Feb 182012

Cuisine: American, Greek, Mediterranean,
Restaurant Features: Beer & Wine, Catering, Student Discount 10%
Location: Minneapolis, MN (Dinkytown)
Address: 421 14th Avenue Southeast  Minneapolis, MN 55414 612-623-4900

Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-9pm * Fri-Sat 11am-10pm * Sun 12-9pm

Links: Kafe 421 Website * Kafe 421 on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located in Dinkytown at 14th Ave and 4th Street, Kafe 421 is a Wine Bar/Restaurant that serves Mediterranean-influenced cuisine.  The bar is just inside the entrance, with cute pendant lights hanging above and bottles of wine displayed on shelves.  The design is simple yet classy.  There are a handful of booths in the front, as well as a couple of tables and seating at the bar.

The main dining room is at the very back of the space.  The walls are lined with stained wood and hand-painted canvases.  Simple but cozy.

Menu: Appetizers include Baked Feta & Artichoke Dip, Mango Salsa with Pita Chips, Calamari, Crab Cakes, Dolmathakia, Eggplant Milanese, Spanakopita, and Meatballs.  Soup offerings include Creamy Tomato Basil and Beef Borscht.

Salads at Kafe 421 include Grilled Chicken Salad, Chopped Chicken Salad, Kafe 421 Salad Sampler, Grilled Salmon Salad, Steak Cobb, Greek, and Caesaer.

Kafe 421 also has a selection of Burgers and Sandwiches, which come with choice of Field Greens, Caesar Salad, Cup of Soup or Fresh Cut French Fries.  Burgers include Kafe 421 Burger, Mushroom and Swiss, Gorgonzola and Bacon, Lamb Burger, Gyros, Crab Cake Sandwich, Lechon (pork), Pavo (turkey breast), Fish Tacos, Kafe 421 Turkey Club, Chicken Panini, Chicken Wild Rice Burrito, Eggplant Milanese, Portabella Mushroom, Mediterranean Veggie Wrap and Chicken Salad Wrap.

Pasta dishes offered include Ravioli Bolognese, Shrimp Santorini, Blackened Salmon Fettuccine, Chicken Balsamico, Lemon Risotto, Artichoke and Portabella Penne, and Fettuccine Alfredo.

Dinner Entrees are served after 5 pm and include Lamb, Petite Beef Tenderloin, Souvlaki, Pollo, Gyros Platter, Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Moules Frites, Cardel (scallops and coconut risotto), Bouillabaisse Provençal Fish Stew, and Vegetarian Moussaka .

Kafe 421 also offers desserts such as Tiramisu, Gooey Brownie, Baklava, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Mousse, Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, and Cheesecake.
Price guide: Appetizers $8-12  Salads $5-13  Sandwiches $8-11 Pastas $13-17 Entrees $14-20  Desserts $6-7

Happy Hour:

  • Monday – Friday, 3 PM – 6 PM
  • $5 Select Apps and $3 House Wine & Beer

Weekly Specials:

  • Monday After 5 PM- 1/2 Off Bottles of Wine
  • Tuesday – Cheap Dinner for Two  $25 gets you and a friend each a salad, a pasta entree and one dessert to share. View Cheap Dinner Menu.
  • Wednesday After 5 PM- 1/2 Off Bottles of Wine
  • Sunday’s Cheap Dinner For 2 Starting at 5 PM

What we ordered: We started with an order of Calamari, which was very good.  It was a huge portion of perfectly cooked calamari rings with crispy seasoned battering.  It was served with sides of Tzatziki Sauce and Sriracha mayo for dipping.
Calamari at Kafe 421 ~ Minneapolis, MN
I had the Fish Tacos, which came highly recommended by our server.  This came with my choice of side so I opted for the cup of Cream of Mushroom soup, which was wonderful.  It was thick, rich and creamy with the distinct taste of roasted mushrooms.  The Tacos came two to an order, with flour tortillas stuffed with pieces of chili and lime seasoned Mahi Mahi mixed together with Mozzarella, Tomato, Scallion, Avocado, and Cilantro.  I thought the tacos were decent but I prefer my fish tacos to have bigger pieces of fish.  The seasoning on the fish also didn’t hit the mark for me; it was light but just didn’t have the depth of flavor I was hoping for.  This is just my opinion; my companion tried my fish tacos and loved them, thought they were great.

My companion ordered the Lamb Burger and it was fantastic!! The ground lamb meat was seasoned just like a gyro and it was moist and delicious. It was topped with very thin slices of cucumber, red onion and feta cheese and a little bit of tzaziki sauce.  It was served on grilled toasted Vienna bread that was a pleasant crunchy compliment to the tender lamb. I also loved the thinly sliced cucumber, the burger was even better because of it! It was served with choice of side, my companion ended up ordering the fresh cut fries.

Service: We had excellent service at Kafe 421.  We happened to be in the Dinkytown area and stopped for an early dinner before the weekend dinner crowd and had no problem finding a metered parking on the street outside.  We were greeted as soon as we arrived and were quickly seated.  Our server was friendly and gave us some good suggestions from the menu.  The food was timed just right so that our entrees came out after we were finished with our appetizer.
Overall Impression: Kafe 421 is a cozy restaurant and wine bar that has very good service and really good food.  If you like a lamb, you must try the Lamb Burger.
Kafe 421 on Urbanspoon
Kafe 421 Reviews in Minneapolis

Nov 112011

Cuisine: American, Pizza, Tacos
Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter Service, On-Site Parking
Location: Willernie, MN (Mahtomedi)
Address: 468 Stillwater Road Suite B Willernie, MN 55115 651-429-1141
Hours: M-F 3pm-10pm  Sat 12pm-10pm Sun 12pm-8pm
Links: Google Map

Atmosphere: Wildwood Pizza opened in a new location in March 2010, just a few blocks down Stillwater Ave from their original location in the former Wildwood Bowl (which is now home to The Hanger Room).  The new location is smaller and while the service is mostly take-out, there are a couple of tables set up for dining in.  The memorabilia on the walls is the same as what adorned the walls in the old location.

Menu: Appetizers include Nachos, Garlic Bread, French Fries, Cheesy Bread, MOzzarella Sticks, Onion Rings, Deef Fried Breaded Mushrooms, Buffalo Wings, Deep Fried Cauliflower, Cheddar Nuggets, Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Drummies, Jalapeno Poppers, Tator Tots, Pizza Rolls, and Mini Corn Dogs.

Salads offered at Wildwood Pizza include Taco Salad and Chef’s Salad.

Sandwich options include Hot Dago, Philly Cheese Steak, Chicken Sandwich, Hamburger, Cheeseburger, California Burger, Fish Sandwich, Corn Dog, Hot Dog, Chili Cheese Dog, Coney Island Dog, Grilled Pulled Pork.

Wildwood Pizza also offers Fried Flour Tacos (seasoned ground beef and toppings), Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Beef Ravioli.

Dinner Entrees include Fried Chicken and Fried Pollock (come with coleslaw and fries).

The Pizzas are where its at!! Wildwood offers several Specialty Pizzas sized 10″, 12″, 14″ and 16″ including Brian’s Super Deli Specialty (Canadian Ham, onion, pepperoni, sausage, muchrooms and green peppers), Tiffany’s Gourmet Deluxe (provolone, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, onion and sour cream, plus four toppings of your choice), Cheesy Willermedi Pie (5 cheeses), Boboli, Mushroom Special (pepperoni, mushrooms, green pepper, onion, green olives and bacon bits), Mexican Fiesta Special (jalapenos, refried beans, taco sauce, onion, taco chips, taco beef and tomatoes), Sauerkraut Special (pepperoni, onions, green pepper, green olives, bacon bits and sauerkraut) and Chicago Style (10″ classic deep dish).

Other Pizza Toppings include all of the classic ingredients as well as meatball, asparagus, banana peppers, spinach, jalapeno, shrimp, anchovies, chicken nuggets, grape jelly, peanut butter, black beans, dill pickle, sauerkraut and water chestnuts (just to name a few!
Price guide: Appetizers $2-8  Sandwiches $3-8  Pizzas $11+
What we ordered: For the past decade (or longer) the pizza that we always order from Wildwood is the Jumbo 16″ thin Crust with Pepperoni, Mushrooms, and Shrimp.  Shrimp on a pizza?! YES! These are teeny, tiny baby shrimp but they are wonderful.  The sauce at Wildwood is slightly sweet but it is delicious.

The Fried Flour Tacos are also a tasty treat.  The order comes with three fried flour tortillas filled with seasoned ground beef and lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese on the side for you to build-your-own. $4.50/order

Service: Depending on how busy it is, Wildwood makes pizzas quickly and they are usually accurate about how long it will take when you order it.

Overall Impression: Wildwood Pizza has long been a family favorite and one that I crave on a regular basis.  The fried flour tacos are also awesome! Really wish they still offered their famous malts that were served at the original location…. I miss the strawberry malt.

May 262011

Cuisine: Barbeque, Southern-Style
Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter Service, Take-Out ONLY
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Address: 2814 E 38th Street Minneapolis, MN 55406
Hours: Tues– Fri 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.  Sat– Sun 1 p.m. – 10 p.m. Monday- CLOSED
Links: Ted Cook’s Website * Ted Cook’s on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Ted Cook’s is a small operation located two blocks west of Hiawatha on E. 38th St, a quick walk from the Lightrail.   The small size does not afford room for dining, therefore all orders are take-out only.  Half of the space serves as the ordering/waiting area and the other half is the kitchen/pit area.  I could smell the strong pit smoke the second I walked in the place and there is no doubt I smelled like it when I left.  The room is equipped with the bare minimum; the service counter and a bench.

Menu: The heart and soul of Ted Cook’s is the Barbeque.  Choose from Half or Full Slab of Pork Ribs, Rib Tips, Barbequed Beef, Barbequed Pork, Barbequed Half Chicken, and Beef Ribs. All meats can be ordered ala carte or in a dinner combos  with Jo Jo Potatoes, Coleslaw and Bread.

Side Dishes include Coleslaw, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Jo Jo Potatoes, Collared Greens, Black Eyed Peas, Red Beans and Rice.

Desserts include Peach Cobbler and Sweet Potato Pie.

Price guide: Dinners $10-13 ($20 full rack), Side Dishes $2-4

What we ordered: We ordered a feast full of almost everything Ted Cook’s has to offer, starting with a couple of slabs of Pork Ribs in medium sauce.  These were meaty and tender, with a wonderful smoky  flavor embedded into the meat.  I am a big critic when it comes to barbeque sauces and tend to prefer mustard-based sauces over tomato-based, but I really liked this medium sauce from Ted Cook’s.  It was slightly spicy, tangy.

The Barbeque Beef is where it’s at at Ted Cook’s.  This beef was not like your typical beef brisket, instead it was very thinly sliced and extremely tender and moist from being tossed in the sauce.  The serving size was also extra big.  I loaded it up on the bread that came with it and had a big ol’ sandwich.  Excellent!

We also got the Rib Tips, which were tender and meaty.

We also had a couple of the Pulled Pork Dinners.  The pork was smoky, tender and very moist.  Another huge portion.

One of the sides we ordered was the Baked Beans. I thought these were really good, they were like classic baked beans with a hint of brown sugar, chunks of pork and the pleasantly surprising taste of garlic.

The Potato Salad was also good, standard deli-style with chunks of potato tossed in mayo, mustard, onion, celery.

We also had the Coleslaw which was very creamy.

I became a fan of Peach Cobbler while working in Texas the past two summers and had to try the version at Ted Cook’s.  This was pretty good, the peaches were swimming in a tart yet sweet syrup and had strips of pie crust floating on top.  It was served cold but I think it would be better served warm with vanilla ice cream on the side.

We also ordered a piece of Sweet Potato Pie. I did not try this and I didn’t see anyone else try it either so I am unable to report on the verdict. Hopefully next time!

Service: I live at least 40 minutes away from Ted Cook’s and I had a giant order so I wanted to call it in ahead of time.  No such luck at dinner time on a Saturday, when it gets busy at Ted Cook’s, they don’t bother to answer the phone.  We arrived to find a line about 8-10 people long, which went fairly fast.  Once we were able to order, our food was ready in about 10 minutes.  The man working the register was very nice and helpful too.
Overall Impression: I had been hearing about Ted Cook’s 19th Hole Barbeque for quite some time so I jumped on the chance to try it after buying a Deal from LivingSocial.  Very good barbeque at very reasonable prices for the large portion sizes.   I really  wish they had a dining room to eat in, it was a very long drive just for take-out (but worth it!)

Ted Cook's 19th Hole Barbeque on Urbanspoon

May 032011

*** Abetto’s Deli is closed  as of 10/14/11***

Cuisine: Deli, Italian, Pizza
Restaurant Features: Banquet, Catering, Counter-Service, On-Site Parking
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 560 Como Ave St Paul, MN 55103  651-488-4040
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-8pm  Fri-Sat 11am-10pm
Links: Abetto’s Website * Abetto’s on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Abetto’s Deli is located on Como Ave in St Paul ( at Kent St) with an attached liquor store.  There is a counter to order at when you first walk in, with the food preparation area just behind the safety glass.  The dining room in back is nothing fancy, but it is spacious and has wooden floors. There are several red & white-checkered banquet tables spread throughout.Inside Abetto's Pizza & Deli ~ St Paul, MN

Menu: Appetizers at Abetto’s include Garlic Toast, Garlic Cheese Toast, Italian Fries, and Chicken Wings.

Salad options include Chef, Garden and Italian.

Subs and Sandwiches include Cheese or Veggie, Corned Beef, Smoked Turkey, Roast Beef, Ham, Pepperoni, Tuna, Italian Salami and Meatball.  Hot Sandwiches include Pizza Sub, Hail the Vulc, North of the Border, Meathead, Heartburn, Tuna Fetish, Mr Magoo, The Titan, Lunch Box 360, The In’Vince”ible,

Hot entrees include Baked Rigatoni, Hot Dago, Mostaccioli, Reuben, and Spaghetti & Meatballs.

Pizzas come in either 6″, 10″,12″ 14″.  Build-your-own or choose from one of the following specialty pizzas: Canadian Bacon/Pineapple, Veggie, Reuben, House Special, Taco and Super Works.

Price guide: Appetizers $1-6  Salads $4-5 Subs $4-7  Hot Entrees $6-7  Pizza $4-18

Weekly Specials:
What I ordered: On my first visit to Abetto’s, I wasn’t sure what to try so I asked for a recommendation.  The cook immediately replied with “Hot Dago” so the Hot Dago is what I got!  My order came with a thick patty of Italian sausage sitting atop a fresh hoagie roll, then smothered in red sauce and mozzarella and baked until the cheese and bread were golden and toasty.  This was pretty good; there was a substantial amount of all ingredients.  I would get this again but next time I would see if I could get sauteed peppers and onions added to it to spice it up a little, I would also probably add crushed red pepper and parmesan.


One solo tasting of Abetto’s was not enough for me, so a few days after I ate the Hot Dago above,  I went back and ordered a sub to-go.  There were many appealing options but I ended up getting the Heartburn Sub.  It wasn’t much more money to get a 12″ vs a 6″, so I went with the larger sub.  Totally unnecessary, 6″ was almost too much for me! The heartburn sub has pepperoni and cheddar as well as roast beef and pepper jack, both of which are toasted along with the bread.  There was a significant amount of both meats; this sandwich was seriously Stacked.   The pepperoni was great but I didn’t care as much for the roast beef, it seemed too processed for me but I still ate it and enjoyed the sandwich.  The sandwich also had plenty of shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and banana peppers, and then was drizzled with mayo and oil.  Potentially a very very messy sandwich, which is why it is smartly cut in half and wrapped tightly in paper.

Service: I visited Abetto’s over the lunch hour on two separate occasions within one week and had consistent, friendly service on both visits.  Toasted Specialty Subs are ready in 5-10 minutes, depending on how busy it is.
Overall Impression: I am glad to have discovered Abetto’s Deli after  a reader recommended it, it is very close to where I work which makes it very convenient to stop to pick up a sandwich.  They also have a great Pizza Special on Wednesday nights where a large 1-item pizza is only $5.60.  That’s cheaper than DiGiorno!

Abetto's Pizzeria Deli on Urbanspoon

Feb 262011

Cuisine: Authentic Mexican
Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter-Service
Location: Minneapolis & St Paul, MN
Addresses & Maps:

Minneapolis- 417 East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 612-823-5398

Minneapolis-  809 East lake Street Minneapolis, MN 612-825-4978

St Paul- 895 Arcade Street St Paul, MN 55106  651-384-9959

Hours: Open Daily

Links: Los Ocampo Website * Los Ocampo Facebook Page
Atmosphere: Los Ocampo offers counter-service; a large counter with a colorful menu greets you as you enter the St Paul location.

The dining room has a sprinkling of tables, with Mexican decor gracing the walls and shelves.

Menu: Appetizers include Chips and Guacamole, Nachos, Pozole,  Menudo, Sope de Mariscos,

Taqueria Los Ocampo has a variety of Tacos, Gorditas, Huarache, Burritos, Quesadillas, Tortas, Torta al Gusto, Torta Cubano, Enchiladas, Platillo Costilla, Sope, Huarachazo, Sincronizada, Churrasco, Tiacoyo, and Alambre.  Meat options are plenty and include Chicken Tinga, Carnitas, Carne Asada, Carne Lengua, Chorizo, Chorizo con Papas, and many more.

Desserts include Flan, Chocoflan, Tiramisu, and Platanos con Lechera.

Price guide: $2-$10

What we ordered: There were many items that looked good on the menu but I wanted to try something a little different, so I ordered the Stuffed Poblano Pepper (aka Chile Relleno).  The pepper was battered then fried, the inside contained a small amount of a particular Mexican cheese that was light and almost spongy in consistency and didn’t have a ton of flavor.  I LOVED the rice and veggies that came with the Chile Relleno, the rice was very flavorful and was topped with sauteed peppers and onions. Mmmm!  I also ordered a carnitas taco ala carte, which I loved.  Los Ocampo has this really awesome creamy avocado sauce that is a dream atop your tacos.

One of my companions ordered the Chicken Quesadilla, a large corn tortilla fried and stuffed with stewed chicken, lettuce cheese, sour cream and slices of radish.

Another companion ordered the Carne Asada Tacos platter, which came with three tacos, beans and rice.  Delicioso!
Asada Tacos at Los Ocampo ~ St paul, MN

Asada Tacos at Los Ocampo ~ St paul, MN

Another companion ordered a Quesdilla with Papas y Chorizo, filled with potatoes that had been cooked with chorizo, making it extra flavorful.  Stuffed with lettuce, sour cream and mexican cheese.
papas con Choriz Quesadilla at Los Ocampo ~ St Paul, MN

Papas con Choriz Quesadilla at Los Ocampo ~ St Paul, MN

Service: We ordered at the counter and despite it being quite busy at lunchtime, our food was prepared and brought out to our table in less than ten minutes.

Overall Impression: Quick and cheap Authentic Mexican
Taqueria Los Ocompo 11 on Urbanspoon

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

Dec 112010

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Dessert, Steak, Ribs, Kids Menu

Restaurant Features: Bar, Catering, Flat Screen TVs, Happy Hour, Pull-Tabs, On-Site Parking, Sports Bar

Locations: Bloomington, Eagan, Plymouth and Roseville

Addresses & Maps:

Bloomington4217 American Blvd. West Bloomington, MN 55437 (952) 835-1191

Roseville– 2350 Cleveland Ave Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 631-1781

Hours: Open at 11am

Links:Joe Senser’s Website * Joe Senser’s Facebook Page

Joe Senser's Sports Lounge ~ Roseville, MN

Atmosphere: The inside of Joe Senser’s is the ultimate haven for Sports Enthusiasts, (besides being at the stadium, of course) with every wall lined with giant 5’x9′ HDTVs displaying just about every televised sports event.  The area along the walls is slightly raised, housing both tables and booths, as does the dining space throughout the middle of the restaurant.

There is also a decent sized bar area near the entrance, flowing into the center of the restaurant.

Menu: Appetizers at Joe Senser’s include Seasoned Waffle Fries, Pizza Spirals, Onion Rings, Chicken Wings, Boneless Wings, Bacon-Wrapped Tenderloin Bites, Quesadillas, Crab & Artichoke Dip, Chicken Fingers, Nachos, Southwest Eggrolls, Coconut Shrimp and Asian Lettuce Wraps.

Salad options are Buffalo Fiesta, Bangkok Peanut Chicken, Chipotle Ranch Taco Salad, Cobb, Island Salad (chicken, bacon, pineapple), and Caesar.

Soups include Chicken Noodle, White Chicken Chili and then a Soup du Jour. Mon- Creamy Potato bacon Tues- Black Bean with Andouille Sausage  Wed- Tomato Basil with Tortellini  Thurs- Creamy Chicken Wild Rice  Fri-New England Clam Chowder  Sat/Sun- Chef’s Choice

Burgers at Senser’s are Half-Pound fresh ground sirloin, served with chips or upgrade to fries for $1.59.  Options include Cheeseburger, Applewood Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger, Bleu Cheese, Jalapeno Pepper Jack, Deli Burger, Sourdough Patty Melt, California Burger, Mushroom Swiss, BBQ Bacon & Jack, Rookie Burger (1/3 lb), and Southwest Turkey Burger.

Sandwiches also come with chips or upgrade to fries or fruit.  Options are the French Dip, Buffalo Chicken, Turkey Bacon Parmesan, BBQ Jack Chicken, Tuna Melt, Reuben, Beer Battered Walleye, Chicken Teriyaki, Clubhouse, and Shaved Prime Rib Melt. Wraps include Baja Chicken and Buffalo.

Joe’s Specialties include Wood Roasted Chicken, Beef Brisket, Hickory Ribs, Smoked Pulled Pork, Chopped Sirloin, Parmesan Ranch Walleye.  Prime Rib available on Saturday and Sunday.

The Entrees at Joe Senser’s include Center But Sirloin, Filet Medallions, Steak and Shrimp, Citrus Chicken and Shrimp, Chicken Bruschetta Pasta and Coconut Shrimp.

Dessert options are the Turtle Brownie Sundae, Midnight Chocolate Ecstasy, and New York Strawberry Cheesecake.

Kids Menu items include Mini Corn Dogs, Chicken Strips, Cheeseburger, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Salads $8-10  Sandwiches/Sandwiches $9-10  Specialties $9-18  Entrees $11-19  Desserts $4-5  Kids Menu $5

Happy Hours:

Mon-Fri  3:00-6:30

  • $5 Appetizers-  Sicilian Pizza Nachos, Loaded Senser Fries, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Buffalo Chicken Minis, Cheeseburger Minis, and Pepperoni Cheese Loaf
  • $2.50 Short Domestic Taps, Rail/Calls, Domestic Bottles, Short Signature Teas, House Wine
  • $1 off all other drinks
Sun-Mon 9pm-Close  Tues 10p-Midnight
  • 2 for 1 Drinks: Captain Morgan, Bacardi, Short Domestic Taps
What we ordered: There were many appetizers that looked good but the Crab & Artichoke really stood out as a winner.  The piping-hot baked dip was served in a ramekin with a pile of hot pita wedges, topped with fresh pico de gallo.  I thought this dip was delicious and flavorful.  You could distinctly taste both the well-blended crab and the artichokes, and a slightly smokey flavor somewhere in the blend of cheeses.  There was enough dip to pile it on every piece of pita.  A very different flavor than artichoke-spinach dip, but excellent all the same.

Crab & Artichoke Dip at Joe Senser's~ Roseville, MN

Several of the sandwiches sounded really good to me so I asked the server for a recommendation, who declared the Prime Rib Melt the most popular with the employees. It sounded really good so that is what I ordered.  I loved the flavor of the thinly sliced prime rib mixed with the onions, but the bread got soggy very quickly from the juicy beef and creamy horseradish sauce.  I didn’t even try the au jus because I was afraid my sandwich would fall apart in seconds flat if I did.  It would’ve been better on a hoagie roll or a more substantial bun.  I am also a huge fan of fresh horseradish, so I would’ve loved a little more kick than this creamy mild version served at Joe Senser’s, but that is just a personal preference.  It was still very tasty.  I upgraded to the shoe-string fries which were good but only slightly crispy.

Prime Rib Melt at Joe Senser's ~ Roseville, MN

My companion ordered the Mushroom Swiss Burger, which was a thick, juicy 1/2 lb patty made of  freshly ground sirloin.  The flavor of this burger was hearty and beefy, even better topped with thick mushrooms and melted Swiss.  The bun wasn’t much of a match for this big burger; it was very light, fresh and lightly toasted.

Mushroom Swiss Burger at Joe Senser's ~ Roseville, MN

Service: It was a very busy weekend evening during my visit, so we were lucky to get a table right away.  We were asked if there was a particular game we wanted to watch so they could seat us accordingly.  Our server was very busy and service was slightly slow, but nothing out of the ordinary for how busy it was.

Overall Impression: Excellent Happy Hour specials and a big selection on the menu.  The vast number of Large Screen TVs, delicious big burgers and many beers to choose from make Joe Senser’s the perfect place to watch any televised sporting event or hang with your buddies after work.

Joe Senser's Sports Grill on Urbanspoon