Old Town Scottsdale doesn’t really scream “smokehouse,” with all its chic nightclubs and modern eateries. But a barbecue restaurant makes perfect sense in the historic area, and if you’re going to do a smokehouse, it may as well be one with flattering lighting, hip décor and an attractive waitstaff – like Bootleggers, which officially opens tonight in Old Town where Praying Monk used to take up residence.
This is the second Arizona location for the restaurant, which boasts a “sophisticated country-cozy” feel characterized by brick walls and high wood beam ceilings. It definitely felt rustic yet modern, a great barbecue joint that still manages to be classy.
I went there for a preview dinner this past weekend with some friends, and we were treated to a variety of dishes. Be sure to try some of the house-made apple pie moonshine ($5), which comes in a mason jar and tastes so sweetly like the real stuff, you’ll swear there’s not alcohol in it.
My pal tried a moonshine flight, which included flavors of strawberry, blueberry and peach, and she said the apple pie was by far her favorite kind.
First, we noshed on brisket-topped nachos ($12), with jalapenos and a fresh avocado relish. My pals liked the appetizer, which seemed to be a hit at other tables, too.
Next up was a chopped brisket sandwich ($12), which was served with potato chips. Be careful if you try cutting the sandwich – it might be easier to eat this bad boy all at once, since slicing it caused the contents to spill out. The brisket on this sandwich was the most impressive offering of the night to my friend.
We also were served smoked turkey breast ($8) with coleslaw ($4), which also came with some tortillas to build your own wrap. While one of my pals did not like the sweet taste of the turkey sauce, the other thought it was great. If a sweet flavor on meat isn’t your cup of tea, skip this dish. My pal also remarked the coleslaw wasn’t distinguishable from the kind you’d get at a fast food spot.
I loved the smoked sweet corn ($4), topped with a tabasco-lime butter. Don’t even attempt to eat the corn with a fork and knife – this appetizer is worth getting your hands dirty and tasted super-fresh.
While I’m not the hugest fan of barbecue (and am vegetarian), I would go back to Bootleggers for some moonshine in the giant bar area, which takes up half the restaurant. There are plenty of TVs to catch a sports game, and their daily happy hour menu from 3-6 p.m. includes $3 Coors Lights. For more information, go here.