For his second act, Renzo Vargas is leaning a little more heavily on Peru. At the original Smoked Barn in Levittown, smoked meats take center stage, with a few dishes from the Peruvian repertoire rounding out the menu. The second location reverses the equation. At Smoked Barn of Peru, which opened Tuesday in Huntington Station, you’ll also find Peruvian specialties such as ceviche, tiradito and leche de tigre (all of them, spicy concoctions of marinated raw fish), jalea (the great Peruvian fritto misto), chupe de camarones (suave shrimp chowder), anticuchos (grilled beef heart) as well as the Chinese-influenced arroz chaufa (fried rice) and tallarin saltado (chicken lo mein).
But you’ll still find the smoked meats that landed Smoked Barn on Newsday’s list of LI’s best barbecue restaurants: brisket, beef short ribs, pork belly, pulled pork, pork ribs and pork sausage.
Everything is available for takeout. Smoked meats range from $26 to $28 a pound. Starters are $7 to $13; burgers and sandwiches are $12 to $14; mains $14 to $26.
Vargas, who had successful stints as a contractor and running a car service, started as a barbecue hobbyist, but three years after he opened his first restaurant, his love of smoking has only grown. "I’ve learned more about temperature and time," he said. "I still take care of my meat like it’s a baby — waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning to check that it’s OK in the oven."
The first Smoked Barn, which opened in 2018, is a modest little shop along Hempstead Turnpike. The new location seats close to 50 inside and another 30 in an airy tent behind the restaurant. The décor, in shades of smoke and steel, is lounge-like luxe and there’s even a tiny stage for live music (or, at least, a live musician). There’s wine, beer and a full bar.
Smoked Barn of Peru took over the former digs of Corinne’s Catering, which has moved next door. Drivers-by may be dismayed by a seeming lack of street parking; but there’s plenty behind the restaurant; the driveway is directly to the west of the restaurant.