Location: 402 E. Tennessee Street Tallahassee, FL 32301
Dinner Prices: Meals – $8.00 to $16.00
Current Special: None
Up in Smoke Pitt BBQ – a new BBQ restaurant that has opened on arguably the busiest street in Tallahassee. This new BBQ restaurant comes shortly after the closing of another (Famous Dave’s). How does this BBQ place stack up? Find out in my full review…
Atmosphere: I am going to get this out of the way at the beginning. The coolest part about the atmosphere of Up in Smoke Pitt BBQ is the sign outside. The sign outside smokes. This sign instantly puts you in the mood for BBQ. The rest of the atmosphere is passable. The restaurant is dark and plain looking. It seems like they couldn’t decide what the restaurant should look like. It is not bad atmosphere, it’s just nothing special.
The atmosphere gets a 2.5 out of 5.
Service: Although this restaurant is fairly new there are quite a few customer reviews on sites such as yelp. The theme that is consistent among those reviews is poor service. The owner even replied to a few reviews apologizing, and stating that they are still learning and that conditions will approve.
I am happy to report that, at least during my experience, the service was great. Our server was friendly, she was knowledgeable about the menu, and the food came out quickly. I appreciated that the waitress was able to make recommendations and provide details about the menu.
The service gets a 4.5 out of 5.
Food: The food can be summed up as good, with moments of genius, but inconsistent.
We started with an appetizer of fried breaded bacon with a sugar cane sauce. Some of it was pretty great. The breading, bacon, and sauce had a nice flavor. It was super crispy. I had 2 problems with the dish though. Some of the bacon was burnt. The other problem was the sauce. Although it tasted great, it was so thin I felt it was difficult to get enough on the dish itself.
The restaurant offers 4 house made BBQ sauces. The choices include sweet, spicy, mustard and regular. BBQ sauce is hard to judge because everyone has a different preference. To me, all of the sauces are good but none of them are amazing. The weakest sauce was the spicy and my favorite was the sweet. All of the sauces have a cinnamon taste to them. It was a nice twist but there was too much of it. Overall, I did enjoy these sauces, but I have had better.
For my main course I ordered a BBQ plate. This including 2 meats, 2 sides, and a bread. For me this meant Spare ribs, brisket, onion rings, pretzel mac + cheese, and Texas toast.
I really enjoyed the meats on the place. Both the ribs and the brisket had a nice smoke flavor. They also had great seasoning. The spare ribs were very tender. The brisket could have stood to be a little more tender; I like my brisket to melt in my mouth. The excellent flavors on these meats were more than enough to keep me coming back.
The side dishes were a mixed bag. Let’s start with the mac and cheese. I liked the cheese flavor and the spiral pasta choice. There was an inconsistent use of seasoning in the dish though. The top of the pasta was bland but the bottom had a lot of flavor. It was like it wasn’t mixed properly. The pretzel on top half worked as well. The crunch of the pretzel (and salt) added something to the dish, but some of the pretzels tasted stale. Although I prefer a battered onion rings, these were good. I kept eating them. They had a natural onion flavor to them as well. They could have used a little more salt but otherwise they were great. Finally, the texas toast was filled with butter and garlic flavor. Just the kind of texas toast I enjoy.
I am giving the food a 3.5 out of 5, but I feel the food has the potential to be a 4.5 out 5 if a few kinks are ironed out (they are a new restaurant after all).
Overall: I feel this review was a little negative. There were a lot of small things that do need to be addressed and fixed. But, as I said above, restaurants do not always open smoothly. I look forward to going back to Up in Smoke Pitt BBQ and giving them another shot. Their moments of brilliance make it worth it.
For now, a 3 out of 5.