Tuesday, March 25, 2008

CHATTERBOX PUB in Highland Park, St Paul

Chatterbox Pub moved into the neighborhood about a year ago, taking over the space of an old Perkins … definitely an improvement! The Chatterbox remodeled the space and it looks fantastic! The interior is a retro mix of restaurant dining space combined with several mock family rooms. With tables lining the walls the center of the restaurant and bar areas have comfy couches and chairs centered around TVs for playing video games. The Chatterbox menu boasts over 200 video games on any gaming system ever created. In addition to offering video games the Chatterbox also has a wall of board games to play. The dark lighting makes the space intimate.

This unintimidating environment makes the Chatterbox an appropriate place to go on a first date or good place to take a study break and just veg. The food isn’t bad either. They have really good appetizers, I come back just for the spinach dip and cheese fondue. They have something for everyone when it comes to entrees. Burgers, pizza, pasta, salad, and feel good favorites like meatloaf and pot-roast. The wine list is extensive and like many restaurants in the area, they have their own line of beer. They have clever names and poetic descriptions, which makes it impossible to only have one! The Chatterbox doesn’t advertise much but every time I go it’s busy. This restaurant is a great neighborhood treasure and word of mouth will keep it alive for many years to come.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Osaka Japanese Steakhouse

I was in Eden Prairie last week for a business meeting and someone suggested Osaka instead of the usual Biaggis. It’s about a mile away from Eden Prairie Center tucked behind a couple of hotels. I would have had no idea it was there if someone hadn’t pointed it out. The Aloha sign above the door was kind of confusing, I found myself wondering why the welcome sign was in Hawaiian instead of Japanese. One of my associates said he has seen some Minnesota Vikings players in there before.

The restaurant wasn’t very decorated, it was pretty plain. There were only a few other tables in the restaurant and one couple at the sushi bar. Our server was attentive but not overly friendly. Our shrimp and vegetable tempura appetizer came moments before our sushi, not really giving us a chance to enjoy it… but that is to be expected at sushi restaurants. I had both the Crazy Roll and the Angel Roll. Both were great. There was a lot of detail on both the rolls and the sauces served with them complimented them nicely. The meal was filling which surprised me because I’m not often full after sushi. I will definitely come back to try their Hibachi cuisine. When it comes to finding Sushi in the suburbs Osaka should not be overlooked.