SMOKEHOUSE ON MAIN
ADDRESS: 24255 Main Street, Santa Clarita, CA 91321
It was during one of my recent business trips out to California that I reconnected with some of my friends from my previous job. After we got the chance to catch up over some dinner, we made some subsequent plans to hang out on my next round back out to the area. And so, the visit to Smokehouse on Main was set.
Located in the Newhall neighborhood of Santa Clarita, the restaurant was actually located right around the corner from where I had gotten brunch with my brother, a place called Egg Plantation. That area of town seems pretty neat, and gives off a “downtown” kind of vibe, with the storefronts all very walkable down the main street.
We stopped in on a Sunday, and the restaurant itself didn’t seem to busy. The thing that struck me as a bit odd as I walked up to the place was that the front window still had winter decorations up, despite us already being so far into spring. You take a step inside and you’re greeted by a lot of wood and brick elements, definitely giving an urban aesthetic to the place.
All of the meats they offer on the menu are smoked in-house daily. A wire basket at the table houses some flasks of homemade barbecue sauces, with a few different styles to choose from. There’s no shortage of types of barbecue meats you can indulge in, either: beef brisket, beef tri-tip, pulled pork, spare ribs, hot links, or smoked chicken. Not to mention the wide variety of sides that you could choose from as well to complement your meal.
My barbecue litmus test when I go try different places is usually brisket, so I stuck with what I know. A brisket plate paired off with sides of baked beans and tater tots sounded like just the right amount for a midday meal. I still had a bit of a drive after the meal and didn’t want to put myself into a full barbecue food coma.
I’ll be perfectly honest, when the plate of brisket got set down in front of me, I was pretty underwhelmed. Four thin strips of brisket that only took up half of a square plate and probably weighed no more than a 1/3 of a pound. The two sides of baked beans and tots were served in these mini cast iron skillets that I thought were a nice added decorative element to the plating. But I couldn’t get past the fact that I was looking at $21 worth of food.
Flavor-wise, the food was excellent. The brisket was moist and had that smoky flavor as you ate into it. It really didn’t need any sauce to boost the flavor, but I did want to give some of the sauces a try and laid out a mini-spread on the plate. The baked beans also had that smoky flavor infused within it along with a nice sweetness. Bacon crumbles at the top helped to give it a bit of depth in texture. The tater tots were fried to golden perfection, crispy on the outside and just a bit soft on the inside.
While I don’t doubt the quality of the food at Smokehouse, my biggest issue was the value of how much you pay. I even asked my friends after the meal if that area was known to be more expensive for food, and they told me it wasn’t. I would certainly be open to a return visit, but those prices probably wouldn’t have me going out of my way to make a stop.
Let’s now take a look at the Smokehouse on Main Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Smokehouse on Main:
Food: 4.5 / 5
The barbecue itself definitely had great flavor. While I only sampled the brisket, some of the others around me that got some of the other meats also echoed the same sentiment. The two sides I got were flavorful and on point too, executed very well.
Atmosphere: 4.25 / 5
I’m definitely a fan of the urban décor inside the restaurant, with the brick walls and the stained wood comprising of the bartop and tables. It definitely helps to give the restaurant somewhat of a modern feel.
Service: 4 / 5
Our waitress was nice and would periodically stop by the table during the meal, checking in to see if we needed anything. The food itself came out of the kitchen in pretty good time as well.
Price: 2.25 / 5
For the portions that you get, it just seems very overpriced. At another barbecue restaurant I visited recently, for a little more than what I paid at Smokehouse, I got about 3/4 pounds worth of barbecue and two sides. I’d probably price the brisket plate closer to $16 or $17.