This is certainly an unusual location for any restaurant let alone a barbecue joint. The Noble Smokesman occupies a space in a compound of offices and nonfood businesses on Lake Ellenor Drive, about a block off of South Orange Blossom Trail. (The street name sounded familiar to me and it wasn't until I found the smokehouse that I realized it was across from the former Darden Restaurants headquarters.) The complex looks more like a place you'd find an accountant's office or maybe a dentist.
Also unlike other barbecue restaurants, Noble has a polished and spiffy look inside, but that's probably more because of its newness. It has clean wood-look floors and a white subway-tile wall in the area behind the counter. For some reason there are logs on some of the tables.
You order at the counter and pay for and pick up your food at the other end. What you should order is still a question I can't answer.
I tried to engage the young woman behind the counter to find out what Noble considers to be its specialty. Some places are known for their ribs, some for their brisket, others for pulled pork. What would Noble Smokesman like to be known for?
She had no answer for me. "It's all good" is diplomatic but unhelpful (and usually not true). Left to my own devices I went with the indicator I usually go for, choosing an item bearing the restaurant's name, the Noble Smokesman, first of three under the menu heading Craft Sandwiches.
It featured brisket, as did the Noble Taco (so maybe we can assume brisket is a specialty?). It also had fried onion rings and pickled onions, all topped with beer cheese, on a seed encrusted bun. It was an impressive looking sandwich if a little intimidating to eat with one's hands.
The meat was good, tender and moist and with a nice seasoned crust on the edges.
The Noble Beans I ordered as a side were a bit too sweet for my tastes and not quite worth the $2.99 additional fee (the sandwich was $8.50).
What is in the beans is unknown, as is too much else about the restaurant. There is a note on the website that says the Noble Smokesman's name is Nicholas Marino and that he has over 20 years of barbecue experience. From where? Tell us a little more about yourself, about your passion, what your favorite type of barbecue is. Tell us what's in the beans and why some of the tables have a log on them. And what is the name Noble Smokesman meant to communicate.
The Noble Smokesman is a good looking place and the food is likable enough. The staff could be more personable and have better menu knowledge, but I imagine it will do well enough from the business of the surrounding office workers. Indeed, it is open only for lunch during the week.
The Noble Smokesman is at 6925 Lake Ellenor Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch Monday through Friday. The phone number is 407-630-6223.