Find a back issue

45 comments on “Restaurant Review: Smoke in Dallas

  1. Glad to know I’m not the only one who had a similar experience! The review was spot on! Some of the most regretable and forgetable bbq I’ve had in years. And, our service was on par to your article. Even if the food was respectable, the prices equate to a bad value for the small portions we received. I get that the concept is beyond just BBQ, but lest we forget its name is “Smoke,” BBQ done correctly should be a priority.

  2. Review was spot on, but hopeful. Not all reviews like that end with the thought that the operators are actually capable of getting it right.

    I really enjoyed the read.

  3. Nancy, you’re spot on. Our service was marginal at best. When we did get our drinks, mine was wrong — twice — and neither the waiter nor the bartender (I took the second one back to the bar because I was so frustrated) seemed to care. I’m still convinced he had the soda and tonic tubes hooked up wrong.

    I’ll likely go back to try the breakfast but never again for BBQ. We ordered every meat but Chicken and the only one I thought was passable was the pulled pork.

  4. The side portions (especially the hominy) are too small and poor value, as noted above. Glad the offensive Scantron cards are gone. Now, fire the front of house manager and put somebody competent in there. This sub-standard service has gone on for months — symptomatic that the front-of-house manager is not doing his job.

  5. Nodding head in VIGOROUS agreement. Lord have mercy THANK YOU for this provocative, lucid and right on target review of Smoke.

    I was there for the first and LAST time this past weekend. It was H O R R I D horrid. Terrible food, terrible service, terrible ambiance. I was amazed my companions seemed wholly oblivious to the travesty of the overall experience…

    Smoke = BLECH

  6. I went with a small group and will never go back. My tiny tea glass was refilled once (about 10 minutes after I asked) toward the beginning of our time and I was drinkless from there on out before our food even arrived. I doubt it’s even 8oz with ice. Our food was dropped off and we never saw the waiter again so there was no one to refill, much less check on us in general. The smokers were broken so we didn’t even have the option for bbq, the sole reason we went. The waiter: “They didn’t tell you?” NO.

    A few of us ordered burgers. Awful. One person pushed it away after one bite. The waiter said it would be taken off the bill. It wasn’t. I tried the meat seperately because together the burger did not work. Zero seasoning. I thought only my grandmother could screw up a burger. I was wrong. We had three burgers at the table and all had bacon that was black but hard and rubbery. Yet it seemed not cooked. Too hot, too fast. Too much on the burger, as well. The whole trying to hard thing. Jalepeno spiked through the top, gigantic burned bacon slab, breaded fried whole egg- too much. Each burger also had pickled vegetables on the side but no three plates had the same items. One had cabbage, mine had green beans, carrots on the other. Everytime I leaned over my plate to eat I got a huge whiff of vinegar up my nose. Unappetizing. Fries had tons of seasoning but they weren’t salty in the slightest.

    The most socially significant person at the table, someone consistently in Paper City social photos and the like, was served cocktails by someone who appeared management. Yet the rest of our table was ignored. The bussers cleared the table but left our plates of vingear in front of us because they couldn’t reach them. Blech.

    Our waiter, once he finally came back to deliver the bill (charged for more glasses of wine than ordered), took 15 minutes to bring back the credit cards. The specific amounts with the names of the cards were clearly written out. Not rocket science, but yet we watched him for 15 minutes poke away at the register.

    Just not appetizing. Did not feel welcome. Won’t be back. There are far too many places in our own neighborhoods that are so much better. There’s no need to drive over there for food and service that bad. We just wanted bbq and I don’t even care anymore to see what theirs is like.

  7. Ignore my typos. The overdose of vinegar caused some slight damage to the iPhone typing part of my brain.

  8. Another recent change adds another size for sides and changes the pricing. $2 buys a small side now that doesn’t feel small at all. Sandwich and a side for $8 is less than a buck more than what you’d pay for a sandwich plate at Sonny Bryan’s, but gets you real smoked meats, a house-baked honey bun, sides with good ingredients, and sauces from a four star chef. I don’t know what you people expect.

  9. I’m moving to the O.C. in a few weeks and thought about giving Smoke a try when I do. Maybe not.

    Question for Nancy:

    When you give a restaurant such a review, as in brutally honest and obviously well-deserved, do you ever go back for a third or fourth outing to see if they have taken notice and improved on anything you reported? Just curious…

  10. I’ve been to Smoke five times. The food was terrific on my first visit. The (delicious) “big rib” was $19.00 and then jumped to $24.00 a week later. The food got progressively worse on subsequent visits. The pork ribs were juicy and tender the first time I ordered them but, dry the next time.
    And, with the exception of one visit with a knowledgeable and pleasant server, on all the other visits, the service just, SUCKED!
    I’m afraid the review is spot on!

  11. @Ronald: “I don’t know what you people expect”.
    We, “people” expect, delicious, well prepared food served consistently on every visit and, good service on every visit.
    That’s what we, “people” expect.
    And, just what the hell does a “4 star chef” have to do with BBQ sauce?

  12. Twinwillow, guess who wrote the following on Chowhound last month?

    “Smoke has unquestionably, the best BBQ in Dallas! I’ve been there 4 times in the last month and it has yet to disappoint. And, It’s not just the food that’s great. The whole ‘vibe’ is great.”

    “When in Dallas, eat at, Smoke! It’s that simple.”

    “I like the BBQ at Smoke very much. IMHO, It’s a lot better than most places in Dallas.”

    “I love the ribs at Smoke! Best in Dallas!”

  13. I stop by occasionally for a beer at the bar since I live near by (gave up on the food long ago). Seems like the place is noticeably less crowded lately, maybe people are catching on.

    It may be heresy to say this but I’ve had service issues at Bolsa too.

  14. @Memory Hole: Yes, I did write that. Actually, Just after my first few visits. It was everything I said it was at Chowhound. But, Smoke went straight down on subsequent visits. To the point where I had to make the above comments. Sorry to have misled anyone.

  15. I’ve never been to Smoke but that shouldn’t stop me from commenting on it.

    I’ve been to every barbecue joint between Kessler Park and Highland Park and the barbecue at Smoke is totally bogus.

    Pending the results of my court case, I will refrain from commenting on the mele that resulted from the bad service I endured at Smoke.

  16. Memory Hole:

    Hmm. Guess who wrote this one, too?

    “Met a friend for lunch today at Smoke. Excellent!!! We shared a pound of pulled pork and a 1/2 rack of pork ribs.
    The ribs were absolutely delicious. Just the right amounts of light glaze, smoke, sweetness, almost falling off the bone but with still enough “chew” to be very satisfying. The pulled pork was tender and very tasty. We enjoyed “experimenting” with the four different house BBQ sauces. All were so good, we couldn’t decide on a favorite. We opted not to have sides but, we did enjoy the slaw that came with the pulled pork. I now actually think Smoke has the the very best BBQ in Dallas.”

    Twinwillow: Are you familiar with the terms “hyperbole” and “sycophancy”?

  17. Yesterday, right here, SideDish Twinwillow said “I’ve been to Smoke five times.” Chowhound Twinwillow said he had been there “four times.”

    SideDish Twinwillow said “the food was terrific on my first visit,” but “got progressively worse on subsequent visits.” She also said “with the exception of one visit with a knowledgeable and pleasant server, on all the other visits, the service just, SUCKED!”

    Chowhound Twinwillow said that in all four visits “it has yet to disappoint. And, It’s not just the food that’s great. The whole ‘vibe’ is great.”

    SideDish Twinwillow says that visits 2, 3, 4 and 5 were bad, with dry ribs and SUCKY service. Chowhound Twinwillow says that visits 2, 3 and 4 had great food, best barbecue in Dallas, great vibe and terrific ribs.

    Now SideDish Twinwillow backs the opinion of Chowhound Twinwillow, saying that “Smoke went straight down in subsequent visits.” But Chowhound Twinwillow went to Smoke four times and SideDish Twinwillow went to Smoke five times. Unless the Twinwillows are mistaken, that’s only one subsequent visit.

    If four out of five visits were outstanding, like Chowhound Twinwillow says, she should play the odds and say that Nancy’s review is way wrong.

  18. @Scagnetti & Memory (same guy): putz.

    In an unperfect world views do change. It’s just lunch. The world will continue as we know it today. Get over yourself.

  19. Dearest Twinwillow:

    Due to the recent recession, the Fickle 500 Club has shed some $30,000 millionaires. We are now recruiting to replenish our ranks.

    We think you have real potential, Twinwillow. Your timing was impeccable in jumping on the Smoke bandwagon, even though you were several weeks late in turning against the restaurant.

    Right now you may be wondering whether it is time to join the backlash against Samar. With our biweekly newsletter in hand, you will have the answer to that and other pressing questions.

    I will send you an application for a three month trial membership, with no further obligation. If you have always wanted to be part of something lasting, but also kind of transitory, this could be your big break.

    Cordially yours,

    M.A. Peaucer

  20. @Memory Hole ~ Please note: I flunked simple math in high school. I loved my first year but, school went downhill the subsequent 4, 5, 6, or 7 years.

  21. @Dr. Freud ~ That was the first and only time the ribs were good. They were terrible the next time. As I originally wrote above. So?

  22. @scagnetti & memory: Did you not read all of Twin’s original post? He stated that they were awesome the first go around then went downhill? Don’t you have some battle to fight with Jim Adler in a courtroom? Or is there a shortage of uninsured motorists that need prepaid legal services? We are in a recession, as you mentioned, so it is likely you could be hurting for productive things to do with your days…

    You’re a moron and have nothing of value to add to any thread you post on any site. Glad you think you are fit to write a review of a restaurant you have never been to. Arrogant jerk.

  23. Whatever… Do you have basic grammar comprehension skills?

    Twitwillow, here, stated that they were awesome the first go around then went downhill for all further visits?

    Twitwillow also said, on Chowhound, that for all four visits “it has yet to disappoint. And, it’s not just the food that’s great. The whole ‘vibe’ is great.”

    So, the person is clearly a sham, as they stated *exactly the opposite* for the rest of their visits, no matter which way you cut it.

    DarnellErwinFletcher… yes, it is!

  24. @Bill: Of course i have basic grammar comprehension. Are you intentionally calling Twinwillow “Twitwillow”?
    Or do you lack basic typing skills?

    This whole thing is ridiculious, why do you people dissecting this to this degree? Opinions of restaurants change all the time, just because a person endorsed a restaurant at one point in time, then later recalls that endorsement, means nothing. Restaurants go downhill, opinions change.

    I’m over this.

  25. Spot on Allison. Even though I am not the Paper City Society type of which you speak.

    Worst food ever!! And again, how can you screw up a burger? Oh you can. I am glad I did not eat it also. The other friend at our table who did was ssick all day the next day.

    I will be honest and say I did go back to the bar once at the Belmont and have an app of the Hominy. (The use the same kitchen as SSmoke) While it was fine, the waiter seemed SO perplexed that I wanted a fork. A fork. “You want a fork to eat the hominy? It is finger food!” Fried little pieces of hominy. Sorry I wanted a fork to spear those rolling little suckers.

    Will not ever even try to eat there again.

  26. Hmmm. Interesting that Twinwillow and Whatever and Ugly Betty all start their comments with “@”

  27. The above argument goes to show why the DMN’s star system is flawed. 3 stars for Smoke, and 4 stars for Bella. Will they be going back anytime soon to re-review?

  28. Thanks to all those defending my right to write my opinions as I see them.
    I’m very amused by it all. Remember, sticks and stones…..

  29. We’ve been a couple of times. Once for brunch and once for dinner. Brunch was the better of the two. I had the big beef rib at dinner. Sounded a lot better than it actually was, plus it was pricy for what you’re getting. The food was either too hot or not warm enough. The grits under my rib weren’t even warm enough to melt the cheese mixed in. The service is definitely weird to bad.

  30. This whole place is a joke and has been from the very start, the GM is an idiot and can not make a decision on anything other than trying to suckup to “rocker” friends, He was always running aroung Bolsa while there [ed. note: redacted]… From what I here from “insiders” they are already having to borrow money to make payroll and bunkhouse has pulled out of the whole project, hotel included. This is not heading for a good ending, also this group is not the group behind the success at Bolsa just the one’s taking the credit!!! Glad to see an honest review coming from D MAG, way to step up your game Nancy!!! A little confused at how Leslie was drinking the KOOL AID though, but her review of this restaurant went right up there with the four stars given to Bella, YUCK. And the recent review of Dish, horrible. But anywho Nancy way to wade through the B.S. and tell it like it is. Twinwillow, how do u like Ocean Prime???

  31. Joseph
    Your comments are completely inappropriate. Stick to critiquing the food and service of the restaurant.

  32. Lisa worry about your own comments and I will continue too practice free speech!!! This being america and all??? Appropriate or not and unfortunately the job of my mother has already been filled as well as my nanny. Lisa are you the local organizer for Palin 12???

  33. I wonder if Nancy Nichols would be annoyed if servers at Clark’s, Rudy’s, Dickeys, or any other TX BBQ joint were not familiar with Charles Dilbeck (I just read her review and had to open it up in a new window to recall his first name)…

    I probably would have been too busy munching brisket during her prayer for the owners.