I have three opinions about chili:
1) Beef chili trumps turkey chili
2) Ground beef is preferable to cubed beef
3) Chili should be SPICY
#1 and #2 are less important to me than #3. #3’s a big one — and that was my problem with SmokeHouse Chili-Grill in New Rochelle.
I went with Jose, who’s pretty much game for anything, although he didn’t mention until we got there that he wasn’t much of a chili person. That worried me since this was a chili joint and I didn’t know much else about the menu. Luckily, the restaurant’s also a “grill”, with a full selection of burgers, sandwiches, ribs and hot dogs.
Jose sampled the house blend chili in a tiny cup (I didn’t know you could sample chili like you’d sample an ice cream at Main Street Sweets) and proclaimed it very tasty and very spicy. Then he ordered the boneless BBQ wedge, a boneless rib patty smothered in BBQ sauce:
“Isn’t that like the McRib sandwich McDonald’s used to serve?” I asked.
“Yeah, but this looks healthier,” Jose declared, as we admired his serving of french fries.
I was going chili all the way, and debated between the house blend and the Philly chili, made with sliced steak, onions, peppers and cheese. I’ve been thinking about Philadelphia recently and how I’d like to take another day trip down there, so in the spirit of the city, I ordered a bread bowl of Philly chili.
That’s a lot of cheese, isn’t it? I thought so too, and pushed most of it to the side. A little indulgence is good, but yikes.
Jose enjoyed his McRib, er, boneless BBQ wedge. I was disappointed with my chili — there was just nothing much going on flavor-wise and I found the sliced steak pieces odd. I guess I really do prefer my beef to be ground.
I could have looked past all that had the chili at least been spicy, but it wasn’t. Not even a bit. I want the burn with my chili — maybe not an “I just bit directly into a jalapeno at Caracas Arepa Bar” burn — but enough to make me sweat.
I’ll give SmokeHouse another shot, but in the future if I eat anything named “Philly”, it’s going to be a cheesesteak, not chili.
606 North Ave.
New Rochelle, NY 10801