Ever since hearing about the Caboose Smokehouse over on Central Illinois Life in fall 2007, it was on my list of places to check out. This weekend we finally made it.
We took advantage of our GPS to get us right to the door at 608 W. Seminary Avenue in Bloomington, which is good, because the restaurant is tucked away at the end of a residential area.
StfRon did comment that he could smell the smoke when we turned onto the street around 7 p.m.
Stepping inside, we found a dark, cozy bar/restaurant atmosphere, with a few people playing video poker games and a group sitting down to dinner in a booth. We took a seat along the booth section, wooden booths along a wall lined with a dog-eared fence looking wainscoting that added to the cozy feel.
Once our eyes adjusted to the darker atmosphere, we noticed we had taken a seat at a booth that had not yet been wiped, but no sooner than we had noticed, a manager type lady was right over to wipe it down.
There was, of course, a small amount of train memorabilia such as model trains and signs on the walls to add to the railroad theme.
The special for the night was prime rib, but StfRon went with the full rack of ribs, after ascertaining from our waitress that they were using a Southern Pride smoker. I decided to try the brisket.
While waiting for our entrées, we were served iceberg lettuce salads topped with shredded cheese and a nice loaf of bread on a wooden cutting board.
Our food arrived fairly quickly, and we dug in. The brisket was tender, and after sampling a piece, I decided to try it dipped in their BBQ sauce, which was pretty good.
The bones of the ribs, billed St. Louis style on the menu, actually pulled right out of the meat with nary a scrap of meat left on the bone. StfRon also found that the bones would easily snap with a small amount of pressure, so it seems like they were cooked for quite a long time. I sampled a piece of the meat and loved the rub they used on the ribs. If we find ourselves back there, I'll bet I would go for the ribs, unless some fowl festooned with the same rub tempted me.
StfRon enjoyed the first section of ribs, but found the second piece to be tips, which he is not a big fan of.
The whole time we were eating, I kept glancing at the sign on the table that advertised homemade desserts. The dessert mentioned on the sign was cheesecake, and homemade cheesecake sounded great, but after eating almost all the brisket and most of my baked potato, cheesecake was the last thing I needed right then.
The prices were pretty reasonable, and the lone waitress we saw did a pretty good job of keeping on top of things. She checked in with us a few times throughout our meal.