Oct 012008

Cuisine: American,
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking, Patio Dining

Location: Northeast Minneapolis
Address: 2124 Marshall Street NE  Minneapolis, MN 55418 (612)789-0333
Links: The Sample Room Website * The Sample Room on FacebookGoogle Map


Atmosphere: The Sample Room is not a very large restaurant, but has both tables, padded booths and a bar in the space. The neutral colors, wooden furniture and floors give it a comfy-casual feel.


The Sample Room also has this cute but small patio attached to the building.


Menu: All plates are appetizer sized “for nibbling”.

Cheese plates include Chef’s Selection with Grapes, Warm Camembert with Carmelized Onions, Buffalo Mozzarella with Avocado and Roasted Red Pepper, Wisconsin Bleu with Red Onion, Cheddar with Chipotle Mustard, and Baked Goat Cheese with Oven Roasted Tomatoes in Basil Oil.

Meat plates include Turkey Chorizo Sausage with Chipotle Mustard, Baked Ham, Pork Ribs with Bourbon Barbeque Sauce, Steamed Bratwurst, Corned Beef with Cabbage, and Herb Roasted Beef with Carmalized Shallots.

Seafood Plates include Pan-Fried Walleye Strips, Seared Salmon with fennel, Sauteed Shrimp, Seared Scallops with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto, Seared Rare Tuna with Miso Glaze and Radishes, and Smoked Prairie Trout with Creamy Chive Sauce and Pickles.

Vegetable Plates include Warm Marinated Olives, Fire-Roasted Artichoke Gratin, Roasted Summer Vegetables, Roasted Asparagus, Sauteed Green Beans and Mushrooms, Roasted Fresh Veggie Torte, and Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic.

Soups and Salads offered are Mixed Greens, Caesar (with Chicken or Tuna), Grilled Chicken breast and Sliced Pear with Candied Walnuts and Bleu Cheese, Seared Scallops over Spinach, Warm Roasted Vegetables over Spinach.  Soup of the Day also available.

Sandwiches include Deluxe Cheeseburger, Reuben, BLT, Grilled Ham and Camembert Cheese, Grilled Chicken, Warm Meatloaf, Chopped Roast beef, Steamed Bratwurst, Fried Walleye, and Roasted Portabello Mushroom.

Dinner Entrees include Spaetzle Primavera, Roast Duck Hash, Three Meatloaf (beef, pork, and veal), Steamed Sausage Platter, Ribs, Sauteed Garlic Shrimp, and Seared Salmon.

Desserts include Summer Berry Crisp, Cannoli, Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake, Creme Brulee, Cheese Plate, and Chocolate Decadence.

Price guide: Cheese plates $4-7  Meat Plates $4-7 Seafood Plates $7-9 Vegetable Plates $4-7 Sandwiches  $9-11 Entrees $15-19 Desserts $6-7
What we ordered:To start with we tried the complimentary Bread Basket that had crusty French bread, Rye Bread, and Flatbread.


My companion had been told by a friend to try the Goat Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes, so we did! I thought it was pretty good, but the taste and texture was distinctly goat cheese.  The mild roasted tomatoes that accompanied the plate helped to curb the strong taste of the goat cheese.  I ate mine with some of the bread and liked it better.


We also tried the Artichoke Gratin, served with Flatbread.  The marinated artichokes were served whole in a boat of Gratin, which was a flavorful creamy cheesy mix.  Delicious on both flatbread and crusty white bread. I thought this was a unique alternate to the the cheesy artichoke dips that are served at other restaurants.


When I saw that they served real corned beef, I ordered the Reuben Sandwich.  It was great! The corned beef was hot and flavorful, sliced straight from the brisket and piled onto the fresh rye bread.  There was a decent amount of sauerkraut which seemed to have been mixed with the 1000 Island dressing.  Additional dressing was served on the side and had nice flavor, but the consistency seemed runny rather than thick like I prefer.  It was a nice change to have a Reuben on rye rather than pumpernickel, and the bread was still somewhat soft (I prefer it slightly toasted or grilled).  The kettle chips that were served with the sandwich were seasoned and very crispy.


My companion ordered the Three-Meat Loaf which was made with beef, pork and veal, a blend of peppers and caramelized onions, and then topped with Bourbon barbeque sauce.  It was served with seasoned mashed potatoes and roasted summer vegetables.


Service: Our server was friendly and attentive and helped us with suggestions.  We ordered our appetizers before we ordered our main dishes and had just started eating the artichoke and goat cheese plates when our sandwich and entree came out.  It was only slightly disappointing to have to rush through the appetizer so that we could start on our meals before they got cold.  We did not complain about this at all, however the server felt very bad that that had happened to us and she ended up taking 25% off our total bill.  Can’t complain too much after that!
Overall Impression: I thought The Sample Room had an interesting variety of sample plates and entrees, and the prices seemed reasonable for both smaller plates and the full entrees.
Sample Room on Urbanspoon

  8 Responses to “The Sample Room- Northeast Minneapolis, MN”

  1. I agree, the Sample Room is cold inside. It doesn’t matter WHERE YOU SIT, it is freezing cold in there. Maybe you should have incorporated double doors in the buildout. And I find the food to be good, but overpriced… That’s why I don’t frequent the place. But the other reviewer is spot on, it is like eating outside…

  2. I went to your restaurant last night with four frineds. On a positive, the “Sample Foods” we tasted were quite good, especially the salad!
    We could overlook the 1 hour and 45 minute wait, and the extremely loud noises making it difficult to carry on a conversation. But the one thing we were disappointed in (and the reason I will not go back) was the unprofessional service we recieved by the waitress. We constantly had to flag her down to get service. And when I inquired about the deserts she talked so low I could not hear her. Twice she said blew me off saying, “It is in the menu”. When I finally asked, “Where”, she said, “Oh, it is not in that one”.

    My friends and I would have had a pleasant evening; yet it turned out to be one I would not like to repeat. Thanks for your time. T

    • Tony,
      Sorry to hear about your bad experience at Sample Room. Please note that the Twin Cities Restaurant Blog is NOT AFFILIATED with Sample Room or any of the other restaurants that I review. I am an independent foodie :)
      Sample Room will not likely see the comment you left so you will probably want to send your comments to them directly.

  3. Again with the negativity, what is that kind of talk, “I’ll never go back, but I don’t really expect the restaurant to be around much longer anyway.” I’m sure you would not like to hear something like that from the restaurant. And what is with the “artic blast?!” We are in MN, you should expect that kind of thing, especially from single-entry restaurants. Please don’t let that be the reason for why you would not wish to return to The Sample Room and for why you would prophesied its demise. You said it yourself, “Minneapolis has hundreds of better choices.” Look around for one that will suit your needs, don’t bash on one for people like me who have not been there.

  4. “The message to me was that I am not important. And the Sample Room is pretentious.”
    I don’t think that’s true at all. If it was really as bad as you claim, the situation should have been reported to management at the time of the incident, not several days later or even after you get home. The man who answered the phone was probably sarcastic because this happened several days ago, and in his mind, “This lady is calling to complain of bad service (X) amount of days after it has happened?” After reading your post, I really think it was unfortunate that the restaurant had to deal with someone as vindictive as yourself. Don’t just say you’ll never go to a restaurant again for reasons such as that, I’m sure the initial mistake was not intentional.

    • SO, how long have you been working at the sample room? What a lame copout. Bad reviews say a lot more about a restaurant than good ones do, and they’re a lot more likely to BE TRUTHFUL, and not be just a bunch of “Me Too-ish” hogwash that’s basically put out there by the restaurant itself.

  5. I went to the Sample Room last night and had a terrible experience. It’s small, over-crowded, over-priced, and pretentious. The manager is not pleasant. The food was average and expensive. They have only one door, so every time someone comes in from outside the patrons are treated to an arctic blast. I’ll never go back, but I don’t really expect the restaurant to be around much longer anyway. Minneapolis has hundreds of better choices.

  6. I just went to the Sample Room last week and had the worst service I’ve had in the Twin Cities. I went with a friend. The waiter goofed up our bill three times, and on the fourth try told us this was his first day. He wasn’t apologetic at all. And it really stressed out my friend who was putting it on her credit card.
    For the first time in my life, I called the manager, Jay. Before he even got on the phone, I could hear the man who answered it say “I want to speak to the manager” in a sarastic, mocking tone! Wow. I’m not sure I was intended to hear it, or not.
    The manager, Jay, was also snobbish on the phone, remembering the incident, telling me that the only important thing was that we ended up with the correct bill. I guess it wasn’t important that I had to add the numbers myself for that to occur, or that I have been going to the Sample Room since it opened. Or that I told him I wasn’t comfortable with the service. Or that we had spent $70 there & despite the mistakes, still tipped the waiter nearly 20%.
    The message to me was that I am not important. And the Sample Room is pretentious.
    It’s really unfortunate. But I’ll never go back.
    Northeast, Mpls.

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