Port Jefferson just got meatier. A new barbecue spot, Smoke Shack Blues BBQ, has been opened by Jonathan Levine, formerly the chef at Wave Seafood Kitchen, just up the street at Danfords Hotel & Marina.
Levine, whose experience also includes stints under a Michelin 3-star chef, Guy Savoy at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and Park Avenue Cafe in Manhattan, said he was smitten with barbecue after a family trip through the Carolinas and Texas, where he sampled a range of styles. Further reading, cooking and sampling barbecue around Manhattan helped him build momentum to open his own place.
Knowing how devoted he was to fine dining, his friends, “initially thought I lost my mind,” he said, but they have since come around.
With barbecue a relatively nascent genre in Long Island, especially near Port Jefferson, he thought it would resonate with locals and tourists. “There’s not a high supply,” he said.
Levine is calling his barbecue “urban style,” with a focus on regional recipes from the Carolinas and Texas for chicken, American Wagyu brisket, pulled pork, St. Louis ribs and beef ribs on Saturdays, that fall in the $7 to $24 range, depending on whether the order is by the pound or platter.
Expect collards and mac ‘n’ cheese among $2 to $8 sides, as well as biscuits, brisket chili, pickles, hush puppies, deviled eggs and slaw. Should you save room for dessert, there’s Tar Heel pie, peanut butter and jelly ice cream and banana pudding — all around $5.
There’s no pit out back; it’s right in the center of the 49-seat dining room that features reclaimed wood, polished concrete, butcher block, vintage brick and corrugated metal details.
Since meat will be served rubbed, but not dressed, all sauces are found in dispensers on the tables. Whether it’s a vinegary Carolina kick or a St. Louis-style sauce,
“People will have the freedom to pick and choose,” he said.
Smoke Shack suggests a boomlet of food-focused places in the neighborhood, just in time for summer. Earlier this year, Port Jefferson saw the opening of Local’s Cafe serving Caffe Vita coffee and Indian-inspired fare, as well as Slurp Ramen.
The restaurant will be open Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Smoke Shack Blues BBQ is located at 138 Main St. in Port Jefferson 631-438-6797. smokeshackblues.com