“The Rachel Review” On International Smoke
Ever since November 2017, things have been heating up at San Francisco’s iconic Millennium Tower. Chef Michael Mina and lifestyle expert and bestselling cookbook author, Ayesha Curry launched the wildly popular restaurant, International Smoke.
I booked a reservation two months in advance and it was worth waiting for! The restaurant’s concept was inspired by Curry and Mina’s individual heritages and travels. Mina is Egyptian and Curry is part Chinese, Jamaican, African American. The ambiance of the restaurant is lively, includes moody lighting and urban industrial finishes. There are TV screens near the bar so it’s a great spot to watch sports games and grab a bite! No reservations are required at the bar – you’re welcome to walk-in anytime!
International smoke explores global approaches to fire, grilling, and smoke to create flavorful dishes. The restaurant’s mouth watering menu features elevated takes on classic dishes and has something for everyone!
International Smoke’s beverage program consists of international wines/beers and fresh, seasonal cocktails that include local ingredients inspired by countries around the world. I started out my evening with a Rhinestone Cowboy that includes Hangar One Kaffir Lime Vodka, Espolòn Blanco Tequila, Coconut, and Calamansi. I previously did not know what calamansi is, but learned its a hybrid between the genes of a citrus and Kumquat. It is widely cultivated in different parts of the world such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern China. The cocktail menu includes a section called “Boozy & Bougie”…right up my alley! It features a cocktail called Curry Up Now. Going to order it next time!
I started my evening off with the Smoked Buratta Salad. International Smoke’s Master Chef, Jeremy McMillan delivered the salad to my table in a glass dome pumped full of smoke and it gave the cheese a smoldering flavor. The burrata was served on a bed of brussel sprouts, shaved apple, squash, and pecans.
The next item that appeared in front of me was the Small Platter of Charcoal-Grilled Shellfish. It included oysters, shrimp, crab, and a half lobster tail.
The menu features a section called “Three Little Pigs,” offering three different inspired preparations and flavors of pork. I ordered two of the items:
1) Smoked Rib Tip Mac & Cheese with a cornbread crumble.
2) Smoked Pork Ribs “St. Louis Cut” in three flavors: American BBQ, New Mexican Adovada, and Korean Gochujang.
The Smoked Rib Tip Mac & Cheese was the perfect blend of sweet and salty and the cornbread crumble added a nice touch to it. My favorite flavor of ribs was the American BBQ. They were meaty, tender, and included a light layer of bbq sauce.
To help get in my greens in for the day, I ordered the Brussel Sprouts with soy caramel and peanuts. They were roasted perfectly and the toppings added a nice burst of flavor.
Last but not least, dessert! I tasted the following divine desserts:
1) Chocolate Malt Pudding Cake that included toasted marshmallow, milk duds, and Devil’s food.
2) Trio Palette of Pudding that included the flavors Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée with raspberries, Black Forest Chocolate Custard with maraschino cherries, and Butterscotch Pudding with bourbon caramel.
The toasted marshmallow on top of the cake was mesmerizing! I liked the milk duds addition as it added a nice little crunch and gave me childhood nostalgia! My favorite pudding was the butterscotch as it included a nice kick from the bourbon and had a rich, velvety flavor!
Need some International Smoke in your life? Make a reservation now as bookings fill up fast! The restaurant also offers a happenin’ happy hour Monday – Friday from 4pm to 6pm where you can get hot deals on food and drinks. I’ll be swinging by after work, see you there!
VIDEO: International Smoke Dining Experience
Photography and Video by John Matuk