Jan 142012

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Fish & Seafood, Steak & Ribs
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Screen TVs, Meat Raffle, Pull-Tabs, On-Site Parking, Live Music, Karaoke
Location: Mahtomedi, MN
Address: 3140 Century Ave Mahtomedi, MN 55110 651-770-2443
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-10:30pm *Fri-Sat 11am-11pm  *Sunday 11am-9pm
Links: Google Map * Jethros on Facebook

Atmosphere: Jethros Char House is located in Mahtomedi, in the corner of a strip mall on Century Ave, just north of the entrance to I-694.  The main dining room is centered by a giant wooden island-style bar with seating at booths and tables as well as at the bar.  There is a tiny stage in the corner of the dining room where there is sometimes live music or karaoke.  There is also a pull-tab booth near the bar.

There is another section of tables in the adjacent dining room at the back of the restaurant.  There are flat-screened TVs hanging on the wood-paneled walls throughout the entire restaurant.  The feel of the place is very laid-back and pub-like due to the fact that there are very few windows and it always seems dark inside with the exception of the one window in the back.

Menu: Appetizers include Steak Fries, Onion Rings, Breaded Chicken Wings, Buffalo Wings, Egg Rolls, Breaded Mushroom/Cauliflower, Cheese Curds, Cod Nuggets, Chicken Fingers, Nacho Supreme and Bull Bites.

Soups offered include Chili, French Onion, Clam Chowder (Fridays), and a Soup du Jour.

Salads offered include Chef, Cobb, Chicken Caesar, Char Broiled Chicken, and Black & Bleu Cajun Steak Salad.

Jethros Sandwiches and Burgers all come with fries, coleslaw or chips.  Options include Steak Sandwich, Reuben or Rachel, French Dip, Philly French Dip, Crispy Chicken Fillet, Beer Battered Cod, Buffalo Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken Supreme, Hawaiian Chicken Supreme, Grilled Tuna Melt, and Club Sandwiches.  Burger options include Jethros Supreme (bacon, cheese, bbq), Razorback, Patty Melt and Frisco Melt, or Build-Your-Own Burger.

Entrees at Jethros are served with soup or salad, Texas Toast and choice of fries, coleslaw, wild rice pilaf, steamed broccoli or baked potato.  Options include 6oz or 8oz Sirloin, Petite Tender Medallions, Wild Salmon, Beer Battered Cod, Breaded Shrimp, Slow Roasted Country Style Ribs, Broasted Chicken Dinner, Smoked Pork Chops and Baked Walleye.

Desserts are available but change frequently but may include Snickers Pie, Key Lime Pie, Banana Cream Pie, etc.
Price guide: Appetizers $3-10  Salads $7-9  Sandwiches $8-12
Weekly Specials:

  • Wed & Friday All You Can Eat Fish

What we ordered: My companions and I started with an order of Cajun Steak Bites.  These were very tender and juicy, cooked to a medium temperature.  They were lightly seasoned with Cajun spices and served with a horseradish sour cream sauce on the side.

We also tried the Buffalo Wings, which I loved.  The wings were very lightly breaded and fried crispy and then tossed in a zesty, tangy Buffalo sauce.  There were a dozen large wings in the order, which also came with a giant side of bleu cheese dipping sauce and celery sticks.

I ordered the Walleye Sandwich, which was a daily special.  The fillet of walleye was quite big, lightly breaded and pan fried.  The fish was served on a buttered, toasted hoagie roll with a big leaf of romaine and sliced tomato.  Not only was the sandwich huge, it was also served with a giant portion of thick-cut steak fries.  Excellent.

One companion had the Jethros Supreme Burger, a 1/2lb beef patty char-grilled to a juicy medium then topped with American cheese, two strips of thick-cut bacon.  It was served with a side of zesty barbeque sauce and a large serving of steak fries.

The Fish & Chips at Jethros is not a regular feature on the menu, but is offered as the Wednesday and Friday Night specials.  Fresh pollock is used and then breaded and deep fried.  The order starts with three thick, flaky pieces of fish but since it is an AYCE, order as much as you want! Comes with steak fries, toast, and coleslaw.

Another companion had the Philly French Dip.  This sandwich was stacked with roast beef, sauteed peppers and onions and a low-grade pepperjack.  It was served on a butter-toasted hoagie roll with a cup of au jus and steak fries.

Service: The service at Jethros is very good.  Our server was friendly and very good about refilling drinks promptly and our food was prepared in a reasonable amount of time.
Overall Impression: Jethros Char House is a laid-back and casual restaurant that serves a variety of good sandwiches and American entrees.  Meat Raffle every Saturday as well as pull-tabs and karaoke make it a popular place to hang out and have drinks.
Jethro's Char-House & Pub on Urbanspoon
Jethro's Char-House & Pub Reviews in White Bear Lake

Sep 042011

Cuisine: American, Burgers
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking, Pull Tabs
Location: St Paul, MN (North End)
Address: 1220 Rice Street St Paul, MN 55117    (651) 487-7967
Hours:  Daily 11am
Links: Google Map

Atmosphere: Tin Cup’s is located at the northeast corner of Rice Street and Maryland Ave, in St Paul’s North End neighborhood.  I have worked just blocks from this restaurant for five years and never gave it a second glance until one of my readers recommended it after it was recently remodeled.

The first time I stepped foot in Tin Cup’s was two weeks ago.   I  have no idea what it looked like previously, but I hear it was a very dark and dingy place.  The restaurant closed down for about two years, and reopened earlier this year with a newly remodeled interior.  It is bright, clean and modern.  The bar runs along one side of the room but the rest of the space is occupied with tables and booths along the wall of windows.  There are a few flat screen TVs lined up over the bar and in the back near the kitchen.

Inside Tin Cup's ~ St paul, MNh

Notice the sign below? Man Vs Food Nation recently visited Tin Cup’s to take the Tin Cup’s Lucifer Challenge:  two 1Lb Lucifer burgers plus two lbs of fries in 45 minutes or less for $25 (unless you actually eat it all in which case it is free!!)  The show airs Oct 5th, 2011

Menu: Appetizers at Tin Cup’s include Onion Rings, Memphis Nachos, Walleye Fingers, Chicken Quesadilla, Chicken Wings, Buffalo Wings, Chicken Tenders, and Wisconsin Cheese Curds.

Salads include the Tin Cup House Salad and the Chef Salad.  There is also a Soup du Jour.

Burgers include fries and coleslaw.  Options are the Classic Burger, Smokey Bacon Cheeseburger, Pstty Melt, Mushroom & Swiss, and the Tin Cup Burger (with cheddar, pepper jack, bacon, onion rings and steak sauce).

The Tin Cup is also well known for their Juicy Lucy’s, including the Cedar Ave (stuffed with American), Lucifer ( stuffed with pepperjack and jalapenos with diablo sauce), Dirty Lucy (stuffed with olives, jalapenos, onions and bleu cheese), The Inside-Out California (stuffed with American, pickles and tomato), The Eggcellent Lucy (stuffed with Swiss and bacon, topped with an egg and American cheese), and the French Dipper (stuffed with swiss and caramelized onions, served with au jus).

Sandwiches also come with fries and coleslaw. Choose from Classic Grilled Chicken, Smokey Bacon Chicken, Pulled Pork, The Northender (chicken topped with pepperjack and bacon), Perfect BLT, Reuben, The Governor (steak with swiss, mushrooms and onions), and the Pot Roast Melt.

Wraps include the Minnesota (walleye, lettuce, tomato wrapped in potato lefse), Maryland Avenue (turkey, bacon and cheddar wrapped in potato lefse, and the Chicken Finger Wrap.

Tin Cup’s is also well known for their Fried Chicken.

Desserts include the West 7th (salted nut roll wrapped in cookie and the fried, drizzled with caramel) and Decadent Bites (deep fried brownie bites coated with powdered sugar and caramel sauce).

Price guide: Appetizers $5-8  Burgers $7-9  Sandwiches $6-9

What we ordered: I actually visited Tin Cup’s on two occasions within a few weeks of each other and will be writing about the food on both visits.

Visit #1

We started with an order of Wisconsin Cheese Curds, nuggets of white cheddar cheese curds breaded with a cornmeal mixture and served with ranch dressing.  Very tasty! They were hot and gooey, with an excellent crunchy crust.

We also tried an order of Walleye Fingers.  I personally didn’t care for these at all but my companion liked them.  I thought they were kind of fishy and had obviously been frozen until the moment they hit the deep-fryer just minutes earlier.

I ordered the Dirty Lucy which comes stuffed with bleu cheese, jalapenos, onions and olives.  Each patty is hand stuffed per order, so I was able to order mine without olives (one food I just do not care for).  This burger was awesome!! It exceeded my expectations, in fact.  The burger itself was so tasty and big and it had a ton of peppers and onions inside.  All burgers are cooked over charcoal and then finished on the flat-top so you get the heavenly flavor of the grill.  It also came on a big toasted bun with coleslaw and french fries.

My companion ordered the Cedar Avenue Lucy, which is the Classic Juicy Lucy stuffed with American Cheese.  Normally it comes with caramelized onions but it was requested to leave them off.  I didn’t try this burger but my companion thought it was awesome, ranking just behind The Nook for best Juicy Lucy in town.

Visit #2

My second visit was for lunch with a few of my colleagues.  I loved the Dirty Lucy that I had on my first visit to Tin Cup’s  but wanted to try one of the Juicy Lucy’s that I hadn’t tried yet so I got The French Dipper.  Yum!! This giant burger was cooked medium well and was stuffed with swiss cheese and caramelized onions and served with a side of au jus.  This was so good!  If you like French Dips you would love this Burger.

One of my companions ordered the Dirty Lucy, the same burger I ordered on my first visit.  Check out the size of this burger and how stuffed full  it is with jalapenos, onions, and olives.  The bleu cheese kind of melts into everything and the flavor lingers.

Another companion ordered the Eggcellent Lucy, stuffed with swiss and bacon, topped with American cheese, caramelized onions and a fried egg topped with hot sauce.

A peek inside the Eggcellent Lucy

Another companion ordered the Pot Roast Melt.  It looked wonderful and my companion loved every bite.  There was a hefty amount of pot roast  along with swiss cheese piled between two slices of grilled sourdough bread.  Served with thick gravy for dipping.

Service: We had pretty good service on both visits to Tin Cup’s.  I had a different server on each occasion but both were friendly and quick to respond to any requests.  The food service was a little slow, understandably as the food takes awhile to prepare, especially the Juicy Lucy’s which are all lovingly made-to-order.

Overall Impression: Most under-rated Juicy Lucy restaurant in the Twin Cities!  They have a great variety of huge burgers, and I would love to try the Fried Chicken very soon.  If you are in the mood for a Man Vs Food type challenge, try the Tin Cup’s Challenge of two 1Lb Lucifer burgers plus two lbs of fries in 45 minutes or less
Tin Cup's on Urbanspoon
Tin Cup's Place Reviews in St Paul

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 282009

Cuisine: Burgers
Restaurant Features: Banquet, Bar, Happy Hour, Pull-Tabs
Location: Downtown St Paul, MN
Address: 354 N. Wabasha Street St. Paul, MN  55102  651-222-2123
Hours: Mon-Fri: 11am-2am  Sat-Sun: 4pm-2am

Links: American Burger Bar Website * American Burger Bar Facebook PageGoogle Map


Atmosphere: Located on Wabasha just one block north of Kellogg Blvd, American Burger Bar is in the home of the former Matty B’s Supper Club.  The decor is still rich and masculine with dark wood work throughout.  There are many booths as well as a few tables and a bar area with additional seating.


Menu: Appetizers at the American Burger Bar include Skinny Truffle Fries, Cheese Curds, Onion Rings, American Favorite Sampler, Fried Calamari, American Burger Sliders, Meatballs ona  Stick, Best Damn Wings, Rib Eye Splitter, Chili Cheese tater Tots, and Nachos.

Salads include Caesar, Shrimp Salad, Cobb Salad, and House Salad.  Soups offered are Chili and Clam Chowder.

Sandwiches include Open Face Pineapple Chicken, The Gallivan (grilled ribeye with mushrooms, onions and bordelaise sauce) and Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich.

Build-your-own burger options start with 1/2 lb of your choice of meat: Black Angus, Kobe Beef, Bison, Turkey, Veggie and Lamb.  Over 20 ingredients available to top your burger with! All Burgers come with Skinny Fries.

Chef Burgers at American Burger Bar include American Classic, Cheese Steak Philly-Style, The Experience (Kobe beef topped with foie gras, black truffles, shaved parmesan cheese, braised short ribs, grilled onions and bordelaise sauce), The Wild Range (bison and lamb with fresh herbs, mushrooms and chardonnay) , Juicy Klucy (kobe beef stuffed with cheddar and topped with monterey jack), Rino 911 (Jalapeno) and South of the Border.

Entrees include 14oz Angus Steak, Diablo Pasta, Minnesota Twins (Twin Angus patties), Mac’N Cheese, and Kobe Ravioli.

Desserts include Apple Turnover, Deep Fried Cheesecake, Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich, Bread Pudding, Cheese Cake, Ice Cream Shakes and Malts.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-8  Salads $7-13   Burgers $9-19  Entrees $11-29  Desserts $6

Happy Hour:

  • M-F 3:30-6:30p & 10:30-Close
  • $2 Beer $3 Rails $7 Martinis
  • $3 Appetizers (skinny fries, onion rings, clam chowder chili, wings, meatballs on stick)
  • $6 Appetizers (Burger Snacking, Tuna Tartare, Sliders, Cheese Curds)

What We Ordered: My companions and I were very hungry and ordered a couple of appetizers to start with.  First we tried the Fried Calamari which was very good.  The order was a decently sized, with bite-sized pieces of fried calamari as well as a couple of bites of fried cheese and pepperoncini peppers.  Served with marinara and signature seasoned mayo.


We also got an order of buffalo wings.  The wings had great flavor but I was really disappointed with how tiny they were.  There were a dozen of the some of the smallest wings I have ever had served to me at a restaurant.  I would not pay full-price for these again at $8 but the Happy Hour has them priced at $3 which seems much more reasonable.


We also ordered the Sweet potato fries which were crispy and very tasty.  Perfectly salted.


There were many burgers on the menu at American Burger Bar but after hearing the server’s suggestions, it was the South of the Border Burger that was calling my name.  This burger was ginormous! Made of Angus Beef, the patty was grilled perfectly and then topped with a patty of chorizo, sauteed onions and mushrooms, pepperjack cheese, jalapeno bacon, spicy salsa and guacamole then served on a ciabatta bun.  There was so much going on with this burger that I don’t even know where to begin! The beef patty was juicy and moist and packed with flavor.  The chorizo patty added some spiciness and texture that really enhanced the overall burger experience, as did all the other quality toppings.  Guacamole ona  burger with bacon? Divine.  I loved that it was served on a grilled ciabatta bun which was hearty enough to hold all the toppings.  A sun emblem was branded onto the top and added a personal, fun touch to the burger.  Overall this burger was amazing, although much too big for me to eat all at once.  The skinny fries that came with it were good, and very skinny as the name implies.  I would almost call them matchstick fries because the longest pieces were just 1-2″ long.  Crispy but still soft on the inside.


One of my companions had the Rino 911.  This burger was quite spicy, a half-pound Angus patty topped with roasted jalapenos, pepperjack cheese, and jalapeno bacon served on an onion bun.


Another companion had the Juicy Klucy, the American Burger Bar’s take on the famous local Juicy Lucy cheese-stuffed burger.  This burger stands above all other stuffed cheeseburgers that we have tried locally (so far) and the ingredient that put it over the rest is the fact that it is made with fresh Kobe beef.  If you have not had Kobe beef before, you must try it immediately!! It has so much more natural flavor than even the best Angus beef.  The Juicy Klucy at American Burger Bar is stuffed with Wisconsin cheddar cheese and topped with melted Monterey Jack and served on a white bun.


Another companion ordered the American Classic Burger.  This truly is a classic bacon cheeseburger made with Angus beef then topped with American cheese and bacon, served with lettuce, onion and tomato on the side.


Service: My companions and I paid a visit to American Burger Bar late one Tuesday evening.  The dining room was closed for the evening so we were seated at a booth in the bar area.  Our server was very friendly and had good suggestions for us.  Like most downtown restaurants you must park at a ramp or at a meter (most meters downtown St Paul are free after 4:30pm).
Overall Impression: Awesome burgers!! A tad expensive but top quality.
American Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Dec 202009

Cuisine: Steak
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet Facility, On-Site Parking, Pull-Tabs, Live Music
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 531 West 7th Street  St Paul, MN 55102 651-224-7345
Hours: Sun-Thurs 4:30-10p  Fri-Sat 4:30-11p

Links: Mancini’s Website * Mancini’s on FacebookGoogle Map


Atmosphere: Located on West 7th Street just a mile from downtown St Paul, Mancini’s Char House has been one of St Paul’s most well-known and popular steak houses since it first opened in 1948.  With capacity to hold 600 guests, Mancini’s is a very big restaurant.  There are two main dining rooms that each hold 200 people and a large lounge area that holds an additional 200 guests.

The lounge area is laid back yet lively, with live music from 8:30-12:30 Wed-Sat.

The lighting in Mancini’s is dim and inviting, with candles lit on every table.  It is currently festively decorated  with wreaths, pine boughs and white fairy lights.  The main dining room is a big, long space that has several wooden tables as well as a series of tables along the outside of the room that have bench-style booths on one side and wooden chairs on the other .  You can see the open kitchen at one end of the dining room, where the only cooking equipment needed is the charcoal grill.


Menu: Appetizers include Herring and Crackers, Mushrooms, Antipasti Salad Plate, and Shrimp Cocktail.

As the name implies, all Entrees at Mancini’s Char House are char-grilled over an open charcoal pit. Options include 8 oz or 12 oz Sirloin, 13 oz New York Strip, 8 oz or 12 oz Fillet, Beef Kabob, Chicken Breast, Walleye Dinner and Lobster Dinner.  Two steak and lobster combinations available.  All entrees come with a side salad, baked potato and bread.

Desserts offered are Vanilla or Spumoni Ice Cream, Cheese Cake and Lemon Cello Gelato

Price guide: Entrees $19-28  Surf & Turf $45-48  Dessert

What we ordered: We first started with a complimentary plate of pickles, pickled peppers and fresh tomatoes.

We were also served this giant basket of complimentary garlic toast which had at least a dozen thick slices of white and pumpernickel.  Both were lightly buttered and seasoned before grilled on the charcoal pit and they tasted wonderful.  I liked that the inside was still slightly soft while the outside was perfectly toasted.


Every entree comes with a small Dinner Salad with romaine, red cabbage, carrots, cherry tomatoes and choice of dressing.


My usual choice for steak is ribeye but since Mancini’s doesn’t have ribeye, our server suggested the New York Strip.  This might just be my new favorite! The perfectly char-grilled steak was really tender (cooked medium) and had a great aged flavor, with just a sprinkle of salt for seasoning.  The baked potato was really big and filling.


One of my companions also ordered the New York Strip, with french fries.  This cut of meat seemed to be thicker than the cut I had but was just as tender.  The fries were crinkle-cut and fried to a light golden brown with a soft, hot ce


Another companion ordered the 12 oz filet mignon with baked potato.  Another thick, tender cut of char-grilled aged beef. I didn’t try any of this steak but it looked really good.


And another companion order the steak and lobster dinner.  The sirloin was 8oz, very lean but aged to give it more flavor.   The 6 oz lobster tail was pulled out of its shell and then char-grilled and served with melted butter.  Delicious!


Our server recommended the lemon cello for dessert, so we all shared one order.  The dessert was made up of light, creamy lemon-flavored gelato  and some kind of tart lemon sauce. What a refreshing treat!


Service: We had excellent service at Mancini’s.  Anticipating that it would be busy on a Saturday night, we called ahead to get a table for four.  The restaurant was really busy and our table was not quite ready when we arrived, so we went to the lounge to have a drink while we waited.  After ten minutes or so our table was ready and we were seated in one of the main dining rooms.  Our server, Sonja, was very knowledgeable about the steaks and cocktails and did a fantastic job of getting us everything we needed.  Our food was prepared reasonably fast for how busy the restaurant was but we never felt rushed.
Overall Impression: Mancini’s is a  St Paul dining landmark for good reason. The char-grilled steaks are some of the best you might find for such reasonable prices.   I like the relaxed but intimate atmosphere at Mancini’s and will be back to eat there again soon.
Mancini's Char House on Urbanspoon

Dec 112009

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Wings, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Games, Happy Hour, Pull-Tabs, Sports Leagues ( Volleyball, Broomball, Boot Hockey and Dodge Ball)
Location: Vadnais Heights, MN
Address: 1460 Co. Rd. E. East Vadnais Heights, MN 55110  651.484.6119

Bar Hours: Sun-Thurs 11a-1p  Fri-Sat 11a-2p

Kitchen Hours: Sun-Thurs 11a-10p  Fri-Sat 11a-11p

Links: Sak’s Sports Bar Website * Sak’s on Facebook Google Map


Atmosphere: Located on County Road E just a block from Hwy 61, Sak’s Sports Bar is in the location formerly known as Bentley’s restaurant.  The space is pretty big, with a couple of different seating areas.  Pictured below is the gaming side of the restaurant, with dart boards, pull-tabs, several large  flat-panel TVs and bistro tables.  The other side of the restaurant has a large bar separating two additional seating areas, one of which is the main dining room and the other is a row of booths running parallel to the bar.

Sak’s is also known for its Outdoor Sports.  Leagues are available to play Volleyball, Broomball, Boot Hockey and Dodgeball.  Sporting areas not pictured.


Menu: Appetizers include Buffalo Wings, Ranch Wing’s, Crispy Chicken Wings, BBQ Ribs, Spicy Pork Sliders, Boursin Sliders (green chile ketchup, boursin cheese and fried onion strings), Hot Dago Sliders, Classic Sliders, Slider Platter, Pulled Pork Quesadillas, Fried Chicken Quesadilla, Nacho Bar (chips with melted cheese and all other ingredients on the side to make-your-own), Garlic Cheese Bread, Bucket of Fresh-Cut Fries, Walleye Fingers, Onion Rings and Tator Tots Bucket, Warm Chips with Charred Corn and Black-Bean Salsa.  They also have Chicken with Wild Rice soup and a Soup du Jour

Salads offerings at Sak’s include Asian Chicken, Chopped Cobb, Cranberry Almond, Chicken Club, Red, White and Blue (red onion, bleu cheese), Beef and Garden Salad, Bird of Paradise, and Side Salad.  Any salad can be halved during lunch M-F.

Sandwiches include Hand Craved Butcher Sandwiches (beef brisket, ham or turkey breast), Italian Chicken Hoagie, B.A.L.T., Crispy Chicken, Grilled Chicken, Battered Walleye, Twisted Tuna (on English muffin with guacamole, bacon and melted Swiss), Honey Mustard Chicken Salad, Cucumber Chicken Classic, Grilled Vegetable Melt, Chicago Hot Dog, The Cuban, Buffalo Chicken Wrap, California Turkey Wrap, Chicken Gyro Wrap, The Monster Club and Millionaires Steak Sandwich.  All sandwiches and burgers come with kettle chips but you can upgrade to fresh-cut fries, onion rings or tator tots for $1.59

Burger options are the Classic Ground Chuck, Cowboy (bbq, bacon and cheddar), Bleu Cheese Lover’s, Ranch Burger, Cheeseburger, Shrooms and Swiss, Juicy Lucy, The Big Sak (two patties), and The BMFB (18 oz patty with all the classic fixin’s!)

Pasta Specialties include BBC Pasta (broccoli, bacon and chicken with penne and chipotle cream sauce), Chicken Al Fresco and Pasta, Big People Mac and Cheese (caramelized shallots and four cheese sauce), Blackened Chicken Pasta, Chicken Meatballs and Spaghetti.  Half-sized pastas available for lunch M-F.

Entrees at Sak’s are the BBQ Ribs, Grilled Top Sirloin, Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast, Beef & Beach (sirloin and walleye), and Beer Battered Walleye Fillet.

Price guide: Appetizers $ 5-9  Salads $7-10  Sandwiches/Burgers $7-9  Pasta $9   Entrees $13-20
Weekly Specials:
Tuesday- Sliders 3 for the price of 2

Wednesday- $.25/wings

Happy Hour M-F 3-6pm  7 days 9-11pm ~ 2 for 1 on all drinks  Select half-price appetizers

What We ordered: My companion and I visited Sak’s during Happy Hour and opted to go with a couple of the half-priced appetizers from the Happy Hour menu.  We started with 2-for-1 Blue Moon draft beers and the pork quesadillas which turned out to be an awesome choice!  The shredded pork was tender and flavorful, nestled up with melted cheddar cheese and sauteed peppers and onions.  In addition to the filling being great, the crisp and flaky, buttery flour tortilla was browned to a beautiful, dark golden brown.  It was drizzled with sour cream and cilantro and served with a unique black bean and charred corn salsa.  Delicious!


We ordered another half-priced appetizer (why not at that price?), the Alley Cat’s Ranch Wings.  The ten wings were fried then tossed with melted butter and ranch seasonings, and served with ranch dressing on the side.  These wings were pretty good if you like ranch flavor, which I thought was a unique but very smart way to season the chicken.


There were a number of sandwiches on the menu that sounded good to me, but I decided to order my standard Reuben from the Daily Specials menu.  I thought the Reuben was very good.  The deli-style corned beef was sliced thin and piled high with tangy sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese on a lightly toasted rye bread.  It came with a generous serving of crunchy, seasoned kettle chips.


My companion ordered the Juicy Lucy with fresh-cut fries.  Juicy indeed! The beef was cooked perfectly and inside was a hot cheesey mixture of American cheese, cream cheese and green onion.  The generous helping of fresh cut fries were also very good, not too greasy but just salty enough.


Service: We were able to get a table for mid-afternoon lunch without a problem and were seated at a booth in the bar area.  Our overall service was decent.  The hostess who sat us was friendly and the male server we had was nice but he didn’t seem very personable or outstanding in any way.  Drinks were filled as needed and food came reasonably fast.
Overall Impression: Another great sports bar to try in the Vadnais Heights/White Bear Lake area .  Wide selection of appetizers, sandwiches and burgers on the menu all at very reasonable prices.  Great Happy Hour specials!
Sak's Sportsbar on Urbanspoon

May 182009

Cuisine: American
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet Room, Pull-Tabs, On-Site Parking, Patio
Locations: Roseville, Northeast Mpls, Downtown Mpls, MN
Addresses & Maps:
Northeast Mpls– 220 4th St NE Mpls, MN 55413 (612)789-7429

Downtown Mpls– 1111 Washington Ave Sp. Mpls, MN 55415  (612) 340-9738

Roseville– 2801 Snelling Ave No. Roseville, MN 55113 (651)379-1180

Link: Grumpy’s Website

Atmosphere: The Roseville location of Grumpy’s Bar & Grill is in a very large building that was first  the home of K-Fan Restaurant and then served as Majors Sports Cafe until Grumpy’s took over the location early in 2008.  Within the large space there is a large bar area with several bistro tables placed around the centrally-located bar, an upstairs seating area, and an enclosed space for playing darts.


The Dining Room contains both booths and wooden tables, contemporary decor.


There is also a large Patio Area that can be accessed through the bar area.


Menu: Appetizers at Grumpy’s include Chicken Drummies, Chicken Tenders, Popcorn Chicken, Quesadilla Gordo, Potato Skins, Mozarella Sticks, Tepanyaki Beef Tidbits, Mac n Cheese, Mac N Cheese Bites, Beer Battered Onion Rings, Nachos El Grumpy, Lil’ Grumpy Burgers, Mini Corndogs, Tex Mex Queso Rolls, Sausage Pizza Dip, Gazillion Cheese Dip, Walleye Fingers, and Pepper Jack Spinach Dip.

Grumpy offers the following salads: Grumpy’s Chop, Ty Cobb, Aztec Chicken, Bleu Bayou, Greek, Caesar, and Chicken Spinach Flatbread.  Soup choices include Chicken Wild Rice, Chili and a Soup du Jour.

Grumpy’s has the largest selection of potato choices I have seen including Grumpy Fries, Tater Tots, Wedge-Style, Shoe String, Criss-Cut Fries, Mashed, Baked and Hash Browns.

Sandwiches include Chicken Cordon Bleu, Buffalo Chicken, BBQ Chicken, Cajun Chicken, Hawaiian Chicken, Build Your Own Chicken Sandwich, BBQ Chicken Wrap, Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap, Chicken Salad, Southwestern Turkey, Walleye, Tuna Melt El Paso, Mock Duck BBQ, Grilled Cheese, Ham N Cheese, Hell on Whells, Grilled Reuben, Grumpy’s Rachel, Roast Beef or Chicken Philly, Hot Beef, B.L.T., French Dip, Clubhouse, Pork Tenderloin, BBQ Pork, The Cuban, and St Paul Style Coney Dogs. All sanwiches come with choice of potato.

All Burger Choices are a 1/2 lb of lean Black Angus and come with a choice of potato.  Options include Southern Style “The Elvis” (beef patty topped with peanut butter and bacon), American Burger, Pepper Burger, Burgermeister, Chili Burger, Veggie Burger, Cream Cheese Burger, Patty Melt, The Wyoming, Juicy Lucy, and Build your Own Burger.

Pizzas are made with homemade dough and include choices such as the Straught Up Sausage, Attsa Cheeseburger, BBQ Chicken, Pepperoni, Northern Italian, Aloha This! and Build Your Own Pizza.

Entrees include Ribs, T-Bone Steak, Top Sirloin, Country Fried Chicken or Pork, Homemade Meatloaf, Pork Chops, Fish & Chips, Penne Diablo, Gnocchi, Manicotti, Chicken Penne Carbonara, Shrimp or Chicken Fettuccine, and Tater Tot Hotdish.

Desserts include S’Mores, Home Baked Apple Pie, Chocolate Cake, Carrot Cake, New York Cheesecake, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-10  Sandwiches/Burgers $7-12 Entrees $10-16

What I ordered: I really couldn’t decide what I was in the mood for- I just knew I didn’t want to get a  burger or sandwich which is usually what I get at a bar & grill.  The server said the manicotti was good so I tried that.  I would say it was decent, but nothing to write home about. The portion was HUGE, with several large tubes of pasta filled with a ricotta cheese mixture.  It was very mild and I could only detect maybe a slight hint of garlic and oregano in the mixture, otherwise it was just plain old ricotta.  The red sauce was tasty but there just wasn’t much of it, so I asked for a large side of it so I could adjust it to my liking.  There was a lot of mozzarella baked on top.  It was supposed to come with bread of some kind, but they forgot to bring it to me.


One of my companions had the Country Fried Chicken.  The chicken was good, covered with gravy and served with a side of mashed potatoes, variety vegetables, and toast.


Another companion had the Quesadilla which comes stuffed with cheese and tomatoes and onions.  My companion ordered it with black beans and peppers added (which was charged an additional $3).  It was an excellent quesadilla but very expensive at $11.


Another Companion (who happened to be the Guest of Honor) originally ordered the Fish & Chips but it had been fried so long that it was hard as a rock.  Since it was inedible it was sent back to the kitchen.


Instead of Fish & Chips my companion had the Tepanyaki Beef Teedbits at the suggestion of the server.  These looked and smelled delicious


Two of the people in our group shared the Grumpy’s Nachos, which was a HUGE order of tri-colored chips piled with melted cheese, tomatoes, jalapenos, black olives, green onions and served with sour cream and salsa on the side.


Service: My party had a reservation (made 3 days in advance) for 15 people at 6pm on a Saturday night.  At 6:10 when the entire party had been assembled, we were told that they could only accommodate us in the dining room for one hour and then we would have to leave so they could set up for another big party who had a reservation at 7:30pm.  Say what?! My companion who had arranged the dinner in honor of a birthday celebration was very upset, as we all were.  Apparently they had overlooked our reservation but could accommodate us all in the bar area with taller tables pushed together.  We were fine with that, as we weren’t given much choice.  Our server was nice but not overly friendly and was not very helpful with suggestions on the menu- she told us she only ever eats appetizers. It also took a considerable amount of time to bring little things when asked, although we did have a large party.
Overall Impression: I was not at all impressed with the food at Grumpy’s Roseville and the service was pretty bad.  It is very unlikely I’d ever go back
Grumpy's Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Apr 192007

**** A newer review of Jethros Char House dated 1/14/12 can be found here ****

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Fish & Seafood, Steak & Ribs

Restaurant Features: Bar, Games, Pull-Tabs, On-Site Parking

Location: Mahtomedi, MN

Address: 3140 Century Ave Mahtomedi, MN 55110 651-770-2443

Links: Google Map * Jethros on Facebook


Atmosphere: No need for fancy duds at this Char-house!  Jethro’s is a very laid-back restaurant/bar, a popular place for locals to meet up and enjoy a drink or fill up on good food.  Wood paneled walls and wooden tables grace most of the restaurant.  There is also a back room complete with 2nd bar, pull-tabs  and dart boards.


Menu: Start of your experience with a choice of buffalo wings, fried mushrooms, Beef Nacho Supreme, and Walleye or Chicken Fingers.  Sandwiches include a Philly, French Dip, Jethro’s Reuben, Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken, Tuna Melt and Fish Filet.

Maybe your more in the mood for a burger? Jethro’s recently changed their burger menu to a “Build your Own Burger” with a list of toppings so that you may customize your own burger.

Entrees include Broasted Chicken, Wild Sockeye Salmon, Baked Lemon Pepper Cod, Shrimp, Penne Pasta or Sirloin or New York Strip Steak.

Price guide: Appetizers: $6-9  Sandwiches: $7-11  Burgers: $7.95 (for up to 3 toppings) Entrees: $10-19

What we ordered: The Jethro’s Reuben.  Classic corned beef Reuben on pumpernickel with swiss and “special sauce”.  Basically the special sauce is the sauerkraut pre-mixed into the thousand island dressing; you can’t have one without the other. I thought the sandwich was very good, piled high with corned beef and grilled nice and crispy. (I wouldn’t have been able to take a picture of the inside of the sandwich without making an gooey mess.  Take my word for it).  The large steak fries were HOT and crispy.


My companion customized a burger with cheddar, bacon and sauteed mushrooms.  If you’re  a fan or charbroiled burgers, Jethro’s has the best!


Service: The service at Jethro’s is usually fast, even when there is a busy crowd.  Drinks are refilled when needed.

Overall Impression: Jethro’s is a good place to go if you like a casual atmosphere, they are also accommodating toward larger groups. Good food (excellent burgers) and good service.