Restaurateurs Christopher Zielke and Christopher Jeffers and chef Tim Byres have opened a second branch of Smoke, their meaty restaurant at the Belmont Hotel. This second Smoke takes over the former Snuffer's space at Preston Towne Crossing in Plano.
The original opened in 2009, and it's one of Dallas' most popular spots for Sunday brunch. Nearly everything is made in-house, from sausages, sauces, pickles and breads to wood-infused spirits and cocktails. Seared scallops, grilled quail and bricked Cornish hen entrées share equal space on the menu with smoked meats. Byres smokes or cures almost all of his dishes over wood.
The Plano branch is a 5,800-square-foot space at 2408 Preston Rd. with four private dining areas, bar and two patios — one of which is insulated off the main dining room for year-round use.
The interior clones the atmosphere of the original, with reclaimed wood, a small fireplace and campy-yet-nostalgic Texas artwork. Diners have a clear view into the kitchen, behind a countertop made of maple planking that once served as a roller rink in Seagoville.
"We like to consider Smoke Plano as another member to our family," Byres says in a release. "While it brings to the table all of the things we love about Smoke in Dallas, the hearth will give us so many more options to [work with] fire and smoke. It's real primal and real raw, and we're pretty excited about it."
Behind the counter is a 10-foot, custom-designed hearth, permanently built into the restaurant, which serves as the focal point of both the interior and the cuisine. It's run solely off burning wood, requiring more manual labor and allowing less margin for errors.
While the first five feet of the hearth houses a multilevel grill, the other half harbors an array of custom instruments, including adjustable shelves, spits for animals of all sizes and swings to hoist larger cuts of meat, allowing juices to drop into whatever is cooking directly on the coals below. All pieces can be maneuvered to work separately, or pulled together to create what the release calls "an orchestra-like technique of cooking."
The menu will include the most popular items from Smoke Dallas, as well as new dishes fabricated via the above-mentioned hearth and the cultural, communal cooking techniques learned through Byres' travels abroad. The restaurant is open
only for lunch and dinner, Sunday-Thursday, 5-10 pm, and Friday-Saturday, 5-11 pm.
Jeffers and Zielke are described as front-of-the-house "visionaries" who oversee a service style that's refined, minus all of the trappings of traditional fine dining, and gives way to communal and family-style presentation. They, along with Byres, also own Chicken Scratch and The Foundry, and oversee BarBelmont in the Belmont Hotel.