag. The sides and salad were pretty disappointing, the ribs were okay but unexceptional, while the pulled pork sandwich was quite great. The service staff was attentive, and the place looked clean, albeit a bit small.
As for whether we’ll put this down as a hit or a miss? It falls within the bounds of both, so I can’t really say for sure. What I CAN say for sure is that it won’t be long before I find myself coming back for their irresistible rendition of an open-faced barbecue pulled pork sandwich (without sharing this time! :D).
Got any questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the space below! Happy eating!