When we first heard of Sugarfire's impending arrival, we were optimistic; the Five Points neighborhood has seen a focus from both the city and its residents to reduce crime and improve its image, and the willingness of businesses like Sugarfire to open there show the work is paying off.
Let's be honest. We were also a little curious about a St. Louis barbecue restaurant setting up shop in Texas, where barbecue is near-religion for many. Our thirst for knowledge is only exceeded by our hunger for good barbecue, so a visit was in order.
We settled on a two-meat plate ($16.99), which comes with two sides. This is Texas, so naturally, we needed to see how Sugarfire's brisket measures up, and the lone sausage was a jalapeño-cheddar standby made in-house. Sugarfire staff also smokes up pulled pork, ribs and turkey in the Old Hickory smokers. We were told the baked beans were a classic St. Louis recipe, so we added the beans and creamy mac and cheese to our tray.
Sugarfire's mac and cheese was first-class, with creamy and tangy cheese. We were less a fan of St. Louis' take on baked beans, which seemed to be excessively sweet. Give us Texas-style with a kick of spice any day of the week.
Speaking of sweet, there's a number of sauce choices, if sauce is your speed. We sampled a pair of them. We expected sugar in a sauce called "St. Louis Sweet," but the coffee-barbecue sauce had coffee notes locked in mortal combat with the sugary overtones. At least with a name like Sugarfire, we should know what we're getting into.
At the end of the day, we're pleased with what Sugarfire has to offer. The menu hits on some less barbecue-centric items we'd likely check out next time: Smoked salmon and a portabello sandwich caught our eye. Sure, we all know Texas barbecue will forever have a place in our hearts, but we appreciate that Sugarfire brings a different take on barbecue to a neighborhood on the rise.
Sugarfire Smoke House, 6750 Abrams Road, No. 110 (Northeast Dallas).