Thursday, August 14, 2008

Zeke's Smokehouse

Zeke's Smokehouse
2209 Honolulu Ave
Montrose, CA, 91020

I've been to Zeke's at least a couple dozen times over the years. I know lots of people claim that it's not "authentic," and to a certain degree I understand what they are saying. It is definitely sparkling-clean and on the pricier side for barbecue. But it's in Montrose, so I think both of those things are to be expected. My main complaint is the bun on which they serve their sandwiches. It's a dense bun that always tastes as if it's a day or two older than it should be. What makes that even more annoying is that the meat is almost always good. Anyone who has ever been to Arthur Bryant's and seen the white bread loaves on the table, or had a sandwich at Corky's in Mempis on a bun so soft it practically disolves in your mouth like cotton candy, knows that bread should not get in the way of a nicely smoked piece of meat. (Still, Zeke's bun is nowhere near as perplexing as the ciabatta bun they use at Gus's in South Pas.)

My two favorite things about Zekes are the mustard sauce and the sides. (They have three kinds of sauces, although one is a much-too-sweet "Kansas City style" sauce that makes me wonder if the person who named it has ever been to Gates or Arthur Bryant's, and the other is a decent sauce that is a little bit spicier, although not much.) Almost all of their sides are great, from the mac & cheese to the sweet & sour slaw to the homemade potato chips. Their onion rings are probably the best I have ever had and their sweet potato fries are pretty good, too (I recommend their spicy chili mayo with both.)

I almost always get a pulled pork sandwich there, but on my most recent trip I got a pulled chicken sandwich. It was very good (the chicken; the bun was lousy as always,) but I think I will stick with the pork from now on.

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