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12 January, 2018

Ayesha Curry’s Restaurant Gets a Glowing Three Stars from the SF Chronicle

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Michael Bauer is a fan of International Smoke

Ayesha Curry crushed the transition from basketball wife to celebrity lifestyle guru even before she opened International Smoke with chef Michael Mina. And now, she can add critically acclaimed restaurateur to her long list of accomplishments. The San Francisco barbecue restaurant is a known crowd pleaser, and the first official review is in. It’s practically glowing.

Restaurant critic Michael Bauer gave International Smoke three out of four stars in his San Francisco Chronicle review. He admits he was skeptical of the restaurant because it “seems to go against the grain of what makes San Francisco dining so special” and “plays upon the celebrity of a co-owner who is not a seasoned chef.” But, by the third visit, he writes, “I was a fan.”

Bauer appreciates the restaurant’s diversity, noting that it attracts “one of the most eclectic crowds,” including a mix of Mina acolytes, Ayesha Curry followers, and fans of her basketball player husband Steph Curry. And the food reflects this mix.

Bauer says the ribs “are some of the best I’ve had in the Bay Area,” while Curry’s cornbread muffins are also “some of the best,” thanks to their “bold flavor and refined texture not far removed from a coffee cake.” Kalua “instant bacon” (“steamed buns loaded with the smoky meat, pineapple salsa and teriyaki sauce”) is “one of [his] favorites.” In fact, there was just one disappointing dish among the lot — a Vietnamese barbecue pork chop.

Bauer says the global menu “may make a barbecue purist from Texas, South Carolina, or Tennessee cringe.” Plus, plans to expand the concept, first to Houston, then Florida, Southern California, and Washington, D.C, bring back some of his skepticism. But, for now, Bauer is “all in” on International Smoke, and it would seem, Curry has a new fan.

At International Smoke, Mina & Curry fire up a delicious global grill [SF Chronicle]
What People Are Saying About Ayesha Curry’s Debut of International Smoke [ESF]