By Raymond Bill
Some people believe change is bad. I see it as an opportunity for a new adventure. Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass, wrote, “You cannot change what you are, only what you do.” This is how I would sum up my recent experience dining at Smoke Tree BBQ Bar & Grill. Originally a ‘Grill Your Own Meat’ Supper Club, This Palm Springs eatery has transformed their menu and concept into perhaps the best Barbeque hot spot in the Coachella Valley! And they did this while maintaining the same high quality of meats and caliber of service.
For weeks after my previous visit, I shared with friends my experience of grilling my own steak while learning some tips from the chef. Now I cannot stop talking about the most mouthwatering barbeque I have tasted here in the Coachella Valley. On this dinner date, I was certain to have the best company for what would be an unforgettable meal. My good friend and I would begin by taking a seat at a community table. Upon our server’s recommendation, we started with a rare treat of Burnt Ends. This is the name of an appetizer that is not always available as quantities are limited. These sweet and tangy pieces of beef are appropriately named as they are the trimmings from a most tender brisket.
All I can say is WOW! Each morsel melted in my mouth, rich with intense flavor from just the right amount of seasoning and charred BBQ sauce. I am not at all exaggerating when I tell you it is certainly the best comfort food I have tasted.
We savored each bite while enjoying a cocktail from their full bar. I was worried that we would follow this dish with disappointment as nothing could possibly compare to this plate of heaven placed between us. I was, fortunately, wrong. We shared a combination of items that left us in pure delight. The Baby Back Ribs were so tender that we could practically pick the bones out. The meat was smoky and addicting! We went back and forth from the ribs to the tri tip to the pulled pork and then to the brisket. It was all so incredibly delicious and satisfying.
Our server was quite proud to be sharing with us her favorite dishes and sides as she made her recommendations. Her eyes lit up and after my first taste, I understood why. It was simply perfection. We shared Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon, and Creamed Corn. Now one would think the Mac n’ Cheese would have been the star side dish but surprisingly, the Creamed Corn stole that title. It was smooth and creamy with bursts of crisp sweet corn. I would say it rivals that of the local Prime Steakhouses.
The restaurant boasts four types of sauces to accompany your meal. A traditional Barbeque sauce with the perfect balance of smoky and tangy, a Spicy Barbeque for those that like a little fire with their meat, a Sweet Barbeque for those that appreciate a touch of molasses, and finally their mustard sauce that took their pulled pork to a whole new level! I personally do not care for mustard but this was unlike any brand mustard sauce. This was award worthy! If and when they decide to bottle and sell these condiments, I will be in the front of the line!
Truly, we were on cloud nine, thinking we had peaked with perfection… and then dessert happened. Although the chef is playing with some recipes and admits that there will be some changes to the menu, the Cheesecake was better than anything you could find at that Factory Restaurant by a mile! The time and care put into that recipe confirmed the talents of their chef and culinary team.
Smoke Tree BBQ Bar & Grill still plans on offering ‘Grill Your Own Meat’ nights or events in the future but is now focused on providing the best BBQ cuisine and service in the valley and I for one am happy for their much deserved success. Located at 1775 East Palm Canyon Drive in the Smoke Tree Shopping Center, stop by for lunch or dinner Wednesday through Sunday, or call for more information at 760-778-6521