498 First Street
Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B8
TheSmoke is a BBQ restaurant in Collingwood, Ontario. So pretty much the middle of nowhere. If you want to eat anything in this town, most of the top places to eat are centered around the same area. You'll find a pretty decent pizza place (PIE) across the street as well. But let's focus on this BBQ joint that was featured on "You Gotta Eat Here".
TheSmoke is a fairly large sit down restaurant. You are greeted with awards, TV's, kitchens and a huge dining room as soon as you walk in. They also have a decent patio but I was sweating buckets so I opted to sit in cool air conditioning. The menu offers classic bbq favorites like pulled pork, ribs, brisket, and others, while also offering some pretty unique items like Smoked Trout, Burnt Ends, BBQ Meatballs, etc.
It was 3 of us together so we tried ordering as much different things as possible to share. We ordered the Ribs N Wings combo, as well as a Platter of 3 meats. In all, we had a full rack of ribs, bbq wings, beef brisket, buffalo chicken thighs, mac and cheese, and sweet potato fries. Enough for 6 people, but I am eating so it was good enough.
I'll start with the ribs, as we had a full rack of them. The ribs were...inconsistent? One half rack was nice and juicy as the sweet sauce we chose on them was flavorful. The rib meat came off the bone and was succulent. The other half rack with tangy sauce was oddly dry. Biting into it was rough. Now, I gotta say... I know this is a BBQ restaurant, but fuck, those wings were so good. My lips quiver just thinking about them again because they were probably some of the better wings I've had here up North of the border (and in cottage country!?). They were sauced just right and were big and juicy.
The beef brisket was nice. The slices were cut thick and it was nicely fatty and what not. The buffalo chicken thighs were boneless skinless chicken thighs that were smoked with a light buffalo seasoning, so not what I thought it was. Nonetheless, it wasn't the greatest. It was real dry and didn't have enough buffalo kick to warrant getting again. The mac and cheese was excellent. Good stringy cheese with al dente penne and bits of bacon in it as well.
Good BBQ restaurant in cottage country, but not as good as many people had set it out to be. Seems to be a hot spot around this time because of the beautiful weather we're getting up here (finally!). Do make a stop if you're craving some Q as you have pretty limited options. The place is aware of that and prices are way higher than most BBQ joints as you'll find it hard to track anything lower than $10 on the menu (entree-wise). The service was friendly but the food took SO long to get out. I know they smoke the food for 12 hours, but it shouldn't take nearly as long to get on the table. The wings were easily the best part and will warrant repeat visits. Everything else is merely OK for me.
P.S. I threw this under "Toronto" category because the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is probably going to consume Collingwood in the years to come at the pace it's growing. Look out Hamilton...you're next...
P.S.S. Why do they put the words "The" and "Smoke" together?
Ambience – B-Service – BPrice – C+Food – B+
OVERALL – B-