Housed in Salt Lake City’s Peery Hotel, the Squeezebox restaurant has a Cajun-inspired menu and a classic Victorian design. The blood-red walls with a few gears thrown on for good measure are the restaurant’s attempt at a steampunk design. As the restaurant is just getting started it has yet to fill in the cracks of the decor, and mostly bare walls hint at what’s yet to come.
After being seated and taking in the vaulted ceilings and buxom waitresses, we opened our two-page menu. It covers a lot of ground – from jambalaya to burgers to crab cakes – the selection goes beyond traditional Cajun fare and has entrees for the unadventurous or ambitious diner.
We started with a very thick, bread-like pizza that was nearly void of sauce. What it lacked in tomato coverage, it made up for in cheese, sausage and peppers. Before long, the crust was moved to the side of the plate and we inhaled the sautéed vegetables and spicy meats.
The baked macaroni and cheese with Andouille sausage was a basic approach to the classic dish. No frills and well executed. There were two sausages served along-side the pasta plate in an unattractive plating.
The French Dip special ($4 on Thursdays) might be the menu highlight. The au jus was savory and the sandwich with piles of juicy roast beef and served with a side of fries is a perfect lunch option.
Food options are affordable and most entrees are under $15. But ordering a simple well whiskey drink upped our bill by nearly $7. The drink menu was unimaginative, pricy and had no specialty or original cocktails. I can’t imagine why the restaurant hasn’t added a Victorian Lavender Lemonade or a Melon Liquid Absinthe for some much-needed character.
We wanted to love Squeezebox. But until some of the kinks are ironed out – we’re stuck with a restaurant not yet realizing its full potential.