Ask just about anybody from Big ‘D’ where you can find top-notch BBQ in Dallas, and more than likely, Chef Tim Byres’ SMOKE will be near the top of the list, if not #1. Chef Byres’ philosophy is “bloom where you’re planted.” Meaning…build on the resources right outside your own back yard. After our experience at SMOKE, we understood exactly what he meant.
But first, watch us right before we go into this amazing restaurant and then read about our incredible dining experience below.
Chef Byres began his culinary career in Dallas at the iconic Mansion at Turtle Creek as Chef de Cuisine under Executive Chef John Tesar. He also worked with Chef Stephan Pyles, the father of Modern Texas Cuisine, and it was during this time that he became increasingly intrigued by the primal roots and regional style of cooking of the Old West. He was now ready to tell his own story.
Once Tim committed to opening SMOKE, he traveled for months through the Deep South and studied how to cook authentically over wood. Byres says that ‘fire’ became his inspiration.
“The common thread in American food is wood-fire cooking. From grilling, to barbecuing, to smoking – they are all connected to traditional food styles including lobster bakes in New England, to smoked salmon in the Pacific Northwest, to barbecued brisket in Texas.”
Smoke opened in 2009 in West Dallas and quickly became a favorite dining place for Dallasites, and those beyond. It is adjacent to the ultra retro and hip Belmont Hotel.
The restaurant is a little on the funky / retro side, but is extremely relaxed…and as you walk up to the main entrance, you are greeted by the most intoxicating BBQ smell. You can not wait to get to your seat.
Okay, let’s get to the food. Well, actually, let’s start with a drink, or two.
Like everything at SMOKE, all of the drinks are made from scratch utilizing the freshest fruit, herbs, jams, juices and natural syrups. They even make a cedar wood-infused tequila, and a cedar wood-infused whiskey. Wow.
I went for the Cabeza Frio, which was made with Tequila Cabeza, cucumber, grapefruit, lime, salt and SMOKE simple syrup. Really, really fresh and delicious.
Wesley went with the Woodshed Margarita which consisted of Cedar Wood Infused Tequila, Paula’s TX Orange, Lime Juice and Agave Nector. Wow! So good!
Now, let’s put a fire under it and get on to the amazing food!!
The menu is broken into small plates, which are shareable, like appetizers. And then there are the big plates, which are 1-person dishes. Trying to decide what to get was nearly impossible, but our awesome server, James, helped us along the way. And, boy howdy, let me tell you, we were NOT disappointed.
Fortunately (for many reasons), we were dining with a big group of Longwells. And in normal family tradition, we ordered a substantial amount of food. And we were all very happy about that.
And did I mention that literally everything on the menu is house-made? Well, it is.
We started with the following:
Smoked Chorizo Sausage with Smoked Cheddar, topped with a parsley and shallot salad and a smoked vinaigrette. The link of sausage is a yard (12 inches) long. I’ll just leave it at that. It is served with the most incredible tasting chutney, grilled pickled jalapenos and rustic bread. Over-the-top good.
How about some Pimento Cheese Croquettes with Grilled Romaine & Tejano Red Sauce. Yes, I do believe so.
And you couldn’t go wrong with Fire Roasted Oyster with Scampi Butter, Chorizo & Ash Salsa, could you? Never.
As they say, “Go Big, or Go Home“:…well, we chose not to go home. Instead, we had some of the best BBQ in the world!
This Coffee Cured Natural Beef Brisket with fresh potato salad and bread and butter pickles was enough to write home for. The lower portion of brisket on the plate is chopped and tossed with house Texas-style BBQ sauce, and then sliced brisket is layered on top with pork spice added. INCREDIBLE.
The legendary SMOKE BBQ Board should be called the BBQ Smorgasbord. We’ve never seen so much goodness on one plate, well one board. It consists of chopped brisket, sliced brisket, pork spare ribs, pulled whole hog, house-made bacon, smoked turkey, potato salad, pickled jalapenos, carrots and green beans, and rustic grilled toast. What more is there to say? Oh, well, we also had amazing SMOKE sides of mac n’ cheese and Southern grits. There’s that.
And, of course, the Loon could not resist ordering the SMOKE Big Rib. This is a beef rib that is 12 oz in size. There were only 4 in house that night, and he was in luck, they still had one left. Wesley began to jitter with excitement as a fork lift holding his plate made it’s way to him (just kidding, but it is a big plate). The colossal rib is smoked for 12 hours, and then braised for another 8 hours. It is served on top of a hominey cheddar and bacon casserole and topped with a parsley and shallot salad, accompanied with a fresh herb chimichurri sauce. Take a look at this, and then watch the Loon dig in…
As if we hadn’t had enough, which we had, we decided to go with two classic SMOKE desserts.
First, is the Goat Cheese and Fudge Brownie. It has candied peanuts along the side, with candied peanut brittle on top of incredible homemade fig ice cream. All drizzled with a goat cheese and cotija cheese cream sauce. Sinfully delicious.
And of course, we couldn’t resist the Mascarpone and Key Lime Pie with ‘Mile High’ Meringue. Are you kidding me? Nope, they weren’t.
SMOKE, in West Dallas, and now also in Plano, TX, is about as good as it gets when it comes to incredible Texas cuisine. Chef Tim Byres’ approach to cooking sings loud and clear in this now Dallas institution.
Pyres says “Life is a grand spontaneous adventure, and to witness someone’s story in action is true glory.” Well, that holds true for Chef Tim’s incredible story, as his SMOKE vision has come to life. It is a glorious place and we can hardly wait to return for more of this heartfelt, robust and delicious adventure!
Coming to Dallas? Don’t miss SMOKE…it’s a definite MUST. By the way, SMOKE does a killer good breakfast and brunch service, as well!
Thanks to Chef Byres and everyone at SMOKE who made our dining experience simply amazing. And a special ‘shout out’ to our flawless server James for never missing a step and taking such incredible care of us.
SMOKE901 Fort Worth Ave Dallas, TX 75209 Phone: (214) 393-4141 Website: http://smokerestaurant.com/ Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 8am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm Friday – Saturday, 8am – 3pm, 5pm – 11pm Dress Code: Casual Parking: Valet available $$$$