There are new ways to socially distance but still enjoy barbecue and cocktails at Arlington’s Smokecraft Modern Barbecue. For dine-in customers, the restaurant, which debuted in July, has unveiled its socially distant patio. The outdoor space seats 38 people, all at a safe distance. Masks are still required except when eating and drinking.
Speaking of drinking, lead mixologist Lauren Paylor has a plan for cocktail drinkers not yet ready to venture out to a restaurant. She’s launched a to-go cocktail program with exactly those customers in mind. Drinks include the Smoke on the Water, made with with Catoctin Creek Roundstone rye, spiced honey and angostura bitters; the Cucumber Collins with Beefeater gin, salted cayenne cucumber, house sour and soda; and the Chipotle Margarita, composed of Sauza Blue tequila, house sour, Cointreau and chipotle bitters. Each is bottled and ready to go.
Of course, the drinks are best paired with barbecue. There are regular specials at Smokecraft, which allow the team, led by owner and pitmaster Andrew Darneille, to stretch the definition of modern barbecue. But even the regular menu goes way beyond smoked brisket and butts. Modern barbecue entrees include smoked crab cakes, made with applewood-smoked crab and served with grilled lemon and chipotle aioli. Reverse-seared tri-tip is hickory smoked before it’s seared, then plated with herb chimichurri. There’s even a smoky option for vegetarians—spaghetti squash with goat cheese and maple syrup.
Dessert is smoked too. Keep your eyes open for cherrywood-smoked chocolate-cherry bread pudding and cedar-plank-smoked chocolate brownie s’mores. And you can enjoy it all safely, either on the patio or at home. // 1051 N. Highland St., Arlington
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