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 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
Addresses:
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

Nov 282009
 

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and my meal was provided by the restaurant. All opinions are my own.
Cuisine: American, Sushi, Seafood, Steaks, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour
Locations: Mall of America, Edina (Galleria), St Louis Park (Shops at West End)

Addresses & Maps:

Mall of America– 368 South Avenue Bloomington, MN 55425 952.854.5000 (3rd Floor Across from Macy’s)
Edina-520 W. 70th Street Edina, MN 55435  952.697.6000

St Louis Park-1603 West End Blvd. St. Louis Park, MN 55416 952.933.6500

Hours: MOA- Lunch 11a-4p  Dinner M-Sa 4p-10p Sun 4p-8p

Edina- Lunch 11a-4p  Dinner M-Th 4-10p Fri-Sat 4-11p Sun 4-9p

St Louis Park- Lunch 11a-4p  Dinner M-Th 4-10p Fri-Sat 4-11p Sun 4-9p

Links: Crave Website * Crave on FacebookOpenTable Reservation

Atmosphere: The Mall of America location of Crave is on the 3rd floor of South Ave, across from Macy’s.  The restaurant is large and spacious, with a large bar off to the left side near the entrance and a sushi bar centrally placed along the wall in the middle of the main dining room.  Although the majority of seating is at tables throughout the dining room, there are also several high-backed booths that allow for more privacy.  The lighting is dim and romantic, with mood lighting created by the illuminated art behind the sushi bar and the softly glowing candles at each table.

Crave-inside
The kitchen is open along the back of the restaurant, with subtle views of the place where the chefs work their magic.  The lighting from the kitchen also gives the nearby tables a soft glow.

Crave-kitchen

Menu: The menu changes seasonally and features natural, organic and locally grown ingredients.  All beef is certified beef.

Appetizers on the new Fall Menu at Crave include Calamari, Chicken Satay, Lemon Garlic Wings, Pita & Spreads, Seared Scallops, Baked Crab & Artichoke Dip, Pesto Shrimp, Mini Burgers, Gingered Beef Eggrolls, Artisan Bread Basket, and Edamame.

Salads offered include Asian Noodle Salad, Atlantic Salmon, Steak Niçoise, Starter Crave Salad, Starter Caesar, Starter Roasted Beet & Walnut.  Soups include Hearty Tomato Pesto, Roasted Chicken & Wild Rice, and Leek & Potato.

Pizzas and Flatbreads at Crave are also quite popular.  Flatbread choices are the Roasted Chicken (with pesto, sun dried tomato and portobella mushrooms), Grape & Apple (with Amablu cheese and honey), Thai Chicken (a peanut sauce with cilantro, Asian cabbage and marinated cucumber), and the Napoleon (with garlic prosciutto). Pizzas include Pepperoni or Sausage, Margarita, Shaved Ribeye and the Chipotle BBQ Chicken.

Sandwiches on the dinner menu include Steak Sandwich, Ahi Tuna Steak and Crave Burger.

Pasta selections at Crave include Seas Scallop & Shrimp Fettuccine, Fettuccine & Roasted Mushrooms, Shrimp Scampi Al Fresco, Roasted Chicken and Penne, Baked Truffle Macaroni, Baked Cheese Penne, Spaghetti Pomodoro, and Ravioli Bolognese. Crave offers the option of a half-order of any of their pastas.

Crave has a nice selection of dinner entrees as well, such as the Grilled Petite Tender, Grilled Ribeye, Crab Crusted Filet Mignon, Tuscan New York Strip, Brined Pork Tenderloin, Chicken Stir-Fry, Crispy Half Chicken, Mango & Prawns, Grilled Ahi Tuna, Pistachio Crusted Salmon, Minnesota Walleye, Miso Glazed Sea Bass

The sushi selection at Crave is also pretty extensive.  Nigiri and Sashimi offerings include Crispy Rice Bars with Spicy Tuna, Scallops Poppers, Amaebi (sweet raw shrimp), Hamachi (yellowtail), Hirame (flounder), Hokki-Gai (surf clam), Maguro (red tuna), Mutsu (escolar), Sake (salmon), Suzuki (striped sea bass), Ebi (cooked shrimp), Unagi (cooked eel), Masago (smelt roe), Tako (octopus), Tobiko (flying fish roe), Wasabi Tobiko, and Seaweed Salad.

Maki Sushi offerings are the Tekka (tuna), Sake (salmon), Negihama (yellowtail and scallions), Unagi (cooked eel), Kappa (cucumber), Spicy Shrimp Cones, Chipotle Ocean Roll, Keilani;s Roll (shrimp tempuraavocado, wrapped with eel), Mexican Roll (yellowfin and escolar with avocado, cilantro,  jalapeños and spicy mayo), Number Nine (crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll), Dragon Wraps, Rainbow, Caterpillar, Spider, Veggie Roll, Tempura Roll, Spicy Tuna, California, Minnesota(cooked smoked walleye), Dynamite, Spicy Salmon, Crunchy Roll and Fire Roll.  There are alsoa  couple of sushi combos like the Sushi Sampler, Sushi Lunch Combo and Sashimi Lunch Combo.

Crave also has a delicious selection of desserts that changes seasonally.  The Fall desserts at Crave include Golden Raisin Bread Pudding, Key Lime Pie, Molten Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, German Chocolate Cake, and Coconut White Cake.  The dessert menu also includes a variety of after-dinner drinks such as the Girl Scout Cookie and Buttery Bailey’s, Ports and Dessert Wines, and hot cafe drinks.

Price guide: Appetizers $8-13 Salads $8-15 Pizza/Flatbreads $12-13 Pastas $14-24 Entrees $24-37 Nigiri/Sashimi $6-10/order  Sushi Rolls $7-19/order
Happy Hour Specials:

Crave-happyhourmenu

What we ordered: My companion and I started with a couple of the Crave specialty cocktails, the Cranberry Smash and the Blueberry Lemonade.  The Cranberry Smash was made with vodka, ginger ale, mint leaves and cranberry juice.  The Opulent vodka revved up the drink but it wasn’t overly strong. The ginger ale gave it a pleasant sweetness that I wasn’t expecting, but the cranberries were tart enough to counter the sweetness.  I loved that the cranberries were frozen into ice cubes and floated at the top.  The Blueberry Lemonade was also very good and slightly sweeter than the Cranberry drink.  Excellent blend of flavors.

Crave-cocktails

The Pesto Shrimp appetizer came highly recommended by our server so we started with that.  What a great start to a great night of food! The sauteed tiger shrimps were served
on little slices of crostini toast that had been topped with oven-dried tomato, and then the shrimp toast was covered with pistachio pesto.  The shrimp was perfectly cooked so it was tender and complimented the crunch of the toast.  The pesto sauce was creamy and rich, a perfect sauce to go with the shrimp.

Crave-pestoshrimp

The Panko-Crusted Scallops also sounded really good so we tried an order of those as well.  These scallops may have been some of the best I have ever eaten! The scallops were large and coated with a layer of panko bread crumbs before being seared to a golden brown in the pan. They were cooked so that the meat was tender enough to melt in your mouth, yet the panko and seared edges gave it a nice crunch.  The scallops were served with a dressy arrangement of picatta buerre blanc and fresh field greens.  The butter and capers added the perfect touch of saltiness to compliment the sweetness of the scallop meat.

Crave-scallops

Sushi Chef Tony Lam brought us a special sampler platter that included a Mexican roll, ceviche, flying fish roe with quail egg wrapped in salmon,  amaebi (sweet raw shrimp), crispy rice bars, prawn heads, and three different fish mixtures atop cucumber slices.

Crave-chefsushiplatter
The Mexican roll (pictured top right in photo above) is Crave’s most popular roll and became my new
favorite after just one bite.  This roll is the perfect marriage of
Mexican and Sushi, two of my most favorite foods.  It had both yellow fin
tuna and escolar with avocado, cilantro, a slice of fresh jalapeño
and spicy mayo wrapped in rice and seaweed.  It is then topped with a soy citrus sauce (ponzu), and
chili oil with fresh lime juice squeezed on top. It was so good! I
loved the spiciness of the jalapeño, and the lime and cilantro gave it a
fresh citrus twist.  The tuna and the escolar inside the Mexican roll
were very tender and not at all fishy. Bravo!

The Crispy Rice Bars were also wonderful.  The rice cake was like a thick chewy rice cracker and had a lot more flavor than ordinary sticky rice.  It was topped with a heaping pile of spicy tuna mix, flying fish roe, and sliced jalapeno pepper. The combination of textures went together really well and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Crave-crispyricebar

The ceviche was one of my favorite items that Sushi Chef Tony Lam made for us to try.  A very thin slice of potato was fried with tempura batter and then topped with sliced raw fish that was marinated with a citrus soy sauce, scallions and fresh chili peppers.  It was packed with flavor and the tenderness of the fish paired with the texture of the tempura potato went perfectly together.

Crave-chefsushiceviche
The sushi was so good we ordered even more of Sushi Master Tony’s creations.  Clockwise From Lower Left: The Mexican Roll, Fire Roll, Number Nine, Dragon Wrap (top right), Hokki and Hamachi Sashimi, and Scallop Poppers (pictured in photo after the one below)

Crave-sushiplatter3

The Number Nine was filled with pieces of shrimp
tempura, spicy mayo, kaiware and yama gobo wrapped with salmon and
avocado and topped with a sweet soy based sauce. The Fire Roll was filled with pieces of shrimp tempura, cucumber, kaiware and yama gobo wrapped with
a spicy salmon mix and topped with chili oil.  This one was nice and spicy, just the way I like it.  The Dragon Wraps were also good.  Instead of rice, this roll is made with an egg omelet wrapped around  spicy tuna,
fresh water eel, avocado, fried green onions, crunchy flakes and miso
dressing.  Served in two big rolls.
The Scallop Poppers were also excellent. The scallops were baked in spicy dynamite sauce then wrapped in salmon and topped with crunchy panko flakes. Loved the combination of flavors and textures.

Crave-scalloppoppers

For my entree I ordered the Crab Crusted Filet MIgnon. This was outstanding! The filet was thick and cooked medium, as I requested.  It had a creamy crab and cheese mixture with just the slightest hint of buttery breadcrumbs baked on top and served on a bed of lobster cream sauce.  This absolutely melted in my mouth. The crab and cheese together created a rich flavor that went slendidly with the tender and juicy beef.  Herb roasted new potatoes and buttery seasoned baby carrots were also served, both were very good.

Crave-crabfilet
My companion had the Miso Seabass.  The perfectly-cooked Korean miso sea bass was served atop a bed of steamed white rice and adorned with baby bok choy and a crimson ponzu sauce.  Asian pickled cucumbers sat layered atop the fish.  This dish was delicious as well! The flavorful yet mild sea bass went really well with the sweet, fruity panzu sauce.

Crave-misoseabass

Despite being extremely full after enjoying all of this delicious food, we also tried a sushi dessert.  What an extraordinary creation this was! The middle of the the roll had homemade vanilla-bean cheesecake and a slice of fresh mango then wrapped with a thin layer of rice and topped with a thin slice of strawberry. The roll was arranged atop a drizzling of chocolate and vanilla sauce.  The cheesecake and rice were such a unique combo of flavors and textures and together it was like a thick, fruity, creamy and sweet rice pudding.  So different and so, so good!

Crave-dessertsushi
Service: We had exceptional service at our first visit to Crave.  The hostesses were very friendly and our server, Dawn, was very knowledgeable about the menu and had some wonderful suggestions about appetizers, entrees and cocktails too.  We ordered a lot of food and took our time but never felt rushed since food was paced perfectly.  The restaurant wasn’t too busy (nor was the Mall in general) on this pre-holiday-shopping-season Tuesday evening and we were able to get great customer service and attention from everyone all the way up to the manager.

Overall Impression: The culinary and sushi creations were outstanding. I tried quite a variety of foods and loved every single thing.  The Mexican Roll should win an award! There is quite a variety on the menu and the Happy Hour specials are a really good deal.  Great place to have a casual yet elegant dinner and worth every penny for the fine ingredients.  The service was exceptional.  I can’t wait to go back again soon!
CRAVE (Mall of America) on Urbanspoon