A favorite Key West spot for a great casual meal was Old Town’s “The Meteor Smoke House” on Southard Street, right next door to the Green Parrot Bar. The smoked ribs, pork and brisket were the best in town and the daily specials Monday through Friday were the only reason I even tried to remember what day it was. So did you notice this is written in past tense?

The Meteor was morphed into the “Twisted Dish” last night with an entirely new menu. We regulars knew the change was going to take place for awhile now as the inside dinning area was closed for renovations. The bartenders gradually prepared us for the change, but couldn’t provide any real details.

The first inkling of a major change was when I needed a magnifying glass to read the new menu, which was typed on one side of an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper. The new upscale wine list occupied the other side of the single page menu. Then the real revelation; there are no ribs, pork or Texas brisket dishes on the menu, which made the place famous among locals and tourists alike (that seems twisted to me).

But I like the bartenders who are some of the friendliest, charming and, in Tommy’s case, funniest people I have met on this Island, and they are still working there. So I decided to try one of the new items. The menu consisted of salads, tapas and a few entrees. When I asked if they did away with sandwiches, I was handed another menu. The fellow next to me had a different menu with all items included. I graciously chalked that one up to an opening night faupax and ordered the Chicken Parmesan dinner.

It didn’t take long before dinner was served on angel hair pasta with a small portion of broccoli al dente. Maybe it didn’t take long because no one was there? The bottom line is that the beer is still the same, good and cold; I didn’t check the price. Compared to what used to be served, I thought the dinner was a relatively small portion for $15, but it was OK.

My biggest problem now is that there aren’t any other menu items that look tempting enough to try. I understand change and have a pretty good understanding of restaurant/bar economics. If they weren’t making enough money with the old menu they could have considered slightly smaller portions (which used to be huge) and/or raising their prices, or maybe even put a security camera in the kitchen.

But I believe we have a new owner who is more interested in creating new dishes. I wish them luck because it appears they are driving their regular clientle away. The nicely renovated inside dining room was completely empty, not a soul at 5:45pm on a Friday night, only a lonely host standing behind his station smiling at people as they peered in and walked away.

I thought they had it made as the only good ribs and smoke house in Old Town Key West. But over time I’m sure they will build a new clientle that likes the new menu; different strokes for different tastes. For me, I’ll have to wait for another restaurant entrepreneur to fill the “ribs gap” that the Twisted Dish has created. I don’t believe it will be a very┬álong wait!

One Response to “Meteor Gets Twisted”

  1. This is very sad!!! The Meteor changing its menu would be akin to the Green Parrot turning into a wine bar. The food was top notch and very consistent bewteen visits and the place will be sorely missed.

    Tom (annual tourist form Nebraska)