Make us your home page
Instagram
Everybody's Business

New Smoke restaurant redefines barbecue

Partners, from left, Gordon Davis, Gene Davis, Rick Knapik and Tony Bruno stand inside the open kitchen of Smoke Barbecue & Grill. Before them is a Creole Love skewer, shrimp with grits cake, applewood smoked pork ribs, Huli Huli Hawaiian rotisserie chicken and Montreal smoked corned beef.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Partners, from left, Gordon Davis, Gene Davis, Rick Knapik and Tony Bruno stand inside the open kitchen of Smoke Barbecue & Grill. Before them is a Creole Love skewer, shrimp with grits cake, applewood smoked pork ribs, Huli Huli Hawaiian rotisserie chicken and Montreal smoked corned beef.

HYDE PARK NORTH — There's history in Gordon Davis' new restaurant, and not just because the 1926 building housing it was a gas station for its first 35 years.

The old chalkboard menus from Davis' much-loved first venture, Le Bordeaux, line the walls above the bar. The chefs behind the bar, working in the open kitchen, are people Davis has known for nearly as long as he has been in the business.

Then there is the food at Smoke Barbecue & Grill, which opened Monday and is designed to be unlike any other barbecue joint in Tampa.

Davis' idea was to take much of what he has learned and cooked over the years as one of Tampa's premier restaurateurs and throw it into the smoker, on the grill or in the rotisserie oven.

"We wanted to play around with super-quality comfort food," Davis said. "It's sort of a labor of love."

But for Davis, the comfort is not just in the food; it's also with the people he has brought with him to the 40-seat restaurant at 901 W Platt St., about a mile west of downtown.

Davis, also the founder of the former St. Bart's Island House and the booming Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant concept, has partnered with old friends and local fixtures Tony Bruno (formerly of St. Bart's, Mise en Place and others) and Rick Knapik (formerly of Ceviche). Davis' son Gene, a recent college graduate, is also on board.

Global influences

Davis shelved his plans for retirement to his Colorado cattle ranch to start Smoke. He plans to stick around long enough to get things humming and help his partners expand on the concept.

It has taken 14 months of working with the city to get the restaurant open — a more difficult process, he said, than opening the 22,000-square-foot Orlando Ceviche last year. The menu itself has been years in the making.

He called Smoke a "world barbecue concept," with influences from Asia, Europe, Hawaii, Texas and Canada.

The menu features slow-smoked brisket, pork shoulder and pork ribs, braised beef ribs, Southern fried catfish, sugar glazed corned beef, Hawaiian style chicken, grilled salmon and even duck. The duck, in a nod to Davis' background in French cuisine, is grilled with an orange and bourbon glaze. "We're duck people," Davis quipped.

The meats are from animals fed natural grass and are organic when possible, "the highest quality we can find," Davis said.

Entrees range from about $12 to $20, but it is the lower-priced "flying smokehouse kabobs" that may get a lot of attention. Served on their own upright, oversized racks, the kabobs are priced from about $4 to $8 and feature shrimp, trout, scallops, sausages, chicken or vegetables with a variety of glazes. They are meant to work as appetizers or as a meal when adding sides ($2.95 each).

Sides are plentiful and range from the expected (rough cut fries, grilled corn, macaroni and cheese) to unusual items like Italian grilled grits cakes (polenta in disguise), twice-baked sweet potatoes, and a Jewish lemon kugel made with egg noodles. One of the bread offerings is a cheese roll made with yucca flour.

A good value

Davis said he is relying on his long relationships with various suppliers to keep prices down.

"We really believe in giving a good value," Davis said. "We think the timing is great for this kind of concept."

Smoke's decor is rustic and Southern, with reclaimed cypress lining the walls and new but distressed pine on the floors of the main dining room. The eating areas are divided into a 30-seat dining room with tables, chairs and air conditioning, and a 10-seat open-air bar that overlooks the kitchen. It's designed to mimic an old screened-in Southern porch, Davis said.

"This is going to be a warm place to eat, but fun," he said.

Smoke will be open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight. Beer and wine will be served as soon as the space gets wet-zoning approval. A hearing is scheduled for next month.

New Smoke restaurant redefines barbecue 05/22/08 [Last modified: Sunday, May 25, 2008 12:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Allegiant Air strands 200 in Las Vegas, possibly for days

    Airlines

    About 200 passengers on an Allegiant Air flight headed for Oklahoma City on Sunday were stranded in Las Vegas after the airline canceled their flight, according to news reports and passenger tweets. A replacement flight at no extra cost wouldn't come until Thursday, according to tweets and a Fox News report.

    About 200 Allegiant Air passengers are stranded in Las Vegas, perhaps for days. Allegiant's headquarters, shown here, is located in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin, Nevada.
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]


  2. Cott Corp. sells beverage manufacturing business for $1.25 billion

    Business

    TAMPA — Cott Corp., a beverage manufacturer with headquarters in Tampa and Toronto, announced Tuesday it is selling its national beverage manufacturing business to Refresco for $1.25 billion.

    Cott Corp CEO Jerry Fowden
[Handout photo]
  3. Duke Energy Florida again ranks last in J.D. Power satisfaction survey

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Another J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, another last place annual ranking for Duke Energy Florida.

    Duke Energy Florida president. Can he improve the utility's customer satisfaction ratings?
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times file photo]
  4. Trigaux: Florida's jobless rate looks great — but 25 other state rates look even better

    Economic Development

    No debate here: Florida's unemployment rate continues to drop — even as more people move to Florida and enter the workforce. What's not to like?

    Who remembers the remarkable lines of hundreds of people looking for construction work in Tampa back in March of 2010 at a job fair at the Encore construction site near downtown Tampa? Now the construction industry is struggling to find skilled workers to meet building demand. [
JOHN PENDYGRAFT | TIMES]
  5. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]