Chef Curry With The Pot: Ayesha Curry’s International Smoke Restaurant Gets Rave Reviews
It’s official: Ayesha Curry can burn. Although her friends, family and some fans (including Drake) have probably known that for some time, the mother of two and wife of NBA star Steph Curry, has some critical acclaim to match the praises of her loved ones and is one step closer to the “Martha Stewart” crown of lifestyle toting cookbooks, a line of cook wear and now a successful restaurant.
The 28-year-old’s International Smoke restaurant, which she opened up with chef Michael Mina late last year, recently received a glowing three out of four stars in the San Francisco Chronicle from restaurant critic Michael Bauer. Bauer admits that he approached his experience at the barbecue eatery with some hesitation because of Curry’s namesake and not to mention what he refers to as an “unimaginable” three-plus-month wait for a reservation:
“I had to turn off my initial skepticism; on the surface the Smoke concept seems to go against the grain of what makes San Francisco dining so special: Instead of a local, specific cuisine, Smoke has a global menu that highlights a dozen styles. It also plays upon the celebrity of a co-owner who is not a seasoned chef. And Smoke has expansion plans while its concept has barely jelled — it waves its ambition from the start.”
He states that as well as fans of the Currys, you can find yourself in the company of an eclectic crowd including followers of chef Mina and residents of the Millenium Tower where the restaurant provides food for the owner’s lounge. But of course the best part is the food. Bauer says the menu reflects the diversity of the diners and includes Vietnamese barbecued pork chops with glass noodles and lemongrass-scented meatballs, Korean miso cod with kimchi fried rice Armenian lamb chops glazed with pomegranate, and ribs which Bauer describes as “some of the best I’ve had in the Bay Area”. Don’t forget that before guests are even faced with all of these mouth-watering choices, they are given a complementary bowl of barbecued potato chips and a Jamaican hot sauce that Bauer says reflects Curry’s heritage. The one low point of Bauer’s experience was the Vietnamese pork chop which he described as “soggy and had lost most of its texture.”
Bauer says International Smoke is a bit on the pricier side, but insists the experience, atmosphere and portions are worth it. He also says it’s clear the Curry and Mina are confident in what they’ve built already having signed a lease on a property in Houston and looking at potential sites in Florida, Southern California, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.
It’s a win for Curry whose year ended on a sour note when ”The Great American Baking Show” a show she was a co-host of, was cancelled after airing only one episode after one of the judges was accused of sexual harassment.
My only question is: When will Ms. Curry stir up an International Smoke location a little closer to Philly?