Jun 102012

Cuisine: American, Barbeque, Pizza
Restaurant Features: Banquet Room, Bar, On-Site Parking
Location: Red Wing, MN
Address: 4243 Hwy 61  Red Wing, MN 55066  651-388-9866
Hours: Daily 11am
Links: Smokin’ Oak Website * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located on Hwy 61 just west of Downtown Redwing, The Smokin’ Oak is a stand-alone restaurant specializing in Rotisserie and Barbequed meats.  Greeting you as soon as you walk in the door is the oak-burning fire with a special rotisserie aparatus.

The restaurant is divided into a dining room on one side and a bar on the other.  The dining room is nothing fancy, just a handful of tables spread out and a row of booths along a couple of the walls.  It felt more like a diner than a barbeque joint and wasn’t particularly busy on a beautiful Monday evening (Memorial Day).

The bar area is small but there are a handful of booths that run along the outer walls.  There are a couple of nice flat screen TVs hanging above the bar and several beers on tap.

Menu: Appetizers at The Smokin’ Oak include Fully Loaded Potato Skins, Bull Bites, Smokin’ Oak BBQ Nachos, Rotisserie Chicken Quesadilla, Wood-Fired Wings (served with Buffalo, Teriyaki or BBQ), Boneless Wings, Artichoke Dip, Artichoke Bites, Onion Rings, and  Cheese Curds.

Salads offered include House Salad, Rotisserie Chicken, Classic Caesar with Chicken, Grilled Steak, Mandarin Chicken, Oriental Chicken, and Orange Sesame Salad.  There is also a Soup du Jour and a Soup, Salad and Bread combo.

Wood Grilled Burgers include Classic, Smokehouse BBQ with Bacon, Mushroom and Swiss, Juicy Lucy, Philly Burger, The Big Bleu, California Burger, and The Big Oak (topped with brisket and cheddar).

Sandwiches are served with french fries or sweet potato fries and beans or coleslaw.  You can upgrade to onion rings for $1.50 extra.  Options include Pulled Pork, Rotisserie Chicken, Beef Brisket, Memphis-Stule Pulled Pork, Chicken & Bacon Ranch, Spicy Rotisserie Chicken, Pesto Chicken, The Burnside Steak Sandwich, The Re-Done Reuben, Southwest Brisket Sandwich, and Philly Steak Sandwich.

Rotisserie Dinners offered at The Smokin’ Oak include Rotisserie Chicken Dinner, BBQ Chicken Dinner, Southern-Style Brisket Dinner, Pork Tenderloin, House Ribs, and Chicken and Rib Combo.

Smokin’ Oak also has steaks including Prime Rib (10 or 16oz), Sirloin (8 or 16oz), and Filet Mignon (6 oz).  Make it a combo by adding shrimp, crab legs or 4-bone rib.

Dinner Entrees include Walleye, Jumbo Shrimp, Salmon, King Crab, Chicken N Biscuits, Beef Stroganoff, Jumbo Shrimp Scampi, Sizzling Fajitas, Carne Asada, and Chicken or Shrimp Alfredo.

Stone-Fired Pizzas include The Viking, Chicken and Ranch, House of Bleu, Barbeque, Maui Wowie, Club Med, The Classic, Veggie Classic, Chicken Alfredo and Classic Cheese.
Price guide: Appetizers $7-10  Burgers/Sandwiches $8-13 Rotisserie Meats $13-26  Entrees $11-19

Happy Hour:

  •  3:00 to 6:00 Monday thru Friday
  • $1 off rail drinks and domestic bottles
  • $5 Pint and Jumbo wood fired wings
  • $3.75 Cuervo margaritas on the rocks
  • $2.00 off select appetizers.

Weekly Specials:

Monday ~ Mexican Night
What we ordered: We skipped right past the appetizers and ordered our entrees.  I ordered the Pesto Chicken Sandwich ($10), which was very good. The rotisserie chicken was tossed with fresh pesto and balsamic vinegar, then topped with feta cheese, thinly sliced red onion, and roasted red peppers. It was served on a hoagie roll that was too soft.  I loved it and will try to recreate it at home.  A nice and somewhat light summer meal.  The sandwich comes with chips but I upgraded to onion rings for $2.

My companion ordered the Chicken and Ribs Combo ($19) which came with half a rotisserie chicken, four bones of very meaty pork ribs, baked beans and coleslaw.  The smoke from the oak really gave it great flavor but they were also well seasoned.

We both wanted to try the Beef Brisket ($14), so we ordered that as well to take with us. The order came with four thick slices of beef brisket, a side of fries, coleslaw,  baked beans and garlic toast.  The brisket had an average amount of fat on it,which made it juicy and gave it nice flavor.  The beans and the coleslaw were ordinary but good, the french fries were the only thing that wasn’t the greatest and that was simply because they were under cooked and not at all crispy.  An extra minute or two in the fryer could have alleviated that issue, otherwise everything was very good.

Service: We had very good service at The Smokin’ Oak.  We were promptly greeted and shown to our table on a not-so-busy Memorial Day.  Our server greeted us within minutes, took our drink orders, and told us that Monday is Mexican night.  She then presented us with a specialty menu.  After she took our order, it took about 15 minutes for the food to arrive.  She was great about keeping our drinks filled and promptly brought us our check when we had finished eating.
Overall Impression: The Smokin’ Oak delivers delicious rotisserie meats smoked over an open fire as well as a selection of other tasty menu items.  The service is good and the restaurant is conveniently located on Hwy 61 with its own parking lot.  Definitely try it out next time you’re in Red Wing!

May 272012

Cuisine: American
Restaurant Features: Bar, Live Music, Nightclub, Patio, Waterfront
Location: Stillwater, MN
Address: 305 S Water Street Stillwater, MN 55082 (651) 439-5718
Hours: (Restaurant) Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm    Fri-Sat 11am-10pm (Nightclub)  Fri -Sat 9pm-2am

Links: Freight House Website * Freight House on FacebookGoogle Map
Atmosphere: The Freight House restaurant is located near the St Croix River in downtown Stillwater, in a building that was originally built in 1883 as Stillwater’s freight depot.  The inside of the restaurant has been converted into a lovely two-story dining room, with a selection of booths and tables.

The decks at the Freight House are vast and spacious, running the entire length of the Restaurant and Adjacent Night Club. There are enough tables to seat several hundred people and also a couple of outdoor bars. Great view of the St Croix! Freighthouse-outsidedeck

Menu: Appetizers include Onion Rings, Artichoke Dip, Jumbo Buffalo Wings, Beer Pretzels, Seasoned Fries, Ginger Mustard Green Beans, Cheese Curds, Chips and Guac, and Deep Fried Pickles.

Salads that the Freight House offers are the Chicken Caesar, Bistro Salad, St Croix Cobb, Buffalo Chicken, and Chicken Taco Salad.  They also have Chicken Wild Rice Soup.

Burgers are served with chips or you can upgrade to french fries or sweet potato fries for $2.50.   Options include the Freight House Burger, Mushroom Swiss, Black N Blue, Wisconsin Cheddar, North Dakota Bison Burger, California Turkey Burger, and Black Bean Veggie Burger.

Sandwiches also come with chips. Options include Willy the Kid (chicken salad), BBQ Pulled Pork, Freight House Chicken, Walleye, Grilled Reuben, Atlantic Salmon BLT, Smoked Brisket, Cajun Chicken, Baja Tacos, Southwest Chicken Wrap, and the Chicken Caesar Wrap.

Freight House also has several Neapolitan style pizzas like the Margherita, The Works, Classic Pepperoni, Sausage, Wild Mushroom Brie and Chicken Pesto.

Entrees include Fish & Chips, Bacon Mac N Cheese, Chicken Cheese Tortellini, Salmon Filet and Top Sirloin.

Desserts include Homemade Apple Crisp, Layered Chocolate Cake, and New York Style Cheescake.

Kids Menu ~ All kid’s meals include a beverage, pickle spear, fries and oreo cookies…. $6.00
Kid’s Boneless Chicken Fingers, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Kid’s Burger add cheese for .50 cents Mac & Cheese, Kid’s Pizza, Mini Corn Dogs

Price guide: Appetizers $7-11 Burgers/Sandwiches $10-15 Entrees $12-18
Weekly Specials:

  • Wednesday Fish Fry ~ Freight House Pilsner Beer Battered Fish Filet, Skinny-Cut Fries, Garden House Salad, Cornbread Mini Muffins.  Treat your family to a Complimentary basket of our Signature Freight House Onion Strings. $12.99 Adults    $6.99 Children (12 and under)

What we ordered: My companion and I started with an order of Cheese Curds ($8). The order came with a basket full of bite-sized golden brown cheese curds that were hot and filled with melted cheddar.  The batter had cornmeal that gave it a crispy, unique texture.  They were served with peppercorn ranch.

We also tried the Jumbo Buffalo Wings ($11).  The order came with four whole chicken wings, fried and covered with Buffalo sauce.  These tasted pretty good but the sauce was rather ordinary.  Overpriced.

For my entree I ordered the Chicken Tortellini ($13).  This dish was served in a bowl with three color cheese tortellini covered in a white wine sauce and served with sauteed chicken, red peppers, onions, and broccoli.  I opted to add the freshly grated parmigian that my server offered.  The sauce was creamy and simple, I enjoyed it with the veggies and tortellini.

My companion ordered the Mushroom and Brie Pizza ($12).  This was really good if you like mushrooms and brie! The crust was chewy and covered with a light layer of pesto, then piled with roasted wild mushrooms and pieces of brie and then mozzarella.  We liked this a lot and thought it was the best value of everything we ordered that night.

Service: It was a Friday night at dinner time and every restaurant in Stillwater was packed to the gills….. all it seems, except the Freight House.  We found parking in the attached lot and had no problem getting a table inside the restaurant.  A friendly hostess brought us to our table and we were greeted by our server within five minutes to take our drink orders.  We ordered two courses which were appropriately times.  Our server was attentive, no complaints.
Overall Impression: This was a follow-up visit to my review of Freight House in August 2009.  While the service was good and the the food was decent, it seemed rather overpriced.  The biggest draw to the Freight House is its premium waterfront location downtown Stillwater.

Apr 272012

Cuisine: Breakfast, Deli, Pizza, Pasta, Pizza-by-the-Slice
Restaurant Features: Counter-Service, Flat Screen TVs, Patio
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 616 Como Avenue  St Paul, MN 55103 (651) 488-1922
Hours: Mon-Thursday 6:30am-10:30pm *  Friday 6:30-10:30 * Sun 10:30-9:30
Links: John’s Pizza Cafe Website * John’s Pizza Cafe on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: John’s Pizza Cafe is located on the wedge-shaped corner of Como Ave and Dale St in St Paul.  There are two entrances; one in front and one from the patio near the very small parking lot.  The back of the restaurant is where the service counter and kitchen is.  The main dining room has a number of booths as well as tables, live plants and a HUGE (70-80″) Flatscreen TV.

There is a second seating area adjacent to the main dining room that has beautiful natural lighting and live plants.  The tables are smaller but can be arranged to accommodate bigger parties.

There is also an enclosed patio facing Dale Street that has a handful of tables available for outdoor seating.

Menu: Breakfast items at John’s Pizza Cafe include two varieties of Breakfast Pizza9also sold by-the-slice),  English Muffin Egg Sandwich, Egg Sandwich, Omelettes, French Toast, Stuffed French Toast, Pancakes, Yogurt and Granola Parfait, Oatmeal, Caramel Nut Roll, and Cinnamon Roll.

Salads are made fresh throughout the day and include Pear-A-Dise, Garden, Antipasto, Caesar, Grilled Steak, Grilled Chicken, and Taco Salad.

John’s offers and number of fresh-baked Hoagies, all served with chips and pickle spear.  Sandwiches include Philly Hamburger, Works, Chick-A-Dilly, Tex-Mex, Envious Turkey, Turkey Florentine, and John’s Club.

Entrees offered include Spaghetti, Sausage Lasagna, Calzones, Mac-N-Cheese, Sloppy Dogs, Sloppy Meatball, Stromboli and Spaghetti.  Specialty Pastas include Chicken Parmigiano, Linguine Alfredo, Pasta Bolognese, Gnocchi, Pasta Primavera, Three Cheese Ravioli, Sausage Pappardelle, and the Mediterranean.

Pizza is, of course, John’s specialty.  Pies come in 10″, 12″, 14″ and 16″.  Varieties include Create-Your-Own, The Works, The King, Denver, The Hawaiian, Hog in the Bog (brat sausage, wild rice, mushrooms and garlic herb sauce), The Bandito, Chinese Fire Dragon (pepperoni, spicy peppers and pineapple), Mexican Extravaganza, BBQ Chicken or BBQ Pulled Pork, Club, Spicy Caribbean Chicken, Chick-A-Dilly, Reuben, Wisconsin Wonder, Veggie 2000, Meatless Wonder, California Dreamer, Farmer’s Fantasy, Popeye’s Pie, and It’s Not Easy Being Green (artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and basil pesto sauce).

Desserts include Cupcakes, Brownies, Cheesecake, and Cookies.
Price guide: Breakfast $2-7  Hoagies $7  Pizza $9-30 Pizza By Slice $2.50-3.50
What we ordered: I tried a slice of the Pepperoni Deep-Dish, which was great! The crust wasn’t as thick as a traditional Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, but it did have a ton of cheese directly on top of the crust with the sauce just drizzled on top. The piece was quite big and very filling for under $3.50.

I also tried the Chick-a-Dilly Pizza.  This pie starts with the hand-tossed crust topped with a creamy dill sauce ans then mozzarella, red bell pepper, onions, and bite-sized pieces of chicken.  This combination of flavors was delicious, I especially liked the creamy dill sauce which was  a nice change from red sauce.

One of my companions had a slice of the Works, which was topped with Italian sausage, pepperoni,  green pepper, onion, mushroom, and black olive.

My companion also had a slice of Sausage

Another companion ordered a slice of the Hawaiian Pizza, topped with a ton of pineapple tidbits and really good Canadian Bacon.  I need to try this one next time.

Service: I have been to John’s Pizza Cafe a few times now and have had very fast and friendly service each time.  From the hours 10:30-2:30pm they have ten varieties of pizzas that they offer by-the-slice and will get your order ready quickly.
Overall Impression: John’s Pizza Cafe has a large selection of pizzas and hoagies and everything is homemade.  The service is fast and friendly.  This is my new favorite local spot to grab a slice of tasty pizza over the lunch hour.
John's Pizza Cafe on Urbanspoon

Apr 152012

Cuisine: American, Pizza, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Panel TVs, On-Site Parking, Patio Dining
Locations: Apple Valley, Blaine, Eagan, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Roseville, Uptown, St Cloud, Duluth
Addresses and Maps:
Apple Valley ~ 14998 Glazier Ave Apple Valley, MN 55124 (952) 891-4600
Blaine~ 198 Northtown Dr Blaine, MN 55434 (763) 783-3414
Duluth ~ 327 Lake Avenue South  Duluth, MN 55802 (218) 720-2966
Eagan ~ 1312 Town Centre Dr Eagan, MN 55123 (651) 688-0882
Eden Prairie ~ 12300 Singletree Lane Suite 100 Eden Prairie, MN 55344 (952) 946-1400
Minnetonka ~ 17790 Highway 7 Minnetonka, MN 55345 (952) 401-0030
Plymouth ~ 3505 Vicksburg Lane  Plymouth, MN 55447 (763) 744-1221
Roseville ~ 2100 N Snelling Ave Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 639-0303
St Cloud ~ 4040 2nd Street South St Cloud, MN 56301 (320) 259-1103
Uptown ~ 2841 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55408 (612) 870-1918

Hours: Daily 11am-2am (food until 1am)
Links: Old Chicago Website * Old Chicago on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Roseville location of Old Chicago is located at Har Mar Mall,  facing Snelling Avenue.  The restaurant space has both tables and booths that are arranged to break up the space into smaller areas.  There are flat screen TVs tuned on to sports, as well as neon beer signs all over the restaurant and bar area.  There aren’t a whole lot of windows.

The Bar Area is adjacent to the dining area, just to the left of the main entrance.  Old Chicago is known for all the beers they carry; at least 30 on tap!  The Roseville location also has a large patio area facing Snelling Avenue.

Menu: Appetizers include Spicy Spinach Dip, Sampler Platter, Italian Nachos, Artichoke Dip, Nachos Grande, Chicken Tenders, Garlic Cheese Bread, Sicilian Pepperoni Rolls, Wings, and Mozzarella Sticks.

Small Plates include Mini Italian Meatballs, Mediterranean salad, Fried Spicy Pickles, Fried Mac N’ Cheese, and Tomato & Mozzarella Caprese.

Old Chicago also has Salads such as the Roasted Chicken Salad, Asian Chicken Salad, Harvest Salad with Balsamic Chicken, Classic Chicken Caesar, Mediterranean Salad, Crispy Chicken Salad, and House Salad.  Soups include Beef Chili and Potato Chowder.

Sandwiches and Burgers come with fries or coleslaw.  Options include Chicago Stromboli, Italian Sausage Stromboli, Classic Italian Melt, Spicy Chicago Beef, Prosciutto with Lettuce and Tomato, California Chicken Sandwich, Classic Club, and Chicken Wrap.  Burgers include Old Chicago Cheeseburgers, Guacamole Burger, and Bacon Cheeseburger.

Pasta options at Old C are Lasagna, Meatballs and Spaghetti, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Mac N Cheese, and Classic Spaghetti.

You can also order Entrees such as Shrimp Basket, Fish & Chips, Crispy Chicken Tenders, Fisherman’s Catch, 8 oz Sirloin, and Grilled Sirloin with Shrimp.

Old Chicago is famous for their Pizzas which come with either Classic New York Style Crust, Deep Dish Chicago-Style, and Artisan Style.  Artisan options are Three Cheese with Tomato and Pepperoni, Proscuitto and Mushroom, and Roasted Chicken Pesto.  Specialty pizzas include “Chicago Seven”, Double Deckeroni, Meat Me, The Classic, Hawaiian, Thai Pie, Vegetarian Seven, and Malibu Veggie.

Old Chicago serves a variety of Calzones in addition to their famous Pizzas, including Italian Grinder, Monterey Chicken, Famous “Chicago Seven”, Meat Me, Spinach Artichoke, and Build Your Own.

Desserts offered include Famous Big Cookie, Little Big Cookie, Homemade Cheesecake, and Turtle Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream.
Price guide: Appetizers $3-10  Sandwiches $9-10  Entrees $8-16
Late Night Happy Hour: 9pm-Midnight

  • $1 off all pints, mini one-topping pizzas
  • $2 Miller Lite Pints and Grainbelt Nordeast pints
  • $3 Surly pints, wells, and house wines
  • $4 Sicilian Pepperoni Rolls
  • $5 Artichoke Dip, Italian Nachos and Nachos Grande
  • $.50 Wings (only on Wednesdays, min 4 per order)
    (all late night food specials require a minimum beverage purchase per person)

What we ordered: A couple of us ordered The Classic to share. I have had the pizza at Old Chicago many years earlier and I didn’t remember it standing out, so I had the preconceived notion that I wasn’t going to like it.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was, as was my companion.  We got the deep-dish crust that was about an inch thick with a crispy, dense crust.  Unlike most Chicago-style pizzas, the sauce on this pizza was under the cheese, rather than on top, yet it was still crispy.  It was topped with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and garlic.  Very good, I would definitely order this again.

One of my companions ordered the Spicy Chicago Beef sandwich which was an excellent choice.  This sandwich was served hot with a pile of tender, sliced roast beef, melted provolone cheese, spicy homemade pepper giardiniera and sweet red pepper mayo.  Served with french fries. It was so good that when I tried a bite, I ended up eating the entire half ;)

Another companion ordered the Fish and Chips.  The order came with four strips of fried cod, salt and vinegar fries, coleslaw and  a tangy tartar sauce.  The fish was very crispy but the fish within was hot and tasty.

Service: We arrived for a late dinner and the restaurant was still fairly busy.  Our server was attentive and our food was prepared in the appropriate amount of time for what we ordered (deep dish pizzas take a little longer).
Overall Impression: Old Chicago is a laid-back place to get a good pizza, sandwich or burger and a large selection of beers.  Yes, it is a big chain restaurant but the food is consistently good.
Old Chicago on Urbanspoon

Mar 242012

Randy Hueffmeier of Randy’s Premier Pizza and Nicholas Diesslin spent some time in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago where they competed in 4 World Pizza Games Events along with the International Pizza Challenge.  They competed against other pizza makers/spinners from all over the world and did really well this year winding up at the Finals in 3 of the 4 competitions:

  • Randy got a 4th in the World in the Largest Stretch competition
  • 3rd in the Worlds Fastest Pizza Maker competition (the Worlds Fastest American Pizza Maker)
  • 2nd Best Pizza in the North West Region of the country
  • 6th best in the world over all in the traditional Pizza category, losing out only by a half of point to the Best Pizza In the country in the Traditional category.

Congrats, Randy!

Dec 182011

Cuisine: American, Fish, Pizza
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Screen TVs, Patio, On-Site Parking,
Location: Blaine, MN
Address: 10340 Baltimore Street NE Blaine, MN 55449 763-717-2235
Hours: Mon.-Wed. 11am-11pm  Thurs.-Fri. 11am-12am  Sat. 10am-12am Sun. 10am-11pm (kitchen closes one hour prior to bar)
Links: Bricks Pub Website  * Bricks Pub on Facebook  * Google Map

Atmosphere: Bricks Pub is located off of Hwy 65 and 103rd in Blaine, near several other local businesses.  One of the first things you will see when you walk up to the entrance of Bricks Pub is the beautiful big patio. I am sure this is a lovely place to dine in the non-winter months.  Both the exterior and interior of  the restaurant is made of brick.  The interior also has well worn wooden floors and there are several TVs hung around the space, which serve as the walls only decoration.  Right now, however, the restaurant is festively decorated for the holidays.

The bar area greets you as you enter through the front doors and has seating at a couple of booths and around the bar.

There is a clear view into the kitchen from the front of the dining room, where you can see and smell the smokey goodness of the wood burning oven.  The entire kitchen appears to be entirely stainless steel and very sterile.

Menu: Appetizers include The Brick (fried pickles with cream cheese and pastrami), Fire Baked Cheese, Garlic Hummus, Nachos, Ceviche, Mussels, Applewood Smoked Wings, Meatballs, and Sea Salt Fries.  Soups offered include Wild Rice and Soup du Jour.

Salads include Cobb, Caesar, Seared Ahi Tuna, The Pub (fresh mozzarella, chicken), and the Mediterranean.

Woodstone Pizzas include BBQ Brisket, The Classic (pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, mushrooms and olives), The Greek, Jamaican Jerk, and Margherita.

Sandwiches include The Tipsy Brisket, Cajun Club, The Jerk, Shaved Prime Rib, Egg and Pancetta, Portabella, BLAT, The Cuban, and Grilled Chicken.  Burger options include Bricks Burger, ZinBurger (manchego cheese with zinfadel braised onions), Northern Lights (bleu cheese and onion straws), BBQ Bacon and Cheese, The Dundee (pineapple, beets, fried egg and chili mayo), Market Burger (avocado and  cheddar), Turkey Burger (cranberries, sage, and smoked gouda), and The Backyard Burger.  Sandwiches and Burgers do NOT come with fries.  Upgrade to sea salt fries, truffle fries, garlic herb fries, jicama slaw, fresh fruit to baked beans for $2-3 more.

The Entrees at Bricks Pub include Beer Battered Fish & Chips, Steak and Frites, Pork and Beans, Chili Crusted Salmon, Drunken  Chicken, Jambalaya, Chicken Farfalle, Seared Ahi Tuna and Walleye.

Desserts at Bricks Pub are seasonal.  Current selections include Flourless Molten Chocolate Cake, Apple Strudel, Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake, Hot Fudge Sundae, Rootbeer Float, and Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream.
Price guide: Appetizers $6-11 Pizzas $9-12  Burgers/Sandwiches $7-11

Happy Hour:

  • Monday-Friday 4-6pm
  • $3 Appetizers: The Brickle, Hummus,
  • $3 off Signature Drinks

What we ordered: My companions and I arrived during Happy Hour and took advantage of the drink specials ($3 off).  I ordered the Perfect ‘Rita made with Parton Silver, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Sweet and Sour, and Orange Juice.  It was strong and delicious.  The Mixologist, Jason,  did a great job with our drinks.

One of my companions ordered the Pomegranate Martini.  This drink was made with Absolut Citron, POM Pomegranate juice, Cointreau and Fresh Lemon. Delicious!

One of my companions ordered a Mojito, made with Bacardi Rum, Mint Leaves, Fresh Lime and Sugar.  Light and Refreshing!

Another companion ordered the Sangria, made with Ruby Port, Cointreau, Brandy, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice and Sprite.

When I saw Ceviche on the menu, I immediately wanted it.  The Ceviche at Bricks Pub is made with pieces of both shrimp and scallops rather than the traditional preparation of fish.  It was okay.  It had small chunks of avocado and tomato and was very heavy on the lime juice so that it was basically small bites of scallop and shrimp in a green sauce.  It was served with house-made tortilla chips that seemed stale rather than hot and fresh.  The portion was quite small for $11 and despite its small size, we only ate half of it. Overall I was disappointed with the ceviche and would not order it again.

For my dinner I ordered the Shaved Prime Rib Sandwich.  The sandwich was piled with thinly shaved prime rib served on a baguette.  The meat was topped with caramelized onions and bleu cheese and was served with a side of au jus.   The sandwich was pretty good, although the beef tasted like it had been reheated.  This meal does not come with fries so I ordered a side of Truffle Fries for an additional $3.  They were shoestring variety but were very garlicky and I could not detect any of the truffle oil it was supposed to come with.  I suspect I got the garlic herb fries by mistake but they were still tasty.

One of my companions ordered the Tipsy Brisket Sandwich.  The barbeque beef brisket is pulled and slathered with sauce and then topped with smoked sausage, coleslaw, onion straws and smoked gouda on a fresh, toasted Brioche Bun.  My friend upgraded to the Sea Salt Fries.

One of my companions ordered the Bricks Burger, complete with cheddar, fried onion straws, fresh jalapenos, tomato jam and caper aioli.  This burger looked huge and delicious! It was ordered with the Garlic and Herb Fries but they tasted like the sea salt fries without any extra seasoning.

One of my companions ordered the Cajun Club.  This sandwich was served on an herbed focaccia bread with Cajun turkey, fresh avocado, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato and Havarti cheese with chipotle sour cream.  Ordered with a side of sea salt fries.  I didn’t try this but it looked fresh and delicious.

Service: We had very good service at Bricks Pub.  We enjoyed cocktails at the bar during Happy Hour before moving to a table in the dining room.  Our server was very attentive but also let us be while we sat around and socialized, taking our time to order and eat.  Our server gave us each separate bills to make paying easier at the end, a nice and convenient touch.
Overall Impression: Overall we enjoyed our experience at Bricks Pub.  We had good service and most of the food we ate was good (with exception of the ceviche) and the drinks were especially delicious.
Brick's Pub on Urbanspoon

Nov 122011

Cuisine: American, Pizza, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Screen TVs, On-Site Parking,
Location: Falcon Heights, MN
Address: 1611 West Larpenteur Ave  Falcon Heights, MN 55113  651.789.8888
Hours: Daily 11am
Links: Stout’s Pub Website * Stout’s Pub on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located in the former home of Chianti Grill (Ciatti’s before that) on Larpenteur just off Snelling Ave,  Stout’s Pub opened just a couple of weeks ago and is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The newly remodeled interior is laid-back and somewhat rustic, with wooden floors, walls, tables and booths.  There are several flat-screen TV’s mounted all over the restaurant and bar area.

The bar area is the first thing you see when you walk in the front doors; a large island with seating around all four sides as well as additional seating in booths.

Menu: Appetizers include Ahi Tuna, Blackened Tenderloin Tips, Cajun Walleye Strips, Little Charlie’s (filet mignon sliders), Pig Wings, Onion Rings, Roasted Veggies, Buffalo Wings, Spicy Popcorn Shrimp, and Spinach Artichoke Dip.

Small Plates include Roasted Pork Taco, Hard Boiled Eggs, Smoked Jerky, Peel & Eat Shrimp, Pickled Herring, and Guacamole with Chips.

Soups include Chili and Soup du Jour.  Salads include Build-Your-Own Lettuce Wraps, Cobb and Pacific Rim Salad.

Sandwiches at Stout’s Pub come with fries and include Chili Cheese Dogs, Reuben, Stout’s Dip, Spicy Cajun Chicken, Walleye, Grilled Cheese, Hot Turkey, and Pulled Pork Sandwich.

Burger options also come with fries and include Cheeseburger, BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, Cajun Cheeseburger, Proud Stout Burger, Portabella Cheeseburger, and Patty Melt.

Stout’s Pub also offers 10″ Wood-Fired Pizzas including the Sausage & Mushroom, Margherita, Diavola (spicy giardiniera, pepperoni), Chicken Alfredo, Shrimp Alfredo, Mediterranean, BBQ Chicken, Thai Chicken, Paul’s Jambalaya, and Meat Lovers Trifecta.

Entrees include Fish & Chips, Filet Mignon, Wood-Fired Atlantic Salmon, and Pig Wings Dinner (tender pork shank).

Desserts include Chocolate lava Cake, Cinnamon Apple Wood Fired Tart, and Ice Cream Sundae.
Price guide: Appetizers $7-11  Small Plates $2-5  Sandwiches $8-13
What we ordered: We started with the Meat Lovers Trifecta Pizza, which came with chicken, pepperoni and sausage on a 10″ hand-tossed dough.  The pizza was baked in the wood-fired oven so it was crispy while still being chewy.  I had the option of either red sauce of cajun alfredo as the base of the pizza; I wanted to try both so I asked if they could do half-and-half for me.  The white sauce was good but I thought the red sauce had more flavor.  The meats were good; the pepperoni was evenly distributed and the pizza also had a decent amount of sausage and chicken, most of which was piled in the middle.Trifecta Pizza at Stout's Pub ~ Falcon Heights, MN

For my meal I ordered the Chili Cheese Dogs.  The two all-beef hot dogs were covered with Stout’s Pub homemade chili, shredded cheddar, sour cream and green onions.

My companion ordered the Portabella Cheeseburger.  When ordered, the server asked if we wanted it pink or no pink.  It was ordered pink and was indeed quite pink when it was served so it was very juicy.   It was topped with sauteed portabella mushrooms and topped with rich and creamy Swiss cheese.  It came with a large pile of french fries.

Service: Our visit was on a Saturday afternoon after the lunch rush so we had no problem finding parking or a table.  Our server was very friendly and informative of the menu and had a variety of suggestions from the menu.  Drinks were refilled as needed.
Overall Impression: We had a nice time at Stout’s Pub; the service was friendly and the food was pretty good.  They had only been open less than two weeks at the time of our visit and things seemed to be running smoothly.

Nov 112011

Cuisine: American, Pizza, Tacos
Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter Service, On-Site Parking
Location: Willernie, MN (Mahtomedi)
Address: 468 Stillwater Road Suite B Willernie, MN 55115 651-429-1141
Hours: M-F 3pm-10pm  Sat 12pm-10pm Sun 12pm-8pm
Links: Google Map

Atmosphere: Wildwood Pizza opened in a new location in March 2010, just a few blocks down Stillwater Ave from their original location in the former Wildwood Bowl (which is now home to The Hanger Room).  The new location is smaller and while the service is mostly take-out, there are a couple of tables set up for dining in.  The memorabilia on the walls is the same as what adorned the walls in the old location.

Menu: Appetizers include Nachos, Garlic Bread, French Fries, Cheesy Bread, MOzzarella Sticks, Onion Rings, Deef Fried Breaded Mushrooms, Buffalo Wings, Deep Fried Cauliflower, Cheddar Nuggets, Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Drummies, Jalapeno Poppers, Tator Tots, Pizza Rolls, and Mini Corn Dogs.

Salads offered at Wildwood Pizza include Taco Salad and Chef’s Salad.

Sandwich options include Hot Dago, Philly Cheese Steak, Chicken Sandwich, Hamburger, Cheeseburger, California Burger, Fish Sandwich, Corn Dog, Hot Dog, Chili Cheese Dog, Coney Island Dog, Grilled Pulled Pork.

Wildwood Pizza also offers Fried Flour Tacos (seasoned ground beef and toppings), Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Beef Ravioli.

Dinner Entrees include Fried Chicken and Fried Pollock (come with coleslaw and fries).

The Pizzas are where its at!! Wildwood offers several Specialty Pizzas sized 10″, 12″, 14″ and 16″ including Brian’s Super Deli Specialty (Canadian Ham, onion, pepperoni, sausage, muchrooms and green peppers), Tiffany’s Gourmet Deluxe (provolone, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, onion and sour cream, plus four toppings of your choice), Cheesy Willermedi Pie (5 cheeses), Boboli, Mushroom Special (pepperoni, mushrooms, green pepper, onion, green olives and bacon bits), Mexican Fiesta Special (jalapenos, refried beans, taco sauce, onion, taco chips, taco beef and tomatoes), Sauerkraut Special (pepperoni, onions, green pepper, green olives, bacon bits and sauerkraut) and Chicago Style (10″ classic deep dish).

Other Pizza Toppings include all of the classic ingredients as well as meatball, asparagus, banana peppers, spinach, jalapeno, shrimp, anchovies, chicken nuggets, grape jelly, peanut butter, black beans, dill pickle, sauerkraut and water chestnuts (just to name a few!
Price guide: Appetizers $2-8  Sandwiches $3-8  Pizzas $11+
What we ordered: For the past decade (or longer) the pizza that we always order from Wildwood is the Jumbo 16″ thin Crust with Pepperoni, Mushrooms, and Shrimp.  Shrimp on a pizza?! YES! These are teeny, tiny baby shrimp but they are wonderful.  The sauce at Wildwood is slightly sweet but it is delicious.

The Fried Flour Tacos are also a tasty treat.  The order comes with three fried flour tortillas filled with seasoned ground beef and lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese on the side for you to build-your-own. $4.50/order

Service: Depending on how busy it is, Wildwood makes pizzas quickly and they are usually accurate about how long it will take when you order it.

Overall Impression: Wildwood Pizza has long been a family favorite and one that I crave on a regular basis.  The fried flour tacos are also awesome! Really wish they still offered their famous malts that were served at the original location…. I miss the strawberry malt.