Smack Shack is a food truck I have been salivating to try for quite some time now but living and working in the burbs doesn’t really give you a chance to try all the food trucks that reside in Minneapolis or St Paul. Sure the occasional one ventures as far south as Bloomington but that’s rare and they are usually gone by the time I have found out. So when Smack Shack moved into 1029 Bar the plan was originally to go there, that never happened and then they opened their own restaurant in the North Loop area and the buzz was too much to resist anymore. Since fellow Food Bro Brandon has an allergy to some seafood and an aversion to the rest I recruited another friend of ours to go, he loves seafood and will try things I wouldn’t dare to try so he is good to bring along to new places and after telling Brandon where we were thinking of going he was still down to go try some non-seafood things and watch us devour some “gross bugs” as he puts it.
We started with the crab cakes, yep that’s right even Brandon agreed to try some even though I tried to order the “smack wings” instead. Our waitress did tell us that it was a small appetizer for 3 people but since Brandon was only going to try a little we went ahead with it. When they arrived at the table I could see why she was concerned, the portion is small even for 2 people, I get that crab is expensive but for $16 I expected a bit bigger. Now the taste was great; the crab cake itself was fresh tasting and basic, which in my opinion is a good thing, too many places throw a bunch of un-needed crap in to cover up the lack of actual crab which there was a good amount of here. It came with a corn relish, sauce or whatever, I’m not sure but it tasted great as well and added a bit more flavor to the crab cake itself.
I ordered the original Lobster Roll; chilled lobster salad, cucumber & tarragon on griddled milk bread. I see why the food truck is so successful as this is a great sandwich. The lobster is cooked perfectly and they don’t use a lot of filler to make it seem bigger. The bread had a nice crust while maintaining a soft buttery-ness. I got their smack-fries and a piece of corn bread also. The fries were well seasoned but other than that they are a pass. The corn bread however was great; there are little pieces of chilies in it so when you put the honey butter on it has a great little sweet and spicy combo going on.
When Brandon could not stand to finish his Leg of Lamb sandwich I gave it a try. The lamb itself and the roll it was on were great but the amount of harissa on the bottom just over powered everything and made it inedible. Our other friend got the Connecticut-Style lobster roll; warm lobster with butter, lemon and chives. Normally this comes on a split roll but he wanted to try the milk bread the other on comes on and our waitress was very accommodating telling him it would not be a problem at all. I stole a piece of warm lobster from his sandwich and it was great as well, I would actually order this again over the cold roll I ordered. Something about warm lobster with lemon and butter….. Just sayin…
Now if you want the whole lobster boil experience or a hip place for a date night I would highly recommend going to the Smack Shack but while my food was very good and our server was very knowledgeable and helpful, the next time I feel a need for a lobster roll I will find the food truck or hit up The 1029 Bar and pay a little less for the same food.
Have you ever watched Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom? Remember the scene where they are walking through the secret passageway and they hear crunching under their feet and when they put a torch to the ground they realize they are walking on giant insects? I was maybe 4 of 5 when I watched that movie…smash cut to me sitting at the table of my Grandma’s house a year or two later for a “special” dinner and she decides to slide a plate full of the Temple of Doom insects in front of me. I remember thinking this is a joke. No one expects me to eat these giant bugs with white and opaque meat spilling out everywhere. I still cringe when I think about it too long. Come to realize, she was serving lobster, crab, and shrimp. Never have I truly given it a chance and I probably never will. With that being said…let’s review Smack Shack.
First we decided to try the crab cakes. This was my first crab cake experience, and I was only brave enough to muster a bite or two. Again…not my thing, so go ahead and skip to next paragraph if you don’t want to read about me being a little girl. I do eat fish, so without any shell of any kind I could lie to myself and pretend I was eating fish so I could eat it. The cake itself was flaky and full of flavor, exactly how I imagined one would taste. With nothing to compare it to I will leave it to Brad to school you on how they rank.
With only a couple of non-seafood menu items, my choices were a bit limited. It was either pork tacos, which our server said were very small and warned me to not be disappointed if they weren’t enough food for my large appetite, or a leg of lamb sandwich. Without hesitation I chose the leg of lamb sandwich. Maybe I was a bit surly about eating at a restaurant where I felt out of place. I was alone in this place of horror. Everyone was gleefully devouring claws, thorax’s, abdomens, antennas, (ok maybe not antennas) but still sucking out juices and licking weird lobster underbellies. How do you know you’re not eating lobster wiener? I think they all do it and don’t even know it…yup that’s it…lobster eaters love lobster wiener…I’m pretty sure about this so don’t question it. Back to my point, maybe I was a bit ornery but to me this sandwich was just not very good. If they would have kept it simple the sandwich could have been great. Instead they top it with Harrisa (red pepper paste, with other seasonings), and Saffron Aioli (garlic lemon mayonnaise). Both sauces completely overpowered the tender well cooked leg of lamb so much so that I didn’t even bother to finish my food. Did you read that? I didn’t finish my food! There were a couple of food trucks right outside and I thought why waste my appetite on this subpar sandwich when I can roll the dice again on a food truck. The coleslaw was a joke. It was dry with a very strong herb in it, either parsley or cilantro. Either way two bites was all I could muster.
Why are you still reading this obvious seafood hater’s review of a seafood restaurant? Scroll away immediately and give Brad’s review a read. His opinions are much more valuable than mine on this topic. Until next time…Keep it classy Twin Cities!