Mable's Smokehouse & Banquet Hall
44 Berry St (North 11th St)
City: Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 218-6655
Hours: Tuesdays–Saturdays, 3–11 PM (4PM Happy Hour) Sundays 3–10PM
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Mable’s Smokehouse, which is owned and operated by first-time restaurateurs Jeff Lutonsky and Meghan Love, is a labor of love on the Williamsburg waterfront. The atmosphere is down-home family friendly, a little loud, and — as it is with any barbecue joint — a little messy. But that’s the point. Although you’re come to Mable’s for its barbecue, you’ll stick around for its authenticity. The secret sauce is actually from Mable Lutonsky, Jeff’s late grandmother for whom the restaurant was named. Lutonsky, also a visual artist, came up with the plan for a restaurant to celebrate and share his family’s favorite dishes, many of them steeped in barbecued richness due to his Oklahoman roots. Lutonsky’s wife Love, who is also an actress, grew up in Kentucky and added her own flair to Mable’s menu.
When you arrive, load up on succulent slow-cooked ribs, Texas-style brisket, pulled pork sandwiches slathered with homemade barbecue sauce, a side of greens, and summer-fresh corn, still on the cob. Most entrées hover around $14 and sides include traditional mac and cheese, slightly braised collard greens seared in bacon fat, baked beans, potato salad, and cast-iron cornbread.
The vibe is youthful and laid-back, with an interior overflowing with nostalgia. None of the chairs at the communal tables match, and the largely wooden interior is decorated with old beer and feedlot signs. As one might expect, at least one deer head oversees the dining room. There’s plenty more to catch your eye as you’re chowing down on brisket, as Lutonsky and Love have filled the place with vintage goods like old vinyl records, outsider art, and other flea market finds, including the obligatory wagon wheel.
If you sit at the bar, order a Lone Star Beer (or one of Mable’s “Fancy Cocktails” like its take on cherry limeade) and the bartender will also ask for your food order; if you’d rather dine communally, simply walk up to the counter and place your order. Either way, save room for dessert because rumor has it that the key lime pie is not to be missed.
Review By: Joann Jovinelly