- 5055 N.W. Second St., Des Moines, IA, 50313
- Overall User Rating:
- (15 ratings)
- 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- Official Web Site:
Preliminary visit — not yet rated.
Smokey D’s on Des Moines’ northwest side expanded in September to big new digs, and the full parking lot on a recent Wednesday night suggests this was a mighty good move.
Who/What? Owners Shad Kirton and Darren Warth closed their original venue on N.W. 54th St. to open this 10,000 square-foot facility, which includes the restaurant, a lounge and a banquet room. The partners also own two other Smokey D’s locations, both downtown.
Ambiance: The décor at this spacious order-at-the-counter operation consists mostly of the numerous trophies, ribbons, plaques and other awards that attest to the owners’ bragging rights in the realm of barbecue. With bright lighting, comfortable booth and table seating — and a full house — the ambiance is super-casual, yet pleasant and energetic. Adjacent to the dining room, the lounge offers a lively sports-bar scene, complete with a pool table.
Menu: Find smoked meats (brisket, pork, turkey, sausage, burnt ends, pulled chicken) in sandwiches ($4.79 to $5.49) and on platters ($7.95 to $11.29, with two sides), as well as barbecued ribs ($10.95 half/$18.95 full, with two sides). A small handful of soups, salads and sandwiches (including a breaded pork tenderloin) complete the menu. The grilled Portabella and Boursin wrap offers a nod to vegetarians.
Food — first impressions: Reluctantly, we skipped the Country Fried Steak Fingers with Country Dipping Gravy (!) and tried the utterly unique Smoked Wings. These babies had a nice, crisp skin and a lustrous (and addictively good) vinegary-peppery sauce.
The brisket was cut into tender ribbons; that is, not quite as meaty as slabs, but much more satisfying than shavings. Marbled, tender and chewy-in-a-good way, the ribs, too, were winning in that juicy, porky way. In both cases, however, I found the smoke influence quite minimal.
Sides hit the spot. Smoky D’s serves perhaps the best garlic bread I’ve ever had — at least in the squishy, Texas-toast vein. I loved the way it was perfectly grilled to a brown-and-crunchy texture. Beans here are doctored up to the sweet side; the creamy mac-and-cheese completed the trip to big-food city. Only the cucumber-onion salad, with an overly vinegary burn, disappointed.
Service: Though it’s an order-at-the-counter operation, the staff was efficient and eager to please. Plates were removed when we finished eating — something you don’t expect in serve-yourself spots.
Bottom Line: Another good addition to our Barbecue City.