Gut Reaction for April 18, 2013

For Weekly SurgeApril 15, 2013 

Three types of barbecue sauce are on the tables so diners can try all three if they like. Photo by Becky Billingsley for Weekly Surge.

PICASA

Smokin’ Hot Southwest Grill & BBQ at Barefoot Landing (on the north side, between TBonz and Flying Fish Public Market & Grill) in North Myrtle Beach is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The number is 427-7183.

Setting the Table

A new barbecue restaurant concept featuring female servers in khaki miniskirts and form-fitting T-shirts that expose a little cleavage has a tagline that it’s “where the racks are hot and the butts are smokin’!”

Despite the titillation, the outfits aren’t overly sexual and are rather cute. Located in a former Salsarita’s Mexican Cantina at Barefoot Landing owned by Chris Tobin and Cindy Tobin (they also have the Salsarita’s in Myrtle Beach and a Maggie Moo’s in Barefoot Landing), the couple recently opened Smokin’ Hot Southwest Grill & BBQ as their original concept.

Country rock plays at a pleasant level, and the restaurant’s décor is warm orange with black and chrome accents. Tables, chairs, the floor and the bar feature light-colored woods. Outside is a pleasant second-floor deck overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.

Down the Hatch

Southern and Southwestern flavors are featured, with meats taking center plate. However, vegetarians also have options.

Appetizers called Fire Starters are $6-$9 and include Smokin’ Chicken Quesadilla, Pulled Pork Nachos, Chili Cheese Fries, House-made Guacamole and Smoked Sliders, which can be filled with pulled chicken or pork.

My husband and I tried Chili Con Queso, which is a slightly and pleasantly spicy cheese dip served with house-fried tortilla chips. The chips are dusted in an extremely savory house spice blend. We demolished the dip but couldn’t eat all the chips.

Instead of soups, Smokin’ Hot has Paul’s Rockin’ Chili or Brunswick Stew; you get about two cups for $5. I tried the Brunswick Stew, which is a tomato-based dish filled with large potato chunks, corn and pulled chicken. It’s not spicy and is fresh-tasting and delicious.

Two salads include a Fresh Garden Salad for $3 or a Taco Salad with shredded chicken, onions, tomatoes and sour cream for $9.

Five Smoke Stacks are sandwiches, and my husband enjoyed his Pulled Pork Barbecue Stack. It was piled high with tender and moist meat, and he paid an extra $1 to get a side of jalapenos to put on it. He had Seasoned Crinkle Cut Fries with the sandwich, and they were dusted with the same yummy seasoning as was on the tortilla chips.

Other sandwiches ($8-$11, come with one side) include Chicken Stack, Smokin’ Hot Burger, Smokin’ Hot Bacon Barbecue Burger and Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burger.

I went for Half a Big Rack of ribs. The half-rack is $16, the full rack is $21, and you get two side dishes. Sides include Macaroni and Cheese, Brunswick Stew, Chili, Slaw, Fries, Baked Beans, Sweet Potato Fries, Potato Salad, Hush Puppies, Fried Corn and Vegetable of the Day.

The ribs were served dry – which means with no sauce – and were moist and tender without falling off the bones (in other words, properly cooked). Three sauces are on the tables to add to the barbecue: Original, Carolina Mustard and Hot Chipotle. We tried all three and enjoyed them all.

The Original is a light orange/pink color and is tangy with a bit of vinegar. The Hot Chipotle isn’t nearly as hot as we expected, but if you want a lot of heat, bottles of Texas Pete are available.

My sides were slaw – julienne with a sweet mayonnaise-based dressing – and crunchy and pleasantly sweet hush puppies.

Sizzlin’ Suppers are $9-$16 and also come with two side dishes. A few are Chicken & Ribs, Fried Shrimp, Grilled Barbecue Burrito and Grilled Taco Trio.

Check, please

Children have three choices for $5-$6 that each come with fries: Chicken Quesadilla, Hot Dog and Grilled Cheese.

Two desserts are $6-$7: Fried Banana Cheesecake Bites and Smokin’ Hot S’mores, which you get to assemble at the table over a real fire.

Margaritas are $4, or a pitcher is $16, and special Margaritaville Margaritas are $4.50/$18 and are flavored with mango, tangerine, passion fruit or coconut. The full bar has Sangria and Barefoot wines, and several domestic beers are stocked (including Myrtle Beach’s own New South Brewing Co.) along with Corona, Corona Light, Dos Equis, Dos Equis Amber and Heineken.

Becky Billingsley serves fresh restaurant news daily at MyrtleBeachRestaurantNews.com.

Becky Billingsley serves up fresh news daily at MyrtleBeachRestaurantNews.com.

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