Feb 182012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Hour:

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

Weekly Specials:

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

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

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

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

Nov 052011

Cuisine: Gyros, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Cafeteria Style, On-Site Parking
Locations: St Paul, MN
Addresses & Maps:
Hillcrest Shopping Center– 1676 White Bear Ave North St Paul, MN 55106 (651) 776-5419
University– 860 University Ave W St Paul, MN 55104  (651) 228-0310
North End– 1700 Rice St # G St Paul, MN 55113 (651) 489-2900
East Side– 949 Payne Ave St Paul, MN 55106 (651) 771-6740
Hours: Mon – Sat 11am-9pm Sundays 11 am- 7 pm
Links: Best Steak House Website * Best Steak House on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Hillcrest location of Best Steak House is at the corner of White Bear Ave and Larpenteur.  You walk in and are immediately directed toward the counter where you order, then head through the cafeteria-style line which includes the salad bar, toward the cash register at the end of the line.

The dining room is long and narrow, with several booths running along the wall, as well as a large room in the back with tables.

Menu: The menu varies slightly at each Best Steak House location but most include T-Bone, Fillet, New York Strip, Ribeye and Shrimp.  Gyro Sandwich and Steak Burger.

Additionally, the Best Steak House on University offers Cod Filet, Catfish, Cheeseburger, and Chicken Tenders.
Price guide: Steaks $9-17

What we ordered: Nearly every plate you order at Best Steak House comes with a trip through the salad bar.  My salad consisted of some of the basic but fresh items offered.

I ordered the Gyro with Fresh Cut Fries.  I cannot believe how much food I got for under $10! There was a giant pile of thickly sliced gyro meat, many of which were crispy on one side and still moist and tender.  It also had thinly sliced white onions and a couple of slices of tomato.  It came with a small side of sour cream with chives rather than traditional tzaziki sauce.  It was still great, overall and so big that  I had enough left over for a second meal the next day.

My companion ordered the Sirloin for $10, which came with a baked potato and Texas Toast.  The steak was ordered medium rare but was served closer to medium, but was still tender and juicy.  It may have had a tiny sprinkling of salt, but other than that it wasn’t seasoned.

Service: We were able to order right away and move through the line to get our salads and then paid at the end of the line.  We sat ourselves, which is how you do it at Best Steak House, and our food was delivered about five minutes later.
Overall Impression: Fast service and decent food at very reasonable prices.  Excellent gyro!

This is an original review of Best Steak House on Twin Cities Restaurant Blog
Best Steak House - White Bear Avenue on Urbanspoon