Tag Archives: Smokin’ Aces

The real deal: Smokin’ Aces BBQ


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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If the BBQ at Smokin’ Aces in Douglaston were any more authentic, it would be illegal in New York City. But here it is, in view of the platform at the Douglaston LIRR station.

Executive pit master Brian Tolsano and staff serve up an outstanding American menu, in a smart space with a great old bar, at prices that won’t make you lose your appetite.

The appetizer menu adds to the familiar bar food with a couple of outstanding shrimp selections, Philly cheese steak egg rolls, Mexican street corn and savory interpretations of various chip/dip offerings. Try the buffalo shrimp instead of the usual wings.

Portions of sticky baby back or peppery Memphis style ribs, Texas style brisket, pulled beef, pork or chicken are expertly prepared and very substantial. The lamb or beef burgers are juicy and satisfying. Their double burger – a large beef patty stuffed with smoked brisket and topped with smoked bacon, cheese, crispy onions and BBQ sauce — is hard to stop eating and hard to finish.

There are enough chicken, fish, shrimp and entrée salad selections to satisfy those who aren’t BBQ addicts, and in the true sense of the word hospitality, you can get substitutions. Want a steamed vegetable instead of fries? Not a problem. No smoked bacon in your Cobb salad, you say? Okay.

If you have any room for dessert, the praline caramel cheesecake features a crumbled brownie crust and, no, you can’t have the recipe. Excellent pecan pie, chocolate lava cake and banana pudding round out the finishers.

Smokin’ Aces has been honing the menu by actually listening to regular patrons. The result is one of the best three-cheese mac and cheese offerings to be had; the diet-busting stuffed baked potato will seduce spud seekers. Few things are more satisfying to a foodie than suggesting something to a restaurateur and then actually have them listen. I’m very satisfied with the attention to detail here.

The bar – beautiful focal point for the room – was old when first installed in this neighborhood hideaway years ago, back when Madonna was renting a room nearby and frequented the place. It’s well stocked with wines, draft and bottled beers, all the necessary ingredients for fancy cocktails and a selection of upscale whiskeys. Regulars greet each other while they dine and drink in their appointed spots, as in any good “Cheers” bar.

This may be the secret which has eluded previous owners. Smokin’ Aces is a bit of country hospitality in the city. Just head north, up Douglaston Parkway and when you get to the fork in the road (country enough for you?) take it to the left. You’ll leave Aces – full.

Smokin’ Aces BBQ
41-25 235th Street, Douglaston
718-225-8787
Cards accepted
On-street parking
Kids’ menu
Parties welcome
pen 4 p.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday; Friday 3 p.m. to midnight; Saturday noon to 1 a.m.; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday

GEORGE ELIAS

 

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BBQ restaurant to replace shuttered Douglaston sports bar Strawberry’s


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Order up!

Queens foodies looking to pig out on a slab of ribs need go no further than Douglaston.

Smokin’ Aces Championship BBQ is slated to open in the first week of June. It will replace Strawberry’s, a popular sports bar at 42-15 235th Street that abruptly closed last October.

“Everything just kind of fell into place. It was a really good opportunity,” said Tricia Capodagli, the smokehouse’s sole owner. “When the universe puts everything in front of you and you’re set up to succeed, you might as well do it.”

Capodagli is an accountant and an independent business manager for more than a dozen Manhattan restaurants. She said the venture marks her first foray outside of Manhattan. It is also the first restaurant she has owned.

“This would be a good start for me. It just worked out very well,” said Capodagli, 39. “I’m seeing a lot of development in Queens. I’m seeing it really being built up.”

The family-friendly barbecue joint will offer fried pickles, pulled pork sandwiches, nachos, chili, mac and cheese, burgers and buckets of sides to share.

With Queens prices and healthy options, Capodagli said diners will not have to break the bank or their belts.

“We’re trying to keep everything under $25,” she said. “These will not be Manhattan prices.”

Strawberry’s Sports Grill — the brainchild of the Mets’ and Yankees’ four-time World Series champ, Darryl Strawberry — was only open for two years before it shuttered up.

Sources close to the eatery told The Courier poor management ran the popular dive to the ground.
Locals said the restaurant’s remote location by the Douglaston Long Island Rail Road station, which gets minimal foot traffic, could have been a factor as well.

Still, Capodagli is optimistic she will have a different fate than her predecessor.

“It’s like everything — if you’re getting a good meal and good service, then it’s not out of the way and it’s worth it,” she said.

Before the grand opening, Capodagli said she must obtain certificates from the city’s Department of Buildings and pass a health department inspection scheduled for later this week.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “You never know where life takes you.”

 

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