Southern Relevance – Smoke Restaurant in Dallas

Mescal & Key Lime Meringue Pie

If you read reviews of Tim Byers’ Smoke Restaurant in Dallas, you’ll see words like “relevant”, “honest” and “genuine”. This review won’t be much different. What contributes to the relevance of this “diner” is an approach to food that crosses the chasm between hipsters and cowboy hats. Byers has taken the tradition of southern barbecue and presented it in an artisanal fashion. Smoke pitches itself humbly as “Homegrown, Handmade, Local Eats”; buying organic meat, a garden out back and preparing everything in-house.

A low ceiling, traditional diner tables and quintessential family portraits from the 1970’s on the wall will leave you wondering whether or not Smoke is trying too hard, or not at all. Coffee is served in random mugs as if you pulled them out of a family cabinet. This place doesnt take itself too seriously, on the outside. Its only after glancing at the menu that you realize Smoke is definitely making a very bold statement.

Smoked Salmon Collard Green Benedict

With brunch items like “Pulled Whole Hog Barbecue Eggs Benedict” and “Smoked Brisket Cornbread Hash” Smoke pushes the limits on just how loud you can have the volume on southern cuisine. Its the modest price tag that lends honesty and humility to Smoke. The brunch menu tops out at $13 for the “Smoked Salmon & Collard Green Eggs Benedict”, which is served with goat cheese potato cakes. Most of the artisanal meat side selections (pork belly bacon, pork ham, cured and smoked salmon or chicken/pork andouille/paprika fennel seed sausage) are available at $3.50 across the board.

The salmon Benedict is a most impressive dish. Hollendaise sauce, collard greens and smoked salmon; all finicky ingredients on their own, executed perfectly on one plate. The other stand out is the “Heavy Handed Blueberry & House Made Ricotta Cheese Pancakes” served with vanilla poached apricots and cream. The ricotta cheese gives the pancakes a heavier texture and the apricots bring a natural sweetness that doesnt overpower the dish. The pork belly bacon was sublime, smoked pork fat, as was the fennel seed sausage. Yogurt parfaits and “Broiled Raw Sugar Grapefruits” are also on the menu for those with a lighter appetite.

If you’ll do a little bit of recon on Chef Tim Byers, you’ll notice he’s often speaking of canning fresh fruits and vegetables and picking melons in the garden. He’s not just a hipster, he’s a true believer and this shows in Smoke; a very relevant, honest and genuine restaurant.