Smack Shack revisited… kind of but not really? My May 2012 review started out, “A corner bar in Northeast Minneapolis with a meat raffle on Fridays, Bingo on Saturdays, and “outstanding food?!”
Fast forward to March of 2013, Smack Shack has another home, 603 Washington Avenue North, in the venerable North Loop with great food companions the likes of Black Sheep, Bar La Grassa and JD Hoyt’s. This is step it up for the Smack Shack and their nearly 8,000 square feet of newly appointed dining/bar/kitchen areas. While still a fan of The 1029 and only a 5 minute drive away, this Smack Shack is much different, in space, location, menu offerings and character. The dining and bar areas are massive with spacious seating and high ceilings you immediately feel comfortable and invited.
On my maiden visit to this new Smack Shack I was armed with a group of six diners with no agenda or time constraints. For nearly 3 ½ hours we worked our way through Smack Shack’s “Limited Menu – New Items Coming Soon” with reckless abandon. With five courses to come, we started out in the Raw section of the menu. As a group, we ordered two each of the six varieties of Oysters on The Half Shell, three from the East Cost and three from the West Coast, then Chilled Jumbo Shrip with smoked tomato cocktail sauce, and the Striped Bass Ceviche served with fresh lime, bell peppers, cilantro and tortilla chips. For course number two we moved on to Starters, the Lobster Guacamole with cilantro, avocado, lime, Fresno peppers and tortilla chips, the Beef Tartare with hand chopped lemon, garlic, Dijon mustard on a toasted baguette, Lorraine’s Crab Cake with Maque Choux, as well as Fried Oyster Sliders with roasted cherry tomato, iceberg lettuce onion and spicy aioli. Break time, our server ready to deliver dessert or the lunch tab smiles and walks away when told we have only just begun! Round three, which we termed “pre-entrée” was a single dish for the table of Smack Shack’s well respected Lobster Mac & Cheese. No definition here will do it justice; it is simply a heavenly, full flavored, decadent dish. The penultimate course, Entrées, for the no longer famished included, the Smack Burger which is seasoned chuck on a toasted sesame seed roll with lettuce, tomato and aioli, Braised Beef Short Rib Tacos with pickled Fresno peppers and Ancho garlic mayo, Mahi Mahi Tacos with corn salsa, cabbage, avocado, lime, cilantro and spicy mayo, Smack Shack’s flagship entree, the Lobster Roll with cilantro, lobster salad, cucumber & tarragon on griddled milk bread (which is my personal favorite), and the Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb Sandwich with Harissa, saffron aioli and fennel seed slaw served on a baguette and a dipping cup of lamb au jus on the side. Number five, Dessert, almost an afterthought helped to calm and complete the feast with a simple Berry Cobbler and Cheesecake.
Here’s the best news of all, we now have three Smack Shack options, their original Food Truck, The 1029 and the new North Loop location. Each has its own personality and all have spectacular food!
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
Bells “Smitten” is a new release. It’s a Golden Rye Ale and according to their tasting notes “a combination of sharp citrus and resinous flavors from the Pacific Northwest hops with the earthy, rustic overtones of the rye malt yield an interesting and refreshing take on the American Pale Ale.”