Strand Smokehouse's Thanksgiving Package was a Great Deal
As usual, full review with all the photos on the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...
I don't eat turkey that frequently in my every day life, but I do try to keep a tradition of eating turkey on Thanksgiving. I don't tend to make a big deal of it, though, and the past couple of years I've just ended up getting Boston Market. I do find myself checking out all the Thanksgiving offerings at different restaurants in the city just because I'm curious, and this year, one takeout package caught my eye.
Strand Smokehouse is a fairly large beer garden and bbq joint located in Astoria. The by the pound bbq here is cheaper than almost all of the well known places in Manhattan, and the brisket is solid. They've only been in business for a little over a year, so this was the first time they've offered Thanksgiving packages. I chose the smaller package, which they advertised as serving 4-6 people for $95 plus tax.
There were four large biscuits which seemed rock hard on the outside, but were actually delicious and very buttery on the inside. There was also a pint of cranberry sauce, which was nice and tart as opposed to some super sweet ones I've come across over the years.
There were two large containers of salad, with fresh lettuce, cucumber slices, onions, squash, and crumbles of goat cheese. The goat cheese and squash provided a good balance of savoriness and flavor, and worked well with the accompanying pint of vinaigrette.
I'm personally not a big fan of cornbread, so I wasn't particularly fond of the two quarts of cornbread stuffing. I found it too sweet overall, and would have preferred that they cooked it with more aromatics. I did find it more palatable to eat cold, when I was more embracing of the sweetness and the texture of stale cornbread.
The quart of mashed potatoes was advertised as garlic mashed, but I didn't get much garlic flavor and got a lot of white pepper flavor. The potatoes themselves had an excellent mixed texture. The white gravy was ok, but not particularly flavorful.
Two quarts of densely packed mac and cheese had a nice kick of bell pepper flavor. The pasta was decently coated, but it wasn't overflowing with gooey cheese sauce.
The tray of green bean casserole was as one would expect from beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onion bits. It could have used a bit more seasoning.
The main event was the 10-13lb whole smoked turkey. The meat was tender, the smoke flavor was evident (especially in the smell) without being overpowering, and the skin had a nice snap to it. As it was smoked, the turkey was great as leftovers the next couple of days, whether cold for sandwiches or reheated with gravy.
There was also a choice of dessert between apple and pumpkin pies, and pumpkin cheesecake. My guess is these were baked at Bakeway, a bakery down the street where I picked up the food on Thanksgiving day. The pumpkin cheesecake was delicious and creamy, with a light, delicate flavor.
So in total, there was one whole 10-13lb smoked turkey, two large salads with dressing, two quarts of mac and cheese, two quarts of cornbread stuffing, one quart of mashed potatoes, one tray of green bean casserole, one pint of gravy, one pint of cranberry sauce, four large biscuits, and one whole large cake or pie. I know they advertised it as serving 4-6, but I felt like the whole package would easily serve 6 people with leftovers. So while nothing was particularly gourmet or gussied up, it still felt like a great value at $95 plus tax.
I'm surprised they only had one kind of stuffing. Cornbread stuffing is OK, but I prefer a traditional northern sausage and sage stuffing. It sounds like a good value for the money, but for me, Thanksgiving is a day to cook your own comfort foods. Even if I'm alone, I'll cook a small turkey and make stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.