By Audrey Sellers
The next time you spend the day strolling the lush gardens of the Dallas Arboretum, don’t head for home before discovering a nearby foodie destination. Venture directly across the street to Smoky Rose, one of Dallas’ newest culinary gems. With its laidback garden setting and enticing menu options, the chef-driven smokehouse and restaurant is just the place to relax on a summer afternoon.
Comfortable but elegant, the restaurant merges the best aspects of a smokehouse with all the creativity and flavor of a chef-driven kitchen. The result is an inspired, barbecue-centric menu that offers the best of both worlds: classic barbecue and composed entrées. Craving a saucy slab of pork ribs? Or how about a light, fresh salad piled high with smoked turkey or salmon? The choice is up to you. This unique blend is what sets Smoky Rose apart in Dallas’ ever-evolving food scene.
“[We offer] world-class barbecue for the most discriminating barbecue fans along with chef-inspired creations for every taste and preference,” says pitmaster Mike Sharp.
A native Texan, Sharp operates by the barbecue mantra that “if you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin.’” He believes that barbecue should be smoky, moist and tender. He loves to dig into some barbecue chicken, but when he’s cooking, brisket is his thing. “It’s not for the novice pitmaster,” Sharp says. “Every brisket is a challenge to perfect.”
At Smoky Rose, the brisket is darn near perfect. The lean beef boasts a thin bark on top with a subtle smokiness in each bite. Each brisket is a labor of love for Tyler Hutt, also a pitmaster at the smokehouse. “It takes hundreds if not thousands of briskets cooked before you figure out the nuances and techniques required,” he says. “The relationship and passion between man and meat is what makes barbecue great.”
When an urge for barbecue beckons, Smoky Rose offers plenty of variety; the menu is loaded with brisket, pulled pork, chicken, turkey, ribs and house-made sausage. Order by the half-pound and make it a meal with a heaping side of gourmet comfort food. We love Smoky Rose’s sophisticated approach to the classics such as coleslaw, potato salad, and macaroni and cheese, which is made with a gouda béchamel cheese sauce and panko crumbs. The deviled eggs, a family recipe of executive chef David “Spoon” Gauthier, is the house favorite. The yolks are whipped and creamy, and beet juice gives the entire appetizer a lovely pink hue. You’ll definitely want to post on Instagram before you pop one of these beauties in your mouth.
Chef Spoon, who acquired his nickname when he was a cook in the United States Army, doesn’t do bland and boring—it’s not the Texas way. “Currently, I’m drawing culinary inspiration from simply being in Dallas,” he says. “The flavors are different here. They’re bigger and bolder, and I’ve been finding the balance between here and from where I moved in Tennessee.”
He particularly enjoys cooking with flavor-packed turmeric and includes the ingredient in even the most surprising of places: the house-made pickles. Everything on the menu, though, is a delight for the taste buds. Chef Spoon learned from his Italian grandmother to play with food and be creative. He’s doing just that at Smoky Rose, adjusting the menu as the seasons change, and continuously rotating the types of steak used in his kitchen. “The Smokehouse Steak dish is my favorite to prepare,” he says, “because I get to be creative with the plating.”
The ’cue might get you here, but Smoky Rose is much more than just smoked meats. The restaurant offers more than 15 domestic craft beers on tap, an impressive wine list and a handful of craft cocktails that Sharp says are quickly developing a following of their own. The sprawling covered patio, surrounded by beautiful blooms, will certainly inspire you to order a glass of something cold and relax for a bit. The Smoky Rose (with Gompers gin, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, strawberries and fresh lemon juice) is cool refreshment. On the sweet side of the menu, we recommend staying true to Texas with an order of the Chocolate Pecan Pie. It’s served with a Bulleit bourbon glaze, as if an unadorned slice wasn’t tempting enough.
Smoky Rose is a restaurant that’s uniquely fancy and relaxed, with a menu that aims to please every palate. Pull up a chair on the massive outdoor patio and prepare for some of the best barbecue in Big D.
8602 Garland Road