I had wanted to try Smoke BBQ Taqueria for some time but as their original location was in Homestead, a bit of a drive from my house, I never made it there. Thankfully they moved locations last year and in early 2015 officially opened in the Lawrenceville neighborhood, a much closer drive and one of my favorite foodie spots.
Located right on Butler Street, there isn’t any prominent sign out front so make sure you actually look at the numbers on the buildings as it can be hard to miss. It’s housed in a beautiful restored building (as most are in one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods) and I just loved the blending of old and new.
We went somewhat early on a Saturday night but as they don’t take reservations and it’s a popular dining area for a night out, this proved wise as we were seated right away.
In case you don’t know, a taqueria is basically a Mexican restaurant serving tacos and that’s what Smoke’s specialty is-tacos filled with smoked meats. Simple premise, simple place.
To drink, I ordered the horchata ($3.50) which is basically a sweetened rice drink, one that I adore. It came with fresh lime shavings. Although I also always love a good agua fresca (fresh fruit drink) which they also have.
We each ended up ordering two tacos apiece. I selected the Migas ($4) which consisted of eggs, crispy corn tortilla strips, onions, hot peppers, beans, cheese, and chili de arbol. My second taco was the Chicken Apple ($6.00) which had bacon, cheddar, and jalapeno mayo. Of the two I liked the migas one more (go figure at a smoked meats place, I prefer the vegetarian one) but the chicken one stood out too from a taste perspective.
D went for the Chorizo ($5) which included pinto beans, potato nuggets and smoked pepper pico de gallo, and the Ribs ($6.25). That featured pickles, onions, and barbecue sauce. He loved both equally.
For sides, this is probably where we “messed up,” at least in regards to ordering two along with our two tacos apiece. Sides are definitely sharing size portions; however, if you don’t want to spend the rest of the night feeling ridiculously bloated, I’d recommend skipping the Mac ($8.25). It was good, don’t get me wrong, but the copious amount of cheese just expanded and expanded. We also went with the Pinto Beans ($5) that were jazzed up with the addition of bacon, beer, and peppers. If you feel you simply must have a side, I’d say just get one. Two was definitely overkill.
Although Smoke isn’t a taqueria like you’d find on the streets of Mexico or even in Los Angeles and Houston, for Pittsburgh it’s a nice addition. And for the reviews I’ve read in which people feel the tacos are too much? Well, it’s not a hole in the wall spot-you’re definitely getting a bit of classiness with your meal. At least that’s my opinion.
If you find yourself in the Butler Street area and are wanting a new spot to try, just have your nose lead you right to Smoke.
Smoke BBQ Taqueria
4115 Butler Street | Pittsburgh, PA | 15201