One restaurant that everyone in Dallas has to eat at is Smoke in the Belmont Hotel. It has been the vanguard of the revitalization of Oak Cliff – about to come to fruition with the impending opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (unfortunately I will be out of town for the grand opening festivities). The Bar at the Belmont is one of my favorite places and the restaurant next door is not far behind.
Smoke is an upscale Bar-B-Que sort of place – a very non-traditional Texas Bar-B-Que – no serving line where greasy slabs of meat are slopped onto your foam plate and you choose the green beans on the side (not that there is anything wrong with that). You do get the seductive smell from the smokehouse out back and the piles of wood are carefully displayed to make sure you know where the goodness is coming from.
Smoke works hard to serve selections of local, handmade, and artisanal ingredients. It is a popular and crowded restaurant. Usually I don’t like to wait very long for a table (I don’t do well with the packed, chatty crowd), but they enter your phone into an iPad and you can sneak next door to the Bar Belmont to enjoy the skyline while you wait. They’ll send you a text when your spot is ready.
The brunch menu was up when we ordered. It was all good. I had the eggs florentine – with smoked salmon and collard greens (instead of spinach). I know this sounds odd – but it was the greens that made the dish. The slightly wild and bitter flavor of the collard greens added a bit of texture.
I appreciate the effort and thought that the chefs at Smoke put into their menu and the risk they took a few years ago to move into an area that seemed to be forever moribund. Luckily, it looks like their foresight, courage, and hard work is paying off and will continue into the future.