Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse - Minneapolis

Ruth's Chris SteakhouseOn Saturday night, I dined at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It was my first experience at the steakhouse located in Downtown Minneapolis on 920 2nd Avenue South. I was very surprised how nice it was. They are open on Monday thru Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sundays from 4:00p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The aroma at the restaurant was great.
They had dark lighting and dark colors on the walls. The menu was fantastic, with tasty
appetizers, steaks, lobster, shrimp, lamb chops, salads, and soup. The price was affordable too for how tasty it is and how nice the environment was. The service was fantastic as well, as they were definitely experienced and were very

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spoon River - Minneapolis

The first snow fall of the year has got me thinking about soup and I can't think of a better spot in Minneapolis for soup other than Spoon River. They almost always have a couple fresh soups each day and I have yet to try one I didn't love. Super fresh ingredients and never too salty. Spoon river is not just about soup. They have an incredible lunch, dinner and brunch menu. Today I had the pinto bean chili and it was awesome, and as far as I could tell, vegetarian.
Spoon River is the ideal spot if you have Guthrie Theatre tickets, as they are only steps apart from each other. They have a nice little bar if you are looking for a pre-show cocktail.
I will try and follow up with a more in depth review of Spoon River soon.
Spoon River is located at 702 South 2nd Street in Minneapolis, MN. They are open Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-9:00pm, Friday 11:30am-10:00pm, Saturday 10:00am-10:00pm, Sunday 10:00am-9:00pm, closed Mondays. Spoon River's phone number is 612-436-2236.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Scusi - St Paul

A great new spot just opened this month in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood in Saint Paul. Scusi, a cozy Italian restaurant featuring pizza, pasta and wine in a casual comfortable atmosphere. I've already been there twice. Once for dinner with my better half and back again for brunch with the kids.

For dinner we started by having our server pick for us a couple salumi, a couple cheeses and a trio of olives. All were great and served with some homemade toasted flat bread. Then we shared the Veal Bolognaise Gnocchi and Shrimp Ravioli. Both were great and both I would have again. After the past we shared the also excellent Short Ribs. We rounded out dinner with a meatball and mushroom pizza. The pizza was great, but we had to take most of it home. We washed all of this down with a terrific bottle of wine. They have a nice wine list and prices are very fair.

Only a couple days past and we were back for brunch. We started off with Zeppole which are Italian doughnuts with whipped cream, cherries and chocolate. These were such a hit with the kids we immediately ordered a second plate. We then shared Hash browns with Gouda, Double Smoked Bacon, Angel hair Pasta with Meatballs and a Pepperoni Pizza. Everything was great, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be the Hash browns. I will be going back for these.

Scusi has a cozy little wine bar and a main dining room divided by the kitchen. The wine bar would make a great place to sample a few plates over a glass of wine. They offer a number of wines by the glass on tap and are able to keep the bottles sealed in a glass cooler.

The plates are on the smaller side and meant to share. Prices are very reasonable and the quality overall is high. Service on both visits was great.

Scusi is located near the corner of St. Clair and Fairview at 1806 St. Clair Avenue. Just down the street from the Groveland tap.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Best Burger - Minneapolis St. Paul Minnesota

Hearing the news the Nook is taking over the Ran-Ham Bowling Alley got me craving a Nook Burger. There has been a lot on controversy revolving around the shift in management. I say business is business and burgers are burgers, so let's eat. Burgers, bowling and beer seem like the perfect fit to me. It had been awhile since I've been to the Nook in Saint Paul. Coupled with the fact they are always busy now after their appearance on Food Network's Diners Drive-ins and Dives and that there are so many great burger spots now in the Twin Cites I have not been visiting the Nook as often. After tonight's visit I was reminded and convinced that the Nook still has the best burger in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. I went with my usual, the Lodge Burger with fries and a cold tap of Stella Artois. I can't wait to post my first entry after rolling thunder at Casper and Runyon's Ran-Ham Lanes!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Five Guys Burger and Fries - Edina, MN

Anyone looking for a great quick burger fix should check out Five Guys Burger and Fries in Edina. Five Guys is no frills, but the burgers are awesome. The menu is very simple. They have burgers, dogs and fries. You pay extra for cheese and bacon. Mayo, relish, onions, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, steak sauce, Bar-B-Q sauce and hot sauce are all free. The regular burgers are all doubles, so you may want to go with a "Little Burger", which is a single and load on the free toppings. They have free peanuts to snack on while you wait for your food. Five Guys Burger and Fires is located at 3871 Gallagher Drive in Centennial Lakes in Edina across from the Container Store.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mall of America - Minneapolis - Saint Paul, MN

People who believe you can't get a decent meal when at the mall are going to have to rethink their position. There are some great new spots to check out at the Mall of America.

R Burger Bar, which is part of the House of Comedy on the fourth floor entertainment area. In addition to great burgers made from ground beef and kobe beef they also offer turkey, chicken, walleye and veggie. If you're not in the mood for a burger try one of their hot dogs or Asian wraps. Make sure you try the poutine, which is basically french fries with cheese and gravy

Crave has been called the chicest restaurant at the mall. Crave has a huge menu with across the board options including sushi, wood fired pizza, Asian, American and Italian. If you can't find something you like at Crave you must not like to eat.

Salad Fusion is a fast food hot spot specializing in fresh salads and sushi made to order.

I think Wikki Hut has the best Asian fast-food at the mall.

ChikWich serves a real mean chicken tender and chicken sandwich. Probably my favorite right after Canes on the University of Minnesota campus. Don't forget the waffle fries

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Saji Ya - St. Paul

We stopped at Saji Ya in St. Paul after picking up Xcel Energy Center tickets for the John Mayer show. I think Saji Ya is easily one of the top sushi restaurants in the Twin Cities. Being it was a Tuesday night, the restaurant was fairly quiet and we had no problem getting a seat at the bar. I really like their Agadashi Tofu, which is fried tofu served in tempura sauce with ground radish, ginger and scallions. For dinner we went with a couple signature rolls and some nigiri sushi. We shared the crunchy roll with shrimp tempura, masago, spicy mayo and tempura flakes. My favorite of the two was the Super Saji roll consisting of tuna, salmon, shrimp, yellow tail with spicy mayo and tempura flakes.

Saji Ya is located on Grand Avenue near Dale in Saint Paul.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Sample Room - Minneapolis

I'm not sure how long it's been since my first visit to the Sample Room in Northeast Minneapolis, but it feels like it must be close to ten years. That was back when i was a Nordeaster. I moved to Saint Paul and had kind of forgot about it until a friend of mine was raving about a recent visit. This prompted my return and I'm happy to have rediscovered this gem just down the street from the old at 2124 Marshall Avenue NE.
The Sample Room specializes in small plates and flights of wine, whiskey and more. We went for the Grand Sample Combo Platter which included a choice of any four small plates at a discounted price. We tried the baked goat cheese with oven roasted tomato and basil, meatloaf with homemade smoked tomato ketchup, seared sea scallops, and roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash.

I would most recommend the sprouts and squash. I'm not a huge vegetable guy, but these were REALLY good. They are roasted with tons of brown sugar and super tender. Next best was the baked Stickney Hill goat cheese with oven-dried Roma tomatoes and basil oil. This went really well with the home made breads. I liked the seared scallops with pumpkin seed picada. My date thought they were a bit over cooked. Neither of us thought the bison-pork-beef three meatloaf was very exciting. Not bad, just didn't meet it's potential. We split a deluxe cheeseburger with bacon medium rare. It was really solid. For desert we had the bread pudding which was excellent.

The Sample room is open 11am Monday through Friday and 10am Saturday & Sunday. The kitchen closes at 10pm Sunday through Thursday and midnight Friday & Saturday. The bar closes at 1am everyday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

D' Amico Kitchen - Minneapolis

I checked out D' Amico Kitchen downtown Minneapolis. They moved out of there old digs in Butler Square and are now located on the ground floor of the swank Chambers Hotel in the heart of the Hennepin Theatre District. This would be a great spot for a nice dinner or upscale snack if you're holding Orpheum Theatre tickets.

The atmosphere is upscale and trendy but still feels warm and invited. The artwork in the restaurant and hotel are worth the visit.

The menu is grouped by antipasti, pasta and secondi. Our waitperson recommended that we each go with one of each. If I go back I would probably stick to the small plates, as they were the highlight of the meal and after which we were all getting a bit full to really appreciate the main course. The fresh bread served was great and could have easily made a satisfying meal paired with the small plates. I think we went through three baskets.

We started with the mussels, tuna, lamb meatballs and roasted beets. All of these were excellent. The mussels were served in a basil-garlic butter and were so good we ordered some more to share with the table. My favorite was the lamb meatballs served with pine nut, currant and yogurt. These, by themselves, will probably bring me back. The yellow fin tuna was served with avocado and melon and I really liked the roasted beets with pistachio, Gorgonzola and pumpkin seed vinaigrette. The beets with the Gorgonzola is a great combo.

We tried the mushroom risotto, ravioli and butternut squash cappelletti for the pasta course. They were all solid, but I think the standout was the ravioli with bufala ricotta, goat cheese, speck, tomato and basil.

Everyone was pretty full by the time the main course was delivered to the table. We tried the braised short rib, sea scallop, grilled swordfish and chicken under brick. All the dinners were good, but I didn't have anything that would send me racing back.

D' Amico has a great wine list, but the prices are a bit of a hammer. I don't understand why restaurants feel they need to charge three retail.

If you go to D' Amico Kitchen or the Chambers Hotel during the winter make sure to check out the Ice Chamber ice bar and fire pit out in the courtyard.

D' Amico Kitchen is located in the Chambers Hotel at 901 Hennepin Avenue. Right across the street from the Orpheum Theatre. Their phone number is 612-767-6960. D' Amico Kitchen's hours are 6:30am - 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 6:30am - 10pm Friday and Saturday.