Feb 152011

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and my meal was provided by the restaurant. All opinions are my own.

Cuisine: American,  Dessert, Italian, Pasta, Steak, Chops
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet, Catering, Happy Hour, Kids Menu, On-Site Parking, Patio
Location: Apple Valley, MN
Address: 15435 Founders Lane Apple Valley, MN 55124  952-891-6569
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11a-9p   Fri-Sat  11a-10p   Sun 10a-9p
Links: Enjoy! Website * Enjoy on Facebook *  Google Map

Enjoy! ~ Apple Valley, MN

Atmosphere: Enjoy! is located in a very large, impressive  building about 1/2 mile south of Country Rd 42 off of Galaxie Dr. and Founders Ln.  The restaurant is divided into seven distinct areas, The Conservatory (pictured below), The Upper Dining Room, The Grotto, The Vintage Room, The Water’s Edge Patio, The Bar Patio, and The Lounge.  We ate in the lovely Conservatory which had a beautiful fireplace  complete with a large-tile mosaic painting.  One highlight of the room was the magnificent domed skylight.  In addition to having tables, this area also has high-backed booths which offer a sense of privacy.

The Upper Dining Room is another one of the many seating areas at Enjoy! that is perfect for groups, offering larger booths and tables that can accommodate many.

Enjoy! also has The Vintage Room available for Banquets and larger parties. The Lounge  is also a big, beautiful area and is also the place to go for a great Happy Hour.

Menu: Enjoy! just unveiled their new menus within the past few weeks with a great selection of favorites as well as many new items.  The Lunch Menu is served Mon-Sat 11am-3pm and includes Bruschetta, Calamari, Mozzarella and Artichoke Bake, Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms and Crab Cakes for Appetizers.

In addition to many of the pastas, salads, seafoods and meats that are offered at dinner, Enjoy! has a nice selection of Specialty Sandwiches on the Lunch Menu: Prime Rib Dip, Chicken Cashew, BLT, Ultimate Grilled Cheese (cheddar, fontina and bacon), Turkey Club, Chicken Bacon Avocado Wrap, Pulled Pork, Grilled Chicken, Reuben, Rachel, Beer Battered Cod, and Open Faced Turkey.  Burgers are also offered at lunch; Juicy Lucy, Avocado Bacon, Crispy Cheddar, Black and Blue or Build Your Own.

The Dinner Menu is served after 3pm and has starters such as Bruschetta, Calamari, Mozzarella and Artichoke Bake, Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms, Seared Scallops, Crab Cakes, Tenderloin Tips, and the Warm Cheese Sampler.

Grilled Flatbread options include Pesto Chicken, Mushroom and Garden (olive, artichoke, tomato, garlic).

Enjoy! also offers salads including the Caesar, Iceberg Wedge, Strawberry Spinach Salad, Chopped, Avocado and Crab, Tenderloin, and the Enjoy! Salad (pear, gorgonzola, walnuts).  Soups offered are French Onion, Tomato Basil and Lobster Chowder.

Classics are the Chicken Pot Pie, Grilled Chicken Sandwich or Build-Your-Own-Burger.

Pasta dishes at Enjoy! include Cannelloni, Fettuccine Alfredo, Spicy Sausage Penne, Short Rib Lasagna, Shrimp Angel Hair, Seafood Fettuccine, Lobster Ravioli, and Duck Risotto.

Meat Entrees offered are the Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Piccata, Oven Roasted Chicken, Flat iron Steak, Sirloin, Filet Mignon,  New York Strip (14oz),  Ribeye (16oz), Veal Marsala, Lamb Chops, Pork Chops and Prime Rib.

Seafood and Fish selections at Enjoy! are the Tilapia, Mahi Mahi, Pecan Crusted Walleye, Crab and Brie Stuffed Salmon, Halibut, Sea Bass, Seared Scallops, and Lobster Tail.

Side dishes include Fingerling Potatoes, Parmesan Leek Hash Browns, Mashed Potatoes, Whipped Sweet Potatoes, House Cut Fries, Boursin or Bleu Cheese Bubble Bread, Fettuccine Alfredo, Herb Risotto, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Green Beans, and Broccolini.

Desserts at Enjoy! are heavenly.  Options include Maple Creme Brulee, Chocolate Molten Lava Cake, Cheesecake, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Key Lime Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Upside Down Walnut Crusted Apple Pie, Hot Fudge Sundae and Italian Gelato or Sorbet.  There are also a number of dessert coffees, drinks, cordials and ports.

Kids Menu items include Buttered Noodles, Spaghetti, Penne & Cheese, Chicken Fingers, Grilled Cheese, Mini Burgers, Grilled Chicken, and Beef Tenderloin.  Served with drink and ice cream sundae.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-12  Sandwiches $  Pastas $13-23  Entrees$ 17-29 Seafood $17-29  Desserts $4-7 Kids Menu $5-10

Happy Hour:

  • Sunday-Thursday 3pm-Close  Friday 3-6:30pm
  • Specials available in the Lounge Only
  • $3- Opulent martinis, Jameson, Beefeater, Captain Morgan, Michelob Golden, Miller Lite, Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss, Sam Adams, Summit Epa,
  • $4-Canyon Road Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, white zinfandel, Bass Ale, Amstel Light, Blue Moon, Ranger Pale Ale
  • $5- Enjoy! Wines- Chardonnay, Cabernet and Syrah, Guinness and Stella Artois
  • $6  Any signature martini or cocktail, French Onion Soup, Emjoy! Salad, Spinach Salad, Bruschetta, Chicken Tenders, Garden Flatbread
  • $7 Lobster Chowder, Mozzarella and Artichoke Bake, Calamari, Bubble Bread, Pesto Chicken Flatbread
  • $8- Fish & Chips, Crab Cakes, Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms, Seared Scallops, Garden Shrimp Flatbread
  • $9 – Tenderloin Tips, Shrimp Cocktail, Mushroom Flatbread, Black & Blue Flatbread, Warm Cheese Sampler

Sunday Brunch:

  • 10am-3pm
  • Adults/ $21.95   Kids 3-11/ $11.95
  • Assorted Muffins and Pastries, Yogurt Parfait Bar, Fresh Fruits, Antipasti, Shrimp Cocktail, Enjoy! Salad, SunDried Tomato Pesto Salad, Scrambled Eggs, Eggs Benedict, Bacon, Sausage, Parmesan Leek Hash Brown Potatoes, Sausage Penne, Chicken Rigatoni, Tilapia, Eggs and Omeletes (cooked to order), French Toast, Belgian Waffle, Carved Beef, and Chocolate Fountain.
  • Includes Orange Juice, Coffee, Champagne or Mimosa.

What we ordered: We started with a couple of beverages, I had the House Pinot Noir and my companion had the Raspberry Mint Long Island.  Oh, was this yummy! It was sweet and fruity yet still packed quite a punch.  You’ll feel real good after a couple of these!

We also got this complimentary basket of different breads, French, Sourdough, Pumpernickel, and a Flatbread Cracker.  All were very good, it was nice to have a variety to choose from.

We tried the Calamari, which was extremely tender. The strips were thick and cooked perfectly without any hint of chewiness.  The outside wasn’t as crispy as I like it but since that would mean overcooking it, I’ll take it tender over chewy any day!  It was served with two dips, the spicy marinara and a lemon herb aoili.  Both were excellent!

We also got the Tenderloin Tips, a great choice if you want mouth-watering, tender beef.  These bite-sized pieces were pan-seared in a tangy bourbon sauce, topped with green onion and tomato and served with a  creamy horseradish sauce for dipping. These were great!

My companion also tried the Lobster Chowder.  This soup was extremely enjoyable; the sweet and tender bites of lobster were the star of this dish with the corn, potato, and leeks cooked al dente to create a nice contrast in texture to the creamy broth.

There were so many temptations on the menu that when I saw the special Tasting Menu featuring a sampling of regular menu offerings, I knew it was the perfect choice for me.  The first course had a sample of the Enjoy! Salad, Lobster Chowder and Bruschetta.  I loved every bite of the Lobster Chowder, as described previously.  The Enjoy! Salad was also very good; a mix of greens with gorgonzola cheese, slices of pear, candied walnuts and tossed in a citrus vinaigrette.  One of my favorite salads! The Bruschetta was also delightful, a combo of fresh tomato with basil served over grilled french bread then drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  Reminds me of summer!

The main course included a sampling of Halibut, Canneloni and Chicken Picatta.  The Halibut was a thick sampling of the filet, seared to an appetizing golden brown and served over a creamy mustard sauce with asparagus tips.  The Canneloni is one of the signature dishes at Enjoy!, a tube of pasta stuffed with ground beef, pork, tomatoes, ricotta then topped with mozzarella and served on a bed of spicy marinara.  This was wonderful, a real classic. The ground meats were very flavorful but one of my favorite aspects of the dish was the combination of red and white sauces.  The third item of this sampler  and my favorite of the three was the Chicken Picatta.  This decent-sized pounded chicken breast was served over a creamy herbed risotto and topped with a light and creamy lemon butter caper sauce.  This was so delicious!  The lemon was apparent without being overpowering and the capers provided just a hint of saltiness.

The dessert course also had three delicious samples: the Chocolate Bread Pudding, Maple Creme Brulee and Espresso Cheesecake.  I started with the Chocolate Bread Pudding.  This had a good taste but the texture of it was slightly hard so I moved on to the creamy creme brulee.  I loved it!  It was very creamy but didn’t have the eggy texture that custard often gets.  It had a candied sugar crust on top that gave just a hint of crunch to contrast the creaminess.  The third dessert sample was the Cheesecake, a bite of heaven supported by a crunchy oreo cookie crust then topped with an espresso glaze. Mmmmm

After much deliberation my companion ordered the Sea Bass for an entree.  Oh My was this delectable!  The filet itself was perfectly cooked, light and flaky, served over a bed of delicious veggies.  The roasted brussel sprouts, swiss chard and crispy bacon bites were tossed in a creamy citrus butter sauce; every bite was wonderful.

We shared this Coffee with Bailey’s for an after-dinner drink while enjoying our desserts

My companion also ordered the Key Lime Pie, which was exceptional.  It was creamy and tart yet sweet.  Scrumptious!

Service: I had made a reservation and despite being late, my table was waiting for me when I got there.  The hostess checked our coats right away and shortly after we were seated we were greeted by our server.  We took our time looking over the menu however the server really helped by highlighting the special features and making other recommendations.  The pacing of the food was just right, giving us time to finish each course before the next arrived.  Overall I was very pleased with the service, it certainly made the experience even more enjoyable.

Overall Impression: I was very impressed with Enjoy! and can honestly say it is one of the best (new-to-me) restaurants I have tried in many months.  The facilities are gorgeous and the perfect place to have a group dinner or event.  The new dinner menu is impressive, as are the Chef’s Special Features; we enjoyed everything we tried.  I have not yet eaten at Enjoy! for lunch but all of the sandwiches sounded wonderful and the best part about lunch is that it is guaranteed 45 minutes or less or it is free!  I look forward to going back once the weather warms up so I can enjoy the patio too!
Enjoy! on Urbanspoon

Feb 062011

Cuisine: American, Barbeque, Dessert, Ribs
Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter-Service (at many locations), On-Site Parking
Locations: Apple Valley, Bloomington, Burnsville, Coon Rapids, Duluth, Forest Lake, MOA, Mankato, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Rochester, Roseville, St Paul, St Cloud, Stillwater, Woodbury
Apple Valley – 7593 147th Street Apple Valley, MN 55124    952-891-6400
Bloomington- 5101 West 98th Street Bloomington, MN 55437  952-832-0500
Burnsville-  2721 County Road 5 Burnsville, MN 55337 952-882-9933
Coon Rapids- 3211 Northdale Boulevard  Coon Rapids, MN 55448  763-421-9467
Duluth- 355 Lake Avenue South Duluth, MN 55802    218-740-3180
Forest Lake- 43 19th Street SW Forest Lake, MN 55025  651-464-4400
Mall of America- 320 South Avenue, Mall of America Bloomington, MN 55425 952-854-0225
Mankato-  291 St. Andrew Drive Mankato, MN 56001  507-385-1223
Maple Grove- 7825 Vinewood Lane Maple Grove, MN 55369  763-416-4600
Minneapolis- (Calhoun BBQ & Blues Club) 3001 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55408 612-822-9900
Minneapolis-  4264 Upton Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55410  612-929-1200
Minnetonka-  14601 Highway 7  Minnetonka, MN 55345 952-933-9600
Plymouth- 11308 Highway 55 Plymouth, MN 55441  763-525-0500
Rochester- 431 NW 16th Avenue Rochester, MN 55901  507-282-4200
Roseville- 2131 Snelling Avenue Roseville, MN 55113 651-633-4800
St Paul- 1930 West 7th Street St. Paul, MN 55116 651-699-8800
Stillwater-  14200 60th Street North Stillwater, MN 55082 651-439-5200
St Cloud- 310 3rd Street NE Waite Park, MN 56387  320-217-5900
Woodbury- 1940 Donegal Drive Woodbury, MN 55125 651-501-1900

Hours: Daily 11am
Links: Famous Daves Website * Famous Dave’s Facebook Page * Map to Famous Dave’s Locations

Atmosphere: Most of the Famous Dave’s locations around the Twin Cities look very similar in decor, where the entrance leads you right to the counter where you order your food.   Wooden structures are built to resemble old shacks around the kitchen area.  Tables are spread throughout the space (pictured below is the Forest Lake location), all covered with red and white checkered tablecloths. Antique memorabilia adorns the walls.

The Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues at Calhoun Square has a stage for live performances.  Cool place to see a small, intimate show!

Menu: Appetizers at Famous Dave’s include Smoked Salmon Spread, Chicken Fingers, Catfish Fingers, Ribs Tips, BBQ or Buffalo Chicken Wings, and Onion Strings.

Side dishes at Famous Dave’s include Wilbur Beans, Coleslaw, Potato salad, Dunkin Apples, Fries, Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes,

Famous Dave’s has salads! Options include Smoked Salmon Caesar, Grilled Chicken Caesar, Crispy Chicken, and Dave’s Sassy BBQ Salad.  Soups include Chili or Wild Rice.

Sandwiches come with one side and include Beef Brisket, Chopped Pork, Barbeque Chicken, Texas Manhandler, Hickory Chicken, Cajun Chicken and Char-Grilled Chicken.  Burger options are the Char-Grilled Burger, Cheeseburger, Ultimate BBQ, Devil Spit, and Bacon & Jack Favorite Burger.

Barbeque Classics at Famous Dave’s are the Texas Beef Brisket, Georgia Chopped Pork, Barbeque Chicken, Rib Tips, Chicken Tenders, Country Roasted Chicken and Sweetwater Cajun Catfish.

Award-Winning Ribs are smoked in the pit then finished on the grill.  Size options  are 1/3 slab, 1/2 slab or full rack (12 bones).

Kids Meals include Roasted or BBQ Chicken, Chicken Tenders, Chopped Pork, Hamburger or Cheeseburger,  Ribs, and Mac & Cheese.

Dessert selections include Famous Bread Pudding, Pecan Pie, Hot Fudge Kahlua Brownie, and Ice Cream, Sundae with Hot Fudge or Pecan Praline Sauce.

Famous Dave’s has a variety of different sauces that are sure to please just about anyone!

Price guide: Appetizers $6-9  Sandwiches $9-10  BBQ Meats $12-13  Ribs $13-22 Desserts $6

What we ordered: I had the two-meat combo with Catfish Fingers and Texas Beef Brisket.  The four medium-sized catfish fingers were hot and crispy, fresh out of the fryer and seasoned with semi-spicy Cajun seasonings.  It  comes with to sauces to dip in, a sweet & sour type of sauce and a seasoned mayo tartar.  I thought these were especially yummy with the seasoned tartar.  The Texas Beef Brisket was also pretty good.  This combo came with corn, a corn bread muffin and two sides.  I love the corn bread at Famous Dave’s! It is more moist than typical corn bread and slightly sweet.  I am not a fan of the overcooked boring corn, which is a far cry from the sweetcorn we harvest in Minnesota.  The two sides I got were the garlic smashed potatoes and coleslaw, both very good.

My companion ordered the XXL Rib Platter, a 12-bone rack of St Louis Style ribs.  The ribs were meaty and quite tender, full of smokey flavor from the Pit.  The two sides were fries and cinnamon apples.

Service: The Forest Lake location of Famous Dave’s offers counter-service, and we were able to order within minutes of arriving.  We got ourselves drinks at the self-service station and waited approximately ten minutes before our food arrived.  Staff walk the dining room and check with guests from time to time to determine if they need anything, and bus tables when necessary.

Overall Impression: I really like the variety of menu choices at Famous Daves, although I think their prices are slightly high for the amount of food you get.  They have several great choices of sauces and despite being a large chain-restaurant, I think they do have pretty decent barbeque (you can’t go wrong with the ribs!).  If you register to be a part of the P.I.G. Club you can get special offers, so go sign up here
Famous Daves on Urbanspoon

Nov 262010

Cuisine: American, Bar & Grill, Burgers, Dessert
Restaurant Features: Bar, Kids Menu, On-Site Parking
Locations: Apple Valley, Plymouth and Shoreview, MN
Addresses & Maps:

Apple Valley– 15560 Cedar Ave. Apple Valley, MN 55124 (952)997-6250

Plymouth– 2669 Campus Drive Plymouth, MN 55441 (952)997-6250

Shoreview– 1090 Gramsie Road Shoreview, MN 55126 (651)766-8417

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-10pm  Friday-Saturday 11am-11pm

Links: * Red Robin Website * Red Robin Facebook Page *

Atmosphere: The Shoreview Red Robin is located just off 694 and Lexington Ave , in a large stand-alone building next to the Hampton Inn.  The decor is contemporary and somewhat industrial, with exposed air ducts,etc up above and abstract-patterned booths and tables gracing the dining room floor.  The walls are adorned with a variety of interesting memorabilia and framed posters.

The Expediting window is open to the dining room and is a very busy place as servers quickly grab hot fries and burgers to take to their customers. I happened to be sitting on the other side of a partition from it and had this lovely view.  Our table had a lamp similar to the ones you see here, with the exception that it wasn’t a heat map, just a mini spot-light on our food!

The Shoreview location also has a nice bar area just inside the main entrance, with more booths as well as an extra-long pub table that can be used for big groups.

Menu: Appetizers at Red Robin include Towering Onion Rings, Riblets & Chips, Buzzard Wings, Chili Nachos, Chicken and Bacon Quesadillas, Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip, Chili Con Queso, and Guacamole & Salsa with Chips.

Soup options at Red Robin include French Onion Soup, Homemade Chili, Clam Chowder, and Chicken Tortilla Soup.  Salad offerings include Mighty Caesar, Asian Chicken, Cobb, Apple Harvest Chicken, Crispy Chicken Tender, Grilled Chicken and Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.

Premium Sandwiches offered at Red Robin are the Grilled Salmon, Grilled Chicken, Crispy Arctic Cod, Lettuce-Wrap Burger, Garden Burger, Boca Burger, California Chicen, Chicken Teriyaki, Crispy Chicken, Pulled BBQ Chicken, Blackened Chicken, Simply Grilled Chicken, Bruschetta Chicken, and Chicken Caprese Sandwich.  Lighter sandwiches include BLT with Avocado Croissant, Chicken Cesar Wrap, BBQ Chicken Wrap.  All sandwiches come with bottomless steak fries.

Gourmet Burger offerings at Red Robin are the Banzai Burger (marinated in teriyaki with pineapple), Bleu Ribbon, Guacamole Bacon, Royal Red Robin, Whiskey River BBQ, Shroom and Swiss, Bacon Cheeseburger, A-1 Peppercorn Burger, All-American Patty Melt, Red Robin Gourmet Cheeseburger, and Burnin Love Burger.  All burgers come with bottomless steak fries.

Red Robin’s Entrees include Clucks & Fries (chicken tenders), Jumbo Shrimp & Slaw Platter, Creamy Mac N’ Cheese, Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta, Prime Rib Dip, Riblet Basket, Arctic Cod Fish & Chips, Red’s Rice Bowl with Chicken Teriyaki, Grilled Chicken Alla Caprese, and Ensenada Chicken Platter

Desserts at Red Robin include any of their Ice Cream Shakes and Malts, Hot Fudge Sundae, and Hot Apple Crisp.

Items on the Kids Menu include Burger, Corn Dog, Cheesy Mac N’ Cheese, Pizza, Grilled Chicken on a Stick, Spaghetti, Chicken Fingers, Grilled Cheese, and Chick-N-Cheese Quesadilla.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-10 *Soup $3/5 *Salads $6-10 *Sandwiches $9-10 *Gourmet Burgers $9-10  *Entrees $9-13  *Desserts $3-6 *Kids Menu $5

What we ordered: My companion and I shared a Strawberry Malt which was like Heaven in a glass.  Ice cream is one of my most favorite of foods and if it is going to be mixed with fruit it also better be mixed with a lot of malt powder!  It had a great amount of strawberries mixed in, making it perfectly fruity and creamy.  It was topped with a good amount of whipped cream and sprinkles as well.  Almost too thick to sip through a straw which is just how a malt should be.

Just about everything on the menu looked good but since this was my first-ever visit, a burger was the only choice I would be satisfied with.  The Burnin Love Burger came highly recommended from our server and the spiciness sounded right up my alley.  Every element to this burger was all about the spice, from the Jalapeno infused kaiser roll, the cayenne-seasoned beef patty, to the pepper jack cheese, the crispy fried jalapenos and the chipotle mayo.  Oh, I can’t forget the salsa!  It also had sliced tomato and shredded lettuce.  This burger was awesome! It was spicy but not to the point where your face is going to burn off or anything.  All the burgers at Red Robin come with bottomless steak fries, how great is that?

My companion ordered the Blue Ribbon Burger, which is one I would likely get on another visit.  The 1/2 lb burger of juicy beef is basted with a steak sauce then placed upon a bed of crispy onion straws then topped with bleu cheese crumbles, shredded lettuce and tomato.  It is all placed on a freshly baked onion bun.  After having one bite of this burger, I think I could eat onion straws on every single burger I eat from now on.  I love the sweet and crunchy texture. Yum! And meat with bleu cheese? Double Yum!

Service: We had an adorable, friendly server who was genuinely great at her job.  She made good suggestions and stopped by frequently to refill sodas and water. and our food was served quickly.

Overall Impression: I know Red Robin is a big chain and I tend to avoid the Big Guys, but I won’t be able to stop myself from heading back to Red Robin for another delicious burger and malt very soon!

Red Robin-Shoreview Saint Paul, MN

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers on Urbanspoon