REVIEW: Happy Hour at International Smoke

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It’s arguably the best hour of the day – you know what we’re talking about: HAPPY HOUR!

International Smoke, the brainchild of Ayesha Curry (NBA star Steph Curry’s wife if you’ve been living under a rock) and Chef Michael Mina, had caught our attention ever since the opening of its Houston location this summer.

So we decided to try it out, and specifically the Happy Hour, because the menu appealed to our eyes and wallets!

The Concept

Fire and smoke is the backbone behind the concept of the restaurant. Both Ayesha and Chef Michael use the two to navigate between different ways to barbecue. They both draw from their own international influences to create a menu that pays homage to American Barbecue and International Barbecue.

The Restaurant

International Smoke is located in the popular City Centre area and honestly, the location is great. It’s well populated with shopping and entertainment and easy to spot. There’s signage in large red writing near the restaurant and fire blazing as you enter.

Talk about setting the mood πŸ™‚

Upon entrance, you can see they’ve made great use of the space. There’s plenty of seating and the large bar is situated in the middle of the restaurant. There’s a few TVs there so we anticipate a great turnout for big sports games.

We opted to dine at the bar. (Note: their Happy Hour menu is only available for guests who sit at the bar).

The Food

This is what you’re here for, right? We decided to split some appetizers. Here’s what we ordered: Ayesha’s Curry Cornbread, Jamaican Jerk Wings and Mac & Cheese.

Ayesha’s Curry Cornbread

First, the cornbread. We had high hopes. All of the bloggers and Instagrammers had pics of this cornbread covered with Ayesha’s special curry sauce. And we were just not impressed. It wasn’t that sweet and honestly there just wasn’t much flavor at all. We can do without.

Jamaican Jerk Wings

Now the wings were really good! You get a serving of four with plantains and it comes with a green dipping sauce. The sauce sets everything off – it’s slightly sweet and a great complement to the spice of the wings.

Mac & Cheese

You know how we feel about mac and cheese. And International Smoke did not disappoint. It’s made with corkscrew pasta and a blend of three cheeses. It was simple, cheesy and delicious. For $8, you get a really nice size portion.

Oh yeah – and on Thursdays, you can get $2 margaritas during Happy Hour. So we had some of those, too! They were great – small, but great value for two bucks! All other cocktails were $2 off!

The Experience

Overall, our visit to International Smoke was good. We went during a busy time (about 6pm) and were able to find seating at the bar quickly. Our bartender was friendly and attentive and all would have been wonderful except their machines went down right before we could get our ticket and we were stuck there until they began working again (about a 20-something minute wait).

However, we realize this was probably an isolated incident and they did give us an order of the Japanese Fried Chicken on the house. OMG – they use chicken thighs for this, which we love because it’s the more tender part of the chicken, and they were very good!

Japanese Fried Chicken

The value on their Happy Hour menu is amazing! Food prices vary from $5, $8 and $12. So you can easily get a full meal for $20. We definitely recommend International Smoke’s Happy Hour. It’s Monday-Friday from 4-7pm (bar only).

International Smoke is located at 800 Sorella Court #940, Houston, TX 77024.

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