Smoke and Barrel: New ‘Cue in Adams Morgan

Newly opened Smoke and Barrel offers a modern take on Southern traditional barbecue.

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Jade Polay
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Jade Polay
Newly opened Smoke & Barrel -- located above Asylum (2471 18th St. N.W.) in Adams Morgan -- offers a modern take on traditional Southern barbecue. "We wanted to make it look rustic, but when it started to look too much like a saloon, we added touches from the Prohibition era," said tavernkeeper Matthew Heffernan.
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Jade Polay
The restaurant was conceived by John Andrade and staff. Andrade, who is behind Mount Pleasant's Meridian Pint, set out to create a "barbecue restaurant that wasn't regionally specific, but that took elements of traditional recipes that was doing something a bit more more modern," he said. The full slab of ribs with Muddy (a wet Memphis-style sauce), dusted with extra dry rub, captures the restaurant's feel.
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Craft beers inspired the menu, which includes 25 of them -- and 50+ whiskeys. With a canned program, "there's more of a natural pairing with barbecue and its culture, which satisfies all the basic needs of a beer drinker," said Sam Fitz, who oversees the craft list.
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Jade Polay
The staff hopes that by "putting out a good product," like these jalapeño shrimp poppers, it can change the way barbecue is perceived in the District (as a traditional comfort food) and turn it into something unexpected.
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The barbecue egg rolls are a testament to chef Vinni Waide's playful culinary style.
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Chipotle honey butter wings are brined, dry rubbed and smoked for a couple of hours before being served. This dish speaks to the name of the restaurant -- think about it.
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Jade Polay
"We wanted to keep an aspect of Asylum alive by appealing to as many people as possible," Heffernan said. (The resto opened in what was formerly the edgy Aslyum's upstairs space.) They offer vegan-friendly dishes and vegetarian options like these Chipotle twice-baked potatoes.
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The bar has an ever-changing draft selection on account of the canned beer program, and extra beer coming in from Meridian Pint. Customers are likely to find a new beer almost daily. "While changing beers is important, we still make sure there is balance," said Fitz.
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Jade Polay
The staff -- including "beer guy" Sam Fitz, chef Vincent Waide, and tavernkeeper Matthew Heffernan -- are all passionate about what they do. "You won't find servers who don't know about the food here. All the staff gushes to guests about how much they love the foodm and that means a lot," Heffernan said.
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