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Sep 18, 2009 04:50 AM

"Smoke" Restaurant in Dallas?

Has anyone tried "Smoke" in the Belmont Hotel yet?

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  1. They totally give the original Sonny Brians a run for their money! I had the ribs and they were perfect falling off the bone with a sweet molases sauce and my wife had the best brisket we have had. The waitresses are SO nice and helpful. The owner was walking to every table to make sure you were being taken care of. What a great place!

    6 Replies
    1. re: OCNC

      What is more prominent in the menu, NC style or Texas style BBQ?

      1. re: air

        I don't know anything about NC style. They had lots of meats most bbq places here have though. Brisket, ribs, turkey, sausages, and chicken.

        1. re: air

          Doesn't sound like NC if they had a sweet molasses bbq sauce.NC's relies primarily on vinegar with little to no sweetner. Although they do reference NC on the menu, I think that only to be in regard to cooking the "whole hog". I wonder if they really do? They also reference dry rubbed ribs which brings to mind Memphis.

          Per their menu, it looks interesting, but more like they're doing some type of "fusion" bbq.

          1. re: CocoaNut

            I guess fusion would explain sauce being the highlight of dry-rubbed ribs, as opposed to smoke flavor ;)

            1. re: air

              There is a really bad but prominent piece in this weeks Observer. It didn't say much, if anything about the restaurant, and more of the bad boy images of the owners. Still scratching my head.


              I just reread the article, and after 6 pages, it mentioned that people were happy to grab free 'sauce slathered' ribs at the opening party.

              1. re: DallasDude

                I guess this further exploits that Dallas is not a BBQ city. I read that the "pitmaster" trained with Ed Mitchell in North Carolina. I would assume that that training would have an influence on the BBQ served. That would answer air's questions.

                As for the BBQ sauce it all depends on where in N.C. as the state is know for two types of sauce. N.C. Eastern Style Sauce: A vinegar based sauce made generally from a mild vinegar, water, white sugar, hot peppers, black pepper and cooked down a bit.

                N.C. Western Style Dip: A vinegar based sauce with the addition of tomato (paste, puree or ketchup) plus brown sugar and spices. West of Raleigh, NC this condiment is referred to as “dip”. The terms Western Style and “Lexington Style” are interchangeable. The Western Style Pits also put this “dip” on their slaw (chopped cabbage) and make what they call BBQ Slaw.

                Info obtained here:

                I will have to give Smoke a try but I will say if you are focused on pork as the NC Style is it would be hard to have great brisket, a staple in Texas. The Central Texas stalwarts Louie Mullers, Smitty's, and Snow's are now the ones to beat for brisket and are worth the drive. Does anyone know what type of wood they are smoking with?

      2. OCNC pretty much said it in the first sentence. Now you have to decide if SB is still worthy of mentioning or not as 'good' or ho-hum.

        It's not bad, not great, and the smoke taste seems applied as opposed to cooked through. Will go back if someone else is paying LOL

        1. Loved it! I was there the other night, and when I walked in and could see smoke hanging in the air, I cracked a grin from ear to ear. The barbecue style is definitely more from the Mid-South than Texas. North Carolina, etc... They have four table sauces, all above average, including one that is definitely traditional N.C. fair (spiced vinegar in a bottle).

          We tried the pulled pork, the spare ribs, the beer-can chicken and were offered a sample of their two sausages. As for sides, we enjoyed the slaw (jicama/blue cheese, I think), a hominy casserole and corn bread.

          The ribs stole the show by a long shot. They were cooked perfectly, literally trying to escape the bone before I could get them to my mouth. I'd say the chicken was next in line. Moist, smoky and seasoned through. I'm not sure whether they basted it with the aforementioned N.C. sauce as a mop, but I wouldn't be surprised if they injected it with the same. The pulled pork topped what you'll find in other Dallas spots, as well, but I've had better. We had mixed reviews on the house-made sausage. One's an andouille, perhaps a little over-done, but still good. I didn't get a bite of the fennel sausage. It disappeared too fast!

          I didn't get a chance to try the brisket (or any other beef for that matter), but let's face it, that's where Texas might be able to offer the most competition. I was also disappointed that I didn't get down to their "ham biscuit." All of the baked goods at Smoke are apparently baked from scratch in-house. The biscuit looked good (when it was walked by), but I've never had watercress on a ham biscuit before...

          Prices were definitely reasonable.

          A quick note on atmosphere: Smoke is definitely a little more polished than your average barbecue joint. Definitely fits in in Dallas.

          I spent four years in Memphis before moving here, so when it comes to pork barbecue, Dallas has been pretty disappointing. Scratch that. REALLY disappointing. That changed this week!

          All in all, two thumbs up, both covered in barbecue sauce. Definitely going back, and soon. If they can keep operating at the level they are now, I expect great things for a long time.

          3 Replies
          1. re: tpampel

            Overpriced and only so-so BBQ. We had ribs, pork, turkey, sausage and beef. None of the meats stood out. All were bland without some sauce and all were a tad dry.The 4 sauces were good but not great. The bread was very good and the service pretty good. Apple pie was terrible. For lunch it was $100 for 4 people.

              1. re: ssh

                I'd mostly agree about the food, but I ate there over the weekend: 2 sandwiches, 2 sides, 2 beers, about $25.

                The brisket is chopped and okay, not any better than say Dickey's or SB. It’s supposed to be coffee cured, but I couldn’t discern much coffee flavor. The pulled pork was okay, reminded me of Red, Hot and Blue. The cole slaw served on the sandwich was good, and I wished I ordered a side of that. The sauces were good and tasted like they were supposed to, although I’m Texan and thus not a sauce guy. The potato salad lacked much flavor; I make it better at home. I did enjoy the hominy casserole, which is made with grits, whole hominy and smoked cheddar, very good.

                The space itself is pretty cool, ironic southern chic I guess, and way larger than the Cliff Cafe. The breakfast looked awesome, will certainly go back for that. Service was good, if a little over eager.

            1. Funny place this is. When I told the waiter that on my first visit I had to order brisket because that is how I judge a barbeque place, he quickly corrected me. According to him, Smoke is not a "barbeque place". It's a "restaurant with barbeque items". OK.

              When my brisket came, it was pre-sauced. In my book, this is an automatic EPIC FAIL for a barbeque place, erh, a restaurant with barbeque items. EPIC FAIL. The brisket is coffee cured, which gives it an interesting taste. The suace was run-of-the-mill-nothing-special overly sweet barbeque sauce. The meat was nicely tender, but because of the cure and the sauce, any of the rich brisket taste was lost. I imagine that without the sauce, it might be good. I had two sides. The hominy casserole was fine for a starch fix. The beans were excellent, with a nice spoonful of pulled pork on top. Loved them.

              With items like scallops on the menu and most entrees in the $20-24 range (the BBQ menu is separate and can be ordered by the sandwich 1/2 pound or pound), I think I will take the waiter's advice and think of the place as a nice restaurant. In that context, with the terrific setting at the Belmont, I think it will work. It'll be a fun night out, especially because you can walk to Bar Belmont after dinner. The owners are great and I know they can run a place very well (Bolsa is one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas). But, for a good ol' BBQ meal: keep looking Dallas, because it's not here yet.

              And I do think the influence here is much more about the BBQ of the south than the BBQ of Central Texas.

              1. If Smoke is giving Sonny Bryans a run for their money, that is not saying much about their bbq. Sonny Bryans has not had quality bbq in years. If their bbq is similar in flavor, then Im definitely waiting on trying this establishment. Lockhart, Luling, and Lexington are not too far of a drive for some great bbq.

                Hounds, please stop comparing every bbq restaurant to Sonny Bryans. It's just like comparing every Mexican restaurant to Joe T. Garcias. Both are below average in the flavor of their food.