Restaurants & Bars

Smalley's Stillwater, MN

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Smalley's Stillwater, MN

tootscarlson | Jun 7, 2008 08:31 AM

Not impressed what-so-ever with this place! My friend and I ate there last night and, aside from the fantastic Mojitos, this place lacked in every possible area of what a great restaurant should be. I'm shocked that Josh Toma would be happy with his new restaurant given the caliber of his other retaurants.

We fully expected to have to wait awhile for a table considering it was their first Friday to be fully up and running so we waited in the bar area. The bartenders completely ignored our end of the bar and concentrated on the wait station area. I finally got up and walked down to that end for our drinks.

The decor in the place is nothing spectacular. It's dark and there is nothing really fabulous and Carribbean about it. We were seated on the second level where it was FREEZING and very unimpressive. You get to sit in a booth with other people right next to you but at another "table" and the tables are set with sauces, ketchup and mustard in cardboard beer holders - tacky! Also tacky are the pint glasses with forks stuck upside down in them. Yuck! As for the sauces - boring with a too-strong molasses taste in each of them. Every sauce was black - weird.

The crab cakes were fishy tasting, with a hard breading on the outside that had been cooked too long and seemed very uniform in size and shape - previously frozen? My brisket was pretty tasty but shaved like gyro meat and I was hoping or a chunk of flavorful brisket. I also chose the "barbeque" brisket but it arrived dry. I asked our server and she said - "They swipe it with bbq while it's cooking but there's sauce on your table." Sweet potato side - boring. Cole slaw- boring. Sweet potato fries - been there done that at Stone's who at least serve theirs with a flavorful Orange Aoli instead of a bland, drippy garlic "sauce".

Service? Our waitress was nice but uninspiring. When asked about the crab cake or the shrimp choices she said, "I don't eat seafood." When asked about another item she just said, "It's enough to fill you up". If I was just looking to get filled up I'd go to a fast food place. The table next to us was asking their waiter about the plentiful rum selection and wanted to know which one(s) to try. The waiter just asked, "Well, what kind of rum do you like?" What?! That isn't the point! A manager-type person came to their table to introduce herself (never did for us) and I thought her dreadlock long hair was going to fall in that table's food! Tacky beyond belief.

Because we sent back one of our selections we expected that a manager might stop by to make double-sure we were having a good experience. Never happened.

If I want better bbq I would choose Famous Dave's over this place any day. It felt like a chain restaurant and lacks anything "fun" or interesting.

I have worked in the industry for years and predict that if this place doesn't get its act together it won't make it for any crowd over 17 years old.

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