Have you ever wondered where the delicious enticing smoky aroma wafting over the Village of Rhinebeck comes from?
Hey Hudson Valley – if you were to follow your nose, it would lead you right to Smoky Rock BBQ on Montgomery Street across from the Dutch Reformed Church.
Smoky Rock is all about rediscovering an American Tradition, as it says on the front of this eatery’s menu. Dimitri and wife Nike (pronounced Nicky) Psichas are the proud owners of this unique restaurant. Like the father of a newborn, Dimitris, who “stays in the back” brims with pride and passion about his food. Dimitri, born and raised in Greece, has chosen to pursue the uniquely American art of BBQ.
Why, most would ask, eat barbeque cooked by a Greek chef?
All it takes is one taste of Dimitris’ ribs, brisket, smoked fish or other tasty dishes to get the answer. Dimitris has tirelessly pursued the fine art of barbeque.
Inspiration struck one day in May of 2014, as Dimitris and Nike passed the vacant commercial building at 6367 Montgomery Street on a drive through Rhinebeck. At the time they owned and operated Coco’s in Hyde Park, but Dimitris, who was looking to move on from traditional Italian fare, saw the property as a perfect opportunity to pursue his dream of cooking barbeque. After 15 successful years, the doors to Coco’s closed and the doors to Dimitris and Nike dreams opened.
The fine art of barbeque: maple, hickory, cherry, and apple
Dimitris is a practitioner of the fine art of barbeque. There are many factors that make Dimitris a true barbeque artist. There are no digital controls on either of the two barbeque smokers at Smoky Rock. Instead of digitalized, propane assisted smokers, Dimitris uses only thermometers, wisdom, experience and wood to smoke his meats and fish.
Four types of wood are used in different combinations to get just the right flavor: maple, hickory, cherry, and apple. All the wood, like the meat Dimitris prepares, are locally sourced whenever possible. Combining the woods to produce the desired flavor and consistency has taken years of trial and error. Never one to rest on his laurels, Dimitris continually works towards perfection in all his meats and dishes.
Dimitris moved from Greece to the US in 1993 looking for a better life, starting out as a dishwasher in a Kingston restaurant. Although he had no formal culinary training, he developed a passion for and learned about cooking through observation and experience at several restaurants. His first passion was for cooking cheesecake, which he still bakes for Smoky Rock and which sits among the huge brownies, pies and other sweets in the dessert case. His love for Italian cooking spurned Dimitris and Nike to operate Coco’s in Hyde Park. Several years ago, Dimitris discovered he had a real passion for, and interest in , cooking barbeque. What started out as a backyard hobby, cooking different barbeque dishes for friends and family, developed into somewhat of an obsession for Dimitris. Although friends tried to dissuade and discourage him from taking the risky jump from Coco’s to a new barbeque endeavor in Rhinebeck, Dimitris and Nike followed what their hearts were telling them, closed Coco’s and opened Smoky Rock in May 2014.
Slow smoked with a dry rub for 14 hours
Although Dimitris has been cooking barbeque professionally for the past 4 years, one would think they were tasting food prepared by a seasoned barbeque veteran. Combinations utilizing 25 different spices are used in the preparation of the chicken, pork shoulder that is smoked for 16 hours. The brisket is brined for 48 hours and then slow smoked with a dry rub for another 14-16 hours. The pork belly is brined for 7 days and then grilled until crispy. Wild caught smoked salmon and trout are offered seasonally.
Dimitris has recently added two new items to the menu: turkey pastrami, which is lighter than the beef pastrami and perfect for those who don’t eat red meat, and tongue. I was lucky enough to be able to sample the tongue sandwich. The tongue is brinded for 20 days, boiled for 6-1/2 hours. It is then sliced and piled on rye bread with mustard and pickles. I ate one-half fully intending to share the other half later in the day with a friend. needless to say, my taste buds got the best of me and my friend didn’t even get to sample a single bite of the delicious sandwich. The meat was tender, seasoned perfectly, but not so much that the delicate and unique taste of tongue was lost.
Lunch, dinner, and all-you-can-eat brunch
In addition to offering lunch and dinner, Smoky Rock offers an extensive all-you-can-eat brunch on Sundays from 12-4 that includes scrambled eggs, pasta, ribs, house smoked bacon, pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken, and house-made corn bread.
The large bar offers an extensive selection of imported and domestic wines, over 30 bourbons, NY State craft beer and a cocktail list, including Smoky Rock’s own specialty drinks. The Smoky Rock Martini is their spicy take on a classic cocktail that consists of Sriracha vodka, Smoky Rock BBQ sauce, and pickle and olive juice. Mojitos and margaritas are made from scratch and moonshine lemonade are the perfect drink for a warm summer night on either of the two pet-friendly patios. On weekends, the bar offers free house-made, seasoned potato chips that are not to be missed. The delicious potato chips can also be ordered loaded with pulled pork and melted cheddar cheese.
Smoky Rock is a family affair
When you visit Smoky Rock you may notice that it is a family affair. Dimitris and Nike’s three children all pitch in and are familiar with every aspect of the restaurant business. This aspect adds to the warm, family atmosphere that is Smoky Rock.
Smoky Rock BBQ is located at 6367 Montgomery Street in The Village of Rhinebeck. Their hours are 11am-11pm every day except Wednesdays when they are closed. Brunch is served on Sundays 12-4pm. Reservations are accepted for parties of five or more. Call for information (845) 876-5232.