If there is any kind of food I consider myself at least some sort of an expert in it's smoked meats and BBQ. I happened to be in the neighborhood for an errand and did a quick search and this one popped up because it had been reviewed on TV. Had I read the reviews on Yelp, I might not have tried it, and I glad I didn't read them...It was some of the best BBQ I had eaten almost anywhere. If you eat out for the food first, everything else ambiance related a distant second like I do, Squeal is hard to beat.
I ordered the Smoked Meats, and chose both Brisket and Pulled Pork. For sides I chose Bacon Jalepeno Mac & Cheese and Roasted Corn Cheese & Grits. The food was outstanding but I'll start with a couple of negative items first as I usually do.
My drink was a bit watery and I did complain about it but they still charged me for it, even though I ordered a replacement. I thought they should have not charged me for it, not a deal breaker, just slightly annoying.
The sides were a little small, just not the size I am used to. I expected some leftovers, but no, I finished it all.
I was not hugely impressed with the Mac and Cheese, it was good but did not have a lot of flavor and I did not see much if any bacon in it -- BUT it was the only thing I was not extremely impressed with. Everything else was outstanding, the meat was well-smoked, juicy, tender and very flavorful. The grits were the best I have ever had. Let me say that again, the grits were the best I had ever tasted. They were perfectly seasoned, cheesy and flavorful. The food was so good, it made up for any shortcomings anywhere else.
The restaurant was in a house on the corner, had had some upkeep but still quite old. It was in a residential neighborhood just at the edge of an old main type street with other interesting looking restaurants and bars.
Squeal smokes their meats for 8 hours or more according to the menu. There was a king sized smoker is out in the front yard! I have eaten a lot of BBQ, Smoked Beef and Pork and this stacked up against anything I have eaten in Kansas City or Texas...or even anything I've ever personally cooked.
One item I also thoroughly enjoyed was the sauce. BBQ sauce is a personal taste, some like it spicy, some sweet, this was both. It was thick, even slightly chunky and, both sweet and spicy...the best of both worlds. They also don't overdo it, there was just the right amount of sauce.
Squeal scores a 4.8 of 5 for the food. The bar and restaurant reminded me of an old outdated bar up in the Colorado Mountains and the atmosphere was not to my personal liking but the food made up for everything. Judging from some of the other reviews I've read not everyone feels the same about Squeal but I am not sure how they could do the food much better than that.
Good service, very attentive, though the restaurant at dinner time was pretty empty, which is unfortunate. As I was leaving a lot more were showing up, could be a popular late spot.