Late last week, news dropped that Smoke chef-owner Tim Byres and his partners Christopher Zielke and Christopher Jeffers had taken over American Outpost, the tavern located in the little Oak Cliff house with a front porch that was made for beer drinking. It's the same spot that used to hold Campo, which the owners converted to a casual spot after a number of chef changes took the wind out of its sails. Now they've cast off the restaurant completely.
A news release about Byers' takeover is stuffed with optimism. Zielke says the space will be an "off-the-clock hang, date night, and guys' night rolled into one." Jeffers calls the new Outpost a restaurant by day that flips to kick-ass rabble-rousing Rolling Stones after 10 p.m.
So what about the food?
It's a surprisingly tight, one-page menu of simple bar food that's been given a lift with some creative cooking. Like the wings (pictured above) that taste of soy yet lean on the classic garnish of celery and blue cheese. They're big, meaty numbers that aren't fried to a crisp but are a little soft instead.
There's also a griddle burger, cooked pink or not, and ribs slathered in peanut sauce. There are some more involved items too, like tamarind-grilled fish with roasted radishes and kale, steak and fries with green peppercorn and brandy (can we get some of that for all of our fries please?) and a grilled flatbread with fig jam, ham and arugula.
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If all of these menu items deliver the same consistency and quality we've come to count on at Smoke, Oak Cliff just got itself one hell of a restaurant. Byres took over the kitchen November 1. If you haven't been to Outpost in a while, you might give it another look.