* Click here for rating key
Russell's Smoke House Restaurant Review: Denver restaurateur and chef Frank Bonanno trumpets a burgeoning empire of eight restaurants and bars, including this below-street-level smoke house that resides in the same brick building as Wednesday’s Pie and Green Russell, both of which also belong to Bonanno. Tricked-out with color-saturated paintings brush-stroked with scenes from the Wild, Wild West, leather booths and banquettes, weathered hardwoods, and a statuesque stone centerpiece, the smoke house benefits from refined chuckwagon-esque design elements, providing the requisite backdrop for Bonanno's straight-up American grub. The kitchen, equipped with two state-of-the-art smokers, kicks out beef and pork ribs; meaty brisket; whole chickens; batter-crisp fried chicken blanketed with gravy; and prime rib, all of which share plate space with smoked black beans, coleslaw or sweet potato fries. And because this is the kind of joint where busting your gullet is encouraged, Bonanno also offers a raft of rib-sticking sides: macaroni and cheese, spoon bread, hush puppies, cornbread and collard greens specked with bacon among them. The beverage program ballyhoos keg wines, a Bloody Mary smartly shaken with smoked tomato juice, and inventive virgin mocktails for little cowpokes in tow.