Jan 192013
 

Cuisine: American, Steak, Seafood, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Hotel
Location: Bloomington, MN (Inside Embassy Suites)
Address: 7901 34th Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55425 952-854-1010
Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm *Dinner Daily 4:30pm-10pm *Sunday Brunch 10am-2pm
Links: Woolley’s Steakhouse Website * Woolley’s on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere:
Woolley’s is located inside the beautiful, lush courtyard at the Embassy Suites Airport in Bloomington.  Unfortunately I did not take any photos of the interior, but if you have been to any Embassy Suites before, you can instantly visualize the courtyard setting, with intimate seating areas nestled in among a variety of plants.  The lighting was dim and romantic and there was a jazz band playing music somewhere nearby.

Menu:  Appetizers include Calamari, Walleye Fingers, Martini Steak Bites, Crab Cakes, Shrimp Cocktail, and Diablo Bites (blacked beef tips).

Small Plates include Short Ribs, Marcona Almond Purses, Sea Scallops, Duck Sausage, Foie Gras and Pork Tenderloin.

Woolley’s has a Salad Bar for $14.95 or you can add it on to any entree for $4.95. Side salads are also available to add-on to any entree for $3.95. Dinner salads include Grilled Salmon, Apple Proscuitto Brie, Woolley’s Steak salad, The Classic Wedge, Winter Greens, and Caesar. Soups available are a French Onion and a Soup du Jour.

Woolley’s is known for their Beef, with options such as Beef Tenderloin, Bone-In New York Strip, Top Sirloin, Martini Steak, Beef Oscar, Prime Rib (12oz or 16oz), and 16 oz Red-Eye Ribeye. Any beef or steak can be served Classic Style (with bleu cheese, bacon, onions and mushrooms), Gratinee Style (with croutons, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese), or Oscar Style (with bearnaise and crab). All steaks come with choice of baked potato, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, wild rice pilaf or broccoli, with the option to upgrade to any of the following sides including Glazed Carrots, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Hashbrowns, Loaded Baked Potato, Sweet Potato Hash, Brussel Sprouts, and Grilled Asparagus.

Other Entrees include Chicken Marsala, Pork Tenderlon, Short Ribs, Duck Breast, Woolley’s Burger Deluxe, and Swedish Meatballs. Pasta options include Pasta Vodka, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Kielbasa Mac & Cheese.

Woolley’s also serves Fresh Fish and Seafood such as Grilled Walleye, Panko Walleye, Grilled Salmon, and Shrimp & Scallops.

Desserts include Creme Brulee, Bread Pudding, Chocolate Lava Cake, Cheesecake and more.

Price guide:

Salads $5-20 Entrees $14-28 Steak $21-45

Happy Hour:
Happy Hour is served in the bar Monday – Friday from 4pm until 6pm.

  • $2.25 Domestic Tap & Bottle Beers
  • $2.75 Craft Tap & Bottle Beers
  • $3.25 House Wine
  • $3 – $3.5 Call Cocktails
  • $3.75 – $4.5 Martinis and Specialty Drinks
  • 50% OFF all Appetizers

Weekly Specials:

  • Sunday-Wednesday: Half priced bottle of wine

What we ordered:  We started with a couple of drinks (Cranberry and 7Up for me!) and the complimentary basket of bread.  This was a standard French loaf, served warm and crusty.

We knew we were going to be ordering more food than necessary, but I really wanted to try the Calamari.  This was delicious! It was fried crispy with a panko breading, while the calamari  itself was still quite tender.  It was sprinkled with parmesan and parsley and then served with spicy marinara and lemon aioli for dipping.

I opted not to get a starter salad and went straight for the Red-Eye Ribeye ($36), which comes served over a bed of  swiss chard and melted gorgonzola.  This steak was amazing!!! I ordered it medium rare, and it was cooked just perfectly.  When I say that this steak was tender, it could melt in your mouth.  The melted gorgonzola was a wonderful accompaniment and added even more flavor.  It was served with a warm cheddar ale biscuit and choice of potato. I will order this steak again every time I visit Woolley’s from now on.  I might even dream about it ;)

I got the loaded baked potato which came with the standard cheddar, pieces of bacon, and green onion with sour cream and butter on the side.  When all was said and done, I was too full to eat more than a bite of this!

I was happy when our server mentioned that one of the New Year’s Eve specials included an add-on 6oz Lobster Tail for just $11.95.  It was a holiday, so why not?  It was nicely seasoned and cooked just right.  Served with drawn butter and lemon.

My companion ordered the 16oz Prime Rib with fingerling potatoes as the choice of potato. This was a fairly thick cut of beef, tender and mildly juicy.  It was good but couldn’t compare to the ribeye.  It was served with a side of au jus with a couple of mushrooms.

My companion also ordered the Jumbo Sea Scallops ($10), which came as an order of three.  The scallops were seared to give it a caramelized crust while still being very tender within.

Being that it was New Year’s Eve, I decided to treat myself to the Dessert Sampler, which is basically three desserts of the price of three. The spotlight was the Bread Pudding, drizzled with a caramel whiskey sauce and topped with whipped cream.  It was surrounded by colorful berries, whipped cream and orchids for garnish.

One of the desserts was the Chocolate Lava Cake, served warm with blackberries on top.  I loved the combo of textures and flavors of the chocolate with the berries.  Very good!

Last but not least was the Creme Brulee which was smooth and creamy, with hints of vanilla.

Service: We had made reservations several days ahead of time to ensure we could get in on New Year’s Eve, and a table was waiting for us when we got there.  Our server was very friendly and had some excellent suggestions, but we found that the food took longer than expected between courses.  We were not in a particular hurry however our dinner with the appetizers, entrees and desserts took about two and a half hours.  The longest wait was for our main entrees, which took at least 45 minutes to arrive after ordering.  I attribute this to the fact that the restaurant was completely booked.

Overall Impression: We thought the food at Woolley’s was wonderful.  In fact, the ribeye is one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, rivaling the ribeye at Capital Grille for top contender on my Editor’s Picks for Best Ribeye.  The atmosphere at Woolley’s is wonderful if you like a somewhat tropical feel, so make sure you sit at one of the seating areas in the courtyard.  While we were treated wonderfully by our server, our only complaint was that the food service was slower than expected.
Woolley's on Urbanspoon

Jul 262012
 

Cuisine: Caribbean, Fish & Seafood
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flatscreen TVs
Location: Bloomington, MN (Mall of America)
Address: 60 East Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425
Hours:  Mon-Sat 11am-10pm  Sun 11am-8pm
Links: Kokomo’s Island Cafe Website * Kokomo’s on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located on the 3rd floor of the Mall of America (East Broadway), Kokomo’s Island Cafe is brightly decorated with an over-the-top tropical theme.  The thatched-roof and large wooden Tiki Gods are meant to transport you to a carefree, sunny place.  If nothing else, Kokomo’s is a cheerful place to take respite from a long day of shopping.

The thatched-roof decor carries into the Tiki Bar area, where there are also giant decorative flowers and colorful stringed lights hanging about.  There are about a dozen colorful chairs along the bar and a handful of bistro tables in the area.


Menu: Small Plates and Starters include French Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Beachcomber Nachos, Cayman Salmon Sliders, Thai Chicken Flatbread, Caribbean Wings, Sweet Chili Wings, Buffalo Wings, Jamaican Jerk Wings, Pacific Pupu Platter, Polynesian Flatbread, Jerk Chicken Flatbread, Kahuna Egg Rolls, Koko Crab Cakes, Island Quesadillas, and Tiki Koko Shrimp.

Salads at Kokomo’s include Jerked Chicken Salad, Dinner Salad, Big Island Salad, and Kokonut Chicken Salad.  Soups offered Bob Marley Soup of the Day, and Caribbean Gumbo.

Kokomo’s also offers sandwiches such as the Jerked Chicken Salad Sandwich, Tropical Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, Jamaican Bleu Burger, Jamaican Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, The Cuban, Captain Jack’s Chicken Sandwich, Hawaiian Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, Bahama Burger, Cali Burger, Cancun Carnitas (served with tortillas), Key West Fish N Chips, and Chicken Fingers.

Side dishes offered include Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Yellow Rice, Island Slaw, Corn Succotash, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Black Beans, Seasoned Green Beans and Yams.

Entrees at Kokomo’s include 8oz Filet Mignon, Ribs, Beach Kabobs, Caribbean Pork Chop, Big Luau Feast, Key West Lime Chicken,  and Calypso Chicken Stir Fry.

Seafood Entrees include Shrimp Enchiladas, Grilled Salmon, Tilapia, Baha Fish Tacos, Seafood Paella, and Tiki Koko Shrimp.

Kokomo’s also has a handful of Pasta dishes such as Cajun Chicken Fettuccine, Palm Island Noodles (in coconut curry), Jerk Chicken Pasta and Fettuccine Alfredo.

Desserts offered are the Pina Colada Cake, Bananas Foster Cheesecake, Sweet Island Shooters, Key Lime Pie, and Molten Chocolate Cake.
What we ordered: We started with a round of drinks.  While my usual drink of choice is a margarita, on this occasion I opted to try the peach instead of the traditional lime.  I can’t say much for the mix that was used; it was way too sweet and artificial tasting for my liking.  The drink was nice and strong, though!

One of my companions ordered the Dos Equis, which was served in a pint-sized bottle.  To see how big it was, here it is next to my margarita.

I ordered the Fish Tacos with Sweet Potato Fries for my entree. The order came with two warm flour tortillas, each filled with crispy fried tilapia, napa cabbage, pico de gallo and pickled pineapple relish.  On top it was drizzled with creamy garlic lemon dressing and chopped cilantro.  These fish tacos were pretty good; the pineapple relish gave it a sweetness that was a nice compliment to the fish and there were several layers of texture that I enjoyed.  The sweet potato fries that came with were really good! They were crispy on the outside and served with  seasoned mayo.

One of my companions ordered the Key West Lime Chicken, which came with two citrus marinated chicken breasts  grilled with special seasonings, & topped with a citrus-onion sauce.  The citrus-onion sauce is what really made this dish so special and gave it so much flavor.  The chicken was served with a large portion of sauteed green beans and red peppers.

Another companion ordered the Captain Jack’s Chicken Sandwich, a grilled chicken breast served on a fresh, toasted brioche bun.  The chicken was brushed with a raspberry inferno sauce and then topped with grilled pineapple & pepper jack cheese. It was served with french fries and a side of avocado ranch.

Service: We were able to get a table without a problem; The Mall didn’t seem to be terribly busy on this particular Friday night and neither was Kokomo’s.  Our server promptly greeted us and was friendly and patient as we took our time with ordering, etc.  Very helpful too, as was the bartender.  We wanted to special-order a sugar-free cocktail and the bartender was more than willing to try to accommodate our needs.
Overall Impression: While Kokomo’s might not be my number one choice for restaurants at the Mall of America, the food was decent and the service was great.  Fun place if you like the gimmick ;)
Kokomo's Island Cafe on Urbanspoon

Jul 142012
 

Disclosure: I was invited out to The Capital Grille on this visit for the purpose of The Generous Pour wine event.  Our meals and wine were provided for us.

Cuisine: Fish & Seafood, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet, Valet Parking
Location: Downtown Minneapolis, MN
Address: 801 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-692-9000
Hours: M-F 11am-2:30pm  M-Th 5-10pm  Fri-Sat 5-11pm  Sun 5-9pm
Links: The Capital Grille’s Website * The Capital Grille on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: The Minneapolis location of The Capital Grille is located down town in the Hennepin Theater District, with the main entrance on Hennepin Ave and an additional entrance from inside La Salle Plaza.  The main dining room is big with several booths arranged around the room to maximize both space and privacy There are also a couple of smaller private dining rooms.

There is a bar area just inside the entrance from Hennepin.

Menu: Appetizers at The Capital Grille include Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, Cold Shellfish Platter, Lobster and Crab Cakes, Pan Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers, Smoked Salmon, Shrimp Cocktail, Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell, and Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella with Vine Ripe Tomatoes.

Soups offered are the Clam Chowder, Lobster Bisque, and French Onion.

Salads offered include Fresh Mozzarella with Tomato and Basil, Chopped Salad, The Wedge, Caesar, Spinach with Warm Bacon dressing, and Field Greens with Tomatoes.

Chef’s Selections include Seared Tenderloin with Butter Poached Lobster, Cedar Planked Salmon with Tomato Fennel Relish, Bone-In Kona Crusted Sirloin with Caramelized Shallot Butter, Porcini Rubbed Delmonico with 12-Year Aged Balsamic, Sliced Filet Mignon with Cippolini Onions and Wild Mushrooms.

Other Entrees at The Capital Grille include Filet Oscar, Dry Aged Sirloin, Dry Aged Porterhouse, Dry Aged Steak Au Poivre with a Courvoisier Cream Sauce, Filet Mignon, Delmonico Steak, Double Cut Lamb Rib Chops, and Roasted Chicken.

Seafood items include Broiled Fresh Lobster, Grilled Swordfish with Lemon Shallot Relish, Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon, Lobster and Crab Stuffed Shrimp, and Sushi-Grade Sesame Seared Tuna with Gingered Rice.

Side Items include Vidalia Onion Rings, Parmesan Truffle Fries, Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Au Gratin Potatoes, Fresh Asparagus with Hollandaise, Fresh Creamed Spinach, Roasted Seasonal Mushrooms, Sam’s Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach, and Fresh Green Beans with Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel.

Desserts include Trio of Handmade Ice Creams, Cheesecake with Fresh Seasonal Berries, Fresh Berries in Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberries Capital Grille, Coconut Cream Pie, Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, and Classic Creme Brulee.
What we ordered: We started with a basket of different breads and enjoyed the first of many glasses of wine as part of The Generous Pour, the Lunetta Rose, a sparkling rose wine from Italy.

We started with an order of Raw Oysters, served in the half shell and on ice.  They were served with cocktail sauce and lemon and horseradish at my request.  Fresh and delicious. These went so well with the Gary Farrell 2009 Chardonnay that is part of The Generous Pour.  I love oysters and I thought these were really good

We also tried an order of the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio.  The beef was sliced ever so thin, raw with just the very edges seared.  It was topped with arulgula and lemon vinaigrette with shaved parmigiano.  This was wonderful! The beef was so tender and delicious, it melted in my mouth.  This was excellent, I especially enjoyed it paired with Villa Mt. Eden, Grand Reserve 2007 ~ Pinot Noir, Russian River

For my entree I was debating between the Kona Crusted Sirloin and the Delmonico Ribeye. Our server made my decision very easy for me by suggesting I get the Delmonico with the Kona rub. Sold! This steak was so wonderful that it has moved its way to the very top of my Best Ribeye Steak list.  I would say this whether or not my meal was free.  The Delmonico was served bone-in and was perfectly seasoned.  The shallot butter really kicked up the flavor a notch as well.  I ordered it a medium minus and it was cooked perfectly for me.  The cut was of superior quality, the fat marbled to really give it a rich meaty flavor.  The quality of  steaks at The Capital Grille is consistently among the best out there.  We enjoyed our steaks with Conn Creek Cabernet and Ferrari-Carano.

My companion ordered the Porcini Rubbed Delmonico, which has become our new pick for best ribeye in the Twin Cities.  This bone-in steak was prepared medium rare, just as requested, with a beautiful char on some of the edges.  It was juicy and tender as can be, a superior cut  aged to give it a more robust, deep flavor.  This steak had just a hint of sweetness form the balsalmic vinegar that it is cooked with.  Wonderful flavor, a great departure from traditional steak seasonings or sauces.

We shared a half order of sauteed mushrooms to go with our steaks.  Delicious!

I absolutely had to order the Lobster Mac N Cheese. If you have never had this before, you absolutely MUST try this at The Capital Grille! It is rich and cheesy, made with a bland of marscapone, havarti and Grana Padano cream sauce. It had several big pieces of lobster throughout and was baked with white cheddar and panko bread crumbs on top.  The panko was a nice crunchy contrast to all the creaminess. SO GOOD!

We also got a half-order of Asparagus to share, grilled perfectly.

We also ordered one mini coconut cream pie to bring home.  This was absolutely delightful, I could eat it for dessert once a week if I truly wanted to indulge, it was one of the best coconut cream pies I have tried.  The base of this pie was similar to a sugar cookie and absolutely wonderful as each bite melted in my mouth. It was then topped with a layer of coconut pastry cream, whipped cream, and then shredded toasted coconut.  The portion was about the size of two pieces of standard pie so plan to share it ;)

Service: We had a reservation and The Capital Grille was expecting us as their guests for dinner and to experience The Generous Pour.  That being said, we had great service.  Our server was great about explaining each wine as he poured them for us.  Complimentary valet parking
Overall Impression:  Dinner at The Capital Grille is always a treat and it is even better when you can enjoy it with a glass of good wine… or several, as is the case with the famous summer wine event, The Generous Pour.  The Delmonico Ribeye steak and the Lobster Mac N Cheese are two of my favorite food items that I have eaten this year, if not ever.  That says a lot!

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

Jul 072012
 

Cuisine: American, Fish & Seafood, Steaks, Chops
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet Room, Hotel, On-Site Parking
Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 4940 Hwy 61 N White Bear Lake, MN • 651.653.6718
Hours:  Mon- Thurs 11am-1am *Fri-Sat 11-2am * Sun 9am- 12am  * Kitchen open until 12am
Links: Rudy’s Redeye Website * Rudy’s on FacebookGoogle Map
Atmosphere:  Located in the White Bear Country Inn & Suites just a few blocks from Downtown White Bear Lake, Rudy’s Red Eye Grill is a beautiful, elegant yet casual restaurant.  The walls are painted a rich red, with a handful of abstract paintings adorning the walls  and flower arrangements placed strategically.  The seating is a mix of tables and deep, dark booths along the outer walls.  The Bar Area is also a very popular spot, with several bistro tables as well as seating along the long, beautiful wooden bar.

Menu: Appetizers include Spinach Artichoke Dip, Jumbo Tabasco Onion Rings with Seasoned Sour Cream, Buffalo Wings with or without the Bone, Oysters Rockefeller, Oysters on the Half Shell, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, New Orleans Shrimp, Brueschetta, Calamari, Chicken Kabobs, Walleye Cakes, Bull Bites, Walleye Fingers, Coconut Shrimp, and Tuna Taki.

Soups and Salads offered at Rudy’s include French Onion Gratin, Homemade Chicken Noodle, Soup Du Jour, Chili, House Salad, Iceberg Wedge with Bacon and Blue Cheese, Garbage Salad, Caesar Salad, BLT Cheddar, Oriental Chicken, Bleu Bistro, Rudy’s Chopped Salad, Seared Black & Bleu Tuna, Salmon Goat Cheese with Raspberry Vinaigrette, Calamari Caesar, and Redeye Sirloin with Creamy Horseradish Dressing.

Sandwiches come with french fries, fruit, coleslaw, pasta salad, or cottage cheese. Rudy Burger or Chicken Sandwich with BBQ Sauce, Cheddar, and Hickory Smoked Bacon, Grilled Portabella, Bacon Bleu Burger, Chicken Caesar Wrap, and Beer Battered Walleye Sandwich.

Pasta dishes include Fettuccini Alfredo (chicken or shrimp), Spaghetti and Meatballs, Seafood Scampi with Shrimp and Scallops, Sun-Dried Tortellini Pesto with Shrimp, Cajun Chicken Fettuccini, Lobster Ravioli, Seafood Fra Diablo, Baked Five Cheese Penne

Rudy’s Entrees are served with choice of potato.  Options include Angus Medallions, Prime Rib (limited availability), Ribeye: 20 oz. Served Bone-In, Redeye Marinated Sirloin, New York Strip: 16 oz. Served Bone-in, Cajun Combo: Two-4 oz. Blackened Medallions and 3 New Orleans Style Sauteed Shrimp, 8oz Filet Mignon, Blackened Pork Tenderloin topped with Bernaise, BBQ Pork Baby Back Ribs, Drunk n’ Dirty Pork Chop, Tomato Basil Grouper on Mashed Potatoes, Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast with Marinara, Rudy’s Pan Fried Walleye, Coconut Shrimp, Fish n’ Chips, Pistachio Encrusted Alaskan Halibut, Bruschetta Salmon, Seared Scallops, Blue Ribbon Meatloaf, Blackened Ahi Tuna, Steak & Lobster, and Cold Water Lobster Tails.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-12 Salads $5-13 Sandwiches $9-12 Entrees $15-34
Happy Hour:

  • Everyday from 3 to 6 PM and 9 to 11 PM
  • $4.25 Appetizers
  • $2 off Tap Beer
  • $4 House Wine

Weekly Specials:

  • Sunday Breakfast Menu 10am-1pm
  • Pancakes, Breakfast Quesadilla, Pecan Encrusted French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Seafood Benedict, Breakfast Burrito, Steak & Eggs, Ham and Cheese Croissant, and Rudy’s Skillet (Diced ham, red pepper, green pepper, onion, potatoes, cheddar cheese, and scrambled eggs).  Omelets include Ham & Cheese Omelet, Veggie Omelet and Rudy’s Omelet.
  • Monday ~ 1/2 priced Bottles of Wine
  • Tuesday ~ $5 Ruditinis all day
  • Wednesday ~ $16 Walleye Entree

What we ordered: Several of my companions and I  started with Rudy’s famous house drink, The Ruditini. This cocktail comes in a  shaker filled with Stoli Razberi, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, and a splash of cranberry juice. Comes with a shot of champagne to pour on top.

We were brought a big basket of Warm french rolls, served with a side of honey butter.  Delicious!

A couple of my companions started with an order of the Artichoke Spinach Dip ($9).  Served with toast and tortilla chips.  I did not try this but I have had it before and it is very good.

Another companion ordered the Bruschetta ($9).  The order came with six pieces of toast topped with fresh tomato, basil, olive oil, and melted parmigiano.  The order was drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

For my entree I ordered the Beer-Battered Walleye Sandwich ($12).  This sandwich came with a long, thick walleye fillet, heavily battered and deep fried with a side of steak fries.  Although the breading seemed a little on the thick side, the fish was quality walleye.

One of my companions ordered the Cajun Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo ($18), a bowl full of fettuccine alfredo topped with slices of cajun-spiced chicken breast.  This looked delicious, and as much as I think I might have liked it, it was very peppery and nearly too spicy for my companion to eat.

One companion ordered the Caesar Salad ($9), served with several whole leaves of romaine topped with homemade Caesar dressing, toasted croutons and freshly grated parmigiano.

One of my companions ordered the Mozzarella Chicken ($18), a large chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella cheese, then topped with marinara and more mozzarella cheese.  It was served with angelhair pasta with red sauce, and green beans.

Another companion ordered the Oriental Chicken Salad ($10).  This photo you see is actually the second salad served, as the first was below standard.  The salad which was remade looked far more appetizing and was topped with several slices of grilled chicken, served cold.  It was topped with a handful of wonton strips and served with a side of the Oriental dressing.

Another companion ordered the Pistachio Encrusted Halibut ($17).  This dish was served with green beans and choice of potato (mashed). Looked great!

Service: On this particular visit, our party of eight had reservations for 6pm on a busy Saturday evening.  The table was waiting for us when we got there and we were quickly seated.  We took our time, first ordering appetizers and cocktails, then later our entrees.  It was a very busy night and there were several other large parties at Rudy’s that night and it took an exceptionally long time (about an hour) for our entrees to be brought out to our table.  Despite the long wait, our server was apologetic and otherwise very accommodating.
Overall Impression: I have been to Rudy’s many times since they first opened in 2003 and they consistently deliver excellent food.  The food can often take longer than you would think necessary, so plan accordingly.
Rudy's Redeye Grill on Urbanspoon

Mar 182012
 

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and our meals were provided by Mystic Lake. All opinions are my own.

Cuisine: Fish & Seafood, Steaks, Ribs, Chops,  Desserts
Restaurant Features: Casino, Hotel, Lobster Tank
Location: Prior Lake, MN
Address: 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, MN, 55372 1-800-264-2821
Hours: Sun, Wed & Thurs 5-10pm * Fri-Sat 5-11pm
Links: Mystic Steakhouse Website * Google Map

Atmosphere: The space that is now home to Mystic Steakhouse was remodeled in 2010 when it became the (then ) home to Il Premio Italian Steakhouse.  Fast forward to December 2011 when the space transitioned to become Mystic Steakhouse with an all-new menu featuring steaks, chops and seafood.  Gone are the fancy white table clothes to reveal a much more casual, comfortable space with a contemporary feel.

There is a live Lobster Tank near the kitchen that you can see when you enter the dining room.

Menu: Appetizers at the Mystic Steakhouse include Seared Tuna, Broiled Jumbo Shrimp, Battered Walleye Strips, Fried Calamari, Maryland Crab Cakes, Hearth-Baked Pizza, and Bull Bites.

Salads offered are dinner-size and include House or Caesar or you can order a full Cobb Salad.  Soups offered include Wild Rice or French Onion.

House Favorites offered at Mystic Steakhouse include Homemade Lasagna, Spaghetti with Meatballs,  Chicken Parmigiana and Steak House Burger.

Mystic’s Seafood Selections include Fried Jumbo Shrimp, Broiled Shrimp, King Crab Legs, Shore Lunch Battered Walleye, Broiled Walleye, Grilled Norwegian Salmon, and Jumbo Sea Scallops.

Steakhouse Entrees include 6 or 8oz Filet Mignon, 10oz Ribeye, 10oz New York Strip, 16 Oz T-Bone, Brick Oven Chicken, Roasted Lamb Chops, Hickory Smoked Barbeque Ribs, Bone-In Pork Chop.  You can also order the Filet, Ribeye or New York Strip as a combo with any of the following added: Walleye Fillet, King Crab Legs Fried Shrimp, Broiled Shrimp, 5 oz Lobster Tail or Scallops.

Accompaniments include Caramelized Onions, Sauteed Mushrooms, Demi Glace Sauce, Bearnaise Sauce, or Melted Bleu Cheese.

Desserts offered at Mystic Steakhouse include Almond Cheesecake, Apple Streusel Pie, Creme Brulee, Tiramisu, Chocolate Cake,
Price guide: Appetizers $10-13  Fish/Seafood $19-35  Steakhouse Entrees $15-24
What we ordered: My companion and I started with a couple of non-alcoholic beverages, since the Mystic Steakhouse adheres to the alcohol-free policy of the Mystic Lake Casino and Mdewakanton Sioux Community.   I tried the Pina Colada which was sweet and every bit as tasty as its counterpart with rum.

My companion ordered the Ginger Beer by Cock N Bull. The undertones of this drink were similar to a Ginger Ale, but the ginger was much more pronounced and quite spicy.  Excellent choice if you enjoy ginger!

We started with the basket of bread, which included two varieties that were both delicious. The Italian loaf was soft inside and crusty on the outside but the real star in this bread basket was the Pumpernickel with raisins. So good, especially with the salted sweet cream butter.

We then ordered a couple of appetizers.  The Walleye Strips were one of our first choices for appetizer and I am so glad we got these! There were four pieces of fish in the order, each of which was battered with Shore Lunch then fried to a crispy golden brown.  The texture of the breading paired with the light, flaky walleye was a winning combo.  It was served with Mystic sauce,  a spicy aioli, and lemon wedges.  These were great and rank up there, I highly recommend.

We also tried the Maryland Crab Cakes.  These were delicious; a mixture of succulent crab pieces mixed with mayo, mustard, worcestershire, herbs and breadcrumbs and then fried to a crispy golden.  Each of the three crab cakes were served atop a very thin slice of lemon, plated with little dollops of a spicy Cajun Remoulade (mayo, lemon, cayenne, mustard, ketchup, worcestershire, garlic, celery salt).

Our entrees came with side salad, my companion and I both chose the Caesar.  The lettuce was cold and crisp and the Caesar dressing was fresh and homemade, the croutons crunchy and flavorful.

For my entree I ordered the ribeye, which I was sold on after looking at the menu for about two minutes.  I was delighted with my ribeye in every way, yet I wish I had paid closer attention to the fact that there was a tank full of Live Maine Lobsters that I somehow overlooked on the way to be seated at our table.  I love lobster and any of of those big beauties would have made me a fine meal, but I was just as satisfied with the tender, juicy, flavorful ribeye steak that I chose.  The steak itself was only 10 oz so I paired it with the Broiled Shrimp, which came recommended (along with the fried shrimp) by the server.  Each of the three shrimp were butterflied with the shell still on, then lightly seasoned and broiled.  The meal came with sauteed carrots and choice of potato. I chose the sea-salt crusted baked potato which is how I think I shall make baked potatoes at home from here on out.  The salt made the skin really soft and no further seasoning was necessary even after I added butter and sour cream.

My companion ordered the Bleu Cheese Crusted Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail combination dinner.  The filet was a ten oz cut of very tender beef, and my companion opted to add the warm bleu cheese which was not a sauce but rather bleu cheese that had been baked into a fluffy golden pillow. Awesome! The steak was paired with a 5 oz Lobster Tail and a sea salt-crusted baked potato.

We companion and I ordered a variety of accompaniments for our steaks, including Demi Glace, Bearnaise, Caramelized Onions and Sauteed Button Mushrooms.  Everything was wonderful, just depends on what flavors and textures you like ot enhance your steak with.

I saved a tiny bit of room for dessert, starting with the Apple Streusel Pie.  Filled with a heaping pile of tart, firm apples mixed with cinnamon and sugar.  The crumbly streusel topping was good but let the apples take center stage.

We both love Creme Brulee and the version at Mystic Lake is one of the biggest serving sizes I’ve seen to date.  An entire bowl is filled with the creamy custard and then a layer of sugar is crystallized on top, then topped with whipped cream, tea cakes and a slice of strawberry.

Service: The folks at Mystic Steakhouse knew we were coming, as they had invited us down to try to the new menu and set up a reservation in my name.  We were greeted by the smiling hostess and shown through the partially seated dining room to one of the nice semi-circle booths along the wall.  Our server greeted us just a few minutes later and talked up the non-alcoholic drinks selection.  Our server also had some good suggestions for appetizers and although I wish he had made it a point to talk up the live lobsters, it is my own fault that I overlooked them after not reviewing the menu more carefully.    The food was prepared in the appropriate amount of with the courses being staggered.  Drinks were filled and plates cleared often.  The manager was friendly as usual, and stopped by to check on us a couple of times.
Overall Impression: Mystic Steakhouse has a nice selection of steaks and seafood at very reasonable prices and is a great sanctuary away from all the stimulation of the casino.  Mystic Steakhouse is a great destination restaurant, so whether you plan to spend time at the casino or not, consider a trip down to Mystic Lake soon.
Mystic Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Mar 012012
 

Looking for a restaurant that offers Friday night fish & seafood specials this Lenten season? Here is a compilation I have put together to help you out.  If you know of any other restaurants that offer a Friday Fish Fry, please leave a comment and I will add it to the list!

Anchor Fish & Chips

  • Fried Cod with Chips

American Motorsports Bar & Grill ~ Cottage Grove

  • All-You-Can-Eat Fish & Chips  $11.95

Baja Sol

  • Shrimp taco, shrimp burrito, shrimp salad, shrimp arroz, shrimp fajita, fish tacs, fish burrito, crusted tilapia

Bambu

  • Walleye, Tilapia, Cod, Sea Bass, Lobster Tail, Salmon, Scallops

Bennett’s Chop & Railhouse

  • $26.95 All you can eat Snow Crab Legs

Brasa Rotisserie

  • Fried Catfish

Cafe Twenty Eight

  • $14 Beer battered walleye, fries, tarter & cole slaw.

Famous Dave’s

  • All-You-Can-Eat Cod

Groveland Tap

  • All You Can Eat Fish Fry

Jethros Char House

  • Pan Fried Walleye Sandwich, or Battered Shrimp Basket.
    Friday Night: Beer Battered Alaskan Pollock.
  • Baked Walleye Dinner; Wild Sockeye Salmon; tender and flaky Cod dinner (also available in the sandwich variety); and, of course, the insurmountable Jethros’s Tuna Melt.

JJ’s Bierstube

  • $11.99 All You Can Eat Cod (with coleslaw, fries & toast)

Lake Elmo Inn

  • Seafood Extravaganza Buffet 5-9pm  $50 per person Includes:
  • 3-4 oz Lobster tail brought to your table
  • Crab legs, crab dish, 4-5 other seafood salads, 4-5 salads 4 fruits, crab claws, shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, sushi, seared ahi tuna, and prime rib station
  • Reservations highly recommended!

Mac’s Fish & Chips

  • Baskets (Fried Haddock, shrimp or clams) served with Fries & Coleslaw

Oak City

  • $11.95 All You Can Eat Walleye Fingers

Obb’s Sports Bar & Grill

  • $10.75  All-You-Can-Eat Fish Fry

Rascal’s

  • All-You-Can-Eat Beer-Battered Walleye

Red Stag Supper Club

  • Fried Fish Baskets:  Blue Gill ($13/19), Northern ($12/17) or Cod ($11/15)
  • Cornmeal Breaded Calamari, fried smelt, fried oysters, king crab linguini, seared scallops, and fried trout

Shamrock’s Irish Pub

  • Fish Fry or Fried Shrimp with fries and coleslaw $9.95

St Clair Broiler

  • $11.95 Fish fry Served with your choice of soup, salad or cole slaw and a choice of baked potato, garlic mashed potatoes or fries.

Tavern on Grand

  • $13.95 Teriyaki Glazed Walleye Dinner
  • $8.95 Walleye Cakes
  • $10.95 Walleye Bites Basket
  • $15.95/21.95  Walleye Fillets (blackened, fried or grilled)
  • $17.95  Stuffed Walleye

Tavern on the Avenue

  • $9.95  All-You-Can-Eat Cod, choice of potato and cole slaw

Tiffany’s Sports Lounge

  • $10.95. Alaskan Pollack battered in Summit Pale Ale.   Served with hand cut French fries

Wild Onion

  • Walleye Tacos
  • Lenten Fish Specials

Yarusso Bros-

  • $9.75 Italian Baked Catfish with spaghetti and salad

 

Jan 162012
 

Cuisine: American, Steak, Fish
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet Room, On-Site Parking,
Location: Mahtomedi, MN
Address: 10 Old Wildwood Road Mahtomedi, MN 55115 651.777.4097
Hours:  Tuesday-Saturday 4pm-10pm
Links: Google Map


Atmosphere: The atmosphere at the Lakeside Club is one that is very laid-back.  The restaurant has been family-owned and operated since 1946 and the emphasis is definitely on the food.  There isn’t anything fancy about the small, wood-paneled dining room, and eating at the Lakeside does not require anything but casual attire.  A small bar is a popular spot to have a beer and watch whatever game is playing on the TV behind the bar.

Menu: Appetizers at Lakeside Club include Chicken Wings, Cheese Curds,

Sandwiches include Steak Sandwich, Hamburger or Cheeseburger.

Steaks served at Lakeside Club include 12 or 16oz Prime Rib, 12 or 16oz Ribeye, New York Strip, Filet Mignon, and Sirloin. Other entrees include Porkchop, Grilled Chicken Breast, Shrimp or Walleye.  All meals come with side salad and choice of potato or vegetable.

Price guide: Appetizers $7  Steaks $19-30
What we ordered: My companions and I started with the Chicken Wings.  This order of wings came with eight wings that had a crispy, seasoned breading on them.  They were great!

We also tried the Cheese Curds, a large serving of lightly breaded nuggets of hot cheddar cheese.  These were really good; they had a crispy texture and weren’t too greasy.

After we ate our appetizers, our server brought out our dinner salads and a plate of warm rolls, which come with the entrees.  The salads were served in a small bowl with ice berg lettuce, tomato and goldfish crackers.  You can always expect bread of some kind at Lakeside, although it changes frequently.  On this visit we were served brown dinner rolls that were hot and fresh.

I have eaten at the Lakeside countless times over the past decade and I always order the same thing; the 12oz Ribeye, with a medium temperature.  My steak was phenomenal; it was cooked perfectly and was incredibly tender and juicy.  It was only lightly seasoned with salt but the flavor of the aged meat was wonderful.  I had the choice of potato and I ordered fries, which are the salty shoestring variety, similar to McDonald’s. Yum!  Another of our companions also ordered the Ribeye and it was just as wonderful as mine.

Another companion ordered the 16 oz Prime Rib, which was a giant cut prepared medium rare.  This cut was comparatively lean for the size, which was thickly cut.  It was served with prepared horseradish and au jus with choice of fries.

One of my companions ordered the New York Strip, a lean and juicy cut that was just as tender as the ribeye.  Also served with choice of potato and side salad.

Service: I have been going to the Lakeside for over a decade and have become somewhat of a regular over the years.    Our server always remembers what we like to order, which I think is a nice touch.  Sodas are refilled quickly by any available server and the team effort seems to be carried through to the running of dishes and requests, etc.
Overall Impression: The Lakeside Club is a long-time favorite casual place to go for a delicious steak.
Lakeside Club on Urbanspoon