The Sunday before Smoke’s Tim Byres began his Rogue Sessions, he wanted to try out the new grill he’d be using all week. So, he threw a BYOM – Bring Your Own Meat – party in Blagden Alley outside the restaurant. The concept was simple: anyone could stop by with some steak, chicken, shrimp, baby back pork, ribs, whatever, and the Dallas-based chef would throw it on the burners. The BBQ was a success – a few dozen people showed up with an impressive selection of carne, Byres gave impromptu cooking demos while people contentedly demolished whatever he made. And the stainless steel grill from Grillworks was smoke-stained and battle-hardened by the end.
But how would this rustic, Texas-sized cuisine translate into the refined and restrained Rogue 24 format? And how would Byres’ dishes stand alongside Cooper’s creations?
I’m still wondering about this as I walk down the brick-lined alley for my second week hanging out at Rogue 24 for Rogue Sessions. As I approach the entrance, I catch a whiff of smoke from the wood-fired grill. It’s bucolic and beckoning, a warm reminder of the campfire cooking my father and I used to do on childhood fishing trips. It’s not what you expect at a limited edition tasting menu dinner, but I immediately feel at home.