In the suburbs, good seafood can be hard to find.
However, that paradigm seems to be changing as more local restaurateurs are willing to meet people where they live.
The latest on that train is Smack Shack, which has just opened a new location in a former Fuddruckers on the border between Bloomington and Edina.
The space is huge – as it’s a former burger chain and all – and there is ample parking, which is something Smack Shack aficionados are certainly not used to. The first (and still very busy) location is in the busy and parking-deficient North Loop. (There is also a counter service version at Rosedale Malls Potluck Madhal and one at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.)
There is a huge, circular bar in front and in the middle and a game wheel, both of which contribute to a jovial atmosphere. I took a friend who loves seafood whose wife does not eat things that live in water, so he is always extra grateful.
The menu is pretty much the same as the North Loop location, with a few additions. One of them, Dungeness Crab Boil, turned out to be one of my favorite dishes of the year. If you are a seafood fan and have not had Dungeness, which is in season during the winter and spring months, I highly recommend going here – it is more spicy and rich than the popular king crab, but there is still enough meat so you do not feel frustrated. Served with the typical cooking sides of corn, red potatoes and a whole sausage, there is enough food on this dish to serve two, especially if you start with some fresh oysters, and I highly recommend that you do.
In fact, Smack Shack is one of a handful of places that I would eat oysters with leftovers because they fly in all their fresh seafood daily.
For comparison, we also ordered the king crab legs. While they contain much more meat, the meat is sweeter and lighter. Although it was still delicious, we preferred Dungeness.
My husband wanted salmon, so he ordered the crab-filled version, which was huge, stuffed with sweet crab and served on a large pile of tender asparagus (no idea how they handled it when it’s so out of season) and game rice. He was happy – and full.
Although we chose some of the less casual dishes – mostly because I got the absolutely delicious lobster roll Smack Shack was built on many occasions – there are cheaper options. Besides lobster rolls, there is a burger, a lot of other sandwiches and fried chicken, to name a few.
Basically, it’s a choose-it-yourself adventure experience.
And one that the suburbs obviously enjoy – if you do not have a reservation on a weekend evening, expect to wait a while.
Smack Shack Bloomington
- Where: 3801 Minnesota Drive, Bloomington
- Contact: 952-333-7722; smack-shack.com
- Prices: Sandwiches run from $ 14.95- $ 27.95 for a lobster roll; entrees range from $ 21.95 to $ 41.95; boiler starts at $ 29.95 for shrimp, crab is market price
- Good to know: Ample parking on site; open for lunch and dinner