Jan 222012

Here are my current picks for Best Ribeye based on the restaurants I have personally visited and reviewed.  I admit this list is limited but it will grow and change as necessary.   If you know of other tender, succulent ribeyes that I need to try, please leave me a recommendation in the comments of this post.  I plan to add Manny’s, Woolley’s (visited 12/31/12), Seven, St Paul Grill, Pittsburgh Blue, Capital Grille (visited  7/10/12), Kincaids and many others as soon as I have a chance.  Not all steakhouses offer ribeye steak but since it is my favorite cut, I will certainly find the ones who do!

#1 The Capital Grille ~ The Porcini Rubbed Delmonico is currently our top pick for the best ribeye in the Twin Cities.  This bone-in steak was prepared medium rare, just as requested, with a beautiful char on some of the edges.  It was juicy and tender as can be, a superior cut  aged to give it a more robust, deep flavor.

Woolley’s Steakhouse ~ The Red-Eye Ribeye ($36), which comes served over a bed of swiss chard and melted gorgonzola. This steak was amazing!!! I ordered it medium rare, and it was cooked just perfectly. When I say that this steak was tender, it could melt in your mouth. The melted gorgonzola was a wonderful accompaniment and added even more flavor. It was served with a warm cheddar ale biscuit and choice of potato. I will order this steak again every time I visit Woolley’s from now on. I might even dream about it ;)

Murray’s Restaurant ~ One bite had me declaring this the best steak of my life! The ribeye was huge; 20oz without the bone.  I ordered it medium and it was cooked just the way I like it.  I could tell that the quality of this steak was excellent, it was extremely tender and seemed to be completely gristle free.  The fat was barely noticeable except for the delicious flavor it added.  The aged beef had a robust flavor and was really well seasoned while also being served atop a small amount of au jus.  Magnificent!! Worth every penny of the $42 price tag.  It was served with choice of potato or salad.  I had baked potato which was also very good.  I have been to Murray’s a few times now and the steaks are consistently wonderful.

Porterhouse Steaks & Seafood ~ They had two size options: 18 or 24oz.   This 24oz steak was boneless and absolutely huge, a great value in comparison to other fine steak houses.  Every bite was extremely  juicy and tender.  I was happy I ordered it medium minus, it was much more red than I usually eat it, but I found that I really enjoyed it like that.  The bleu cheese that was melted on top was flavorful but not too overpowering. So good!  Another of my companions ordered this same steak and also enjoyed the extremely tender cut.

Lakeside Club  ~ They offer two sizes of Ribeye at Lakeside: 12oz & 16oz.  I usually order the 12oz Ribeye, medium temperature.  My steak was phenomenal; it was cooked perfectly and was incredibly tender and juicy.  It was only lightly seasoned with salt but the flavor of the aged meat was wonderful.  It is served with a side salad and choice of potato.  I chose the Shoestring fries

Gordy’s Steak House ~ My companion and I both ordered the 18 oz Delmonico Ribeye Steaks. My steak was a very tender cut, grilled to a perfect medium. The steaks at Gordy’s are said to be aged for 28 days; I could taste just a hint of the aged flavor. The steaks were seasoned very mildly (if at all?!), emphasis was purely on the beef. I dressed mine up with raw horseradish and my companion ordered a side of bearnnaise. Unfortunately my companion’s cut of ribeye was not nearly as tender as mine, unsure of consistency since I have only visited there one time.

Watch this list change and grow as we try more ribeye ;)

Nov 272011

Cuisine: Chinese, Vietnamese
Restaurant Features: Dinner Buffet, Lunch Buffet, On Site Parking
Location: Little Canada, MN
Address: 1 Little Canada Rd E Little Canada, MN 55117 (651) 483-1239
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-9pm Sat 12pm-9pm
Lunch Buffet Mon-Fri 11am-2:30pm * Dinner Buffet Fri-Sat 5pm-8:30pm
Links: Caravelle on Facebook * Google Map
Caravelle Chinese Vietnamese Restaurant ~ Little Canada, MN

Atmosphere: The Little Canada location of Caravelle Restaurant is located in an old and faded strip mall on Little Canada Road, about 1/4 mile from Rice Street. The dining room has several vinyl-clothed tables, including a handful that are round and can seat six.  There are a couple of Chinese lanterns suspended from the ceiling but that is the only hint given aware by the decor that this is an Asian restaurnt and not a diner straight out of the 90’s.
Dining Room at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

Menu: Appetizers at Caravelle include Vietnamese Eggrolls, Vegetarian Eggrolls, Chicken Wings, Teriyaki Chicken, Oyster Wings, Szechuan Wings, Sugar Puffs, Cream Cheese Wontons, Fried Meat Wontons, BBQ Pork, Steamed Vegetable Dumpling, Pork Dumplings, Shrimp Spring Roll, Pork Spring Roll, Chicken Spring Roll, Shrimp Toasts, and Butterfly Shrimp.

Soups include Wonton, Egg Flower, Vegetable, Hot & Sour, House Seafood Soup.

Chop Suey, Chow Fun and Fried Rice options include Vegetable, Chicken, Pork, Beef and Shrimp.

Entrees include your choice of chicken, shrimp, beef or pork with Sesame, Curry, Kung Pao, Garlic Sauce, Egg Four Young, Sweet & Sour, Moo Shu, Lomein, Twice Cooked Pork, Ta Chien Chicken, Hunan Beef, Beef Szechuan Style, Vietnamese Hot Chicken, Tong Ting Shrimp.

Caravelle House Specialties include Caravelle Special Delight, Seafood Delight, Diamond Head War Bar (shrimp, scallops, beef, chicken, roast pork, sauteed with diced Chinese veggies), Triple Delight, Happy Family, Mongolian Beef, Ginger Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken, Chicken in Black Bean Sauce, Pineapple Chicken, Orange Beef or Chicken, Beef with Potato in Oyster Sauce, Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce, Salted Pepper Jumbo Shrimp, Beef Green Bean, Vietnamese Hot Spicy Beef, Chicken Broccoli, Moo Goo Gai Pan, Chicken Almond Ding, Chicken Cashew, Lemon Chicken, Beef Pepper Steak with Tomato, Beef with Broccoli, Eight Immortal Beef, Shrimp in Lobster Sauce, Shrimp Chinese Vegetable, Shrimp Almond Ding, and Chicken with Vegetables.

Vietnamese specialties at Caravelle include Vermicelli Bowl (choice of beef, chicken, or shrimp), Saigon Noodle Soup, and Pho (beef, beef meatballs, chicken and vegetarian).
Price guide: Appetizers $4-6 Entrees $8-12

What we ordered: We started with an order of Oyster Wings. This was an order of eight giant, crispy wings covered with a sweet vinegary sauce that was unlike any oyster sauce I have had before. I liked these but I wouldn’t call them oyster wings.
Oyster Wings at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

We also tried the Shrimp Toast, which are little cocktail-sized toasts with a shrimp on top, then breaded and deep-fried. These were very crispy and heavily battered but didn’t seem greasy at all, which was an unexpected but pleasant surprise.
Shrimp Toast at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

For our entrees we tried the Crunchy Sesame Shrimp, which I thought was great. The shrimp were quite large and butterflied before being battered and deep fried and there was a pretty big serving of them overall. The sauce was a tangy and slightly sweet sesame sauce
Crunch Sesame Shrimp at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

The Lemon Chicken also came as a large order of crispy, heavily battered chicken pieces, bathed in a very lemony sauce. This was good but I found the sauce to be kind of boring, like it was missing a crucial ingredient.  This was good only until the lemon sauce turned the breading soggy.
Lemon Chicken at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

We also ordered the Pork Fried Rice, a heaping serving of rice with peas, carrots, scrambled egg, bean sprouts, and candied Chinese barbecue pork. Very flavorful and yummy.
Pork Fried Rice at Caravelle ~ Little Canada, MN

Service: We were greeted with a smile and the server was very nice. We took our time looking over the menu and ordered our appetizers and later ordered our entrees.  The dishes were brought out to us in the order they were prepared, which was nice so that we could try everything when it was hot and fresh.
Overall Impression: I had known of the Caravelle that used to be located on University Avenue(now closed) but I wasn’t aware of the one in Little Canada until a friend told me about the lunch buffet.  I am glad I stopped in and tried this place, especially glad I ordered from the menu, as the food was hot and fresh.
Caravelle Restaurant III - Little Canada on Urbanspoon
Caravelle Restaurant Reviews in Little Canada

Nov 032011

Cuisine: American, Bakery, Breakfast,
Restaurant Features: Bakery, Counter Service
Locations: Bloomington, Little Canada and North Oaks
Addresses & Maps:
Bloomington- 401 West 98th Street  Bloomington, MN 55420 (952) 358-7490
Little Canada- 2900 Rice Street  Little Canada, MN 55113 (651) 482-8876
North Oaks- 845 Village Center Drive  North Oaks, MN 55127 (651) 482-8285
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-8pm (LC until 7pm)  * Sun 7am-4pm
Links: Taste of Scandinavia Website * Taste of Scandinavia on Facebook

Atmosphere: Located at the end of a strip mall, the Little Canada location of Taste of Scandinavia offers counter service, so you will immediately see the bakery case and front counter upon entering.

The Little Canada location has a dining area tucked back in a windowless space with several wooden tables.

Menu: Cookies and Bars include Raspberry Lemonade, Scoop Cookies, Butter Pecan Sandwich, Ginger Heart Cookies, Lemon Zest Cookie, Norwegian Almond Kringler, Raspberry Sandwich Cookie, and Rugelach.

Pastries include Danish, Finnish Munkki, Pulla Roll, Cinnamon Pulla Roll, Ring Coffee Cake, and Blueberry Muffin.

Cheesecakes include Fresh Fruit, Lingonberry, Raspberry and Turtle.

Pies and Tarts include Caramel Apple Tart,  Apple Pie, Cherry Pie, and Pumpkin Pie.

Cakes and Tortes include Black Forest Torte, Carrot Cake, Celebrate Cake, Chocolate Heart Cake, Chocolate Raspberry Torte, Chocolate Symphony Torte, Creme de Menthe Torte, English Lemon Torte, Finlandia Torte, Italian Chocolate Almond, Kransekake, Mocha Toffee Torte, Princess Torte, Pumpkin Torte, Romanian Mocha Torte, Scandinavian Chocolate Torte, Soile’s Sinful Chocolate Cake, Tiramisu, Tri-Chocolate Torte, Turtle Torte, Austrian Walnut Torte, and Bailey’s Irish Cream Torte.

Rolls include Croissant, Norwegian Milk Dinner Rolls, and Spinach Parmesan Dinner Rolls.

Specialty breads include Apple Walnut, Asiago, Baguette, Cottage, Cranberry Nut Sour Dough, Finnish Sour Dough Rye, German Rye, Health Wheat, Honey Wheat, Multi-Grain, Onion Dill, Pumpernickel Rye, Sour Dough, Spinach Parmesan, Sun Dried Tomato Basil, Swedish Limpa, Swedish Rye, Vienna.

Breakfast items include a Norwegian Lefse with Ham & Eggs, Classic Breakfast, Breakfast Croissant, Finnish Breakfast Pasty, Three Egg Omelette, Swedish Farmer’s Omelette, Pulla French Toast, Sweet Scandinavian Lefse, Swedish Pancakes, Fresh Fruit Crepe, Swedish Pyttipanna, and Yogurt Parfait.

Salads offered include House Salad, Garden, Caesar, Chef and Greek Salad.

Sandwich options include Grilled Cheese and Deluxe Deli Sandwich (Choice of ham, turkey, roast beef or veggie).

Hot Meals include Finnish Pasties, Italian Pie, Taco Pie, Pot Roast, Grandma’s Meatloaf, Smothered Pot Roast or Meatloaf, Shepherd’s Pie, Reuben, Danish Salmon Sandwich, Hot Beef BBQ Sandwich, Open Face Swedish Roasted Pepper Chicken Sandwich, Lasagna, Crab Cakes, Swedish Meatballs, Spinach Pie, and Gyros.
Price guide: Breakfast $4-8  Salads $7-9  Sandwiches $5-7   Hot Entrees $7-9

What we ordered: I ordered the Open Face Swedish Roast Pepper Chicken Sandwich.  That is a mouthful to say and certainly more than a mouthful to eat.  As the name implies, this was a sandwich that was served open-faced atop two slices of tomato basil bread.  Diced grilled chicken, red onions,  spinach, lightly sauteed mushrooms, and shredded asiago cheese.  I thought this sandwich was pretty good; all of the flavors blended nicely but the asiago cheese with the roasted peppers are what really stand out.  The stronger flavor of the cheese makes up for the milder tastes of the chicken, spinach and mushrooms.  The peppers were very good, but the onions could have been more caramelized.

One of my companions ordered the Shepherd’s Pie, which is similar to a pot pie but has a mound of mashed potatoes on top instead of a crust and is then covered with gravy.  The pie crust was light and flaky and the beef, pea and carrot filling in savory beef gravy was very tasty.  I wasn’t as big of a fan of the mashed potato; it had a strange consistency that was sort of potato dumpling-like.   Quite possibly because it had been pre-made several hours before we ordered it? Either way, I enjoyed more than a couple bites.

Another companion ordered the Chef Salad, which was a large bed of mixed greens topped with hard boiled egg, red onion, tomato, cucumber, and rolled up slices of deli turkey and ham, ordered sans cheese.

I also bought a couple of cookies to take home. The chocolate chunk cookie was delicious; it was quite large yet it was still somewhat soft and had a generous amount of chocolate chunks.

I also tried the Hawaiian Cookie, with coconut and macademia nuts as well as a few white chocolate chips.  I loved it! The coconut was very finely shredded and there was a lot of it, giving the cookie a chewy texture, which I loved.  The macademia nuts were chopped into fine pieces but still gave it a nice crunch.

Service:  We perused the giant menu hanging on the wall behind the counter while we waited in line.  We efficiently placed our order and found a table.  The food was delivered about ten minutes after we ordered it.
Overall Impression:  Taste of Scandinavia has a wonderful selection of baked items but is also a good place to have lunch or an early dinner.

This is an original review of Taste of Scandinavia on Twin Cities Restaurant Blog
Taste of Scandinavia Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Apr 302011

Cuisine: American, Chops, Steak, Fish & Seafood
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking
Locations: Lakeville & Little Canada, MN
Addresses & Maps:
Lakeville-11211 205th Street West Lakeville, MN 55044 (952) 469-2995
Little Canada– 235 East Little Canada Road Little Canada, MN 55117  (651) 483-9248
Hours: Mon-Fri 5pm  Sat-Sun 4pm
Links: Porterhouse Website * Porterhouse on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Little Canada location of Porterhouse Steaks and Seafood is located just off I-35E at Little Canada Rd.  When you walk in the restaurant, the dining room is to the left, the lounge os to the right.  The dining room is warm and masculine, with dark wood lining the walls, and deep booths around the perimeter of the room.  The lighting is very dim  and the room seems quite dark (it was a challenge to get good photos).

In addition to booths there are also a handful of tables that can be arranged for larger groups.

The lounge area seats about ten around the bar.

Menu: Appetizers at Porterhouse include Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna, Balsamic Sea Scallops, Smokehouse Shrimp, Shrimp Cocktail, Walleye Fingers, Spinach Artichoke ad Parmesan Dip, Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers, Blackened Sirloin Tips, Baltimore Crab Imperial, and Freshwater Split Prawns.

Soups include New England Clam Chowder and French Onion.

Classics and Lighter Fare include Cobb Salad, Beef Liver and Onions, Stuffed Chicken Florentine, Canadian Walleyed Pike, Boneless Pork Loin Chops, Top Sirloin and Petite Filet Mignon.

Porterhouse has a selection of fineAged Angus Beef with cuts such as Filet Mignon (9 or 12oz), Top Sirloin (12 or 16oz), Bone-In New York Strip, Porterhouse, and Ribeye (18 or 24oz).  The signature steaks are the Black & Bleu Ribeye and the Tenderloin Imperial (filet mignon topped with crab imperial).  Add-On options include Sauteed Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, Bearnaise Sauce,  Melted Bleu Cheese, Extra Potato, Vegetables, Walleye Filet, Smokehouse Shrimp, Lobster Tail, King Crab Leg, Prawns and Scallops.

Seafood and Fish dishes include Jumbo Freshwater Prawns, Jumbo Sea Scallops, King Crab Legs, Smokehouse Shrimp, Canadian Walleye Pike, Nova Scotia Lobster Tail and Daily Fresh Fish.

There are several surf & turf combos as well.

Price guide: Appetizers $8-12  Classics $14-23  Steaks $20-35  Seafood $21-42

What we ordered: We started with a few appetizers, including the Spinach Artichoke Dip.  This dip was delicious, it was rich and creamy from the parmesan cheese and had large chunks of artichoke and spinach blended throughout.  It was served with a loaf of hot baguette

We also tried the Cajun Walleye Strips, a serving of about eight nugget-sized pieces of walleye, lightly coated with flour and seasonings then pan fried.  These were pretty good, flaky yet slightly crispy with just a hint of cajun seasonings.  Served with tartar sauce.

The Smokehouse Shrimp also sounded good, so we got an order fo these.  The order came with four large shrimp wrapped with bacon and coated with a smokey barbeque sauce then grilled.  Mmm, these were great.  I plan to make my own version on the grill often this summer.

After we finished our appetizers, a basket of bread and our salads came out.  The bread was thick and dense.

My dinner also came with a salad and when the server explained the options, I knew immediately that I would be getting the Spinach Salad when I heard “warm sweet bacon dressing”.  This salad was amazing! First of all, I think spinach and eggs so wonderful together and bacon goes fabulously with both.  This salad had it all! The dressing was not like any I have had before and I instantly fell in love.  It was served warm, thick and sweet with the true taste of bacon with a ton of crispy pieces of bacon on top of the spinach as well.  I could eat a salad like this for breakfast or lunch every day!

This was my first visit to Porterhouse so I knew I would be ordering a steak and the Black & Bleu Ribeye is exactly what I was craving.  They had two size options: 18 or 24oz.  I thought these steaks surely had to be bone-in at those hefty weights and I ordered the big daddy at 24 oz.  I typically order my steaks cooked medium but out server gave us the option of “plus” or “minus” since a steak so thick has a lot of room for cooking temps.  I ordered mine “medium minus”.  This steak was actually boneless and absolutely huge, a great value in comparison to other fine steak houses.  I was already pretty full from appetizers and salad, but made room for a few bites of the most delicious, juicy, tender cut of steak.  I was happy I ordered it medium minus, it was much more red than I usually eat it, but I found that I really enjoyed it like that.  The bleu cheese that was melted on top was flavorful but not too overpowering. So good!  Another of my companions ordered this same steak and also enjoyed the extremely tender cut.

The side I chose with my steak was the Parmesan Bacon Mashed Potatoes.  These were delicious, with each the flavors of the smokey bacon and creamy parmesan coming through the soft buttery potatoes.

One of my companions ordered the 24 oz Ribeye with a side of mushrooms.  This was the same size and cut of steak as what I ordered, but it was much thicker and much more grisly.  All the while I was oohing and ahhing about how tender my steak was, this companion struggled to cut through this steak with ease because of all the tendons.  I was happy to share some of my more tender cut.  If this were the only example of our steaks at Porterhouse that evening, we would have been disappointed.  Not sure why the cut was so inconsistent with the other two 24oz Ribeyes we had amongst us.

One of my companions ordered the Tenderloin with a baked potato.  This steak was also tender with a beefy, robust flavor.  The potato it was served with was very big.

Service: We had very good service at Porterhouse Steaks and Seafood.  The food was timed perfectly and our the server was very good about refilling drinks when needed.  I loved that when ordering our steaks the server suggested we use “plus or minus” with the cooking temperature to get it just how we wanted it.  She made sure to check back with us to make sure everyone had their steak cooked the way they wanted it and offered to cook any steak longer, if desired.

Overall Impression: I am glad to finally have tried Porterhouse Steaks and Seafood.  I was impressed with the size and quality of my Black & Bleu Ribeye but wish that all of the 24 oz ribeyes were consistently as tender.  The menu isn’t huge but offers a nice selection of steaks and seafoods, I will definitely be back to Porterhouse again sometime for dinner.

Porterhouse Steaks and Seafood on Urbanspoon