Mar 132012

Cuisine: American, Bar & Grill, Breakfast
Restaurant Features: Bar, Kids Menu, On-Site Parking, Patio
Location: New Prague, MN
Address: 200 County Road 37 New Prague, MN 5607 (952) 758-8734
Hours: Mon 11am-8pm * Tues 1pm-4pm * Wed-Fri 11am-11pm * Sat – Sun 11am – 10pm

Links: Fishtale Grill Website * Fishtale Grill on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located on County Rd 37 in New Prague, a giant metal fish statue near the main road beckons visitors to The Fishtale Grill .  The restaurant itself is a large, log building with vaulted peaks and large skylights.  The interior is rustic, with a collection of different northwoods and fishing-themed decor.

Menu: Breakfast items at Fishtale Grill include Buttermilk Pancakes, Homemade Waffles, French Toast, Oatmeal, Cinnamon or Caramel Roll, Apple , Prune or Poppy Kolacky, Ham, Bacon, Sausage, Wild Rice Sausage, Walleye, and Sirloin.  There are several combination plates as well as a handful of classic omelettes including Everything, Country, Denver and Veggie Omelette.

Appetizers include Artichoke Spinach Dip, Nachos, Cheese Quesadillas, Buffalo, Thai, Honey BBQ, Caribbean jerk, Teriyaki or Plain Chicken Wings, Onion Rings and Mozzarella Sticks.

Fishtale Grill also offers Chili, a Soup du Jour and a handful of sandwiches such as Caesar, Chef, Barbecue Chicken Chopped, Chicken Oriental, and Taco Salad.

Sandwiches come with french fries and include Turkey Bacon Ranch Wrap, French Dip, Cod Fillet, Reuben, Rachel, Tuna Melt, Chicken Breast, Turkey Club with Cheese, Walleye, BLT,  Tom Turkey Melt and Deluxe Grilled Cheese. Burgers are 1/2 lb and also include fries. Selections include Lake Superior Burger (bacon & cheese), Gunflint Trail (mushroom and swiss), or Lake of the Woods Burger (bacon, cheese and BBQ).

The Entrees at Fishtale Grill inlcude Walleye Filet, Broasted Chicken, Shrimp, Broiled Salmon Filet, BBQ Ribs, Spaghetti with Meatballs, Chicken Alfredo, Southwestern Penne Pasta, 14oz Ribeye, 6oz Sirloin,  and 10oz Hamburger Steak.  Also available are Basket Dinners: Chicken Strips, Chicken Drummies, Walleye Strips, and Popcorn Shrimpo

Dessert selections include Turtle Cheesecake, Strawberry Cheesecake, Bread Pudding, French Silk Pie, Apple Pie, Jumbo Cookie, Ice Cream Sundae, and Root Beer Float.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-9 Breakfast $3-10 Salads $8-10  Sandwiches $9-12 Entrees $10-19

What we ordered: We started with a 20oz schooner of Grain Belt Nordeast, an every day value at just $3. Score!

My companion and I were very hungry and debated about getting an appetizer but decided to get a couple of sandwiches and the Prime Rib special to share between us. The Gunflint Trail Burger was delicious! The beef had just the right amount of fat content to make it juicy and flavorful. It had a heaping pile of sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese holding them in place on top of the burger.

We also ordered the Walleye Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries.  This was a long, thick fillet of walleye that was lightly breaded and served on a toasted hoagie roll.  It was just crispy enough to give it a nice crunch but the fish itself was very flaky.  One of the better walleye sandwiches around! We tried it with sweet potato fries which were thin and crispy.

My companion also ordered the Saturday Special, the Ace Prime Rib which came with a Dinner Salad.  The salad was pretty standard but the Thousand Island Dressing was very good and tasted homemade.

The Ace Prime Rib is the biggest size of this tender cut of beef, 20oz, to be exact.  It was served with choice of potato and green beans, my companion opted for the fries and they gave us plenty.  This was a tender cut that had very little fat, considering the size of it.   Quality cut, good flavor and texture, just the way prime rib should be.  The au jus was homemade and hearty and the horseradish had a real nice kick to it.  Overall it exceeded expectations.

We also ordered a Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce for dessert.  This was creamy and smooth yet dense, with the distinct flavor of vanilla.  We could’ve dressed it any way we wanted, we opted for the strawberry sauce.  It was very good, we both enjoyed it.

Service: We arrived near 7pm on a  very busy Saturday night to a full parking lot and a lobby full of waiting guests.  We asked how long the wait was and were told it was ten minutes.  Ten minutes turned into forty five minutes while we patiently waited for a table.  Once we were seated we were greeted by our server within minutes.  She was friendly and had a handful of suggestions from the menu when asked.  Our food took about 15-20 minutes to arrive after we placed our order, which seems fairly quick for how busy it was, but the main dinner rush was nearly over at that point.  The dining room cleared out within a half hour of us being seated
Overall Impression: From the moment we drove into New Prague and saw the giant metal fish along the road, we knew that Fishtale Grill & Bar would be a good place to try and we were spot on with that prediction.  Big portions, very good food.  We enjoyed everything we ordered and would go back again when in the area.  Gets very busy on the weekend, be prepared to wait awhile.
Fishtale Grill on Urbanspoon

Apr 262011

Cuisine: American, Greek, Fish & Seafood, Pasta, Steaks, Chops, Ribs
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Patio, On-Site Parking
Location: Fridley, MN
Address: 6161 Central Ave. N.E. (Hwy. 65) Fridley, MN  55432 763-398-0088
Kitchen Hours: Mon-Tues: 11am – 9pm  Wed-Thurs: 11am – 10pm  Fri- Sat: 11am – 11pm  Sun Brunch: 10am – 2pm  Sun Dinner: 4pm – 9pm

Links: Shorewood Grill Website * Shorewood on Facebook * Google Map
Atmosphere: The main dining room is a cozy space, with rich, warm colors and murals on the walls, along with a fireplace and big booths.

The bar/lounge area is an extra large room with the bar centrally located.  There are a number of large booths around the perimeter of the room, with several bistro tables spread throughout as well.  There was a small stage at the front of the room where a band played later in the evening.

There is a patio that can be accessed from both the dining room and the bar with views of the small lake nearby.

Menu: Appetizers at Shorewood include Calamari, Shorewood Meatballs, Spanakopita, Saginaki, Gyros, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Kalamata Bruschetta, Crab Cakes, Shrimp Cocktail, Stuffed Mushrooms, Pita Bread & Spreads, Ahi Tuna, and Hercules Bites.

Salads include Greek Village, Peasant, Chopped, Caesar and King Louie.  Soups include Chicken Orzo or a Soup du Jour.

Shorewood’s sandwich offers a handful of sandwiches such as Prime Rib Dip, Gyro, Black Angus Burger, Chicken Caesar Wrap, and Walleye Sandwich.

Entrees include Kebobs (chicken, beef or swordfish), Chicken in Phyllo, Athenian Lamb Chops, Gyros Dinner, Meatloaf, BBQ Ribs, Roasted Chicken, and Chicken Pot Pie.

Steak and Pork options include New York Strip, Steak de Greco, Grilled Ribeye, Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, Short Ribs, and Pork Chops.

Shorewood’s seafood options include Lobster Tail, Walleye,Grecian Shrimp, Crab Stuffed Salmon, and Jumbo Scallops.

Pasta offerings include Lobster Ravioli, Lime Chicken Tortellini, Theva Pasta with Lamb,  Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Alfredo, and Mediterranean Pasta.

Children’s Menu has items such as Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Tenders, Mini Pizza, Mini Prime Rib, Mini Burgers, and Mini Gyros.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-12  Salads $9-14  Sandwiches $10-14 Entrees $14-24 Steak $17-27 Seafood $18+

What we ordered: (In order of appearance) One of my companions ordered this Spinach Artichoke Dip, a creamy blend of cheeses baked in a ramekin and served with pita bread.  I tried a few bites of this and it was very good.  It had the rich flavor of artichoke, spinach, onions, parmesan and other cheeses and was baked until the cheese was a bubbly golden color.

My entree came with a salad, so I went with the Greek Salad, which was the basic salad with feta and pepperoncini.  Crisp and fresh.

One of my companions ordered the New York Strip, prepared medium.  This meal comes with both veggies and au gratin potatoes, but was ordered without veggies due to a food allergy; as you can see it was still served with a sauteed veggie medley.

Another companion ordered the Grecian Shrimp, a dish of shrimp baked with garlic butter and feta.  These were delicious; the shrimp were decent sized and covered with feta.  The meal was served with veggie medley and mashed potatoes.

My companions also ordered the Calamari, which came after their meals.  I tried this and thought it was some of the best calamari I have had; the squid was cooked perfectly yet the batter was still crispy.  It was served over a bed of sauteed banana and pepperoncini peppers, which was a nice tangy accompaniment.  I could also taste a hint of lemon and I loved that it had little squids in addition to the rings.  Served with a Crab Louie sauce, which was tangy and creamy.  Huge portion.

Another companion ordered the Chicken Tenders, which came with six large, ordinary pieces of white meat chicken.

The guest of honor had the Seared Ahi Tuna, which came with two thick pieces of tuna seared on the outside and raw in the middle.  The fish was served over thin slices of carrots and cucumbers and drizzled with wasabi mayo.

Another companion ordered the Stuffed Burger, which was still slightly pink in the middle along with the melted cheddar cheese.  For some reason it didn’t come with any fries?

One companion ordered the Phyllo Chicken.  I did not try this dish but it looked very good.  It had a chicken breast stuffed with spinach, feta and pine nuts, then wrapped in the light and flaky phyllo dough and baked to a golden color.  It was topped with a creamy sauce and served with veggie medley and mashed potatoes.

I ordered the Lobster Ravioli, which I liked very much.  The portion came with 4-5 large raviolis filled with a cheesy lobster mix, then topped with a creamy rosa sauce and a small about of lobster meat.  I loved every bite and was still hungry when it was all gone (and it is very rare that I finish my entree!)  It would’ve been great to have bread with this meal but it was not brought out until after we already ate.

Another companion ordered the Chicken Pot Pie, which I tried and thought was very good.  There was just the right amount of vegetables and chunky white chicken to the creamy chicken soup.  It had a flaky, buttery crust baked on top, then sprinkled with parmesan.  Total comfort food!

Another companion ordered the Gyro Appetizer.  I did not try this at all but it looked like standard gyro meat and fixings,

A couple of my companions ordered Flaming Cinnamon shots which were quite spectacular when set on fire (at the bar only).

Service: The service that we experienced at Shorewood Bar & Grill was beyond disappointing; it was downright appalling. Our party consisted of fifteen people, with a reservation made four weeks in advance.  We arrived on time to be seated in the lounge, with one large booth (seats 6-8)  and a handful of 2-person bistro tables for our party.  It was very awkward from the get-go, with there being no good way of arranging the tables so that everyone was included.  Our server was a new employee, having just started at Shorewood the week prior.  She was nice and sweet and I can cut her a little bit of slack because she was new, but Shorewood should know better than to put a newbie with a group so big on a busy weekend night.  I guess Shorewood’s mentality with new wait staff is “sink or swim”?

Our biggest problem of the night wasn’t necessarily with our server; it was more the bad timing of the food.  We all ordered within a half hour of our arrival, with the server starting at one end of the party and then finishing at the other end.  Logical, right? The first four people to order received their salads about 43 minutes after ordering.  Not even two minutes later their entrees showed up, but no sign of the calamari that was ordered as an appetizer.  The timing of the food was just totally off! Someone did bring the calamari right out to us after inquiring to its whereabouts and we were not charged for it.  This first group that got their food also had a serious problem: After requesting “no vegetables” to the server due to a food allergy, the steak entree showed up with vegetables.  This mistake could have turned into a scary and life-threatening situation real quick.  About twenty minutes later (an hour after ordering), the second wave of food arrived to those in the middle of the seating arrangement, myself included.  It was not for another 30 minutes beyond this point that the last section of our group received their food, approximately 90 minutes after ordering.  Our bread wasn’t served to us until the second time we requested it, and it came after the meal.

All the while we were waiting (and waiting!) for our food, the people who arranged the party spoke with the management to express their unhappiness with the chain of events.  I am not sure of how that situation was remedied but I personally never saw the management once that evening, nor did they come to check with the guests in our party.  I think that personal tough was warranted in this situation and being accustomed to good service most places I go, I expect it.  They did, however send in a few additional servers to check on us after the first two hours and these girls were very nice.  At the end of the evening someone in our party passed my card along to the management and let them know that I was there and I was doing a review for this blog; the management sent our server over to me and asked if he could by me a drink since he knew I was writing a review.  I find it kind of insulting that they thought maybe they could keep me quiet by buying me a margarita.

Overall Impression: Very mixed.  I thought the food was really good but the service was terrible.  As much as I liked the food, more importantly to me is how the service is and how the restaurant made us feel.  I know I personally never felt like my business was valued or appreciated and I think it is safe to say the same for the majority of the people in our large party.  The fact that our party was so big was a factor in the quality of service (I can only assume), but to me that shouldn’t matter.  I have been to plenty of restaurants as part of a large group and most have done a great job.  Shorewood has a long way to go with their service before I would  consider going back.

Shorewood Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Feb 152011

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and my meal was provided by the restaurant. All opinions are my own.

Cuisine: American,  Dessert, Italian, Pasta, Steak, Chops
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet, Catering, Happy Hour, Kids Menu, On-Site Parking, Patio
Location: Apple Valley, MN
Address: 15435 Founders Lane Apple Valley, MN 55124  952-891-6569
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11a-9p   Fri-Sat  11a-10p   Sun 10a-9p
Links: Enjoy! Website * Enjoy on Facebook *  Google Map

Enjoy! ~ Apple Valley, MN

Atmosphere: Enjoy! is located in a very large, impressive  building about 1/2 mile south of Country Rd 42 off of Galaxie Dr. and Founders Ln.  The restaurant is divided into seven distinct areas, The Conservatory (pictured below), The Upper Dining Room, The Grotto, The Vintage Room, The Water’s Edge Patio, The Bar Patio, and The Lounge.  We ate in the lovely Conservatory which had a beautiful fireplace  complete with a large-tile mosaic painting.  One highlight of the room was the magnificent domed skylight.  In addition to having tables, this area also has high-backed booths which offer a sense of privacy.

The Upper Dining Room is another one of the many seating areas at Enjoy! that is perfect for groups, offering larger booths and tables that can accommodate many.

Enjoy! also has The Vintage Room available for Banquets and larger parties. The Lounge  is also a big, beautiful area and is also the place to go for a great Happy Hour.

Menu: Enjoy! just unveiled their new menus within the past few weeks with a great selection of favorites as well as many new items.  The Lunch Menu is served Mon-Sat 11am-3pm and includes Bruschetta, Calamari, Mozzarella and Artichoke Bake, Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms and Crab Cakes for Appetizers.

In addition to many of the pastas, salads, seafoods and meats that are offered at dinner, Enjoy! has a nice selection of Specialty Sandwiches on the Lunch Menu: Prime Rib Dip, Chicken Cashew, BLT, Ultimate Grilled Cheese (cheddar, fontina and bacon), Turkey Club, Chicken Bacon Avocado Wrap, Pulled Pork, Grilled Chicken, Reuben, Rachel, Beer Battered Cod, and Open Faced Turkey.  Burgers are also offered at lunch; Juicy Lucy, Avocado Bacon, Crispy Cheddar, Black and Blue or Build Your Own.

The Dinner Menu is served after 3pm and has starters such as Bruschetta, Calamari, Mozzarella and Artichoke Bake, Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms, Seared Scallops, Crab Cakes, Tenderloin Tips, and the Warm Cheese Sampler.

Grilled Flatbread options include Pesto Chicken, Mushroom and Garden (olive, artichoke, tomato, garlic).

Enjoy! also offers salads including the Caesar, Iceberg Wedge, Strawberry Spinach Salad, Chopped, Avocado and Crab, Tenderloin, and the Enjoy! Salad (pear, gorgonzola, walnuts).  Soups offered are French Onion, Tomato Basil and Lobster Chowder.

Classics are the Chicken Pot Pie, Grilled Chicken Sandwich or Build-Your-Own-Burger.

Pasta dishes at Enjoy! include Cannelloni, Fettuccine Alfredo, Spicy Sausage Penne, Short Rib Lasagna, Shrimp Angel Hair, Seafood Fettuccine, Lobster Ravioli, and Duck Risotto.

Meat Entrees offered are the Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Piccata, Oven Roasted Chicken, Flat iron Steak, Sirloin, Filet Mignon,  New York Strip (14oz),  Ribeye (16oz), Veal Marsala, Lamb Chops, Pork Chops and Prime Rib.

Seafood and Fish selections at Enjoy! are the Tilapia, Mahi Mahi, Pecan Crusted Walleye, Crab and Brie Stuffed Salmon, Halibut, Sea Bass, Seared Scallops, and Lobster Tail.

Side dishes include Fingerling Potatoes, Parmesan Leek Hash Browns, Mashed Potatoes, Whipped Sweet Potatoes, House Cut Fries, Boursin or Bleu Cheese Bubble Bread, Fettuccine Alfredo, Herb Risotto, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Green Beans, and Broccolini.

Desserts at Enjoy! are heavenly.  Options include Maple Creme Brulee, Chocolate Molten Lava Cake, Cheesecake, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Key Lime Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Upside Down Walnut Crusted Apple Pie, Hot Fudge Sundae and Italian Gelato or Sorbet.  There are also a number of dessert coffees, drinks, cordials and ports.

Kids Menu items include Buttered Noodles, Spaghetti, Penne & Cheese, Chicken Fingers, Grilled Cheese, Mini Burgers, Grilled Chicken, and Beef Tenderloin.  Served with drink and ice cream sundae.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-12  Sandwiches $  Pastas $13-23  Entrees$ 17-29 Seafood $17-29  Desserts $4-7 Kids Menu $5-10

Happy Hour:

  • Sunday-Thursday 3pm-Close  Friday 3-6:30pm
  • Specials available in the Lounge Only
  • $3- Opulent martinis, Jameson, Beefeater, Captain Morgan, Michelob Golden, Miller Lite, Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss, Sam Adams, Summit Epa,
  • $4-Canyon Road Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, white zinfandel, Bass Ale, Amstel Light, Blue Moon, Ranger Pale Ale
  • $5- Enjoy! Wines- Chardonnay, Cabernet and Syrah, Guinness and Stella Artois
  • $6  Any signature martini or cocktail, French Onion Soup, Emjoy! Salad, Spinach Salad, Bruschetta, Chicken Tenders, Garden Flatbread
  • $7 Lobster Chowder, Mozzarella and Artichoke Bake, Calamari, Bubble Bread, Pesto Chicken Flatbread
  • $8- Fish & Chips, Crab Cakes, Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms, Seared Scallops, Garden Shrimp Flatbread
  • $9 – Tenderloin Tips, Shrimp Cocktail, Mushroom Flatbread, Black & Blue Flatbread, Warm Cheese Sampler

Sunday Brunch:

  • 10am-3pm
  • Adults/ $21.95   Kids 3-11/ $11.95
  • Assorted Muffins and Pastries, Yogurt Parfait Bar, Fresh Fruits, Antipasti, Shrimp Cocktail, Enjoy! Salad, SunDried Tomato Pesto Salad, Scrambled Eggs, Eggs Benedict, Bacon, Sausage, Parmesan Leek Hash Brown Potatoes, Sausage Penne, Chicken Rigatoni, Tilapia, Eggs and Omeletes (cooked to order), French Toast, Belgian Waffle, Carved Beef, and Chocolate Fountain.
  • Includes Orange Juice, Coffee, Champagne or Mimosa.

What we ordered: We started with a couple of beverages, I had the House Pinot Noir and my companion had the Raspberry Mint Long Island.  Oh, was this yummy! It was sweet and fruity yet still packed quite a punch.  You’ll feel real good after a couple of these!

We also got this complimentary basket of different breads, French, Sourdough, Pumpernickel, and a Flatbread Cracker.  All were very good, it was nice to have a variety to choose from.

We tried the Calamari, which was extremely tender. The strips were thick and cooked perfectly without any hint of chewiness.  The outside wasn’t as crispy as I like it but since that would mean overcooking it, I’ll take it tender over chewy any day!  It was served with two dips, the spicy marinara and a lemon herb aoili.  Both were excellent!

We also got the Tenderloin Tips, a great choice if you want mouth-watering, tender beef.  These bite-sized pieces were pan-seared in a tangy bourbon sauce, topped with green onion and tomato and served with a  creamy horseradish sauce for dipping. These were great!

My companion also tried the Lobster Chowder.  This soup was extremely enjoyable; the sweet and tender bites of lobster were the star of this dish with the corn, potato, and leeks cooked al dente to create a nice contrast in texture to the creamy broth.

There were so many temptations on the menu that when I saw the special Tasting Menu featuring a sampling of regular menu offerings, I knew it was the perfect choice for me.  The first course had a sample of the Enjoy! Salad, Lobster Chowder and Bruschetta.  I loved every bite of the Lobster Chowder, as described previously.  The Enjoy! Salad was also very good; a mix of greens with gorgonzola cheese, slices of pear, candied walnuts and tossed in a citrus vinaigrette.  One of my favorite salads! The Bruschetta was also delightful, a combo of fresh tomato with basil served over grilled french bread then drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  Reminds me of summer!

The main course included a sampling of Halibut, Canneloni and Chicken Picatta.  The Halibut was a thick sampling of the filet, seared to an appetizing golden brown and served over a creamy mustard sauce with asparagus tips.  The Canneloni is one of the signature dishes at Enjoy!, a tube of pasta stuffed with ground beef, pork, tomatoes, ricotta then topped with mozzarella and served on a bed of spicy marinara.  This was wonderful, a real classic. The ground meats were very flavorful but one of my favorite aspects of the dish was the combination of red and white sauces.  The third item of this sampler  and my favorite of the three was the Chicken Picatta.  This decent-sized pounded chicken breast was served over a creamy herbed risotto and topped with a light and creamy lemon butter caper sauce.  This was so delicious!  The lemon was apparent without being overpowering and the capers provided just a hint of saltiness.

The dessert course also had three delicious samples: the Chocolate Bread Pudding, Maple Creme Brulee and Espresso Cheesecake.  I started with the Chocolate Bread Pudding.  This had a good taste but the texture of it was slightly hard so I moved on to the creamy creme brulee.  I loved it!  It was very creamy but didn’t have the eggy texture that custard often gets.  It had a candied sugar crust on top that gave just a hint of crunch to contrast the creaminess.  The third dessert sample was the Cheesecake, a bite of heaven supported by a crunchy oreo cookie crust then topped with an espresso glaze. Mmmmm

After much deliberation my companion ordered the Sea Bass for an entree.  Oh My was this delectable!  The filet itself was perfectly cooked, light and flaky, served over a bed of delicious veggies.  The roasted brussel sprouts, swiss chard and crispy bacon bites were tossed in a creamy citrus butter sauce; every bite was wonderful.

We shared this Coffee with Bailey’s for an after-dinner drink while enjoying our desserts

My companion also ordered the Key Lime Pie, which was exceptional.  It was creamy and tart yet sweet.  Scrumptious!

Service: I had made a reservation and despite being late, my table was waiting for me when I got there.  The hostess checked our coats right away and shortly after we were seated we were greeted by our server.  We took our time looking over the menu however the server really helped by highlighting the special features and making other recommendations.  The pacing of the food was just right, giving us time to finish each course before the next arrived.  Overall I was very pleased with the service, it certainly made the experience even more enjoyable.

Overall Impression: I was very impressed with Enjoy! and can honestly say it is one of the best (new-to-me) restaurants I have tried in many months.  The facilities are gorgeous and the perfect place to have a group dinner or event.  The new dinner menu is impressive, as are the Chef’s Special Features; we enjoyed everything we tried.  I have not yet eaten at Enjoy! for lunch but all of the sandwiches sounded wonderful and the best part about lunch is that it is guaranteed 45 minutes or less or it is free!  I look forward to going back once the weather warms up so I can enjoy the patio too!
Enjoy! on Urbanspoon

Feb 062011

Cuisine: American, Barbeque, Dessert, Ribs
Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter-Service (at many locations), On-Site Parking
Locations: Apple Valley, Bloomington, Burnsville, Coon Rapids, Duluth, Forest Lake, MOA, Mankato, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Rochester, Roseville, St Paul, St Cloud, Stillwater, Woodbury
Apple Valley – 7593 147th Street Apple Valley, MN 55124    952-891-6400
Bloomington- 5101 West 98th Street Bloomington, MN 55437  952-832-0500
Burnsville-  2721 County Road 5 Burnsville, MN 55337 952-882-9933
Coon Rapids- 3211 Northdale Boulevard  Coon Rapids, MN 55448  763-421-9467
Duluth- 355 Lake Avenue South Duluth, MN 55802    218-740-3180
Forest Lake- 43 19th Street SW Forest Lake, MN 55025  651-464-4400
Mall of America- 320 South Avenue, Mall of America Bloomington, MN 55425 952-854-0225
Mankato-  291 St. Andrew Drive Mankato, MN 56001  507-385-1223
Maple Grove- 7825 Vinewood Lane Maple Grove, MN 55369  763-416-4600
Minneapolis- (Calhoun BBQ & Blues Club) 3001 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55408 612-822-9900
Minneapolis-  4264 Upton Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55410  612-929-1200
Minnetonka-  14601 Highway 7  Minnetonka, MN 55345 952-933-9600
Plymouth- 11308 Highway 55 Plymouth, MN 55441  763-525-0500
Rochester- 431 NW 16th Avenue Rochester, MN 55901  507-282-4200
Roseville- 2131 Snelling Avenue Roseville, MN 55113 651-633-4800
St Paul- 1930 West 7th Street St. Paul, MN 55116 651-699-8800
Stillwater-  14200 60th Street North Stillwater, MN 55082 651-439-5200
St Cloud- 310 3rd Street NE Waite Park, MN 56387  320-217-5900
Woodbury- 1940 Donegal Drive Woodbury, MN 55125 651-501-1900

Hours: Daily 11am
Links: Famous Daves Website * Famous Dave’s Facebook Page * Map to Famous Dave’s Locations

Atmosphere: Most of the Famous Dave’s locations around the Twin Cities look very similar in decor, where the entrance leads you right to the counter where you order your food.   Wooden structures are built to resemble old shacks around the kitchen area.  Tables are spread throughout the space (pictured below is the Forest Lake location), all covered with red and white checkered tablecloths. Antique memorabilia adorns the walls.

The Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues at Calhoun Square has a stage for live performances.  Cool place to see a small, intimate show!

Menu: Appetizers at Famous Dave’s include Smoked Salmon Spread, Chicken Fingers, Catfish Fingers, Ribs Tips, BBQ or Buffalo Chicken Wings, and Onion Strings.

Side dishes at Famous Dave’s include Wilbur Beans, Coleslaw, Potato salad, Dunkin Apples, Fries, Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes,

Famous Dave’s has salads! Options include Smoked Salmon Caesar, Grilled Chicken Caesar, Crispy Chicken, and Dave’s Sassy BBQ Salad.  Soups include Chili or Wild Rice.

Sandwiches come with one side and include Beef Brisket, Chopped Pork, Barbeque Chicken, Texas Manhandler, Hickory Chicken, Cajun Chicken and Char-Grilled Chicken.  Burger options are the Char-Grilled Burger, Cheeseburger, Ultimate BBQ, Devil Spit, and Bacon & Jack Favorite Burger.

Barbeque Classics at Famous Dave’s are the Texas Beef Brisket, Georgia Chopped Pork, Barbeque Chicken, Rib Tips, Chicken Tenders, Country Roasted Chicken and Sweetwater Cajun Catfish.

Award-Winning Ribs are smoked in the pit then finished on the grill.  Size options  are 1/3 slab, 1/2 slab or full rack (12 bones).

Kids Meals include Roasted or BBQ Chicken, Chicken Tenders, Chopped Pork, Hamburger or Cheeseburger,  Ribs, and Mac & Cheese.

Dessert selections include Famous Bread Pudding, Pecan Pie, Hot Fudge Kahlua Brownie, and Ice Cream, Sundae with Hot Fudge or Pecan Praline Sauce.

Famous Dave’s has a variety of different sauces that are sure to please just about anyone!

Price guide: Appetizers $6-9  Sandwiches $9-10  BBQ Meats $12-13  Ribs $13-22 Desserts $6

What we ordered: I had the two-meat combo with Catfish Fingers and Texas Beef Brisket.  The four medium-sized catfish fingers were hot and crispy, fresh out of the fryer and seasoned with semi-spicy Cajun seasonings.  It  comes with to sauces to dip in, a sweet & sour type of sauce and a seasoned mayo tartar.  I thought these were especially yummy with the seasoned tartar.  The Texas Beef Brisket was also pretty good.  This combo came with corn, a corn bread muffin and two sides.  I love the corn bread at Famous Dave’s! It is more moist than typical corn bread and slightly sweet.  I am not a fan of the overcooked boring corn, which is a far cry from the sweetcorn we harvest in Minnesota.  The two sides I got were the garlic smashed potatoes and coleslaw, both very good.

My companion ordered the XXL Rib Platter, a 12-bone rack of St Louis Style ribs.  The ribs were meaty and quite tender, full of smokey flavor from the Pit.  The two sides were fries and cinnamon apples.

Service: The Forest Lake location of Famous Dave’s offers counter-service, and we were able to order within minutes of arriving.  We got ourselves drinks at the self-service station and waited approximately ten minutes before our food arrived.  Staff walk the dining room and check with guests from time to time to determine if they need anything, and bus tables when necessary.

Overall Impression: I really like the variety of menu choices at Famous Daves, although I think their prices are slightly high for the amount of food you get.  They have several great choices of sauces and despite being a large chain-restaurant, I think they do have pretty decent barbeque (you can’t go wrong with the ribs!).  If you register to be a part of the P.I.G. Club you can get special offers, so go sign up here
Famous Daves on Urbanspoon

Feb 032011

Cuisine: American, Steak, Chops, Ribs, Fish, Seafood, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet, Buffet, Kids Menu, On-Site Parking, Pull-Tabs, Sunday Brunch
Location: Maplewood, MN
Address: 2999 Highway 61 North • Maplewood, MN • Phone: 651.482.0384
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am – 9pm  Fri- Sat 11am. – 10pm  Sun Brunch 10am. – 2pm   Sun Dinner  2pm -9pm
Links: Gulden’s Website * Gulden’s Facebook Page * Google Map

Atmosphere: Gulden’s is located on Hwy 61 (just south of 694) in Maplewood, near Maplewood Mall.   The upper level of the restaurant is separated into a couple of large rooms.  The main dining rooms are found to the left of the main entrance and the bar is located to the right/back.  The decor is very basic, with vinyl booths and plastic laminate tables.  The tables can conveniently be arranged to accommodate larger parties.  Gulden’s has been family owned and operated since 1934.

Gulden’s Lounge is in a separate space adjacent to the main dining room, with a full bar and plenty of tables to sit at.  They also offer pull-tabs.

Gulden’s also has a large lower-level that is used for banquets and weddings (up to 190 guests).

Menu: Appetizers at Gulden’s include Chicken Wings, Chicken Tenders, Onion Rings, Cheese Sticks, Potato Skins, Garlic Toast, Garlic Cheese Toast, Mini Tacos, Italian Fries, Frog Legs, Cheddar Jalapeno Poppers, Nachos Supreme, Chicken Nachos, Quesadilla and Jumbo Shrimp

Soup and Salad options include Caesar, Taco Salad and Salad Bar.  Soup changes daily

Gulden’s sandwiches are served with fries and include the Gulden’s Club, Reuben, Prime Rib Dip, Sirloin Sandwich, Fish Sandwich, Hamburger and Gulden’s Cheeseburger.

Prime Cuts include Top Sirloin, Texas Top Sirloin, Filet Mignon, Smoked Pork Chops, Porterhouse, Steak and Shrimp, Steak Oscar, Prime Rib (12 oz, 16oz, 20oz), and Pork Ribs.

Fish and Seafood dishes include Jumbo Shrimp, Scrod Oscar, Frog Legs, Broiled Walleye, and Seafood Combo.

Gulden’s also has a variety of chicken and pasta dishes including Chicken, Ribs or Steak Combo, Chicken Oscar, Texas Chicken, Marinated Chicken Breast, Ravioli, Fried Chicken, Chicken Parmesan, Fettuccine Alfredo, Tortellini Alfredo, Pasta Primavera, and Cajun Chicken Alfredo.

The Gulden Specials include  your choice of one entree, with choice of potato and soup or salad. Entree choices include Alaskan Pollack, Popcorn Shrimp, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Zander Filet with Almonds, Liver & Onions, 8oz Sirloin, 10oz Ground Sirloin with Mushrooms, BBQ Pork Ribs, Homemade Lasagna, Surf & Turf and Chicken Kiev.  All are $11.95

Kids menu items include hamburger, grilled cheese, mini corn dogs, chicken fingers, deep fried fish, spaghetti with meatballs, macaroni and cheese

Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Salads $7-9   Sandwiches/Burgers $8-9  Prime Cuts$14-25  Seafood $15-18 Chicken/Pastas $10-16  Kids Meal $5

Early Bird Specials: Served between 11am-5pm, all come with choice of potato and soup or salad for $8.95: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Alaskan Pollack, 6 oz Sirloin, 8 oz Ground Sirloin with Mushrooms, Lasagna, 1/4 Fried Chicken,and  4 oz Chicken Kiev.

Happy Hour: Monday – Saturday 11:00am. – 7pm. Wing specials all the time in the lounge.

Sunday Brunch:

  • $12.95/ Adults   $9.95/Seniors  $6.95/ Kids 5-12    Free/ Kids 4 and Under
  • 10am-2pm
  • 2 kinds of Scrambled Eggs , Homemade Bread Pudding, Eggs Benedict, Roast Turkey,
    Sausage, Baked Ham, Bacon, Chefs Choice Entrée, Smoked Sausage , Au Gratin Potatoes, French Toast, Mashed Potatoes, Hashbrowns, Stuffing, Homemade Carmel Rolls , Hot Vegetable, Fresh Fruit, 20 Item Salad Bar, Pies/Bars/and all the other goodies

What we ordered: We started with this complimentary basket of French Rolls.  They were soft and warm on the inside, crusty on the outside.

The soup that was offered the night of our visit was Clam Chowder, which my companion and I shared.  The soup was pretty good, thick and full of chunky vegetables.

Even though I was tempted to order the Reuben, I ended up ordering the Prime Rib Dip. Excellent choice! This was real prime rib, thinly sliced and piled (PILED!) high on the toasted kaiser roll.  It was served with au jus and I also asked for a side of freshly grated horseradish.  The sandwich came with a pile of crispy shoestring potatoes.  I would definitely get this sandwich again, it was excellent (and only $8.95!)

My companion ordered the Fried Chicken Meal, which was also very good.  It had a thick, crispy batter on it and was fried until it was a perfect dark golden color.  Very juicy on the inside!

Service: We arrived long after the dinner hour and had to wait nearly five minutes at the host stand before we were acknowledged.  Once we were seated, our server was very friendly and had several recommendations.  Drinks were filled in a timely fashion and other requests were also quickly satisfied.

Overall Impression: I literally have driven by Gulden’s on 61 hundreds of times and had only been there one other time almost a decade ago.  Glad I finally stopped in and I will be back.  The decor at Gulden’s is nothing fancy but the food was pretty good and was reasonably priced.

Gulden's 61 Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Dec 212010

Cuisine: American, Burgers
Restaurant Features: Banquet, Bar, Flat Screen TVs, Games, Happy Hour, Kids Menu, Live Music, On Site Parking, Wi-Fi
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 995 West 7th St.  St. Paul,MN 55102  651-228-9925
Hours: Daily 11am
Links: Shamrock’s Website *  Shamrock’s Facebook Page *  Google Map

Atmosphere: Located on West 7th at Randolph Ave, Shamrock’s Irish Nook is the second restaurant owned by Casper & Runyon, their other restaurant being The Nook.  The space is decently sized, with the restaurant on one side and the bar area on the other.  The main dining area has booths and tables and is colorfully decorated with flags and seasonal decorations.

The Bar Area at Shamrock’s easily takes up half the space, with the bar running along the entire wall.  There are several bistro tables and seating along the bar.  Shamrock’s also has a couple of banquet rooms in the back of the space that can be reserved for large parties.

Menu: Appetizers at Shamrock’s include Buffalo Zingers, Wings (Hot, BBQ Wings, Bourbon Teriyaki, Chipotle Garlic, Wasabi, Thai Peanut, Szechuan Apricot and 59 Sauce Wings), Chicken Tenders, Nugget Meatballs, Jalapeno Poppers, Runyon Rings, Cheese Curds, Mozzarella Sticks, Mini Tacos, Riblets in Smoky Sauce, Nacho Grande, Walleye Fingers, Mini Corn Dogs, Cheese Bread, Nook Bites, Shamrock Bites, Deep Fried Green Beans, Buffalo Shrimp, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Baked Artichoke Dip, Sweet Potato Fries and Fresh Cut French Fries.
Shamrock’s salads include Caesar, Buffalo Chicken, Thai Asian Peanut Chicken, Asian Sesame Chicken, Black and Bleu Steak, and Raspberry Chicken.
All Burgers at Shamrock’s are the same burgers you would get at their sister restaurant, Casper & Runyon’s Nook. Options inclue  The Mickey’s Original, Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, Patty Melt, California, Pepperjack Burger, Shwishmushroom Burger, Bourbon Bacon Burger, Alumni Burger (Worcestershire sauce enhanced), Casburger, Nookie Supreme (Double Decker cheeseburgers with special sauce), Juicy Nookie (stuffed cheeseburger), Paul Molitor Burger (stuffed with pepperjack), Matt Birk Burger (two patties with pepperjack), Lodge Burger, Reuben Burger, Notre Dame Burger, Bleu Cheeseburger, Burger of the Month, and Garden Burger.  The newest burger options are the Firehouse (onion, bacon and pepperjack), Saucy Patty, Stuffed Philly Cheeseburger, Olive Cream Cheese Burger and Bison Burger.  All burgers come with fresh cut fries or sub for onion rings just $1.50 extra.
Sandwich offerings include the Reuben, Bourbon Bacon Chicken, Charbroiled Chicken Breast, Charbroiled Chicken Club, BBQ Chicken, Buffalo-style Charbroiled Chicken, Chicken Tender Melt, Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, Spicy Tuna Melt, Seafood Sliders, Half Pound BLT, Battered Cod, Salmon Burger, and Grilled Shamrock’s Cheese.  All sandwiches come with fresh cut fries and pickle.
Shamrock’s entrees are the Emerald Isle Steak Sandwich, 10oz Ribeye, Riblet Dinner, Charbroiled Chicken, Chicken Wing Dinner, Fish & Shrimp, Fried Shrimp, Walleye Fingers and Grilled Salmon.
Items from the Kids Menu are the Wee Burger, Wee Taco, Chicken Nuggets, Mini Corn Dogs, Mac N Cheese, and Grilled Cheese.
Desserts at Shamrock’s include Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie, Homemade Brownies, Cookie Sundae, Cookie Sundae, and Ice Cream Sundae.
Price guide: Appetizers $6-10 Salads $6-8 Burgers/Sandwiches $7-8 Entrees $9-15 Desserts $2-5

Happy Hour:

  • Mon-Fri 3-6pm
  • 2-for-1 Domestic Taps, $2.25 Bottles, $1.75 Rails
  • Thursday Ladies Night $5 All you can drink domestic beer and rails
  • Free Taco Bar on Fridays

Weekly Specials:

  • Saturday & Sunday- Corned Beef and Cabbage $9.95
  • Monday- 8:30-10:00pm Mini Burgers $1.25
  • Tuesday- 3 Fried Flour Tacos $6.95
  • Wednesday- Ribeye $9.95
  • Thursday-  Pork Tenderloin $6.95
  • Friday- Fried Shrimp or Fish Fry with Cole Slaw and Fries $9.95

What we ordered: I ordered what I order at just about every Irish Pub I visit; Corned Beef, specifically the Reuben Sandwich.  The sandwich was made with real corned beef which was flavorful but somewhat dry.  The ends of a few slices of corned beef were so hard that they were inedible and had to be taken off the sandwich which was disappointing, but fortunately the rest was pretty good.  The thousand island dressing and sauerkraut were both plentiful and tasty, and the grilled, swirled rye bread completed the sandwich.  The fries that come with all sandwiches and burgers at Shamrock’s are fresh-cut and oh so good!

One of my companions ordered the Mushroom Swiss Burger, a juicy thick 1/2lb patty of ground angus beef.  It was topped with a generous amount of sauteed mushrooms and melted swiss cheese and served on a toasted bun.  A delicious burger you can really sink your teeth into!

Another companion ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger, another giant burger perfectly cooked and loaded with cheese and crispy thick-cut bacon.

Another companion ordered the Grilled Chicken Caesar.  The salad was tossed with just the right amount of caesar dressing and then topped with sliced grilled chicken breast.

This was the Grilled Salmon Caesar that another companion ordered.  The salmon fillet was pre-grilled and served cold atop the salad greens and a generous amount of crispy seasoned croutons.  It was good but my companion said she prefers warm salmon on her salad.

A few of us tried this Brownie Sundae for dessert, which was very good.  The brownies are handmade by a professional baker and are rich, chocolately and delicious.  I recommend it with the ice cream, as the vanilla perfectly compliments the chocolate and cuts the richness somewhat.

Service: My visit was part of a party taking place in one of the new banquet rooms, where we had two servers.  We had been given a  banquet menu to order from that had only six selections on it, but my server was nice enough to let me order from the regular menu, which made me happy.  Drinks were brought in a reasonable amount of time.  Overall the service was very good.

Overall Impression: If you love Casper & Runyon’s Nook you will enjoy many of the same tastes in the bigger space of Shamrock’s.  Great burgers and a plethora of beers and other cocktails to choose from.  Perfect place to have a gathering or party.

Casper & Runyon's Shamrock on Urbanspoon

Dec 112010

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Dessert, Steak, Ribs, Kids Menu

Restaurant Features: Bar, Catering, Flat Screen TVs, Happy Hour, Pull-Tabs, On-Site Parking, Sports Bar

Locations: Bloomington, Eagan, Plymouth and Roseville

Addresses & Maps:

Bloomington4217 American Blvd. West Bloomington, MN 55437 (952) 835-1191

Roseville– 2350 Cleveland Ave Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 631-1781

Hours: Open at 11am

Links:Joe Senser’s Website * Joe Senser’s Facebook Page

Joe Senser's Sports Lounge ~ Roseville, MN

Atmosphere: The inside of Joe Senser’s is the ultimate haven for Sports Enthusiasts, (besides being at the stadium, of course) with every wall lined with giant 5’x9′ HDTVs displaying just about every televised sports event.  The area along the walls is slightly raised, housing both tables and booths, as does the dining space throughout the middle of the restaurant.

There is also a decent sized bar area near the entrance, flowing into the center of the restaurant.

Menu: Appetizers at Joe Senser’s include Seasoned Waffle Fries, Pizza Spirals, Onion Rings, Chicken Wings, Boneless Wings, Bacon-Wrapped Tenderloin Bites, Quesadillas, Crab & Artichoke Dip, Chicken Fingers, Nachos, Southwest Eggrolls, Coconut Shrimp and Asian Lettuce Wraps.

Salad options are Buffalo Fiesta, Bangkok Peanut Chicken, Chipotle Ranch Taco Salad, Cobb, Island Salad (chicken, bacon, pineapple), and Caesar.

Soups include Chicken Noodle, White Chicken Chili and then a Soup du Jour. Mon- Creamy Potato bacon Tues- Black Bean with Andouille Sausage  Wed- Tomato Basil with Tortellini  Thurs- Creamy Chicken Wild Rice  Fri-New England Clam Chowder  Sat/Sun- Chef’s Choice

Burgers at Senser’s are Half-Pound fresh ground sirloin, served with chips or upgrade to fries for $1.59.  Options include Cheeseburger, Applewood Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger, Bleu Cheese, Jalapeno Pepper Jack, Deli Burger, Sourdough Patty Melt, California Burger, Mushroom Swiss, BBQ Bacon & Jack, Rookie Burger (1/3 lb), and Southwest Turkey Burger.

Sandwiches also come with chips or upgrade to fries or fruit.  Options are the French Dip, Buffalo Chicken, Turkey Bacon Parmesan, BBQ Jack Chicken, Tuna Melt, Reuben, Beer Battered Walleye, Chicken Teriyaki, Clubhouse, and Shaved Prime Rib Melt. Wraps include Baja Chicken and Buffalo.

Joe’s Specialties include Wood Roasted Chicken, Beef Brisket, Hickory Ribs, Smoked Pulled Pork, Chopped Sirloin, Parmesan Ranch Walleye.  Prime Rib available on Saturday and Sunday.

The Entrees at Joe Senser’s include Center But Sirloin, Filet Medallions, Steak and Shrimp, Citrus Chicken and Shrimp, Chicken Bruschetta Pasta and Coconut Shrimp.

Dessert options are the Turtle Brownie Sundae, Midnight Chocolate Ecstasy, and New York Strawberry Cheesecake.

Kids Menu items include Mini Corn Dogs, Chicken Strips, Cheeseburger, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Salads $8-10  Sandwiches/Sandwiches $9-10  Specialties $9-18  Entrees $11-19  Desserts $4-5  Kids Menu $5

Happy Hours:

Mon-Fri  3:00-6:30

  • $5 Appetizers-  Sicilian Pizza Nachos, Loaded Senser Fries, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Buffalo Chicken Minis, Cheeseburger Minis, and Pepperoni Cheese Loaf
  • $2.50 Short Domestic Taps, Rail/Calls, Domestic Bottles, Short Signature Teas, House Wine
  • $1 off all other drinks
Sun-Mon 9pm-Close  Tues 10p-Midnight
  • 2 for 1 Drinks: Captain Morgan, Bacardi, Short Domestic Taps
What we ordered: There were many appetizers that looked good but the Crab & Artichoke really stood out as a winner.  The piping-hot baked dip was served in a ramekin with a pile of hot pita wedges, topped with fresh pico de gallo.  I thought this dip was delicious and flavorful.  You could distinctly taste both the well-blended crab and the artichokes, and a slightly smokey flavor somewhere in the blend of cheeses.  There was enough dip to pile it on every piece of pita.  A very different flavor than artichoke-spinach dip, but excellent all the same.

Crab & Artichoke Dip at Joe Senser's~ Roseville, MN

Several of the sandwiches sounded really good to me so I asked the server for a recommendation, who declared the Prime Rib Melt the most popular with the employees. It sounded really good so that is what I ordered.  I loved the flavor of the thinly sliced prime rib mixed with the onions, but the bread got soggy very quickly from the juicy beef and creamy horseradish sauce.  I didn’t even try the au jus because I was afraid my sandwich would fall apart in seconds flat if I did.  It would’ve been better on a hoagie roll or a more substantial bun.  I am also a huge fan of fresh horseradish, so I would’ve loved a little more kick than this creamy mild version served at Joe Senser’s, but that is just a personal preference.  It was still very tasty.  I upgraded to the shoe-string fries which were good but only slightly crispy.

Prime Rib Melt at Joe Senser's ~ Roseville, MN

My companion ordered the Mushroom Swiss Burger, which was a thick, juicy 1/2 lb patty made of  freshly ground sirloin.  The flavor of this burger was hearty and beefy, even better topped with thick mushrooms and melted Swiss.  The bun wasn’t much of a match for this big burger; it was very light, fresh and lightly toasted.

Mushroom Swiss Burger at Joe Senser's ~ Roseville, MN

Service: It was a very busy weekend evening during my visit, so we were lucky to get a table right away.  We were asked if there was a particular game we wanted to watch so they could seat us accordingly.  Our server was very busy and service was slightly slow, but nothing out of the ordinary for how busy it was.

Overall Impression: Excellent Happy Hour specials and a big selection on the menu.  The vast number of Large Screen TVs, delicious big burgers and many beers to choose from make Joe Senser’s the perfect place to watch any televised sporting event or hang with your buddies after work.

Joe Senser's Sports Grill on Urbanspoon

Nov 262010

Cuisine: American, Bar & Grill, Burgers, Dessert
Restaurant Features: Bar, Kids Menu, On-Site Parking
Locations: Apple Valley, Plymouth and Shoreview, MN
Addresses & Maps:

Apple Valley– 15560 Cedar Ave. Apple Valley, MN 55124 (952)997-6250

Plymouth– 2669 Campus Drive Plymouth, MN 55441 (952)997-6250

Shoreview– 1090 Gramsie Road Shoreview, MN 55126 (651)766-8417

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-10pm  Friday-Saturday 11am-11pm

Links: * Red Robin Website * Red Robin Facebook Page *

Atmosphere: The Shoreview Red Robin is located just off 694 and Lexington Ave , in a large stand-alone building next to the Hampton Inn.  The decor is contemporary and somewhat industrial, with exposed air ducts,etc up above and abstract-patterned booths and tables gracing the dining room floor.  The walls are adorned with a variety of interesting memorabilia and framed posters.

The Expediting window is open to the dining room and is a very busy place as servers quickly grab hot fries and burgers to take to their customers. I happened to be sitting on the other side of a partition from it and had this lovely view.  Our table had a lamp similar to the ones you see here, with the exception that it wasn’t a heat map, just a mini spot-light on our food!

The Shoreview location also has a nice bar area just inside the main entrance, with more booths as well as an extra-long pub table that can be used for big groups.

Menu: Appetizers at Red Robin include Towering Onion Rings, Riblets & Chips, Buzzard Wings, Chili Nachos, Chicken and Bacon Quesadillas, Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip, Chili Con Queso, and Guacamole & Salsa with Chips.

Soup options at Red Robin include French Onion Soup, Homemade Chili, Clam Chowder, and Chicken Tortilla Soup.  Salad offerings include Mighty Caesar, Asian Chicken, Cobb, Apple Harvest Chicken, Crispy Chicken Tender, Grilled Chicken and Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.

Premium Sandwiches offered at Red Robin are the Grilled Salmon, Grilled Chicken, Crispy Arctic Cod, Lettuce-Wrap Burger, Garden Burger, Boca Burger, California Chicen, Chicken Teriyaki, Crispy Chicken, Pulled BBQ Chicken, Blackened Chicken, Simply Grilled Chicken, Bruschetta Chicken, and Chicken Caprese Sandwich.  Lighter sandwiches include BLT with Avocado Croissant, Chicken Cesar Wrap, BBQ Chicken Wrap.  All sandwiches come with bottomless steak fries.

Gourmet Burger offerings at Red Robin are the Banzai Burger (marinated in teriyaki with pineapple), Bleu Ribbon, Guacamole Bacon, Royal Red Robin, Whiskey River BBQ, Shroom and Swiss, Bacon Cheeseburger, A-1 Peppercorn Burger, All-American Patty Melt, Red Robin Gourmet Cheeseburger, and Burnin Love Burger.  All burgers come with bottomless steak fries.

Red Robin’s Entrees include Clucks & Fries (chicken tenders), Jumbo Shrimp & Slaw Platter, Creamy Mac N’ Cheese, Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta, Prime Rib Dip, Riblet Basket, Arctic Cod Fish & Chips, Red’s Rice Bowl with Chicken Teriyaki, Grilled Chicken Alla Caprese, and Ensenada Chicken Platter

Desserts at Red Robin include any of their Ice Cream Shakes and Malts, Hot Fudge Sundae, and Hot Apple Crisp.

Items on the Kids Menu include Burger, Corn Dog, Cheesy Mac N’ Cheese, Pizza, Grilled Chicken on a Stick, Spaghetti, Chicken Fingers, Grilled Cheese, and Chick-N-Cheese Quesadilla.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-10 *Soup $3/5 *Salads $6-10 *Sandwiches $9-10 *Gourmet Burgers $9-10  *Entrees $9-13  *Desserts $3-6 *Kids Menu $5

What we ordered: My companion and I shared a Strawberry Malt which was like Heaven in a glass.  Ice cream is one of my most favorite of foods and if it is going to be mixed with fruit it also better be mixed with a lot of malt powder!  It had a great amount of strawberries mixed in, making it perfectly fruity and creamy.  It was topped with a good amount of whipped cream and sprinkles as well.  Almost too thick to sip through a straw which is just how a malt should be.

Just about everything on the menu looked good but since this was my first-ever visit, a burger was the only choice I would be satisfied with.  The Burnin Love Burger came highly recommended from our server and the spiciness sounded right up my alley.  Every element to this burger was all about the spice, from the Jalapeno infused kaiser roll, the cayenne-seasoned beef patty, to the pepper jack cheese, the crispy fried jalapenos and the chipotle mayo.  Oh, I can’t forget the salsa!  It also had sliced tomato and shredded lettuce.  This burger was awesome! It was spicy but not to the point where your face is going to burn off or anything.  All the burgers at Red Robin come with bottomless steak fries, how great is that?

My companion ordered the Blue Ribbon Burger, which is one I would likely get on another visit.  The 1/2 lb burger of juicy beef is basted with a steak sauce then placed upon a bed of crispy onion straws then topped with bleu cheese crumbles, shredded lettuce and tomato.  It is all placed on a freshly baked onion bun.  After having one bite of this burger, I think I could eat onion straws on every single burger I eat from now on.  I love the sweet and crunchy texture. Yum! And meat with bleu cheese? Double Yum!

Service: We had an adorable, friendly server who was genuinely great at her job.  She made good suggestions and stopped by frequently to refill sodas and water. and our food was served quickly.

Overall Impression: I know Red Robin is a big chain and I tend to avoid the Big Guys, but I won’t be able to stop myself from heading back to Red Robin for another delicious burger and malt very soon!

Red Robin-Shoreview Saint Paul, MN

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers on Urbanspoon