Smoke Shack restaurant  » Restaurants  »
4.5
1 votes
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332 N Milwaukee St Milwaukee WI 53202
  • We were seated outdoors immediately, which I was happy about since it was a beautiful warm and sunny day out
  • He prefers regular French fries to chips but unfortunately the restaurant only carries sweet potato fries
  • My sweet potato fries were extremely good but I noticed they tasted exactly the same as ones served at another restaurant I frequent called Cafe Hollander
  • Though it came with large fatty chunks that I normally find distasteful, I simply pulled off the larger chunks and enjoyed the meat and burnt edges in small bites with the house BBQ sauce
  • I recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a good home cooked meal of comfort food


    • by cmurray081981
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      I offered to take my boyfriend out to dinner for his birthday and he wanted to try the Smoke Shack restaurant located in the third ward area of downtown Milwaukee. Best of all, it is part of the Downtown Dining Week taking place in the city that offers three course meals for $20 per person.

      The restaurant’s website states they do not take reservations and can run out of certain menu items so we decided to head off earlier than usual on a Monday evening around 6:30 pm. The restaurant is in a very distinctive looking building. It does literally look like a smoke shack. It’s very easy to spot and located right on the corner of Milwaukee Street and St. Paul. We were seated outdoors immediately, which I was happy about since it was a beautiful warm and sunny day out. The outdoor seating area consists of a handful of picnic tables that seat 6-8 people. Be forewarned that if you don’t care to be seated next to strangers you may want to stick with indoor dining. We were seated right between two other couples who were already eating and had to share the condiments between each other. I admit I was very uncomfortable with the seating arrangement at first, but we soon started chatting with the other couples and it turned into a nice opportunity to meet new people. My boyfriend also observed that all the other tables of people also started to chat with each other.

      We both decided to go with the three course menu option for $20 each. We also decided to get chicken wing appetizers since my boyfriend loves trying new kinds of wings. The wings came so quickly we still hadn’t picked out our entrees. They came with celery and blue cheese dipping sauce. The restaurant also


      makes their own barbeque sauces which range from a mustard based sauce to a sweet BBQ to spicy habanero. We tried all of them and they were very good in different ways, though I admit I’d never seen or tried a mustard based sauce on smoked meats before and it was very tasty. The wings were very good and had chunks of rosemary baked right onto the skin. They also did not come sauced so that any house BBQ sauces could be used on them which great for trying all the varieties on the wings.

      We chose the house salad as a starter and it arrived in a timely manner after we finished our wings. The salad was clearly homemade and there was not an iceberg lettuce leaf in sight. I despise when restaurants dump what appears to be a bag of premixed salad with tiny bits of cabbage and carrots. If I wanted that kind of salad I’d save some money and purchase it at my grocery store. The house salad also contained freshly chopped cucumber and tomatoes. I was very happy to find that it was clear the restaurant used fresh ingredients and chopped their own fresh vegetables. I only wish that I had a choice of salad dressing. It came with balsamic vinaigrette but I would have preferred blue cheese or ranch instead.

      Both my boyfriend and I also chose the 4 meat sampler except he got house chips and I got the sweet potato French fries. He prefers regular French fries to chips but unfortunately the restaurant only carries sweet potato fries. However, the chips do look homemade as well with visible bits of the skin still remaining on the edges. My sweet potato fries were extremely good but I noticed they tasted exactly the same as ones served at another ...


      • restaurant I frequent called Cafe Hollander. I looked on Smoke Shack’s website and they do not seem to be affiliated with that restaurant, so either they use the same recipe or have the fries supplied to them. Normally, this would give me the impression that the fries and simply being purchased and re-heated but they are so tasty that even if this is the case it hardly seems to make a difference.

        The meats were superb and the restaurant smokes them at very low temperatures for about 14 hours. This explains why they sometimes run out of menu items. They can hardly throw another brisket on the grill to be ready for same day service. Luckily, they had not run out of the meat sampler platter. The platter came with house made sausage, brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken. My favorite was the sausage. I normally dislike natural casings but the casing on their sausage was more crispy than tough. The sausage had great flavor and the size of the portions was very reasonable. My second favorite was the brisket. Though it came with large fatty chunks that I normally find distasteful, I simply pulled off the larger chunks and enjoyed the meat and burnt edges in small bites with the house BBQ sauce. It seems very hard to find good brisket in Milwaukee and Smoke Shack nailed it. The burnt edges were particularly delicious. The next time I go back I may choose the brisket alone since I saw some diners were getting large square of homemade corn bread with their entrees. I only wished I would have gotten one of those as well since corn bread is one of my favorite foods! Finally, the chicken and pulled pork were good but they didn’t particularly blow me away. I was able to finally try

        the mustard sauce on the chicken. I couldn’t imagine it would go well with the pork or brisket, but I may try it with the homemade sausage next time as well.

        Finally, we were informed that of the two dessert options of whiskey ice cream or a bacon bourbon brownie, the whiskey ice cream was gone but they were substituting beignets. We both choose the brownie. I thought it was good practice for them to find another option for substitution instead of offering only the bacon brownie. It came in a large bowl with an ample sized portion. The brownie came with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, which was delicious on its own. The brownie was baked with small bits of sweet caramelized bacon which had a hard candy texture. The taste was apparent but since the bits were sweetened it worked very well in the dessert. I thought it was a creative and unusual choice that was perfectly executed.

        The service at Smoke Shack was very good as well. Our waitress was very attentive and checked in on us on a regular basis to ensure we were never without drinks or in need of something. The hostesses were very polite and seated us immediately, and the check was delivered and received quickly as well. I was very happy with the staff’s level of attentiveness.

        This is a great restaurant to try if you’re in the mood for BBQ. They seem to be the only BBQ restaurant located in the downtown area and part of only a handful in all of southeastern Wisconsin. I believe they will be around for a while as long as they continue to service their customers so well and provide delicious and unique menu items. I recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a good home cooked meal of comfort food.




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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in June, 2012. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 721061581000730/k2311a0621/6.21.12
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