Low-and-slow buffs will find lots to love at Boise's new barbecue trailer, Urban Smoke. Parked in a lot at Franklin and Five Mile roads, Urban Smoke is run by husband and wife team Amy Bell and Joe Bailey.
"I've been backyard barbecuing for a long time and we just decided to start this. ... I quit my 9-5 job; I worked for the water company for four years and I was a foreman for a construction company for 12," said Bailey. "I quit all that and gave it all up and did this."
Bailey had his smoker custom built in Texas to fit on the back of his shiny black trailer.
"We do a dry rub; we make our own barbecue sauce," said Bailey. "We make everything on the truck—the mac salad, our coleslaw, our beans are amazing."
In addition to slinging super tender pork ribs by the half- and full-rack, Urban Smoke also offers pulled pork sandwiches and smoked pork brats. You need to get there early for the brisket, which sold out by 11 a.m. on a recent Friday.
"The brisket, we put a dry rub on it and then it goes on the smoker," said Bell. "Depending on how large the brisket is, it can take anywhere from 10-12 hours."
Sides include the aforementioned mac salad—featuring large rigatoni noodles lacquered in mayo, slivers of hard-boiled egg and minced onions—along with sweet beans strewn with hunks of pork and coleslaw studded with carrots and shredded red and green cabbage.
"We also offer what we call our Urban wings, which are drumsticks," said Bell. "They're smoked in the smoker and then we put them in either our Urban sauce or hot sauce."
Urban Smoke's tomato-based barbecue sauces, while not technically necessary, are a great compliment to the meat—the Urban sauce is tart with a mild kick, while the hot has a lingering burn.
"We did a lot of testing with our barbecue sauces and some of our dry rubs," said Bell. "We probably went through 60 different recipes with friends and family just trying out what was the most popular."
Urban Smoke is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can also find the trailer at breweries and special events. For more info, call 208-372-6464 or visit facebook.com/urbansmokeboise.
In other opening news, Izumi Japanese Steakhouse is planning to open its doors in three weeks at 3560 N. Eagle Road in Meridian. Owner Ryan Jiang is in the process of revamping the 270-seat space, which formerly housed Mongo's Grill. Izumi will include a large circular bar with a full liquor menu and multiple hibachi stations.
"We have really fresh seafood and then we're doing an entertainment hibachi show," said Jiang. "It'll be a lot of fun."
The appetizer menu includes everything from Indian pancakes—with curry, potato and chicken dipping sauce—to grilled whole jumbo calamari with ponzu yuzu sauce to Vietnamese summer rolls. The main menu includes a standard line-up of sushi, sashimi and special rolls, along with dishes like Pad Thai, Soba noodle soup and miso Chilean sea bass. Hibachi options range from Chicken for $15.99 to Emperor's Deluxe with filet mignon, lobster, shrimp and scallop for $40.99.
For more info on Izumi Japanese Steakhouse, call 208-898-2552 or visit facebook.com/izumijapanesesteakhouse.
In other sushi news, Sakana Japanese Sushi Bar and Grill is now open at 7107 W. State St. in Garden City. Sakana has two other locations—one on Eagle Road in Meridian and the other on Vista Avenue. The State Street restaurant's interior is bright and modern, with red brick flourishes and sandy beige walls. There's a number of cherry red and black booths and a scattering of four-top tables. In addition to a long sushi bar, there's an actual bar with six tap handles pouring everything from the classic Kirin Ichiban to Sockeye's Dagger Falls IPA and Oakshire's Espresso Stout.
The lunch menu is littered with specials, like the reasonably priced Sashimi Bento Box ($8.99), which features miso soup, iceberg salad topped with carrot-ginger dressing, nine pieces of sashimi, a California roll, a mound of warm sushi rice and a few slices of melon. Dinner options range from sushi and sashimi entrees to rice bowls to noodle soups and an assortment of teriyaki dishes.
Sakana is open Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. For more info and the full menu, visit sakanasushiboise.com.
In beer event news, Bittercreek is hosting Buy One Get One Tree on Wednesday, April 27. Purchase a tree-inspired beer—like Odell Brewing's Tree Shaker Peach IPA or Boise Brewing's Treez Nuts Hazelnut Porter—or a tree-inspired cocktail like the Populus Protection with Hudson Single Malt, Punt e Mes, Black Walnut bitters and a cherry, and you'll receive a free tree sapling. Trees include: Sugar Maples, Thornless Honeylocusts and White Dogwoods. For more info, visit the Facebook event page.
Finally, on Friday, April 29 from 3-10 p.m., Barbarian Brewing is hosting an expansion party to celebrate its tasting room remodel. Barbarian will release bottles of the Ol' Samson, a port and pinot noir barrel-aged barleywine, and will tap two new beers: the Mystery Barrel Sour 1.0 and the Plumberry Weiss. B-Town bistro will serve eats and electric string-pop duo Razzvio will perform from 6-8 p.m. For more info, visit the Facebook event page.