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

Feb 182012
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Hour:

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

Weekly Specials:

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

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

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

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

Sep 012011
 

Fish on a taco?!  I once thought that was a strange idea but then I tried them a few years ago while working in Austin, TX and I was instantly hooked. I ate them all over Austin and now I am eating them all over the Twin Cities.

Here are my current picks for Best Fish Tacos based on the restaurants I have personally visited and reviewed.  This list will grow and change as necessary.  If you know of fish tacos served at other restaurants  that I need to try, please leave me a recommendation in the comments of this post.

#1 Mahi Mahi Tacos at Barrio
When I saw that they had fish tacos, I knew I had to try them even though they were deep-fried. Oh so glad I did, they were wonderful! The crunchy batter actually made it easier to eat the fish because it didn’t flake apart like fillets often do. There were two mahi-mahi fillets in the order for $3.50 and I was able to make two tacos with the extra tortilla. I loved the fresh pico and jalapenos that topped the tacos, and also the crunch from the cabbage.

Barrio St Paul - Mahimahi Tacos

Barrio St Paul – Mahimahi Tacos

#2 Jaws Tacos at Rudolph’s Barbeque
I was intrigued when I saw the “Jaws Tacos”, and thought it would be a good one for me to try. I love fish tacos but had never had any like these before! Each taco had a full fillet of walleye, seasoned with spicy cajun, and a generous serving of coleslaw and sliced avocado. I thought the cajun went really well with the sweet slaw. It was also served with a salsa that was mildly sweet.

#3 Fish Tacos at The Six15 Room
The Fish Tacos at Six15 Room are made with locally-caught walleye. Served on double white corn tortillas, each of the two tacos had a nice size fillet of pan-seared walleye topped with pickled cabbage and cilantro. Excellent and very filling!

Fish Tacos at The Six15 Room ~ Minneapolis, MN

Fish Tacos at The Six15 Room ~ Minneapolis, MN

#4 Fish Tacos at Patriot’s Tavern

Patriot’s Tavern is still a newer restaurant but they have quickly become one of my local favorites.  Their Fish Tacos are wonderful; you get two flour tortillas, each with a big piece of pan-fried mahi mahi topped with jalapenos, sliced radish, fresh jalapeno rings,  tomato, lettuce, and chevre cheese.  You  need to like goat cheese to enjoy these tacos; it was a little distracting but it definitely brought the strongest flavor of all the toppings.