As I was going through some draft articles, I came across one for the Annapolis Smokehouse and Tavern which I had written in late January of this year shortly after they had opened. The first line of the article was, “they are still new, so I hope they are working out some kinks.” And boy have they!
My first meal there was unremarkable on all fronts, but I am not going to dwell on the past because the subsequent 50 (guessing here) have been off the charts great. The food is consistently good, the service is consistently good, and the price is fair–unless you are talking their killer happy hour (3-7) and then the prices are much more than fair!
The ribs are not your standard fare ribs. They are dry and you can dress them up as you see fit. This was a first for me, but I like the options to mix a half rack with some mustard…or Carolina BBQ…or event the tried and true traditional barbecue–or is it barbeque?
And while the menu is good all around, the secret to the Annapolis Smokehouse and Tavern is to go off the menu. Always…ALWAYS…ALWAYS!!! ask for the specials I have found that the specials far outweigh the menu 99% of the time. From a smoked chicken cordon bleu to a smoked duck with blueberry sauce, I have never been disappointed with any special I had. And if you have any special diet restrictions, they are more than willing to accommodate you. One time, there was some sort of spicy Asian hot sauce that was a special and it was fantastic on the ribs–have only seen it once, so I need to find out what it is really called.
While I personally am not a fan of their wings (hey, so shoot me I like Buffalo Wild Wings and Acme), they did win the judges favorite and the people’s choice in the 2013 Chesapeake Wingstock Festival last summer–and they have the visually disturbing plaques with an embalmed chicken drumlet hanging on their wall to prove it. Their wings are smoked and lightly seasoned. And like their ribs, you can dress them any way you like with a myriad of sauces. They are good–just not my style.
I have also tried their Saturday and Sunday brunch. It is one of the few places in town that serves on Saturday AND Sunday and serves it late in the day for those that may have slept in. There are some very interesting items on the brunch menu and some of the combinations sound like they may not go together well–but they do…like beignets stuffed with pulled pork and blueberry chipotle bbq sauce. The meats are all smoked so they have a bit of a different flavoring to them for sure.
The service is great. Again, like any new restaurant, they got off to a rough start, but the owners (Jen and Steve are the font facing ones) are usually there and ready to greet you with a smile, a handshake, and a cold drink. This is one of the few restaurants in town that really seem to “get” customer service–it shows. The other one is Sin Fronteras and restaurant owners would do well to send their management to either place to see how it is done.
Happy Hours all week. Karaoke on Tuesdays. Live music on Thursdays and special events. What’s not to like! The place is attractive and inviting and a little bit loud at times, but certainly a welcome addition to the Annapolis Neck.
Happy Birthday to the Annapolis Smokehouse and Tavern.
This week, they celebrate their first year on Thursday December 12th! They will have plenty of food and drink specials, plus giveaways all day long. And for the entertainment, “Mixed Business” starts at 9pm! I plan to stop in on Thursday and offer my congratulations for a job well done.
As for that review I did a year ago….ancient history! Well done Annapolis Smokehouse and Tavern..well done indeed!