BLUESMOKE, NEW YORK, NY - While the goals of the owners of this barbecue restaurant/jazz club were to provide the highest quality barbecue in New York, the environment in which to serve it had to be considerably rougher. This was a circumstance demanded by the practice of smoking meats from which barbecue comes. Smoking and marinading grilled meats are messy procedures that are difficult to contain. They are also methods of cooking developed out of need to soften poorer quality meats and conceal their flavor, a circumstance that has inspired commentary from the culinary expert and the social critic alike. Excessive “finish” either with respect to the food or the environment in which it was delivered would violate a fundamental characteristic of the cooking technique.
Roughness came to engender the spirit of the place. We took this as a sensible point of origin for the design of the space. Bluesmoke is built into the shell of a pre-existing restaurant. We saved significant features such as walls and their finishes where possible. As a consequence of these pre-existing partitions we installed new mechanical and electrical, mechanical and electrical infrastructure without concealing it. Industrial fixtures seemed appropriate given the rough level of finish.
Roughness is apparent in other ways as well. The woodwork is formed out of maple treated in simple sections without elaborate joinery or veneers. The colors are muted and the ceilings are open. The tone throughout is of a simple yet substantial place supporting a community of patrons whose presence here – like the barbecue itself – are simple yet noble manifestations of a popular idiom.
210 seats dining, 100 seats jazz club/5700 sf restaurant, 2000 sf jazz club
“American”Time Out New York: Eating and Drinking 2002 : 15