87 S Elliot Place, Brooklyn (Fort Green)
While in Fort Greene to film a Diner Cakes episode, we needed some quality grub to match the incredible red velvet cake we were anxiously awaiting at Cake Man Raven. Well we found it at The Smoke Joint. It’s really a neighborhood place and doesn’t try to compete with the Manhattan mega BBQ empires, like Hill Country, Blue Smoke, and Dinosaur. You can actually get a quality, normal-size portion of BBQ for a fair price. We had the pulled pork and the chopped barbecue chicken. The meat was tender and packed with flavor. The pork had the requisite acid of North Carolina pulled pork. Usually chicken can be blah, but this is apparently dipped in goldsmoke, and rivaled the pork. The mac & cheese was classic with a crispy top and gooey center. The 4 cheese blend held its own. Our friend Blair was pleased with the crispy catfish sandwich as well. I dig this joint and would return. Sometimes going for BBQ feels like too big of an event with high expectations and a $50 per person tab, but at the Smoke Joint you can have a tasty plate of meat and a beer anytime for under $20. Now that’s a good Tuesday night.
Cake Man Raven
708 Fulton Street, Brooklyn (Fort Greene)
Right down the road from the Smoke Joint is a little storefront serving the **Best Red Velvet Cake** I have ever consumed. Cake Man Raven is basically one big refrigerated case of red velvet. Yes, they have other cakes, but really the only decision here is nuts or no nuts on your fat slice. Raven “Cake Man” Dennis has made this cake quite famous. Traditionally a Southern dessert, Dennis, a native of Harlem has been making this it for 20 years. It is soft and creamy and everything Red Velvet Cake should be. Go get some and take it to go and sit on one of the beautiful stoops in the neighborhood for real Brooklyn atmosphere.