by Ian McNulty
The smoke is getting thicker in Fat City these days. Last fall, Saucy’s BBQ Grill opened within sight of the Lakeside Shopping Center, and more recently Smokin’ Buddha BBQieux joined the scene just a few blocks away.
Smokin’ Buddha BBQieux is the first restaurant venture from Rob Bechtold and Eric Heyde, two friends who share a passion for the smoker.
“Rob has cooked at just about every major restaurant you can think of and I’m a carpenter by trade,” says Heyde. “We got together and started cooking barbecue and people kept telling us we had to open a restaurant.”
They previewed their barbecue at the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival last fall and did a pop-up for a while at the Dragon’s Den (435 Esplanade Ave., phone n.a.) bar in the Marigny.
They opened their restaurant in Fat City in December. It’s a little hard to spot (just aim for Drago’s and you’ll find it one block closer to Vets at the back of a parking lot, under a karate studio) but it’s certainly worth tracking down. The meats are smoked over pecan, and in addition to platters and sandwiches the Smokin’ Buddha BBQieux menu uses its meats in savory fried pies, over nachos and fries and in tacos.
Choucroute makes an interesting barbecue side, as does the kitchen’s bacon and blue cheese potato salad. Cajun pastrami, sliced into dense, beet-red planks, is one of the more unusual meat options here, and the pulled pork I tried was crusty, luscious and smoky.
One caveat: don’t look for the same menu every day. Heyde explains that the line-up changes daily depending on what meats they decide to smoke and the specials Bechtold decides to cook up. The restaurant is BYOB for now while a liquor license application is in the works.
Smokin’ Buddha BBQiuex is open Tuesday through Saturday, serving lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Smokin’ Buddha BBQieux
3206 N. Arnoult St., Metairie, 304-6602