We were very impressed with the décor and attention to detail as we entered The Southern Pacific Smokehouse.Their beautiful Bar was straight ahead, Exhibition Kitchen, Outdoor Patio and Main Dining Room with tables and small and large booths were to the left and the Smokehouse Lounge which is where they have live entertainment was off to the right. They just opened in May serving contemporary wood fired American Cuisine made with mostly local produce and ingredients. The 2000 pound Ole Hickory Smoker called Mabel is where their BBQ is slow cooked over hickory wood. The Executive Chef is Ryan Barnett who grew up on a farm and trained at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.
Alex Bachman their Mixologist and Sommelier stopped by our table in the main dining room and encouraged us to try their Hand Crafted Cocktails. We were very impressed by the Corpse Reviver #2 which is a classic cocktail created at the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel in London by Harry Craddock in the 1930’s. It is a true classic and one of the best we’ve ever tasted! It is made with Bombay Gin, Cocchi Americano and Cointreau then lemon seasoned with a touch of Leopold Brothers Absinthe. The light flavor of the absinthe was amazing! We also loved the Moscow Mule which is another classic that was served in a copper mug made with Vodka, Lime and Ginger Beer. Stephanie, our server who was very knowledgeable assisted us with our menu choices.
The Starters are all generous servings and well priced. We loved the Garlic and Herb Flatbread which was finished with parmesan and extra virgin olive oil. The Crab & Shrimp Cakes with fennel and arugula salad and lemon-cayenne emulsion were tasty too. You must have the New Orleans style Shrimp and Grits with glazed shallot cream sauce. It’s a little rich but worth it! We were impressed by the tomato based Smoked Chicken Tortilla Soup with Queso cotija, crème fraiche and lime pepper tortilla strips. Next, we had an excellent Wood Oven Pizza created with Smoked Chicken, Bacon, Brie and Pear puree.
The Entrees can be ordered in small or large sizes and they are very flexible with substitutions of sides which accompany the entrees. We loved the Smokehouse Duo of Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs and Pulled Pork which was served with mashed potatoes and sautéed arugula and spinach The Smoker gives the meat a wonderful taste, makes the ribs so tender that they fall off the bone and the pulled pork fantastic and lean. We enjoyed the SP BBQ sauce which was served on the side. They do offer fresh fish specials including Salmon in season as well as Pork Chops, Chicken dishes as well as Burgers and Sandwiches.
The Desserts that we tried were both amazing, very large and made to be shared. The Banana “Nilla” Pudding was excellent and the Cranberry Bread Pudding with Ice Cream was also great, real comfort food. They both tasted like they were made by “Mom”. We took some of the Banana “Nilla” Pudding home and it was even better the next day! A Galleto D’Oro Western Espresso was the perfect finish to our dinner.
The Southern Pacific Smokehouse is a great new American Grill which has already gained a loyal following including some music celebrity sightings. We heard that Kenny Loggins dined there when he was in town for his performance at the Sausalito Art Festival. It is great spot for large parties and is family friendly with a Children’s Menu. The Smokehouse Lounge has live entertainment on Tuesday- Saturday nights featuring Blues, Acoustic, Country and a Magic Show. They are open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week starting at 11:00 AM and have a Weekend Brunch with Punch including adult libations. This is a welcome addition to the dining and music scene in Marin!
Southern Pacific Smokehouse
Vintage Oaks Shopping Center
224 Vintage Way
Novato, CA. 94945