Don't miss Smoke. I have to say we loved everything about it. We will go back and back.
We had heard about Smoke -- faves from friends. So when planning a dinner with friends, we suggested it. When I called I learned that they only take reservations for groups of 6 or more. So my husband and I went early to have a drink at the bar so we could insure we got a table. I know it can get crowded.
It is the restored and charming Belmont Hotel. Valet parking is pretty much required. When we walked in we talked with the young man working the front and he assured we would seat us when we could confirm our friends were almost there. We sat at the bar near the large jars with the cedar wood & tequila and the maple wood bourbon - infusing. It was so inviting we ordered the Woodshed Margarita and a drink containing the maple infused bourbon. Both were really delicious. Our bartender listened to my request to make my margarita tart. In fact, he was helpful and gracious in every way.
Isidro (Ysidro?) is the kind of ambassador for Smoke any of us would want to have for our business. He spoke of what a wonderful place it was to work and how proud he was of the food. He suggested that we order the blistered sheshito peppers as an appetizer. We took his suggestion and ordered them while we waited. They were surprisingly flavorful with sea salt, lime and bits of crispy ham. The are a must order. He also recommended the cabrito and the pork chop.
When our friends arrived, we were seated int the front room. It was busy but the table are enough far apart so that you don't feel crowded. We ordered the cabrito and the hummus to start. The menu has small, medium and large plates. The small is a small appetizer, the medium is an appetizer to share and the large are entrees. The cabrito was the table's favorite of the night. It was like a large tamale or meat pie filled with tender, flavorful cabrito. Again, don't miss it. As a table we had the whole fish which that night was branzino, the fish fillet which was red snapper and the beef ribs. The branzino had anchovy butter which was a tasty, tasty touch. The ribs had a nice crust and flavor. All were hits.
The wait staff was so helpful, friendly and warm. The entire experience was like that -- management has to be doing something very right to create that kind of atmosphere. Audrey was our waitress, was pretty new but soooo good. We loved her.
We were stuffed but remembered their signature dessert was churros so we split an order. Again I would go just for those.
I hope Smoke is around for a very long time. I would go just for the craft cocktails and I would go just for Isidro. I would go just for the atmosphere. I would go just for the peppers or the cabrito or the branzino or for the churros. Just go!! (And go again!)
And do what we did -- head up to the Bar Belmont for the view of downtown Dallas. You can get many of the appetizers and craft cocktails there.