Real Talk: Smoke Signals, Lake Placid-Review

After our trip up Whiteface Mountain, Ben and I decided to head into Lake Placid to wander around. After meandering for an hour or so, we ducked into a restaurant.

The restaurant was called Smoke Signals and is relatively new.  We were enticed by the re-purposed décor, the fun bar crowd and tasty looking menu, which used local meats, cheeses and veggies. What could go wrong?!

So, we put our names in for a table…. supposedly it would be a fifteen minute wait. There were two hostesses working…one disappeared to help bus/re-set tables.

Now, we should have realized when there were a number of open tables in the bar area, this may have been a bad idea…but we waited, thinking, “let’s give this place a shot.”

After 40 minutes, I was starting to get antsy and was about to ask Ben if we could go somewhere else. I noticed the hostess made a table for a large group that came in and then a couple that came in five minutes after us went up and complained… they were seated a few minutes later. Then we saw people sitting at the previously mentioned, empty tables.

At that point, having been passed over, I gave the hostess the stink eye. Not just an irritated scowl, but THE stink eye. She noticed….and realized that she forgot about us (even though she wrote our name down).

The girl hurried over to us and, without apologizing, asked if we preferred to wait a few more minutes for a table on the patio… I, still giving the stink eye, said “at this point it really doesn’t matter.”

So, she stomped led us over to a table and we were seated, inside. This was fine…but then, moments later, we watched her take another couple out to the patio. I almost hit the roof.

Now, don’t get me wrong, having worked in a restaurant for quite some time, I understand that stuff happens. Sometimes you have to wait a little longer…but to tell us it would be a “bit longer for an outdoor table (after having been passed over twice)” and then watching someone else get seated at said table, moments later? COME ON. And in all honesty, the hostess is the first person you see when you enter a restaurant. Maybe having a less indifferent teenager welcoming customers would be a good idea.

Luckily, our server, Christina, was awesome. She was very attentive and answered any questions we had. This was the restaurant’s saving grace.

A few minutes after ordering, we received corn bread… awesome, yes? No. It was cold and sticky. Being a bread lover, I was disappointed. But, I loved the mason jar water glasses and the condiment basket.

What seemed like an eternity later, we received our food. Again, normally, I don’t mind waiting as I understand, when things get busy, the kitchen slows down…but… I ordered a salad and macaroni and cheese…and Ben ordered a sandwich with French fries and baked beans.

I would venture a guess that we waited about 45-60 minutes for a salad and a sandwich. Honestly, the French fries were probably the most labor intensive item to prepare… but 45 minutes?

So how was the food?

Ben's pulled chicken and French fries

Ben’s pulled chicken and French fries

My chipotle Caesar and macaroni and cheese

My chipotle Caesar and macaroni and cheese

It wasn’t bad…

I didn’t taste any chipotle in my chipotle Caesar salad…instead I got a really strong horseradish taste… not that I mind horseradish, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting. The macaroni and cheese was really good, not too heavy, but it’s a food that’s difficult to mess up.

Ben’s chicken sandwich wasn’t bad either.., however, there was a heavy cheese sauce that just overpowered the chicken and Ben ended up scraping a lot of it off. The French fries were hand cut and tasty. He also ordered a side of baked beans, which were not bad, but a bit too sweet.

Overall, I’d say our experience was mediocre…again, the food wasn’t bad, but it was nothing to write home about–though we were both really glad they made an effort to use of local growers/producers–and the prices were reasonable, our total bill came out to $37 for two microbrews and our meals and we left full..

Now, I really wanted to like this place. I really did! Ben and I both hope that our experience was just part of the growing pains associated with a new restaurant and I hope they work everything out. Not including our time waiting for a table, we were at the restaurant for over an hour and a half–Not that I like to be rushed while eating, but holy moly, that long for a sandwich and a salad?!

I will say, get rid of that hostess….and not just because she forgot about us.

On a more positive note, the bartender looked like he was having a good time and all of the bar crowd looked happy, there were also some really good happy hour specials..the other food we saw coming out of the kitchen looked tasty, but I don’t think we’ll be rushing back to Smoke Signals anytime soon.

Have you tried any new restaurants lately? Where did you go and how was it? Ever had a bad experience? Discuss.

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