The Stockyards Smokehouse & Larder
699 St. Claire Avenue West
Price for 2: $40-50 (2 entrees, 2 drinks)
Other: Don’t go here if you’re a vegetarian.
The Stockyards is a restaurant that kind of defies categorization: unless, I’m told by my companion, you’ve been to the Southern US.
He described it as an authentic southern smokehouse- a place where they smoke their meat instead of grill it, where the kitchen is open concept, where reservations aren’t accepted, and where the community comes to sit on stools, hang out, and dig in.
That’s basically what we did. We were looking for a place to get a good burger, and the word “smokehouse” caught our eye. We had the best intentions of going grocery shopping and eating health food, but alas, it was not to be.
We arrived and were seated at row of stools along a back wall. It was a pretty hoppin’ place on a Sunday night, maybe because that was one of their special rib days, although most people seemed to be ordering other things. The head chef was shouting out orders, and patrons were coming and going both to sit in and take out.
We placed our order, and within minutes we had a just-cooked burger and fries and a whole rack of ribs. The ribs were double the size we expected, so there were a lot. We also got a fresh limeade with mint to split. Everything at the Stockyards is made in house.
I have to say, it wouldn’t be my pick for my favourite burger joint. Although the burger was fresh, it was a little tasteless and didn’t melt in my mouth the way I enjoy. Fortunately, it was topped with crisp lettuce, tomato, pickles, house mayo, and ketchup, and the bun was nice and soft. Extra fortunately, the side of fries definitely exceeded my expectations- thinly cut, fried to the right combination of soft and crisp, and perfectly salted.
My friend was pretty much in awe over his rack of ribs. Note that these were not the melt-in-your mouth, BBQ sauced kind, but rather the meaty, smoky-flavoured, rip off the bone kind, with a side of tangy house sauce. He was in ecstasy.
The homemade mint limeade was the perfect combination, served with a peppermint striped paper straw.
Overall, the environment was fun and authentic, and so was the food. I’m pretty excited to go back to try their pulled-pork sandwich and southern fried chicken…