Risque Cafe | Lakeview | American, Barbecue/Ribs, Restaurant | Restaurant
Barbecue joint from the former owner of Meritage Cafe and Wine Bar.

Our Review

It seems, in the wake of the phenomenal success of Smoque, that barbecue has become the new black. In fact, Chris Peckat, late of Meritage, appears to be taking his, ahem, cue, not only from Barry Sorkin and company's model of barbecue in relatively polished surroundings (i.e., tables, not car hoods) but also the meathead chic of the Twisted Spoke and the classic-tattoos-and-good-booze shtick of Kuma's Korner. But it's all been taken very badly. The dark red painted room, accented with brushed steel and hung with giant paintings of tattooed cheesecake pinups, is permeated with the unmistakable scent of smoked meat polluted by a weird humid must, like the smell of a wet woodpile. I don't know if that's related to the particular smoking process--the restaurant says it uses bourbon-soaked wood chips in an electric smoker. Almost all of the choices carried a mere whiff of smoke but barely retained any taste of it. Ribs were mealy, pulled pork and brisket forgettable, and chicken was slimed in a weak sauce. One of the most interesting choices, house-smoked bacon, was a tepid cube of barely rendered fat that required a solid half hour to crisp up back at the lab. Starters were undistinguished, mostly fried bar food, aside from a soft pretzel that came to the table barely thawed. There's a wide selection of quality craft beers and whiskeys, many of which are good values, but to the hordes of drunken louts that will fill this place on game days I don't imagine the quality of the barbecue or the booze will matter much.

Mike Sula

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