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!

Jul 012008

Cuisine: American, German, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking

Locations: White Bear Lake, Oakdale, Inver Grove Heights, Hastings, Red Wing
Addresses & Maps:
White Bear Lake 2670 E. County Road E,  White
Bear Lake, MN 55110 651-773-5854
Oakdale- 7121 10th Street N. Oakdale, MN 55128 (651) 731-8381
Inver Grove Heights–  6434 Cahill Ave. Inver Grove Heights, MN (651) 451-8073
Hastings- 109 W. 11th St. Hastings, MN 55033 (651) 437-8259
Red Wing–  233 Withers Harbor Dr. Red Wing, MN 55066 (651) 385-8852

Link: JJ Bierstube’s Website


Atmosphere: The White Bear Lake restaurant is located at the far end of a large strip mall on the south side of the city of White Bear Lake.  The restaurant itself is one large open room, with wooden tables throughout and a bar along one side of the room.  I believe there are also a handful of booths along the wall opposite the bar which provide a little more privacy than the other tables.


Menu: Appetizers include Wisconsin Cheese Curds, Ber Battered Onion Rings, Garlic Toast, Breaded Mushrooms or Cauliflower, Jalapeno Poppers, Breaded Cod Strips, Colossal Buffalo Shrimp, Chicken Drummies, Mozzarella Sticks, Reuben Bites, Brat Medallions, Mini Burgers, and Chicken Cordon Bleu Bites.
Sandwiches offered at the Bierstube include Filet Mignon, French Dip, Ham & Cheese, Pork Loin, Chicken Breast, Buffalo Chicken, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Turkey Club, Weiner Schnitzel, Cof Filet, Crispy Chicken, BLT , Deluxe Grilled Cheese, Bratwurst with Sauerkraut and the Reuben or Rachel.  There is also a selection of specialty burgers.

Authentic German Dishes include the Sauerbraten, Weiner Schnitzel, Schweine Haxen, German Meatballs, Bratwurst Platter, Gebratene Leber (Liver Steak), Jaeger Schnitzel or the Taste of Deutschland sampler platter.

Steaks include quality Sirloin, Angus Porterhouse, New York Strip, Rib Eye, Filet Mignon, as well as a small Hamburger Steak.  Baby Back Ribs are also a popular dinner feature.

Specials include: Half-priced Burgers on Monday, Surf & Turf on Saturday and Sunday is Family Day (Free soda to kids under 16 with purchase of burger or hot dog)

If you’re still hungry after your meal, try the Hot Fudge Choclate Volcano Cake  or the Bavarian Rhubarb Pie (both served with Raspberry Sauce), Vanilla Ice Cream served a la carte.

Price guide: Appetizers $ 6-8 Sandwiches and Burgers $6-8.50 (does not include fries) German Dishes $10-18 Steaks $10-22
What I ordered: I am a big fan of Reuben Sandwiches so I decided to start with the Reuben Bites.  I thought they were interesting and tasty with the inside a cheesy mixture of Swiss, Corned Beef and Sauerkraut while the outside was breaded and crispy.  The inside actually reminded me of the Reuben Dip that you often encounter at Potlucks, but much warmer.  The crispy outside was a nice compliment to the inside and I liked that the Thousand Island was served on the side for dipping. I would get these again! Although they aren’t exactly gourmet, I think it was a pretty tasty invention….I think I might need to try the Chicken Cordon Bleu Bites next!


My visit was on a Monday night, which happened to be half-price burger night! You can order any of the specialty burgers or build your own 50% off whatever you get.  I went with a 1/2 pounder with Swiss, bacon and fried onions.  Burgers and sandwiches do not come with fries, so I got a half-order of onion rings as well.  I was very pleased with the burger.  It had nice texture and rich flavor, without being too charred.  The bun was lightly buttered and grilled, which is always a thumb’s up in my book.  I thought the onion rings were also good but at an extra $3.50 for the half-order, I could have done without them.


My companion ordered the Wiener Schnitzel, which are breaded pork cutlets.  It was served with German Potato Salad, Fresh Asparagus and Garlic Toast.


Service: There weren’t many guests dining in the restaurant on the evening my companions and I visited, so we had our choice of tables, etc.  The service was good considering we were practically the only ones there, but the server tended to leave us alone.
Overall Impression: I was actually pleasantly surprised at how large the menu was.  I had driven by this restaurant many times without stopping because I was under the false impression that the Bierstube was just a bar serving basic bar food.  It was much more than I expected.  The prices were good and the food was good too, especially the half-priced burgers!