Restaurant Review

Smoky Rose Gives East Dallas Barbecue Bragging Rights

While some standards fell flat, chef-driven plates show skill.

Despite the implicit promise in its name, best not to think of Smoky Rose as a new Mecca of smoked meats. Standards fell flat: brisket was dry and pulled pork ho-hum. But the chef-driven plates, emphasizing more delicate proteins, showed balance and skill, finally giving East Dallas snazzed-up barbecue bragging rights. House-smoked salmon came with crème fraîche tartar and capers fried into little stars, which we arranged into lovely canapés. The attention to detail was also evident in the sweet potato-banana mash that accompanied a stellar pork chop, served with apple-onion velouté and root vegetables, an artful plate with comforting flavors. The menu, which reflects a heartfelt debt to Tennessee with family recipes and ingredients like sorghum, includes plenty of thoughtful touches: a fresh jalapeño-kale coleslaw; spinach salad with Cotija and toasted pecans; apple spice cake with a soft, lofty crumb. The beverage list smiles magnanimously on the menu’s smoky mien. They may have invented the perfect thing to do after a day at the Arboretum—cross the street for a beer or cocktail on the patio, loiter around the fire pits, and watch the sun set over the trees. So civilized. Or I’ve known some to take home a whole chicken, Big Green Egg-smoked and white barbecue sauce-slathered, and devour it on the back porch with a bottle of rosé.

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