Does Dallas Need Another $16 Burger?

Smoke's $16 burger
Smoke's $16 burger

Full disclosure: I’m a Cliffdweller and love/hate that the 75225 crowd have discovered how cool life south of the Trinity can be. (Overheard one night at Bolsa: “Oh my gawd! Look at that taco hut across the street, y’all. Have you ever seen so many in your life?” So many what? You figure it out.) That said, I was stoked that the Bolsa owners and chef/co-owner Tim Byres took over Cliff Cafe — a decent hotel restaurant at The Belmont — and reimagined it as a frou frou smokehouse. So, far I’ve been loving the meats (sweet paprika and fennel seed sausage = savory goodness) and breakfast (my new favorite home for biscuits and gravy) at Smoke. But the EB&D Loaded Up and Truckin’ burger is almost as ridiculous as its name: Burgundy beef (so far, so good) topped with bacon, a farm egg fritter, sharp cheddar, onion, tomato, and lettuce all on a griddled honey bun. Two bites into it, my hands were dripping with meat juices and egg yolk, my jaw hurt, and I admitted defeat. It was simply too much of everything. Dissecting the burger, I appreciated the well seasoned beef patty cooked a perfect medium as well as the lightly fried poached egg. But bacon on a burger needs to be crisp. This was thick cut and, alas, flabby. For $16, it was an orgy of competing tastes and textures my mouth couldn’t appreciate. Nor do I appreciate this burger trend of piling everything between two buns, charging almost $20 for it, and declaring it “gourmet.” No. Gourmet is a burger where I can actually taste and savor the beef. So far, I really like Smoke. But this burger bugged me. Am I alone on this issue, SideDishers?

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