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Indigo Smoke in Montclair


pnapoli
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I fully intended to drive down to indigo smoke this afternoon, and check out the menu (but didn't do so).  If you find info,please post!

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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There will be a story about Indigo Smoke on Table Hopping With Rosie on 3/27. We had dinner there and would like to return ASAP. Prices are very reasonable but everything is a la carte. So is you want homemade biscuits--which you shouldn't miss--then they are $1 each. We shared a black eyed pea salad ($4) for an appetizer. Entrees were smothered pork chops with sweet potato chips ($10). Tasty but an obviously thin chop for that price. I had beef brisket $11.Sides were string beans ($2.50) and collard greens ($2.50). We shared a pecan pie ($5) for dessert. BYO.I'd like to try the fried chicken and boneless beef short ribs next. Indigo Smoke is open Tuesday through Saturday 11:30 AM to 11 PM; Sunday 10:30 AM to 9 PM; with Sunday brunch served from 10:30 AM to 3 PM. Reservations not accepted. For take out orders call 973-744-3440.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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  • 2 years later...

Had the distinct pleasure of dining out for Easter Sunday with the family at Indigo Smoke. HOLY COW, what a delicious place! Never had the pleasure of enjoying Lance Knowling's (owner & chef) Southern cooking before. Fantastic ribs cooked "Kentucky style." The buffet had cooked to order omelettes and other great dishes like cheese grits, homefries, crispy bacon, mouthwatering waffles, not to mention lamb sliced so thin and tender with rosemary. I could go on and on. To top everything a live 3-pc combo played Gospel music for the nearly 3 hour seating. People around us said this happens every Sunday. WOW! The food was so good and plentiful there was just no room for the dessert crepe offered at the end.

Nutley Resident

-------------------------

Proud to be American

Proud to be a Nutley Township Resident

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  • 1 month later...

Had a somewhat disheartening experience at Indigo Smoke tonight...it was my first visit there, and I'll preface this by saying that the kitchen is putting out some damn tasty Q and sides--the problem is with the front of the house.

For those who haven't been, this is a very attractive space with 8 tables, only one of which can accommodate 6 diners. The rest are 2 and 4-tops. Having called to ask if I could make a reservation ("No ma'am"), we arrived at 6:50; there was one other couple + a group of 3 waiting. When we asked the hostess how long the wait would be b/c we had 8:00 tickets, she consulted with one of the waiters and said 15 minutes. We figured we'd be fine, and as we sat in the (very comfortable) waiting area, my friend Jim started to realize that they might have an issue with seating and service. I'll mention here that Jim spent many years waiting tables in NYC, so he does look at service issues (and freely offers kudos) with a different eye than many of us might.

In a nutshell, most of the tables emptied at the same time, the staff was slow to clear, clean and reset the tables, and the result was that almost the entire place got seated in quick succession. This means long waits for everything from water to the waiter's visit to take an order. Meanwhile, while we were in the waiting area, the chef + sous were literally getting a break. I have nothing against that, but it was clearly feast or famine for them--they had 8 tables' orders, or they were hanging out. I suppose that this is fine if you do an hourly seating of the entire restaurant, but that's not what's happening here.

When we placed our order at 7:15, we said we had to leave by 7:50 b/c we had tickets to a show. At 7:40 we still only had water, and after hearing the customers at the table next to us ask the same question, we asked our waiter how long it would be and were told "a few more minutes," so we did something I've never done--we said we were sorry, but we'd have to take the order to go. We apologized for tying up the table, and went back up to the register to wait for our order. Yes, I left a small tip as an apology.

Jim just kept saying, "There's no sense of urgency here" and I guess that's the bottom line. We were up front about being pressed for time from the minute we put our name on the list with the hostess, and actually discussed whether or not we should either go elsewhere or at least take our food to go at that point. The wait was 20 minutes--not b/c the table wasn't free, but b/c it wasn't reset--again, b/c they were busy bringing out all of the desserts and checks that were coming out at the same time! I just wish that someone on the staff had listened to what we were saying and made the suggestion that it would be best to do take-out.

That said, what we ate (in the car en route to the theater a bit further away in Montclair) was delicious, and we finished it up during intermission. Not the way I would have preferred to try it out, but that was our situation tonight.

DO NOT MISS THE BISCUITS. :wub: I had the boneless beef short ribs, which were tender and very tasty, topped with a few fried Vidalia onion rings. Jim had a rack of ribs that he greatly enjoyed, and the whipped sweet potatoes were rich, creamy, and better as a dessert item than as a side, but I'd highly recommend them. The black-eyed peas were good. The cornbread was also good, but did I mention that you shouldn't miss the biscuits?!? :wink:

All in all, some very good food, but the service left a LOT to be desired. I'll certainly give them another try on a night when I don't have other plans, but if they can't see the benefits of staggering the seating and doing it as tables free up, my guess is that I'll just do takeout from Indigo Smoke.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Indigo Smoke's small size makes it extremely subject to the "pre-theater" effect, with both live stage (Luna, 12 Miles, etc) and movies nearby. While that may permit a delightful, leisurely meal from 815, it isn't conducive to comfort at 7pm with an 8pm curtain.

I'd agree that the friendly service isn't matched by an equally prompt cleanup / reset of tables, based on a half dozen visits over a year and a half. Although the several tables on the mural wall are bolted to the wall (not moveable), the deuces by the entry screen can be combined into a six-top. When we visited a few weeks ago they were holding big the round table for somebody.

Delightul, Kansas City style food, though, and Chef Knowling is more than happy to discuss his smokers and grills when time permits. I'd say they pace the place as a restaurant, rather than a casual dining establisment, too.

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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I'd say they pace the place as a restaurant, rather than a casual dining establisment, too.

This was something I didn't know--I didn't know if I was going to a completely casual take-out place or a full-blown restaurant that took reservations or (as it turns out to be) something in between. Again, for those who haven't been there, it's definitely casual in terms of vibe and dress--there was everything from (nice) short and tank tops to folks dressed for the theater. It's the food that's serious. :wink:

I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt service-wise and hoping that on a non-theater night the turnover isn't as big an issue.

And I'm curious...is Chef Knowling the youthful (and, ahem--attractive) guy at the stove? I couldn't tell, but will certainly say hi and i.d. myself as an eG member next time I go. After all, I did enjoy the meal!

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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  • 3 months later...

Went back to IS tonight with a couple of friends, one of whom is a SERIOUS eater. Thanks to his bottomless pit, the first decision (made even before I arrived) was that we'd share the IS Sampler (of sides)--your choice of 6 for $14. We had mac 'n cheese, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, string beans, baked beans, and the whipped sweet potatoes. Then we ordered 2 (unreal, I know) of those enormous biscuits and 1 piece of cornbread (all $1 each), an order of fried chicken (for the almost non-carnivore at the table), the IS 'Q' Sampler of brisket, sausages, BBQ chicken, 2 kinds of ribs ($18) AND the boneless short ribs ($14, iirc). I knew we didn't need that last entree, but since I had said that it was amazing the last time, Adam had to try them. And once again, having tried all of these items, the boneless short ribs, sweet potatoes and the biscuits and cornbread were our clear favorites. The sweet potatoes really are incredible--we basically had them as the dessert course! :wub: OH...and I just remembered that he also had a bowl of the crab/corn chowder to start! I had one spoonful; very nice flavor and spice, but it was barely warm, which surprised me. Needless to say, we were all quite full when we left, and I came home with 2 pieces of chicken (1 fried, 1 bbq) + the remainder of the b-e peas and the baked beans. I never did taste the green beans, but they were so grey, I didn't care. I'm sure they were tasty (both friends said so) but I just can't eat vegetables that look like they've been killed! :sad: My only complaint about the Q sampler is that they gave us 2 BBQ chicken legs. My least favorite part of the bird; couldn't they at least spring for a thigh and a leg?!?

Since my last visit there was marred by bad timing and mediocre service, I was curious to see what would transpire today. We got there just after 5pm and the place was only half full, but it quickly got packed. It was only then that they finally cranked the A/C. Let me remind y'all that it was HOT today. And humid. When we sat down and realized that there were only a few fans blowing cool air on us, we thought something must have been wrong with the A/C, esp since the one near us read 86 degrees (there was a digital gauge on it). It appears that they just waited until it was far too warm to finally give in and turn on the A/C. This didn't win points. In general, I'd still say that the service is lacking/slow and not quite as friendly as one might hope. Once it was obvious that we were finishing up, they seemed to kick in to gear, and we all felt a bit rushed (by the staff) to leave the table. They had at least a dozen people waiting at that point, so I'm sure that's why.

Overall, I stick with my original assessment of Indigo Smoke...there's some great food coming out of the kitchen, but they don't seem to have the service end of things down 100%. Go when you have time, and you'll enjoy your meal--we certainly did tonight! And be smarter than I was--when you're leaving with leftovers, get a biscuit to go too! I'm sure I'll be wishing that I had when I have lunch tomorrow...

The bill after all of that, with tip, was $80. We brought beer, drank water, and didn't order any dessert.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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I agree about the service. Very lackluster. Forget about it when it's crowded. The servers are just order takers, though I find them all extremely polite. However, a good time to go is Sunday afternoon. They have jazz brunch (a buffet or you can order off the menu) with live jazz band. I've gone there a couple of times at the close of brunch around 2 PM, and it was delghtful - hardly anyone there and therefore better service.

In any event, the service is not SO horrible to keep me away cuz the food is so wonderful. I'd go there for Helen's bread alone.

Their beverage menu is in need of an overhaul - for example, they really need to stop serving snapple iced-tea and lemonade and make their own.

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They have jazz brunch (a buffet or you can order off the menu) with live jazz band.  I've gone there a couple of times at the close of brunch around 2 PM, and it was delghtful - hardly anyone there and therefore better service.

In any event, the service is not SO horrible to keep me away cuz the food is so wonderful. 

Had NO idea about the brunch--thanks for the info, Glenn! Amazing to me that they don't tag it on their menus or even in the folder when they give you a check. I'm tempted to head over there again today!

Re: the beverages, I have to admit that I hadn't even looked at them; one thing I really do like is the fact that they leave a pitcher of water on the table. But I agree with you; if you can make good Q, you should offer homemade iced tea and lemonade. And obviously, my bottom line is the same as yours--the service won't keep me away; I'll just go when I'm ready to hang back and not expect much from them service-wise.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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  • 2 months later...

Was in Montclair late yesterday afternoon with my mom and my brother, so we popped in to Indigo Smoke. We were the only table (around 4pm), but that didn't surprise me.

I've decided that for the sake of their tasty food, I'm just going to have to overlook their service issues. As we've said many times in this thread, they're just not 'there' when it comes to their wait staff. Yesterday's amusement was about them being too on top of us. "Are you done with that? No, we're still eating it." "Are you done with that NOW?" Sigh. It wasn't like they needed the plates for the crowd...! Then again, the wait staff was mostly young (as in--"WOW, he's a KID" young). However, the woman behind the counter who was screaming to the entire staff as we entered that "This is so f'ng messed up" was an adult. Yikes. Restaurant owners, take note: we DO see/hear these things. Maybe you need to remind your staff of that!

Sides and biscuits are terrific as always, as were the beef ribs I had--first time for those. And those whipped sweet potatoes are just heavenly, even if they're just a tad oversaturated with butter and (I'm guessing) cream. My mom declared it like eating pie. I agreed, but noted that at least we were saving carbs since there's no crust! :laugh:

The food is really tasty there, so as long as I'm in a patient mood, I'll be back. :raz:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Indigo Smoke functions very well as a take-out. In my experience, the stuff is ready about on time, and tastes fine.

But, when you dine there, there's always some issue bothering the staff. If you're there late, they want you to finish up so they can leave. If you're there early, they'd like to turn the table. Or, they ignore you and the other tables entirely, and you've gotta guess they're out back. We've waited 10 minutes for somebody, anybody, to come by and clear the tables

Even though the waitstaff has changed several times, the unremitting message is they don't really grasp the idea of service, and there's no supervision

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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Agree. Except my recent experience (and my only experience) with the take out was not exactly laudable. I called from jersey city to order and got caught in traffic driving over. Took almost an hour. And I had to wait 10 minutes when I got there. They told me on the phone that it would take 20 minutes.

The last time we ate there, they asked if I wanted "to keep" the red wine chilled.

But alas, as long as they keep churning out those melt in your mouth baby ribs, I'm still going.

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I actually scanned the Indigo Smoke menu, which I'd be happy to post... If only somebody could help me to do so.

To clarify, I need to learn how to add a picture to my post. A feature I've seen in other posts, though I'm not sure how to do so myself.

Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called, "Dentists." (anonymous)

Life is too short for bad Caesar Salad. (Me)

Why would you poison yourself by eating a non-organic apple? (HL)

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My first effort at uploading an image. Hope it works! If so, thank you Rosie!

gallery_17535_365_1100295695.jpg

Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called, "Dentists." (anonymous)

Life is too short for bad Caesar Salad. (Me)

Why would you poison yourself by eating a non-organic apple? (HL)

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Why are "house blended teas" cheaper than "other peoples' teas?" And whenever I ask for an iced tea, they give me a snapple if I forget to ask for the house tea. They shouldn't even sell snapple, aka battery acid.

Other than that, I have nothing to complain about.

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  • 3 months later...

Went last night and had:

Full rack of Baby Backs

Fried Chicken entree

Sides of Mac&Cheese and Cole Slaw and cornbread.

I go at least once a month here and I really think they are actually getting better! The Mac&Cheese was much creamier and cheesy than usual. The fried Chicken was definitely better than before(although it was always awesome). Ribs were status quo and incredible as usual. Cole slaw was red cabbage and very crispy and not drowned. We added two coca-colas.

Phenomenal meal for only $46 bucks including tip for two people. Stuffed to the brim.

Edited by richl2214 (log)

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

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  • 1 year later...

I went to Indigo Smoke for lunch today. I didnt know it was a set menu buffet lunch, but I wasn't dissapointed with what they had out. Baby Back Ribs, fried fish, beef brisket, chicken, collard greens, beans, corn, cornbread, potato salad and green salad (with blue cheese and tomatoes).

The waiter, who was really friendly told us they have been thinking about offering the full menu for lunch also.

There weren't too many people in there, but it was early, like 12:15. The lunch buffet comes with a drink and dessert and for two people our bill was $25, so I think thats a pretty great deal.

The food was really good. Standouts for me were the brisket and the beans and the collard greens. I'm not a pork fan, but my husband loved the baby back ribs and went back for seconds. The dessert was mini pecan pie and chocolate pudding cake, both delicious even though we were stuffed.

From reading the other posts, I was expecting a more casual take out place (someone had mentioned tables bolted to a wall) but the inside was very nice, tablecloths etc. Maybe thay have expanded? I though the place was pretty big, (around 20 tables?) and a beautiful room. They have really nice art on the walls.

I have a picture of the room that I'll try to post.

we'll definately go back for dinner so we can try other things on the menu. I didn't have a biscuit!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Had dinner there Saturday night.

Gotta say this first off - Montclair is a happening place Saturday night. There was a small crowd gathered near one end of Church St., listening to a pair of guitarists/singers.

Diners on both sides of the street overflowed the restaurants onto the sidewalk, enjoying the good weather and the music.

Indigo Smoke was pretty much a full house from the time we sat down to the time we left. A great atmosphere in there - lots of couples and families with kids.

I ordered the "Q" sampler and my wife had the pork chops. Our sides were mashed potatoes, fries, black-eyed peas and collard greens.

My sampler was great - would've been even better if I could've had the sauce on the side instead of having it slathered on everything. It nearly overwhelmed the individual flavors of the chicken, brisket, ribs and sausage.

The ribs I believe were cooked with a dry rub and had wonderful flavor and smoke. The chicken drumsticks were my favorite - they had the most intense smoke flavor, yet tender, not dry or overcooked.

The brisket was strands of shredded pork mixed with the barbecue sauce so tasted more like the sauce than pork. I'm not a big fan of the sauce -- reminds me too much of KC masterpiece -- but I'm no expert of barbecue so please take my opinion like you would something you read on the Internet :wink:

The sausage in my opinion had the most complexity and depth of flavor. They would've been the best meat I ate that night had it not been for the fact that they were lean and a tad dry. Had they more fatty bits, I would'nt have cared for anything else.

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  • 3 months later...

The brisket was strands of shredded pork mixed with the barbecue sauce so tasted more like the sauce than pork.  I'm not a big fan of the sauce -- reminds me too much of KC masterpiece -- but I'm no expert of barbecue so please take my opinion like you would something you read on the Internet  :wink:

If your brisket wasn't beef, it wasn't brisket.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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  • 6 months later...
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