Al Smith’s Place Review

May 11

Al Smith’s Place

3550 Executive Pkwy # 12
Toledo, OH 43606
Phone: (419) 531-0600

I knew there would come a day that, when writing a blog post, I wouldn’t just be able to say words like “great!” “delicious!” “good!” over and over again and hope there were enough other words in between to convey that the we liked the place and you should eat there.  Alas, this is the day.

We went to Al Smith’s Place on Friday, and you guys…. it just wasn’t that great.

Atmosphere/Overall Appearance

Al Smith’s Place is located in a strip mall and looks well maintained from the outside.  Inside, there is a distinctly diner-ish feel, although it does not have a long counter where you can sit.  They have a white board with all their daily specials, which I’ve always found rather charming and they also have all their pies listed throughout the restaurant.  It was not crowded when we got there around 5:45, but picked up throughout the time we were there.  The décor is slightly dated (think mirrored walls), but it was clean and everything was in good shape.

The Food

Southwest Burger

I like meatloaf.  I also like gravy.  The two of those things together are fabulous.  All that to say, I ordered meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and had high hopes because I figure a diner type place should have totally awesome meatloaf.  Josh ordered a Southwest burger and fries and we got Eden mac and cheese and applesauce.

Josh’s burger was big and messy, but he said it tasted good.  At one point, I actually had to make a diving save across the table to keep some sauce from dripping into the arm of his shirt.  It was very graceful.

Our waitress brought Eden’s applesauce first, and it had cinnamon on it.  Eden took a bite of it and said “I don’t like that powder!”  Once I got it all mixed in, she ate about ½ of her applesauce but told me with every bite that it tasted weird.  That’s not a criticism of the applesauce, merely an example of how goofy my kid is.  Her mac and cheese came out lukewarm and kind of gloppy.  Once I got it separated a little bit, Eden ate it and liked it, so we weren’t about to complain.  I don’t think I personally would have eaten it, but she didn’t seem to mind.

My meatloaf was just plain not all that good.  It was two thin slices of meatloaf with a small scoop of mashed potatoes, and it had obviously been sitting under the heat lamp for a while because the gravy was congealed and the potatoes and the parts of the meatloaf that weren’t under gravy were kind of… well, they were like they had been under a heat lamp for a while.   I also got some peas and carrots.  The carrots were okay, and Eden actually stole those and ate them, but the peas had a grayish cast to them and did not get eaten.  I was sorely disappointed.  It was edible, but not something I would eat again.

This is how it came out. I need suggestions for where to get good meatloaf... got any?

Once we were finished with dinner, we decided to order a couple pieces of pie since we had heard from several people that their pies were really good.  Josh got the Dutch Apple and I got the Oreo pie, hoping to make up for the meatloaf debacle.  The Dutch Apple looked really good, and was served with whipped cream, although you can also get it ala mode.  The Oreo pie was whipped cream in crust with some Oreo chunks mixed in.  I’m not even that big of a whipped cream fan, so it was not at all what I was hoping for.  Eden helped me eat it.  It tasted like Oreo’s and whipped cream.  I was disgruntled.

Kid Friendliness

About 15 minutes after we got there, Josh leans over to me and says “do you realize we’re the only ones under 65 in here?” and indeed we were.  There was a couple at a table catty corner to us that kept making funny faces at Eden, which she thought was hilarious.  Diners are typically kid friendly places and this was no exception.  They have a good kids menu and all the options have some sort of fruit or veggie included, which I thought was nice.  More families came in while we were there.  I wouldn’t hesitate to bring your kids.

Wait Staff/Service

Our waitress was very nice and brought out drinks, Eden’s applesauce and our meals promptly.  Everyone we encountered was very nice.

Overall Impressions

Gloppy (but apparently, very tasty) mac and cheese.

I want to believe that we just caught Al Smith’s on a bad night and that most of the time,  the food is brought out fresher that I believe ours was.  I also realize that maybe some people would like a whipped cream and Oreo pie.  Josh’s personal food experience was much better then mine and maybe if it had just been his food we experienced this would be a different review.  I was not happy at all with my food and feel like the food quality in general, at least in my case, leaves something to be desired.  On the other hand, Al Smith’s Place is clearly doing good business, so maybe we just ordered the wrong thing.  We have several friends who have eaten there and have said good things.  I get the impression that breakfast may be a safer bet then dinner.  In the end though, Josh and I both decided that we have no strong reason to go back, and probably won’t.

Now, before you ask or wonder, I did not speak to anyone in management or ask for them to change my food.  First of all, that’s not typically my personality, at least for my own food and secondly, I want to get as much of an authentic food experience as possible from each place, and I don’t believe that most people will send back food in a restaurant unless it’s truly awful.  So, that being the case, I decided to stick with it because that’s what I think most people would do. Wrong call, do you think?  What would you rather I did – stick with it to get a real experience or ask for something else to get the best experience possible?  Do you typically send food back if you don’t like it?

And, just to end of a positive note, here’s a cute picture of my kid. 

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  1. While I’m with you – I don’t typically send food back unless it’s totally inedible, I do not hesitate to let the waitress/manager know that I’m not happy with my meal. I will base whether I return or not on the restaurant’s willingness to offer a replacement or remove the entree from the bill. Food for thought for the next time you run into this. :)

    Eden is so stinking cute!!

  2. Carla /

    I would of sent the food back. I agree you want the most authetic food experience but If I order something and it was truely old looking I would have no problem asking for soemthing else. You can still write in your entry that you had a bad food experience and then also let otehrs know how they handled it. EX. while I would not reccomend the meatloaf the customer service was excellent and they had no problems removig the item from my bill or getting me something more appetizing. If they are an over all sucky restaurant the next meal they bing you will be equally bad OR you can chalk it up to the meat loaf is goss there BUT the BLT they brought out to replace it was AMAZING.

  3. Jennifer /

    I don’t send food back either, unless it is inedible. I just vow to never return.

  4. Suzie /

    the chicken with slider noodles are great there. I think meatloaf is too much of a hit and miss across the board at restaurants. oh, and the pecan pie. love it!