Aug 042012

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi, Teppanyaki
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking
Location: Roseville, MN
Address: 1675 County Road C West Roseville, MN 55113  651-633-3188


  • Mon-Thurs  11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10pm
  • Friday 11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-11pm
  • Saturday 12pm-11pm
  • Sunday 12pm-10pm

Links: Osaka Steakhouse Website * Osaka on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: The Roseville location of Osaka Sushi & Hibachi is located at the far end of the strip mall on the northwest corner of Snelling and County Rd C. (same strip mall as Byerly’s and ZPizza).  The restaurant is divided into three areas: the dining room, the bar area and the hibachi room.  The dining room is to the left when you first walk in, a contemporary space with tables and booths to seat about forty people or so, and a sushi bar at the back to accommodate another dozen.  The wall to the left side of the restaurant is interesting to look at, with floor-to-ceiling textured back-lit glass panels in a variety of patterns, nestled between columns of stone bricks.

The sushi bar is a good place to sit if you like to interact with the sushi chefs, or if you want a closer look at the TVs hanging on the wall behind.

The Bar area is the first thing you see when you enter Osaka, centered between the dining and hibachi rooms.  It has a contemporary feel to it with the under-bar lighting and hanging pendants above.

To the right of the main entrance is the hibachi room.  There are a handful of  hibachi tables, each of which seats about 10-12 people.  The hibachi chef stands in the center of the table and cooks at the grill built into either side of the table.

Menu: Osaka receives their seafood fresh on Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays.

Appetizers include Edamame, Squid Ginger Yaki, Yakitori, Steamed Shrimp Shumai, Calamari, Gyoza, Age Tofu, Vegetable Gyoza, Beef Negimaki, Haru Maki, Soft Shell Crab and Tempura.

Salads at Osaka include Garden Salad, Tataki Salad, Avocado Salad, Seaweed Salad, Kani Salad, Seafood Salad Squid Salad, and House Salad.  Soups include Miso, Spicy Miso Vegetable, Onion Soup and Dobin Soup.

Japanese Entrees include Teriyaki (chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon, seafood), Tempura (vegetable, chicken, seafood), Yaki Udon Noodles, Yaki Soba, Nabe Yaki Udon, Seafood Noodle Soup, Una Don, Chicken Katsu, Pork Katsu, and Beef Negimaki.

Sushi and Sashimi selections come with two pieces in an order: Maguro (tuna), Toro (fatty tuna), Spicy Tuna, Hamachi (yellowtail), Ebi (shrimp), Sake (salmon), Smoked Salmon, Ikura (salmon roe), Hirame (fluke), Tobiko (flying fish egg), Unagi (eel), Hotategai (scallop), Amaebi (sweet shrimp), Tamago (egg custard), Kani (crab stick), Saba (mackerel), Hokkigai (surf clam), Uni (sea urchin), Ika (squid), King Crab, Live Giant Clam, Tako (Octopus) and White Tuna.

Osaka Sushi dinners are served with miso soup and salad.  Options include Sushi Entree, Sashimi Entree, Chirasi Sushi, Tri Color Sushi, Sushi & Sashimi Combo, Roll Combo, Vegetable Roll Combo, Tekka Don, and Tuna or Salmon Love.  You can also order Sishi for 2, Sushi and Sashimi for 2, Love Boat or Chef’s Special.

Rolls and Hand Rolls at Osaka include Avocado, Kappa Maki, Oshinko Maki, Asparagus Maki, Mushroom & Avocado, A.A.C. Maki, Califormia Roll, Boston, Crispy Shrimp tempura Roll, Philadelphia Roll, Eel Cucumber, Salmon Skin Roll, Spicy Snow Crab Roll, Lobster & Avocado, King Crab & Avocado, Dragon Roll, and Spider Roll.  Fresh fish rolls include Tuna, Salmon, Yellowtail, Toro, Alaskan, Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Spicy Yellowtail, and Rainbow Roll.

Osaka’s specialty rolls include Angel, Crazy, Black Dragon, Osaka, Spicy Girl, Crazy Tuna, Sweet Heart, Naked Girl, Salmon Family Roll, Alligator, No. 9, M.J Roll, Roseville Roll, Pink Lady, Yum Yum, B.M.W., Crunch Roll, New York, Dancing, and Sex on the Beach.

Hibachi dinners are served with onion soup, house salad, hibachi noodles, hibachi vegetable with choice of meats including Vegetable, Chicken, Salmon, Scallops, Shrimp, Tuna, Sword Fish, Steak, Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail.
Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Entrees $11-24 Sushi/Sashimi $4-9 Specialty Rolls $13-17  Hibachi $15-31
What we ordered: My companion and I ordered a variety of rolls and sashimi, including surf clam, uni with quail egg, spicy tuna roll, spicy girl roll, and dancing roll.

The Spicy Girl roll had spicy tuna and spicy yellowtail with cucumber on the inside and then wrapped with rice and topped with spicy salmon and panko.  This roll had a fair amount of kick to it, as one would hope with a name like Spicy Girl.  I thought it was good but it didn’t blow me away.

We also tried the Dancing Roll, which turned out to be one of the favorites of both of us.  This roll had tuna, salmon and yellowtail on the inside then was wrapped with rice, escolar, a very thin slice of avocado and then topped with tobiko.  I loved the flavors of the different fish all rolled together, while the tobiko gave it a nice contrast in texture.

My companion was thrilled to see Uni on the menu and even happier when told it was delivered fresh that same day.  We initially ordered two orders with quail egg and later ordered an additional two orders.  I have not been a fan of uni when I have had it in the past, however this uni at Osaka looked very fresh so I wanted to give it another try.  While I can’t say I’ve grown to love uni, this was the best uni I’ve had to date.  The freshness gave it a more mild and less mineral-like taste than other uni I’ve eaten.  The creaminess of the egg and the uni was well complimented by the rice.

The Surf Clam was also fresh; pretty good if you like surf clam.
(I personally can take it or leave it.)

We went back to Osaka less than two weeks later and once again ordered the Dancing Roll and the Uni with Quail Egg, as well as the B.M.W. Roll .  The BMW Roll was really good; it had spicy tuna and avocado wrapped with rice and then deep fried.  It was topped with unagi sauce, spicy mayo and tobiko.  Very good!

Service: Our first visit was late on a Friday night, and while it was busy, we had missed the dinner rush and were able to get a nice booth.  Our server greeted us promptly and was very attentive throughout the evening.  Our drinks were brought and refilled when needed and the wait for the sushi to be prepared was minimal for all the items we ordered.
Overall Impression: We enjoyed the Osaka Seafood Steakhouse in Roseville.  It had a cool atmosphere and pretty good sushi.  The hibachi is reasonably priced in comparison to other Japanese steakhouses in the Twin Cities, I would like to give it a try with a group in the future.
Osaka Seafood Steakhouse 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

Apr 272012

Cuisine: Breakfast, Deli, Pizza, Pasta, Pizza-by-the-Slice
Restaurant Features: Counter-Service, Flat Screen TVs, Patio
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 616 Como Avenue  St Paul, MN 55103 (651) 488-1922
Hours: Mon-Thursday 6:30am-10:30pm *  Friday 6:30-10:30 * Sun 10:30-9:30
Links: John’s Pizza Cafe Website * John’s Pizza Cafe on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: John’s Pizza Cafe is located on the wedge-shaped corner of Como Ave and Dale St in St Paul.  There are two entrances; one in front and one from the patio near the very small parking lot.  The back of the restaurant is where the service counter and kitchen is.  The main dining room has a number of booths as well as tables, live plants and a HUGE (70-80″) Flatscreen TV.

There is a second seating area adjacent to the main dining room that has beautiful natural lighting and live plants.  The tables are smaller but can be arranged to accommodate bigger parties.

There is also an enclosed patio facing Dale Street that has a handful of tables available for outdoor seating.

Menu: Breakfast items at John’s Pizza Cafe include two varieties of Breakfast Pizza9also sold by-the-slice),  English Muffin Egg Sandwich, Egg Sandwich, Omelettes, French Toast, Stuffed French Toast, Pancakes, Yogurt and Granola Parfait, Oatmeal, Caramel Nut Roll, and Cinnamon Roll.

Salads are made fresh throughout the day and include Pear-A-Dise, Garden, Antipasto, Caesar, Grilled Steak, Grilled Chicken, and Taco Salad.

John’s offers and number of fresh-baked Hoagies, all served with chips and pickle spear.  Sandwiches include Philly Hamburger, Works, Chick-A-Dilly, Tex-Mex, Envious Turkey, Turkey Florentine, and John’s Club.

Entrees offered include Spaghetti, Sausage Lasagna, Calzones, Mac-N-Cheese, Sloppy Dogs, Sloppy Meatball, Stromboli and Spaghetti.  Specialty Pastas include Chicken Parmigiano, Linguine Alfredo, Pasta Bolognese, Gnocchi, Pasta Primavera, Three Cheese Ravioli, Sausage Pappardelle, and the Mediterranean.

Pizza is, of course, John’s specialty.  Pies come in 10″, 12″, 14″ and 16″.  Varieties include Create-Your-Own, The Works, The King, Denver, The Hawaiian, Hog in the Bog (brat sausage, wild rice, mushrooms and garlic herb sauce), The Bandito, Chinese Fire Dragon (pepperoni, spicy peppers and pineapple), Mexican Extravaganza, BBQ Chicken or BBQ Pulled Pork, Club, Spicy Caribbean Chicken, Chick-A-Dilly, Reuben, Wisconsin Wonder, Veggie 2000, Meatless Wonder, California Dreamer, Farmer’s Fantasy, Popeye’s Pie, and It’s Not Easy Being Green (artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and basil pesto sauce).

Desserts include Cupcakes, Brownies, Cheesecake, and Cookies.
Price guide: Breakfast $2-7  Hoagies $7  Pizza $9-30 Pizza By Slice $2.50-3.50
What we ordered: I tried a slice of the Pepperoni Deep-Dish, which was great! The crust wasn’t as thick as a traditional Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, but it did have a ton of cheese directly on top of the crust with the sauce just drizzled on top. The piece was quite big and very filling for under $3.50.

I also tried the Chick-a-Dilly Pizza.  This pie starts with the hand-tossed crust topped with a creamy dill sauce ans then mozzarella, red bell pepper, onions, and bite-sized pieces of chicken.  This combination of flavors was delicious, I especially liked the creamy dill sauce which was  a nice change from red sauce.

One of my companions had a slice of the Works, which was topped with Italian sausage, pepperoni,  green pepper, onion, mushroom, and black olive.

My companion also had a slice of Sausage

Another companion ordered a slice of the Hawaiian Pizza, topped with a ton of pineapple tidbits and really good Canadian Bacon.  I need to try this one next time.

Service: I have been to John’s Pizza Cafe a few times now and have had very fast and friendly service each time.  From the hours 10:30-2:30pm they have ten varieties of pizzas that they offer by-the-slice and will get your order ready quickly.
Overall Impression: John’s Pizza Cafe has a large selection of pizzas and hoagies and everything is homemade.  The service is fast and friendly.  This is my new favorite local spot to grab a slice of tasty pizza over the lunch hour.
John's Pizza Cafe on Urbanspoon

Apr 082012

Cuisine: American, Desserts
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flatscreen TVs, Rooftop Patio
Location: Uptown Minneapolis, MN
Address:  3001 Hennepin Ave S., Suite 1230  Minneapolis, MN 55408  612-877-7263
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am-12am * Fri 11:30am-2am * Sat 9am-2am * Sun 9am-12am
Links: Uptown Cafeteria Website * Uptown Cafeteria on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Situated in a prime space on the lower level of Calhoun Square, Uptown Cafeteria is located at Hennepin Ave, looking out onto Lake Street.  The windows that look out onto Lake Street have the ability to open completely, making it an open-air restaurant for many months of the year.  The main dining area is tucked away from the bar and is decorated to have a very retro look to it with the booths, tables and chairs.

The bar is the central feature at Uptown Cafeteria and has seating on all sides of the bar as well as several bistro tables along the windows.  There are a handful of flatscreen TVs hanging above the bar tuned into a variety of programs.  Uptown Cafeteria also has a Sky Bar that is on the rooftop and is open from May-September.

Menu:  Breakfast is served on Saturday and Sunday from 9am-3pm.  Menu items include Warm Banana Bread, Egg White Scramble, Yogurt Parfait, Bacon and Eggs,  Waffles, Chilaquiles, Full Monty English Breakfast, Eggs Benedict, Smoked Salmon Florentine Benedict, Hangover Helper, Cheddar Biscuits and Chorizo Gravy, Pancakes, German Potato Pancakes, and French Toast Treasure Box.

Appetizers at Uptown Cafeteria include Walleye and Corn Fritters, Buffalo Shrimp, Battered Onion Rings, Cold Smoked Salmon, Jalapeno Cheddar Poppers, Crunchy Mushrooms, Short Rib Chili Cheese Fries, Crispy Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings, Cheese and Crackers, and House-made Potato Chips.

Soups include Chicken Noodle, Soup of the Day, and Short Rib Chili.  Salads offered are Hearts of Romaine Caesar, Field Greens, Classic Wedge, Greek Salad, Cobb, Big Hippie Salad and Taco Salad.

Sandwiches are served with fries, chips, side salad or cottage cheese.  Options include Tuna Melt, The Jerk, Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup, Fancy Grilled Cheese (with bleu cheese, apple and bacon), The Burger (cheese, onions, fried eggs and mushrooms), Turkey Burger, Turkey Club, Cuban Sandwich, BBQ Meatloaf Melt, and Southwest Veggie Burger.

Uptown Cafeteria also has entrees such as Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes, Fried Buttermilk Chicken, Beef Stroganoff, Country Fried Steak, Chicken and Waffles, Shrimp and Grits, Hot Tom Turkey, Four Cheese Mac & Cheese, Chicken Potpie, Thick Cut Pork Chop, Lake of the Woods Shore Lunch and Grilled Fresh Fish.

Side Dishes include Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Bacon and Bleu Cheese Brussel Sprouts, Green Bean Almondine, Cheddar Drop Biscuits, and Fries with Ranch.

Uptown Cafeteria also has a selection of homemade desserts including Warm Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Silk Pie, 5 Layer Chocolate Cake, and Red Velvet Cake with Raspberry Ice Cream Soda, Caramel Pecan Malt, Oreo Grasshopper Shake, and Chocolate, Strawberry or Vanilla Malt.
Price guide: Appetizers $5-11 Salads $7-14  Sandwiches $8-13 Entrees $10-17 Desserts $5-8

Weekly Specials:
Sunday- Lasagna with Side Salad and Garlic Bread $11
Monday- Spaghetti Dinner with Side Salad and Garlic Bread $12
Tuesday- All-You-Can-Eat Tacos $11
Wednesday- Pot Roast $12
Thursday- Chicken Subgum Chow Mein $10
Friday- All You Can Eat Fish Fry with fries and coleslaw $16
What we ordered: My companion and I visited Uptown Cafeteria on a hot, beautiful afternoon and a delicious cocktail was in order.  I had the Blueberry Mojito $10, a blend of rum, mint leaves, club soda, simple syrup and blueberries.

As soon as I saw the Cuban sandwich on the menu, I knew that was what I wanted to order. The sandwich had roasted pork and smoked ham piled on a french roll with Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles, then pressed until the bread was crusty and everything within hot and melted.  I ordered it with fries, which were fresh cut, hot and salty.

My companion ordered the Turkey Burger with Chili and Avocado.  The burger was made with fresh ground seasoned turkey, which was moist and very tasty.  It was topped with melted cheese, big slices of fresh avocado and roasted green chilis.  It was very good but messy to eat; fork and knife proved to be a better option.

Service: We arrived for a late lunch on a beautiful Friday afternoon and all of the tables near the windows were already taken so we chose to sit in the vacant dining room, which we ended up having to ourselves for the entire duration of our visit.  We were assigned a server and we saw her exactly four times…. once to take our drink order, another to bring drinks and take our food order, another to bring the food and the fourth time was to bring us our bill (which I paid for with cash since we didn’t want to wait forever).  We didn’t require a lot of attention but it would have been nice to feel like we weren’t forgotten.
Overall Impression: The food at Uptown Cafeteria is what I would consider comfort food, although the prices seemed a little high to be comforting on a budget. Our two sandwiches and one cocktail ended up being over $40 after tip, which seemed expensive for what we got but is typical for any restaurant in Uptown.  The food was good and the atmosphere was pretty cool.

Uptown Cafeteria on Urbanspoon

Mar 172012

Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Mexican
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Screen TVs, Happy Hour, On-Site Parking

Locations: Coon Rapids. Columbia Heights, Roseville and Waite Park, MN

Addresses and Maps:
Columbia Heights– 5085 Central Avenue NE Columbia Heights, MN 55421  763-571-7784
Coon Rapids– 8955 Springbrook Dr Coon Rapids, MN 55433 763-432-2479
Roseville– 1925 Perimeter Rd Roseville, MN 55113  651-287-4055
Waite Park– 314 West Division St Waite Park, MN 56387 320- 230-8633

Hours: Sun 11am9pm * Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm * Fri-Sat 11am-11pm

Links: La Casita Website * La Casita on FacebookGoogle Map

Atmosphere: The Roseville location of La Casita is located on Perimeter Rd, just a few blocks west of Fairview Ave.  The restaurant is quite large and has many different dining areas, including a large indoor courtyard.  There are historic photographs and hand-painted murals on several of the walls, many of which are depicting Mexican soldiers.

The courtyard is well lit from the skylights overhead and the decor is bright and colorful.

The Bar Area is to the left when you walk in and is quite spacious, with several bistro tables as well as seating along the length of the bar.  There are a handful of flat screen TVs hung up over the bar.

Menu: Appetizers include Chili con Queso, Queso Blanco, Chicken Fiesta Flatbread, Nachos, Ultimate Nachos, Layered Bean Dip, Quesadilla, and Veggie Quesadilla.  Tortilla Soup also available.

Salads offered include Taco Salad, Mexican Grilled Chicken, Southwestern Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, Fajita Salad, and House Salad.

La Casita offers many Burritos including El Grande Burrito, Burrito Supreme, Shredded Beef Burrito, Burrito Colorado, Garden Burrito, Fajita Burrito, Chimichangas, Blanco Chimichanga, Grande Chimichanga, and Pollo Fundido.

Skillet Entrees offered at La Casita include Grilled Steak Fajitas, Grilled Chicken Breast Fajitas, Shrimp Fajitas, Garden Fajitas, and Fajitas Supremas.  Other Grilled items include Tacos Al Carbon, Grilled Chicken Breast, Carne Asada, Rancheros, Tex-Mex Chicken Sandwich, and Fiesta Burger.

Favorite Mexican Entrees include Chalupa, Mexican Club, Flautas, Baja Tacos, Mazatlan (spoinach and mushrooms in wheat tortilla), Arroz con Pollo, Carnitas, Chili Colorado, and Enchiladas.

Entrees with Seafood include Seafood Enchiladas, Cancun, Tacos de Dorado (Mahi Mahi) and Tortilla Crusted Tilapia.

There are a number of combination meals as well.
Price guide: Appetizers $6-10   Burritos $10-12 Skillets $12-16 Entrees $8-11

Happy Hour:

  • Daily 3-6pm
  • $1.00 off House Margaritas, Tap Beers, House Wines, and Rail Drinks.
  • Free Appetizer bar (Monday through Friday 3-6, 4.95 minimum purchase) featuring: chili con Queso dips, Bean dip, Fresh Veggies and dip, and more.
  • Late Night Happy Hour 9pm-Close = 2 for 1 House Margaritas, Tap Beers, Rail Drinks

Daily Specials:

  • Tuesday – ½ price house margaritas (open until close)
  • Wednesday – Tall tap domestic beer $3.00, Tall imports Specialties $4.00, Tacos $.99 (7 to close)
  • Thursday – Long Island Teas $4.00, Sauza Gold Margaritas $5.00
  • Sunday – Kids Eat Free Every Sunday – Your children (8 and younger) who accompany you on Sundays can select one item from our Children’s menu for FREE (beverage extra).  Children must be accompanied by parent who orders food of equal or greater value.

Birthday Special –Receive a FREE DINNER of your choice with purchase of entree of equal value.  Not valid with other offers or coupons.  (Drinks, appetizers and desserts are extra; I.D. required)

What we ordered: Our visit was during Happy Hour so I took advantage of the $3 House Margarita.  It was quite large for the price and was strong and tart.  Perfect for the price!

If you dine during Happy Hour you are welcome to the Chips and Salsa Bar, where this is quite a selection of different dips including Bean Dip, Carne con Queso, Salsa, Salsa Verde, Queso Blanco, and a Smoky Salsa.  All this for free, what a deal!

Another item on the Nacho Bar was a huge pan of hot, fresh Nachos Supreme.

This was my first visit to La Casita in nearly four years and I noticed immediately that they changed the menu in that time and as soon as I saw that they offered Fish Tacos, my decision was made. These “El Dorado” tacos came with two double-corn tortillas each piled with sauteed strips of mahi mahi, fresh cilantro, lettuce and tomato with a spicy chipotle mayo.  The plate was piled with salad, savory Mexican rice, and freshly sauteed peppers, red onions, zucchini, yellow squash, and broccoli.  I topped my taco with additional salsa and some of the chipotle mayo and they were awesome!

One of my companions ordered a Beef Enchilada and one Chicken Enchilada a la carte.  The beef enchilada was a corn tortilla stuffed with mildly seasoned ground beef and covered with a red chili sauce with melted monterey jack and cheddar.  This was enjoyed very much.

The Chicken Enchilada had shredded chicken stuffed inside a corn tortilla, smothered with salsa verde and melted cheddar jack cheeses.  This was decent but the beef enchilada was preferable.

Another companion ordered the Veggie Quesadilla, a large whole wheat tortilla was stuffed with cheeses and roasted peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, and yellow squash.  It was served with guacamole and a bed of lettuce.

Service: We had very good service at La Casita.  My companions and I met early on a Tuesday evening during Happy Hour before it started to get busy, and pretty much had our pick of tables.  Our server was friendly and attentive, yet left us alone to talk and eat.  We loved the complimentary Chips & Salsa Bar and another positive was the split checks.
Overall Impression: La Casita is one of my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants around, even more so now that they offer fish tacos! Big portions at very reasonable prices.
La Casita Mexican on Urbanspoon

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 252011

Cuisine: American, Wings
Restaurant Features: Counter Service, Delivery, Flat Screen TV, On-Site Parking
Location: Maplewood, MN
Address: 705 Century Ave N Maplewood, MN 55119 (651) 730-7768
Hours: Mon-Thur 11am-10pm  Friday 11am-11pm Saturday 12pm-11pm  Sunday 11am-7pm
Links: D-Spot Website * D-Spot on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: D-Spot is located in Maplewood (bordering Oakdale), in a strip mall at the corner of Century Ave and 10th Street.  When you first walk in, you will see the front counter where you order your food.  The dining room itself has a handful of tables for dining in, or there is a small waiting area near the front if you choose to take-out.

Menu: The plethora of Chicken Wings at D-Spot can be divided into 4 groups: Spicy, Savory, Comfort and Sweet.

Spicy Wings include Chipotle BBQ, Spicy BBQ, Asian BBQ, Ginger, Szechuan, Voo Doo, Jerk, Buffalo, Iron Man (sweet/spicy), Incredible Hulk (green coconut curry), Pachadi (mago yogurt curry), Volcano, Ochre (honey mustard), Vaporizer (horseradish, mustard, honey), El Loco (super HOT), Toxic Avenger (green coconut curry, italian salsa verde, and sriracha), Ben Grimm (red and green curry, pineapple and toasted coconut), Kamikazee (chili, horseradish buffalo and fried garlic), War Machine (jerk and iron man), Bathala’s Bliss (ginger, honey, thai chilis, coconut milk, peanut butter, lime juice and cilantro), Dragon’s Breath (sriracha, honey, horseradish aioli) and Desert Heat (harrisa, sriracha, honey and dry rub).

Savory Wings include Honey Butter, Italiano (mint, parsley, basil, garlic, capers, anchovy and red pepper), Salsa Verde, Moroccan (yellow curry, apple and orange juice, raisin, carrot, yogurt), Twist (lemon/lime zest, toasted cumin, coriander), Kitchen Sink (3 dry rubs, 3 sauces), Teriyaki (soy, pineapple and orange), M.P.G (fondue style potato and gravy), Muay Thai (coconut milk, peanut butter, chili), Tunisian (harrisa), Meatball (chili cranberry marmalade), Marsala (pancetta, mushroom, marsala), Cordon Bleu, Iberian (chorizo, smoked paprika), Black Widow (soy glaze, crackel fennel, jerk rub), Frenchy (caramelized onion and sweet balsamic), Widow Maker (iron man and black widow).

Comfort Wings include Peanut Butter and Jelly, Country Fried, Alfredo, Lalapalooza (lavender, peppercorn, mustard vinegar), Blue Moon (bleu cheese cream), Four Seasons, Ranch, El Rancho (ranch and buffalo), Buffalo Bill (bleu cheese and buffalo), Cacciatore (tomato, rosemary, garlic), Pesto, Johnny Apple Seed (apple pear, caramelized onion, bleu cheese), Kariboo (coffee, chocolate, acho chili), Sri Lanka (pineapple gastric dusted in cayenne), Traditional BBQ, Honey BBQ, Pineapple BBQ and Huckleberry Finn (blueberry, honey, barbeque).

Sweet Wing varieties include Mound of Joy (coconut milk, dark chocolate, crushed almonds), Snackers (peanut butter, caramel, crushed nuts, chocolate and sea salt), Reese’s (peanut butter, milk chocolate, sea salt), Chicken and Waffles (maple brown sugar, creme anglaise, cinnamon, powdered sugar), The Canadian (bourbon, brown sugar, maple syrup, sea salt), Caramel Delight (caramel, sea salt, drizzle of chocolate), Black & Blue (black and blueberries), Strawberry (strawberries and balsamic syrup), D’s Short Cake (strawberry, creme anglaise, almonds and cream), Naked Turtle (caramel with pecans), Fruity Pebbles (boisenberry, lemon, lime and honey) and French Toast (cinnamon, maple syrup).

In addition to wings, you can also order Burgers and Sandwiches such as Luciann (two 1/4lb patties), D-Burger (with coleslaw, fries and american cheese), Emma James (smoked pancetta, fried egg, and harissa aioli), Mushroom & Swiss, and Red Baron (caramelized shallots, red wine butter), Cheddar Cheese, Pulled Pork, Grilled Chicken, and Falafel.
Price guide: $6/6 wings or $10/dozen  Burgers/Sandwiches $5-8
Weekly Specials:  Monday Nights during football season:  $40 for 60 wings

What we ordered: We started with the Bathala’s Bliss, which was my personal favorite of the five flavors we tried.  These wings were lightly floured and then fried until golden, then bathed in a delicious and somewhat thick Thai-inspired sauce consisting of ginger, honey, peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice and then topped with Thai chilis and cilantro.  Very flavorful; slightly sweet from the honey and peanut butter but also savory from the chili and cilantro. Yum.  I will crave these from now on whenever I think of wings, they were awesome.

Next we tried the Black Widow, which were wings rubbed with jerk seasoning and cracked fennel then tossed with a somewhat sweet soy glaze.  Very good, I liked the sweet/savory combo.

Next we tried the Ginger Wings, which were tossed in a sauce of honey, ginger, garlic and then topped with spicy Thai chilis.  These were also good; the honey flavor came through stronger than any of the others so they were slightly sweet.

Another of the Wing flavors that we tried was the Twist.  These were a dry wing seasoned with lemon/lime zest, toasted cumin, and coriander.  These were very good if you like a drier wing.  My companion loved them and preferred these over any of the others.

We also tried the Buffalo Bill, which were a step up from your basic buffalo wing.  The sauce was very tasty and had a decent amount of spice and the wings were coated nicely with it then topped with bleu cheese crumbles.  I love buffalo wings and I love bleu cheese so this was a winning combo for me.

We also ordered a side of seasoned fries, which were delicious! They seemed to be lightly battered and heavily seasoned, which I loved.  They came with seasoned mayo for dipping.  I had a couple of fries in between each new flavor of wing I tried.

Service: Our wings were prepared to-order, and the five different wings took approximately 15 minutes.

Overall Impression: I had heard about D-Spot a few months ago and had been wanting to try it ever since.  My actual experience exceeded expectations!  With 60+ flavors of wings, there is a wing for everyone.  My new favorite spot for wings is definitely D-Spot!
D-Spot on Urbanspoon
:D-Spot Reviews in Maplewood