Smokebelly attempts to fill the smoke shack gap in Buckhead with what it calls “chef-crafted ‘cue.” Yet the smart design, a harmonious collection of Americana, detracts from the fare, building expectations sky high. Everything else is over-the-top and you’d expect the grub to follow suit. But the flavors here are just too delicate for barbecue. Instead, those cheffy touches favor the “skinny fixins,” or light barbecue tapas, that were created to appeal to women and those who want a lighter meal before a night out on the town.
Try the simple summery watermelon salad, a nice play of smoked feta, sweet watermelon, pickled onions and fresh mint. Little did I know the only smoky notes I’d get from the meals at this Buckhead barbecue barn would come from that cheese.
I do get a little hickory from the sliced, smoked turkey breast, which is massively moist from its wet brine. Make your meal a combo ($16.25), pairing that turkey with the smoked sausage. The links may not give you much wood-flavor, but the charred casings burst with savory juices.
Smokebelly is a celebration of Southern culture. Now we just need the ‘cue to deliver what the decor promises.
Read the full review on myajc.com.
Also enjoy our Smokebelly photo gallery, which includes a sneak peek inside the restaurant and a sampling of dishes.
–by Jenny Turknett, Atlanta Restaurant Scene blog