Mar 102012

Cuisine: Breakfast, Deli
Restaurant Features: Cafeteria Style, Counter Service, Delivery, On-Site Parking
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 32 Fillmore Ave E St Paul, MN 55107  651-291-8868
Hours: Mon-Fri 6am-2pm

Links: Wabasha Deli Website * Wabasha Deli on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located on Wabasha just before it heads across the Mississippi into Downtown St Paul, the Wabasha Cafe makes its home in the same industrial building as Nasseff Mechanical.  The parking lot is quite big but the interior is rather unimpressive.  It has an old, grungy feel to it and the items in the deli case were just as unimpressive. You order at the counter where there are hand-written menu boards displayed on the wall behind.  You wait while your sandwich is being made and pay at the far counter after you get your food.

Most of the seating is in the form of wooden bistro tables and chairs near the front of the space near the windows.

There is also a dining nook that was created for a more cozy place to eat, a very welcome addition.

Menu: Breakfast is served until 10:15 and includes McWabasha Muffin Sandwich, Philly Sandwich, Eggs, Toast, Bacon, Sausage, Pancakes and French Toast.

Omelettes are made with three eggs and include Cheese, Ham & Cheese, Wabasha Special (ham, cheese, onion and green pepper), Veggie, and Protein (bacon, ham, sausage, cheese).

Sandwich options at Wabasha Deli include Club House, Turkey, Roast Beef, Corned Beef, Ham and Hard Salami.  Bread options include White, Wheat, Rye, Hoagie Roll or Croissant.  There are also a handful of Wraps offered such as BLT, Turkey & Garlic, Egg Salad Olive, Pesto Cream Cheese Veggie, Turkey Cucumber Ranch, Turkey Bacon Bleu Cheese, Chicken Caesar and Asian Chicken.

Hot Lunch Items include Sloppy Joes, Chili, Chili Nachos, Italian Roast Beef Hoagie, Corned Beef Hoagie, Turkey Bacon Club Croissant.

Price guide: Breakfast $3-5 Salads $  Sandwiches $4-6

What we ordered: This was my first time to visit Wabasha Deli so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I will almost always choose a hot sandwich over a cold one, and I especially like reubens, so it was an easy choice when I saw Reuben Panini on the menu.  My companion also ordered the same sandwich.  I can be very picky when it comes to Reubens and I have to admit my expectations  weren’t real high, based solely on the looks of the deli counter.  I asked and was told that the meats are all sliced fresh daily.  This reuben was pretty good, better than I expected.  It had several slices of deli-style corned beef, real swiss cheese that was thickly sliced, and a heaping of good sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.  The marble rye bread was crispy from the panini press, giving the sandwich a nice crunch.  We both ordered ours with kettle chips and deli pickle, which was an additional charge.

I also bought a White Chocolate Macademia Nut Cookie that was soft and chewy.

Service: The person behind the counter who helped me was helpful and friendly.  There was a line about 5-10 people deep when we arrived but it went quickly.  I was appreciative of the wait so that I could peruse the menu boards.  Our sandwiches were prepared in about five minutes.
Overall Impression: The Reuben Panini and the cookie that I tried were both tasty, although I think I would prefer to get my order to go next time.  Quick and inexpensive.
Wabasha Deli & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Nov 052011

Cuisine: Gyros, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Cafeteria Style, On-Site Parking
Locations: St Paul, MN
Addresses & Maps:
Hillcrest Shopping Center– 1676 White Bear Ave North St Paul, MN 55106 (651) 776-5419
University– 860 University Ave W St Paul, MN 55104  (651) 228-0310
North End– 1700 Rice St # G St Paul, MN 55113 (651) 489-2900
East Side– 949 Payne Ave St Paul, MN 55106 (651) 771-6740
Hours: Mon – Sat 11am-9pm Sundays 11 am- 7 pm
Links: Best Steak House Website * Best Steak House on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Hillcrest location of Best Steak House is at the corner of White Bear Ave and Larpenteur.  You walk in and are immediately directed toward the counter where you order, then head through the cafeteria-style line which includes the salad bar, toward the cash register at the end of the line.

The dining room is long and narrow, with several booths running along the wall, as well as a large room in the back with tables.

Menu: The menu varies slightly at each Best Steak House location but most include T-Bone, Fillet, New York Strip, Ribeye and Shrimp.  Gyro Sandwich and Steak Burger.

Additionally, the Best Steak House on University offers Cod Filet, Catfish, Cheeseburger, and Chicken Tenders.
Price guide: Steaks $9-17

What we ordered: Nearly every plate you order at Best Steak House comes with a trip through the salad bar.  My salad consisted of some of the basic but fresh items offered.

I ordered the Gyro with Fresh Cut Fries.  I cannot believe how much food I got for under $10! There was a giant pile of thickly sliced gyro meat, many of which were crispy on one side and still moist and tender.  It also had thinly sliced white onions and a couple of slices of tomato.  It came with a small side of sour cream with chives rather than traditional tzaziki sauce.  It was still great, overall and so big that  I had enough left over for a second meal the next day.

My companion ordered the Sirloin for $10, which came with a baked potato and Texas Toast.  The steak was ordered medium rare but was served closer to medium, but was still tender and juicy.  It may have had a tiny sprinkling of salt, but other than that it wasn’t seasoned.

Service: We were able to order right away and move through the line to get our salads and then paid at the end of the line.  We sat ourselves, which is how you do it at Best Steak House, and our food was delivered about five minutes later.
Overall Impression: Fast service and decent food at very reasonable prices.  Excellent gyro!

This is an original review of Best Steak House on Twin Cities Restaurant Blog
Best Steak House - White Bear Avenue on Urbanspoon

Feb 262009

Cuisine: Deli, Italian, Pizza, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Cafe-Style, On-Site Parking, Market

Location: St Paul, MN (Downtown)
Address: 211 Seventh St W St Paul, MN 55102  (651) 222-3476

Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm
Links: Google Map * Cossetta’s Facebook Page

Atmosphere: Cossetta’s is a cafe-style restaurant, with two main serving areas that work their way toward the middle: The Pizza/Dessert counter on the far right and the Sandwiches/Salads/Hot Entree counter to the far left near the Italian Market. Order what you would like at designated counter (some items such as the lasagna, mostacolli and pizza are premade, but other items such as salads, sandwiches, veal parmesgiana, etc are made to order), then pay for everything at one of the two cashiers in the middle. Beverages are purchased at the cashier.


Cossetta’s is a two-story restaurant, with a majority of the seating on the upper level.  Since the middle of the restaurant is open the full two stories to accommodate the stairway, many of the tables in the upper level wrap around a railing overlooking the action below.  There is also a dining room upstairs in the back that has several tables extremely close together.  When it gets crowded it can be hard to maneuver in and out.


Not pictured is the Cossetta Market, which sells imported food products from Italy, as well as fresh deli items (salads, sausage, sauce,etc).

Menu: Cossettas has a selection of made-to-order garden salads, such as the famous Cossetta Salad, Italian Garden Salad, or Italian Gorgonzola. There are also a handful of pasta salads like the Antipasto Salad or the Tortellini with Prosciutto and Gorgonzola.

Cossettas also has several sandwiches.  The Hero (choice of meat) and the Italian Hero are served cold with choice of fixings, while the following are all served hot: Cossetta Sandwich, Hot Peppers and Sausage, Veal Parmegiana, and Italian Meatball.

Entrees include Mostacolli with Ricotta, Chicken Marsala, Sausage and Peppers, Lasagna, Veal Parmesan, and Chicken Cacciatore.  Every month there is also a Featured Special; February’s special is Manicotti Panna Marzano.

Pizza can be bought by the slice or you can order a whole pizza.  There are always hot, fresh slices of Cheese, Pepperoni, and Sausage, as well as a Daily Special.  One 16″ is divided into six slices.

Desserts include Spumoni, Gelato, Cannoli and Tiramisu.

*All beverages are canned or bottled.

Price guide: Salads $ 4-8  Sandwiches $ 7-8 Entrees $5-11 Pizza by Slice $3.50-4
What I ordered: I shared this gigantic piece of pizza with my companion.  The slice was so big it hardly fit on the standard cardboard plate it came on!  The pizza at Cossetta’s is New York Style, with a chewy, hand-tossed crust and just the right amount of sauce.  The mozzarella that they use is fresh and plentiful, and there were also plenty of slices of pepperoni which made it kind of greasy.  Cossetta’s pizza is my favorite local pizza thus far.


My companion and I also each got the veal parmegiana entree, which comes with mostacolli and garlic toast.  I ordered mine with the sauce on the side to maintain the crispiness of the veal for as long as possible.  The veal is sliced about 1/4″, making it tender yet crispy on the outside.  The portion size was on the small side but worth every penny.  The mostacolli was tossed lightly with ricotta and comes loaded with red sauce ( I added the sauce myself from the side they gave me and saved the rest for my veal).  The mostacolli was firm and delicious with the sauce.  The garlic toast was huge! It had a fair amount of garlic butter and was slightly salty but packed with flavor.  It was also just the right amount of crispy on the outside and still soft on the inside- I especially loved it dipped in sauce.


Service: My visit was late on a Saturday afternoon, just 3 hours or so before a Wild Hockey game.  We were fortunate enough to get to Cossetta’s before it started to get packed, which meant a prime spot in the Cossetta’s Parking Lot (for customers only, no event parking!) and reasonable food lines.  Within a half hour or so after we arrived, it really started to fill up in the restaurant and the lines were getting long.  As far as the actual service itself, the cafe-style servers were friendly and accommodating. I have eaten at Cossetta’s countless times and everything is consistently good.
Overall Impression: Delicious Italian food served reasonably fast and at affordable prices.  Great place to have a giant slice of NY Style pizza (my favorite in fact ;) Can be very busy on weekend evenings and prior to events at the Xcel Energy Center.  Free parking in own lot.
Cosetta's Italian Market & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Jul 132007

Cuisine: American, Steak

Restaurant Features: Cafe Style, On-Site Parking

Location: St Paul (east side)

Address: 1676 White Bear Ave N St Paul, MN 55106   (651) 776-5419

**4 Additional locations in St Paul  1.Payne Ave 2. 860 University Ave

3. 1613 University Ave and 4. Rice St and a location in Moundsview.

Links: Google Map


Atmosphere: Very basic.  The menu is displayed on the wall near the front door and then you get in a line and tell the cook what you want and he will cook your steak to order.  Quickly make your salad from the salad bar and then get drinks/pay at the end of the counter.  Food is brought to the table when it is ready.  Both booths and tables are offered, as well as a second dining room in the back of the restaurant for larger parties.


Menu: 14 oz Sirloin, fillet, New York Strip, fried shrimp, grilled chicken breast and gyro sandwiches.  All steaks come with baked potato, piece of Texas Toast and side salad. May substitute potato for french fries.  Slices of pie available for dessert.

Price guide: $8-15

What I ordered: The daily special was a 6oz sirloin for $6.95.  All this for that price was a pretty great deal!  I had ordered my steak medium, but it was so thin it was closer to well-done (although tender). It didn’t have many (if any?) seasonings and tasted like the grill.  I feel like I can’t complain too much because it was still a lot for the money.



My companion ordered the 14oz bone-in Sirloin.  Very tender and lean.  Again, lacking on the seasonings.


Service: Basic counter service.  Not overly friendly.

Overall Impression: Fast and cheap.

Best Steak House - White Bear Avenue on Urbanspoon

May 082007

Cuisine: Delicatessen

Restaurant Features: Cafe-Style, Counter Service, On-Site Parking

Location: St Paul

Address: 1562 Como Ave. St Paul, MN 55108  Phone (651)647-1288 Fax (651) 644-2060

Hours Mon-Friday 6:30am -7:00pm  Sat 8:00am-6:00pm  Sun 8:00am-5:00pm

Links: Nelson Cheese * Nelson Cheese on FacebookGoogle Map






















Atmosphere: Take-out only, unfortunately :(

Menu: Open for breakfast, Nelson Cheese offers custom breakfast wraps (12″ tortilla, scrambled eggs, cheese with choice of Meat (bacon, ham, sausage), Veggies (green pepper, jalapenos, mushrooms, onions, tomato) and Sauce (cajun, caliente, salsa, sour cream).

Specialty sandwiches all have their own fancy names (ex. St paul Special, Como Club, Chicken Little, etc) and are made up of a variety of deli meats, cheeses, veggies and sauce, served ona  variety of breads.  These sandwiches are all served cold.

Hot sandwiches include a Hot Hero, Reuben or Rachel, Meatball, Philly Beef & cheese, Kansas City BBQ, Santa Fe, Lexington, New Orleans or Ham & cheese.

Large “Sub” stantials served ona  large torpedo roll include the Cheesemaker, the Manhattan, and the Big Bird.

Box lunches are also avaialble for call-ahead orders.

Price guide: Breakfast wraps $3.74 + tax  Specialty sandwiches $4.67 +tax  Hot Sandwiches $4.67 + tax  “Sub”stantials  $5.99 + tax

What I ordered: The reuben.  This sandwich was HUGE for $5!! The corned beef was good and I especially liked the “special sauce”, which was not the standard 1000 island like most reubens, but instead a creamy light cheese spread (I think thats what it was anyway!) The bread was crispy (I believe they toast/bake their sandwiches instead of grilling them).






















Service: Fairly fast, depending on how many customers are waiting and what you order.  Hot sandwiches obviously take a little longer.

Overall Impression: Excellent, fast sandwiches.  Wish they had a sit-down eating area

Nelson's Cheese Factory & Deli on Urbanspoon