Jan 142012

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Fish & Seafood, Steak & Ribs
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Screen TVs, Meat Raffle, Pull-Tabs, On-Site Parking, Live Music, Karaoke
Location: Mahtomedi, MN
Address: 3140 Century Ave Mahtomedi, MN 55110 651-770-2443
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-10:30pm *Fri-Sat 11am-11pm  *Sunday 11am-9pm
Links: Google Map * Jethros on Facebook

Atmosphere: Jethros Char House is located in Mahtomedi, in the corner of a strip mall on Century Ave, just north of the entrance to I-694.  The main dining room is centered by a giant wooden island-style bar with seating at booths and tables as well as at the bar.  There is a tiny stage in the corner of the dining room where there is sometimes live music or karaoke.  There is also a pull-tab booth near the bar.

There is another section of tables in the adjacent dining room at the back of the restaurant.  There are flat-screened TVs hanging on the wood-paneled walls throughout the entire restaurant.  The feel of the place is very laid-back and pub-like due to the fact that there are very few windows and it always seems dark inside with the exception of the one window in the back.

Menu: Appetizers include Steak Fries, Onion Rings, Breaded Chicken Wings, Buffalo Wings, Egg Rolls, Breaded Mushroom/Cauliflower, Cheese Curds, Cod Nuggets, Chicken Fingers, Nacho Supreme and Bull Bites.

Soups offered include Chili, French Onion, Clam Chowder (Fridays), and a Soup du Jour.

Salads offered include Chef, Cobb, Chicken Caesar, Char Broiled Chicken, and Black & Bleu Cajun Steak Salad.

Jethros Sandwiches and Burgers all come with fries, coleslaw or chips.  Options include Steak Sandwich, Reuben or Rachel, French Dip, Philly French Dip, Crispy Chicken Fillet, Beer Battered Cod, Buffalo Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken Supreme, Hawaiian Chicken Supreme, Grilled Tuna Melt, and Club Sandwiches.  Burger options include Jethros Supreme (bacon, cheese, bbq), Razorback, Patty Melt and Frisco Melt, or Build-Your-Own Burger.

Entrees at Jethros are served with soup or salad, Texas Toast and choice of fries, coleslaw, wild rice pilaf, steamed broccoli or baked potato.  Options include 6oz or 8oz Sirloin, Petite Tender Medallions, Wild Salmon, Beer Battered Cod, Breaded Shrimp, Slow Roasted Country Style Ribs, Broasted Chicken Dinner, Smoked Pork Chops and Baked Walleye.

Desserts are available but change frequently but may include Snickers Pie, Key Lime Pie, Banana Cream Pie, etc.
Price guide: Appetizers $3-10  Salads $7-9  Sandwiches $8-12
Weekly Specials:

  • Wed & Friday All You Can Eat Fish

What we ordered: My companions and I started with an order of Cajun Steak Bites.  These were very tender and juicy, cooked to a medium temperature.  They were lightly seasoned with Cajun spices and served with a horseradish sour cream sauce on the side.

We also tried the Buffalo Wings, which I loved.  The wings were very lightly breaded and fried crispy and then tossed in a zesty, tangy Buffalo sauce.  There were a dozen large wings in the order, which also came with a giant side of bleu cheese dipping sauce and celery sticks.

I ordered the Walleye Sandwich, which was a daily special.  The fillet of walleye was quite big, lightly breaded and pan fried.  The fish was served on a buttered, toasted hoagie roll with a big leaf of romaine and sliced tomato.  Not only was the sandwich huge, it was also served with a giant portion of thick-cut steak fries.  Excellent.

One companion had the Jethros Supreme Burger, a 1/2lb beef patty char-grilled to a juicy medium then topped with American cheese, two strips of thick-cut bacon.  It was served with a side of zesty barbeque sauce and a large serving of steak fries.

The Fish & Chips at Jethros is not a regular feature on the menu, but is offered as the Wednesday and Friday Night specials.  Fresh pollock is used and then breaded and deep fried.  The order starts with three thick, flaky pieces of fish but since it is an AYCE, order as much as you want! Comes with steak fries, toast, and coleslaw.

Another companion had the Philly French Dip.  This sandwich was stacked with roast beef, sauteed peppers and onions and a low-grade pepperjack.  It was served on a butter-toasted hoagie roll with a cup of au jus and steak fries.

Service: The service at Jethros is very good.  Our server was friendly and very good about refilling drinks promptly and our food was prepared in a reasonable amount of time.
Overall Impression: Jethros Char House is a laid-back and casual restaurant that serves a variety of good sandwiches and American entrees.  Meat Raffle every Saturday as well as pull-tabs and karaoke make it a popular place to hang out and have drinks.
Jethro's Char-House & Pub on Urbanspoon
Jethro's Char-House & Pub Reviews in White Bear Lake

Dec 182011

Cuisine: American, Fish, Pizza
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Screen TVs, Patio, On-Site Parking,
Location: Blaine, MN
Address: 10340 Baltimore Street NE Blaine, MN 55449 763-717-2235
Hours: Mon.-Wed. 11am-11pm  Thurs.-Fri. 11am-12am  Sat. 10am-12am Sun. 10am-11pm (kitchen closes one hour prior to bar)
Links: Bricks Pub Website  * Bricks Pub on Facebook  * Google Map

Atmosphere: Bricks Pub is located off of Hwy 65 and 103rd in Blaine, near several other local businesses.  One of the first things you will see when you walk up to the entrance of Bricks Pub is the beautiful big patio. I am sure this is a lovely place to dine in the non-winter months.  Both the exterior and interior of  the restaurant is made of brick.  The interior also has well worn wooden floors and there are several TVs hung around the space, which serve as the walls only decoration.  Right now, however, the restaurant is festively decorated for the holidays.

The bar area greets you as you enter through the front doors and has seating at a couple of booths and around the bar.

There is a clear view into the kitchen from the front of the dining room, where you can see and smell the smokey goodness of the wood burning oven.  The entire kitchen appears to be entirely stainless steel and very sterile.

Menu: Appetizers include The Brick (fried pickles with cream cheese and pastrami), Fire Baked Cheese, Garlic Hummus, Nachos, Ceviche, Mussels, Applewood Smoked Wings, Meatballs, and Sea Salt Fries.  Soups offered include Wild Rice and Soup du Jour.

Salads include Cobb, Caesar, Seared Ahi Tuna, The Pub (fresh mozzarella, chicken), and the Mediterranean.

Woodstone Pizzas include BBQ Brisket, The Classic (pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, mushrooms and olives), The Greek, Jamaican Jerk, and Margherita.

Sandwiches include The Tipsy Brisket, Cajun Club, The Jerk, Shaved Prime Rib, Egg and Pancetta, Portabella, BLAT, The Cuban, and Grilled Chicken.  Burger options include Bricks Burger, ZinBurger (manchego cheese with zinfadel braised onions), Northern Lights (bleu cheese and onion straws), BBQ Bacon and Cheese, The Dundee (pineapple, beets, fried egg and chili mayo), Market Burger (avocado and  cheddar), Turkey Burger (cranberries, sage, and smoked gouda), and The Backyard Burger.  Sandwiches and Burgers do NOT come with fries.  Upgrade to sea salt fries, truffle fries, garlic herb fries, jicama slaw, fresh fruit to baked beans for $2-3 more.

The Entrees at Bricks Pub include Beer Battered Fish & Chips, Steak and Frites, Pork and Beans, Chili Crusted Salmon, Drunken  Chicken, Jambalaya, Chicken Farfalle, Seared Ahi Tuna and Walleye.

Desserts at Bricks Pub are seasonal.  Current selections include Flourless Molten Chocolate Cake, Apple Strudel, Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake, Hot Fudge Sundae, Rootbeer Float, and Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream.
Price guide: Appetizers $6-11 Pizzas $9-12  Burgers/Sandwiches $7-11

Happy Hour:

  • Monday-Friday 4-6pm
  • $3 Appetizers: The Brickle, Hummus,
  • $3 off Signature Drinks

What we ordered: My companions and I arrived during Happy Hour and took advantage of the drink specials ($3 off).  I ordered the Perfect ‘Rita made with Parton Silver, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Sweet and Sour, and Orange Juice.  It was strong and delicious.  The Mixologist, Jason,  did a great job with our drinks.

One of my companions ordered the Pomegranate Martini.  This drink was made with Absolut Citron, POM Pomegranate juice, Cointreau and Fresh Lemon. Delicious!

One of my companions ordered a Mojito, made with Bacardi Rum, Mint Leaves, Fresh Lime and Sugar.  Light and Refreshing!

Another companion ordered the Sangria, made with Ruby Port, Cointreau, Brandy, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice and Sprite.

When I saw Ceviche on the menu, I immediately wanted it.  The Ceviche at Bricks Pub is made with pieces of both shrimp and scallops rather than the traditional preparation of fish.  It was okay.  It had small chunks of avocado and tomato and was very heavy on the lime juice so that it was basically small bites of scallop and shrimp in a green sauce.  It was served with house-made tortilla chips that seemed stale rather than hot and fresh.  The portion was quite small for $11 and despite its small size, we only ate half of it. Overall I was disappointed with the ceviche and would not order it again.

For my dinner I ordered the Shaved Prime Rib Sandwich.  The sandwich was piled with thinly shaved prime rib served on a baguette.  The meat was topped with caramelized onions and bleu cheese and was served with a side of au jus.   The sandwich was pretty good, although the beef tasted like it had been reheated.  This meal does not come with fries so I ordered a side of Truffle Fries for an additional $3.  They were shoestring variety but were very garlicky and I could not detect any of the truffle oil it was supposed to come with.  I suspect I got the garlic herb fries by mistake but they were still tasty.

One of my companions ordered the Tipsy Brisket Sandwich.  The barbeque beef brisket is pulled and slathered with sauce and then topped with smoked sausage, coleslaw, onion straws and smoked gouda on a fresh, toasted Brioche Bun.  My friend upgraded to the Sea Salt Fries.

One of my companions ordered the Bricks Burger, complete with cheddar, fried onion straws, fresh jalapenos, tomato jam and caper aioli.  This burger looked huge and delicious! It was ordered with the Garlic and Herb Fries but they tasted like the sea salt fries without any extra seasoning.

One of my companions ordered the Cajun Club.  This sandwich was served on an herbed focaccia bread with Cajun turkey, fresh avocado, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato and Havarti cheese with chipotle sour cream.  Ordered with a side of sea salt fries.  I didn’t try this but it looked fresh and delicious.

Service: We had very good service at Bricks Pub.  We enjoyed cocktails at the bar during Happy Hour before moving to a table in the dining room.  Our server was very attentive but also let us be while we sat around and socialized, taking our time to order and eat.  Our server gave us each separate bills to make paying easier at the end, a nice and convenient touch.
Overall Impression: Overall we enjoyed our experience at Bricks Pub.  We had good service and most of the food we ate was good (with exception of the ceviche) and the drinks were especially delicious.
Brick's Pub on Urbanspoon

Nov 202011

Here are my current picks for Best Fish ‘n’ Chips based on the restaurants I have personally visited and reviewed.  This list will grow and change as necessary.  If you know of  other great fish & chips at other restaurants  that I need to try, please leave me a recommendation in the comments of this post. Restaurants, if you were named here, please feel free to use the badge to display on your own websites.

#1 Charlie’s Restaurant ~ This basket of crinkle fries was topped with one large fillet of walleye that was beer-battered and fried.  The fillet was impressive; not only was it long, it was also thick and meaty.  It was served with a homemade tartar that had dill rather than the traditional pickle.  Seriously good fish!

#2 Stella’s Fish Cafe ~ These thick pieces of flaky cod were very enjoyable; the batter that was used had a pleasant mix of seasoning and the perfect amount of golden crispiness without being too greasy.  There were three pieces of the cod which didn’t seem like an overly big portion for the price but it was truly excellent fish.  The fries were fresh-cut and also very good, as were the tartar sauce and coleslaw.

#3 The Anchor Fish & Chips ~ The cod filet was served in one large piece, battered and crispy with a sprinkling of sea salt.  The fish was light and flaky and the addition of the salt was a really nice touch.  There was a generous amount of chips in the basket, thick-cut fries lightly fried.  The curry sauce was a nice accompaniment to the fries and kicked up the flavor  few notches.  I also enjoyed the mushy peas, which were mushy and buttery.

#4 Patriot’s Tavern ~ The Fish N Chips at Patriot’s Tavern come with two pieces of beer-battered cod. The fish is thickly cut and flaky, with a very crispy battered and fried crust. Served with steak cut fries and homemade tartar sauce

#5 Jethros Char House ~ The Fish & Chips at Jethros is not a regular feature on the menu, but is offered as the Wednesday and Friday Night specials.  Fresh pollock is used and then breaded and deep fried.  The order starts with three thick, flaky pieces of fish but since it is an AYCE, order as much as you want! Comes with steak fries, toast, and coleslaw.

Wednesday Fish Fry at Jethros ~ Mahtomedi, MN

Wednesday Fish Fry at Jethros ~ Mahtomedi, MN

#6 Manitou Station ~ The Fish N Chips at Manitou Station comes with a fillet cut into two pieces of fish, thickly breaded.  The basket comes with thick-cut steak fries or you can order the meal which comes with the addition of mushy peas.

#7 Meredee’s Bistro ~ There were many pieces of cod, all of which had been battered with a light batter that was similar to tempura. The cod was very good.  The fish usually comes with fries or you can substitute for vegetables.

Cod Dinner at Meredee's Bistro ~ Chisago City, MN

Cod Dinner at Meredee’s Bistro ~ Chisago City, MN

Need to Try:
Mac’s Fish & Chips

Oct 222011

Cuisine: Breakfast, American,  Fish, Irish
Restaurant Features: Banquet, Bar, Flat Screened TVs, Hotel, Live Music, Patio, Waterfront
Location: Stillwater, MN
Address: Water Street Inn  * 101 Water St South  Stillwater, MN 55082  651-439-6000
Hours:  Mon – Fri: 7 am-1am * Sat: 8am-1 am * Sun: 9am- 1am
Links: Water Street Inn Website * Water Street Inn on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located on the street level of the Water Street Inn in Historic Downtown Stillwater,  Charlie’s Restaurant and Irish Pub encompasses a few different dining rooms, including the Red Room.  Old fashioned wallpaper and hand-painted murals on the ceiling emphasize the history of this building which was originally built in 1890 as the Lumber Exchange Building.

Another large sitting room can also be found nearby, with several velvet chairs basking in the natural sunlight that streams in through windows that run along two entire walls.

The Pub seemed to be the most popular place to be with a number of wooden tables as well as a few taller bistro tables.  There were a number of framed prints and posters on the walls as well as a couple of flat screened TVs displaying sporting events.  There is a self-serve popcorn machine near the entrance and the Pub often bears the aroma of the freshly popped kernels.

The bar in Charlie’s Irish Pub seats about six customers or so and is very inviting.  Overall the Pub is a lively place to be.

Menu: Breakfast items include Eggs O’Brien, Pancakes, Thick Cut French Toast, Fruit, Cinnamon Roll, Irish Country Breakfast, Traditional Irish Breakfast, Ham and Eggs, Ha and Gruyere French Toast, and Steak and Eggs.  Omelette choices include The Traditional (choice of meat and cheese), Apple Brie, The Victorian (ham and swiss), and The Baron (ham, sausage, bacon, onion and swiss).

Appetizers on the dinner menu include Antipasto Plate, Walleye Cakes, Smoked Chicken Quesadilla, Calamari, Mini Reuben Purses, Beer Battered Onion Rings, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Homemade Chips & Dip, Smoked BBQ Chicken Legs.

Salads at Charlie’s include Caesar, Cashew Chicken, Greek Salad and Traditional Cobb.

Charlie’s sandwiches are served with chips or upgrade to fries or fresh fruit for $2.50.  Options include Pulled Pork, BLT and Guacamole Wrap, Buffalo Chicken Wrap, Classic Reuben, Walleye, Chicken Jack Melt, Grilled 1/2lb Burger, Steak Sandwich, Roasted Portabella and Turkey Burger.

Entrees include Seafood Linguini, Chicken and Portabella Pasta, Mostaccioli, Fish & Chips, Honey Soy Grilled Salmon, Blackened Seafood Trio, Eggplant Parmesan, Almond Crusted Walleye, Twin Lobster Tails, Stuffed Center Cut Pork Loin, Stuffed Chicken Breast, New York Strip, 8oz Pub Steak and 11oz Ribeye Steak.

Desserts at Charlie’s includes Berry Bread Pudding, Charlie’s Big Brownie, and Flourless Sin Cake.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-11 Salads $5-12 Sandwiches $9-13  Entrees $17-31 Desserts $7

What we ordered: We started with an order of Calamari.  I didn’t take much notice of the menu description so the unexpected sweetness of the first bite caught me by surprise.  This calamari at Charlie’s is lightly breaded and  fried, yhen bathed in a sauce of honey, ginger and garlic.  The flavor of the honey sauce was delicious, but very sweet and almost too much for just two of us.  The green onions helped counter the sweetness but I would have loved some thin slices of red thai chili peppers to spice it up.

After much deliberation over the menu, I ordered the Reuben.  This sandwich was stacked with thinly sliced corned beef then topped with genuine aged Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing sandwiched between marbled rye bread.    The swiss and thousand island really made this sandwich; the corned beef tasted good but it was definitely deli-style.  I upgraded to fries for $2.50 and received a huge pile of the hot crinkle variety.

My companion ordered the Fish N Chips. This basket of crinkle fries was topped with one large fillet of walleye that was beer-battered and fried.  The fillet was impressive; not only was it long, it was also thick and meaty.  It was served with a homemade tartar that had dill rather than the traditional pickle.  Seriously good fish!

Service: Our visit was in the early evening on a Sunday but we easily found a spot in the the adjacent public parking lot.  We entered through a door on the patio that led us directly to the Irish Pub.  There wasn’t a hostess so rather than sitting in the dining room, we found a table in the Pub despite it being fairly busy.  We took our time ordering and the server had many suggestions from the menu.  There appeared to be only one server for the entire pub and she was constantly running out to the kitchen or perhaps to one of the other dining rooms.  Drinks took awhile to be filled but food was prepared in a reasonable amount of time.

Overall Impression: The food at Charlie’s was pretty good, the walleye was especially memorable and the calamari was also unique and excellent (albeit sweet!).  Great place to stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner while wandering around downtown Stillwater or as a romantic weekend date.

This is an original review of Charlie’s Restaurant and Irish Pub on Twin Cities Restaurant Blog
Charlie's Restaurant and Irish Pub at the Water Street Inn on Urbanspoon
Water Street Inn Reviews in Stillwater