Things are polished at Sugarbacon. Splatter-pattern art, like an alien ocean, sparkles near the entrance. Shiny copper reaches the ceiling behind the bar, and a couple of TVs glisten. Sitting at the bar at Sugarbacon, looking toward the glowing liquors, with a big chalkboard announcing draught specials hanging above, it feels like your favorite neighborhood bar got dressed to the nines.
The burger is dressed up too, but it's a sandwich that stumbles on the dance floor. The SB Burger ($14) is a Local Yocal wagyu patty topped with aged cheddar, sugarbacon (their house-smoked pork belly), bread and butter pickles, and a buttered bun hit with garlic mayo. I’ve travelled a long way to the edges of Middle Earth — I mean McKinney — and I’m so hungry. I’m pretty sure my stomach said something in the language of Mordor. The burger comes after a wait that was just long enough for my stomach growls to attract crows and bats to the windows.
The aged cheddar is melted like a Salvador Dali clock. I asked for medium rare, so I sliced it down the center to check it out. The wagyu looks past medium, and, immediately after slicing, a rush of barbecue sauce flows from the burger. Turns out, the blanket of aged cheddar is hiding the sugarbacon — Berkshire pork belly smothered in rich, smoky ancho sauce.
The patty eats more like a meatloaf. The pork belly, usually welcome at any party, is a little chewy. That thick sugarbacon sauce, while nice and smoky, overwhelms the rest of the toppings. I love a good barbecue sauce on a burger, but the sauce was more like a roundhouse kick to the jaw. The mayo has a mild tang. It's damn good and I wish it wasn’t muted out by the sauce. I’m also loving the bun, but it's hard not to love anything butter-toasted. I might eat a book that’s been butter-toasted and house-mayoed, but that’s neither here nor there.
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Which is when I try a fry. The fries are excellent, cut like mini-skyscrapers and as monumental. These are fries that salute their source — Idaho potatoes that are just crisp enough and even more creamy, with the right amount of salt.
One of the best things about a good pile of fries are those stupidly-crispy (sometimes all potato skin) slivers that come with it. In this fry pile, the crispy shards were outstanding. A swipe in some ketchup and, I’m pretty sure, these will be your new favorite fries.
After eating a few, I truly wanted to do those little open palm, mini bows to them. (I’m not worthy.) They’re the best I’ve had in Dallas in a while, and certainly worth the drive that's long enough to read a Tolkien novel.
Sugarbacon is at 216 W. Virginia St., No. 100, McKinney