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May 20, 2011 09:10 PM

the Smack Shack Downtown Minny Food Truck

I have heard about their lobster rolls and shrimp po boy. how many stars do you give them?? where do they park and have they started their new 2011 season??

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    1. re: MplsM ary

      They're on Marquette between 6th and 7th. The food is great as ever, but the lobster rolls are $12 each this year - last year they were $8.50. :(

      1. re: NobleDanSavage

        They are indeed as good as they ever were, but at $12 a pop, I won't be going there often. That will buy a sit-down lunch at Vincent, D'Amico Kitchen, and several other downtown places. A 42% increase in price from one year to the next is a little over the top.

    2. Hm, maybe two stars? I had the lobster roll, my lunch companions had the lobster roll and the crab po boy (special that day). We all had fries.

      The lobster roll is actually served on toasted bread, rather than a roll. It's not very large and it's not stuffed with much lobster salad so we felt the price tag quite steep. I don't know what market price is for lobster these days but it may account for the current price. My companions didn't like the po boy at all since the crab was breaded and fried (as is the shrimp apparently) and just had no flavor. The fries come seasoned and we all felt there was too much seasoning, particularly salt, and that they were not crisp enough. The lobster salad itself was quite good, and maybe I'd consider going back but it would have to be for a pretty big craving.

      7 Replies
      1. re: scarter66

        That's what a lobster roll is supposed to be served on. If you're being totally authentic, you serve it on a white-bread toasted hot dog bun. But you're right about the amount of lobster. A real lobster roll should be overflowing with it, and a lot of it should be whole chunks of claw.

        1. re: shadowfax

          Good to know about the bread, thanks. It wasn't big chunks of claw, nor was it overflowing.

          1. re: scarter66

            My (limited) experience with lobster rolls has been on a split piece of white bread (brioche, most recently), something the thickness of 2-3 slices, buttered and toasted. It seems like an odd construction, but it works.

        2. re: scarter66

          I guess I haven't had all that many po boy sandwiches, but everyone I've seen has had the main ingredient breaded and fried. Are they not supposed to be that way?

            1. re: meljohns

              You are incorrect. Poboys can be made with anything.

              1. re: MIKELOCK34

                From wikipedia: A po' boy (also po-boy, po boy, or poor boy) is a traditional submarine sandwich from Louisiana. It almost always consists of meat, usually roast, or seafood, usually fried, served on baguette-like New Orleans French bread, known for its crisp crust yet fluffy center.[1]

                So, you're both right.

        3. It's tough, because they should charge about $18 for the things. Alas, Minnesotans regard this as an unreasonable price for a sandwich. When it's between two pieces of bread, we demand that it be cheap. However, we are also content with sandwiches that are 98% bread.

          But yeah, don't expect a sandwich overflowing with lobster for $12. That's ridiculous. You might try one to see if they have the recipe down, and then ask if they can load it up for $20.

          9 Replies
          1. re: kevin47

            The downside of living here. In Maine, a lobster roll is 7 to 9 bucks. The costs associated with getting the lobster here alive drive the prices up quite a bit. So yeah, for only $4 more than it costs where the lobster comes from, I wouldn't expect much. That said, I'd rather pay the $18-20 and get the real thing than get some sad imitation of it for only 6 bucks less.

            1. re: shadowfax

              Their menu lists a "King Roll" with double the lobster for $18. I haven't been yet, but that sounds like the way to go.

              1. re: fendel

                The King is overflowing. Eat them regularly and you'll be overflowing too.

              2. re: shadowfax

                When was the last time you were in Maine? I was there three years ago and I recall the rolls at most places along the shore, where us tourists go, were priced around $12-$14.

                I happen to like the Smack Shack product and think it's the best lobster roll available in the Twin Cities. Maybe that's because it's the only one?

                I think the cook the lobster properly, it's tender, not rubbery, and they don't overdo the dressing. The tarragon is a nice touch. The one thing I think is important is that they be consumed immediately. This is not good take-away food because once the 'roll' cools off, it's about 1/2 as delicious as it is right from the truck.

                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                  4 years ago. You're right - the touristy places in the beach towns are overpriced because they can be. The first restaurant we went to while still on our way to our destination had lovely oceanfront views and lobster prices that we're used to seeing here in MN.

                  The place to get them is at the lunch shack of a lobster pier. The one in Boothbay Harbor (which also had very cool schooner trips for not very much money) was if I recall around 10 bucks for a lobster roll and a cup of chowder.

                  1. re: shadowfax

                    $10 for a roll and a cup of chowder is better than $12 for a roll alone. Of course the plane ticket to Maine could set you back a bit more than $2 and a cup of chowder.

                    I've got no problem with the price/quality ratio at The Smack Shack (as of my last visit a month or two ago). My only problem is parking downtown. So I'll wait till they move to their winter digs at 1029 Marshal where parking won't set me back the price of a roll.

                    1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                      Jim, if you want to sample the Smack Shack without losing your shirt on parking fees, here's my tip: drive to Franklin & Cedar at late-lunch time, park (for free, if you can find a spot, which you usually can) at the light rail stop, then buy a ticket and zip downtown. One LR ticket is good for a round trip, and is less than most parking ramp fees - or at least is less stress than driving downtown. But don't tell everyone about those free parking spots at F & C - that's my big secret.

                      1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                        Jim, they server in their 1029 digs every week. Free to park on Marshall.

                      2. re: shadowfax

                        I gotta bring this up again because today I'm in Boston and last night I went to Summer Shack (near Fenway) and saw that they price their lobster rolls at $22.

                        Granted, Summer Shack is not on a pier. It's more like the seafood version of Famous Dave's.

                2. Bringing this up again ... I did a search and there hasn't been much update on the Smack Shack.

                  I have a request for Smack Shack lobster rolls from my travelling partner. I looked at their website, twitter page, facebook page, etc., and am a little confused.

                  I thought Smack Shack was a food truck. If that's true, why do they accept reservations? And do people generally recommend making reservations?

                  My plan right now is just to stop by for a single lobster roll that we'll share. It won't be a full lunch or dinner, but more of a snack since we have many other places at which we must eat. So since we'd only be getting one lobster roll for two people, I'd feel uncomfortable making a reservation for that.

                  I know it's more expensive than what you would get out east, but I'm OK with that as MN is landlocked and last I checked, lobster was not indigenous to MN. Gotta pay more for transportation, etc.

                  And does anyone want to comment on lobster roll vs connecticut style? I'm not concerned about quantity of lobster, but more about quality. I'm assuming a lobster roll has mayonnaise which I'm fine with, but some places use much too much mayonnaise and it overwhelms the lobster. If that's the case with Smack Shack, I'll just get the connecticut style.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: prasantrin

                    Smack Shack was a food truck that parlayed its success into a brick-and-mortar establishment. The restaurant takes reservations. The food truck serves the same lobster roll for less overhead, less money. The food truck has regular hours at the 1029 Bar in Northeast, for an altogether different brick-and-mortar experience.


                    1. re: KTFoley

                      So they have a food truck at 1029 Bar? I thought they operated from the kitchenwithin 1029.

                      It's a little confusing as to whether the truck is still operating. On their FB page, they mention moving from their "normal location" to in front of Crown Plaza just for a day, but they don't say what their "normal location" is. And on their website, buried in the "About" section, it says the truck was on "Marquette between 7th and ..." (really poor editing on that website, so I have no idea what other boundary is). But it doesn't say whether the truck is still operating.

                      I just want a food truck lobster roll. I'd hate to waste an entire meal on Smack Shack--I have too many other restaurants to visit!

                      1. re: prasantrin

                        For up to date info on the food truck, follow them on Twitter. @Smack_Shack

                        1. re: ChillyDog

                          Thanks. I had already followed them but they don't ever say where their usual spot is. I'll tweet them before I leave. They seem to follow their tweets pretty closely, so hopefully they'll reply!

                        2. re: prasantrin

                          They cook out of the kitchen @ 1029 (sometimes the truck is parked in the lot @ 1029, but it's not open) - though I have to say the QC at 1029 is horrid. We've had substitutions that we weren't alerted to beforehand (crappy spring mix in place of arugula is the lobster and ARUGULA salad) and lamb so under-cooked it was raw throughout. The lobster rolls are always solid though, as it the lobster mac...and the lobster mac is significantly less expensive/portion that the North Loop brick & mortar.

                          1. re: Foureyes137

                            Thanks. We ended up making a last-minute reservation at Smack Shack last night. We shared an oyster po'boy and the Connecticut lobster roll.

                            The lobster roll was good, but my half was a little cartilage-y, and I thought the meat was a little too chewy. The oyster po'boy...I could be wrong, but I think the oysters were spawning. I hate spawning oysters. Of course, it serves me right for ordering oysters in August.

                            Overall, it was fine. The restaurant is quite noisy, though. Very bad acoustics for a restaurant. I'm glad we went, but I probably not go back. I'll save my lobster roll experiences for Maine or PEI.

                            1. re: prasantrin

                              Thanks for visiting and for all of your insightful comments. It's nice to get an outsiders perspective. Hope you've had a good trip and a safe drive back to Canada. (I bet by the time you hit Fargo that doughnut hit the spot!)