Sep 022012

Cuisine: Deli, Roast Beef
Restaurant Features: Counter Service, On-Site Parking
Location: Roseville, MN
Address: 1746 N. Lexington Ave  Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 488-1788

Links: Maverick’s Website * Maverick’s on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Maverick’s is located in a strip mall on Lexington Ave at Larpenteur Ave.  One of the first things you will see when you enter Maverick’s is the kitchen/counter area.  A menu board is displayed above, but bring your binoculars… the print is tiny and hard to read (not to mention the white print on a black background).

The dining room is long and narrow, with a self-service condiment bar along the right wall and several tables neatly lined up in rows that extend toward the back.  The tables are interesting, they display a variety of ads for other businesses so they are essentially lacquered billboards.

Menu: Deli-Style Sandwich options include Ham, Turkey, Chicken, Fish Fillet, Spicy Italian Beef, Corned Beef, and Tuna Salad.  Cheese options include Swiss, American, Pepper Jack, Cheddar and Provolone.

Specialty sandwiches include Roast Beef, Beef Brisket, Spicy Jamai, Pulled Pork, BBQ Beef and French Dip.

Maverick’s also serves open-faces sandwiches with mashed potatoes and gravy.  Options include Roast Beef, Beef Brisket or Turkey.

Sides include French Fries, Onion Rings, Potato Cakes, Chicken Fingers, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Cole Slaw, Cottage Cheese, Potato Salad, and Garden Salad.

There are also a number of milkshakes available like Chocolate, Vanilla, Mocha, Strawberry, Raspberry, Wild Berry, Banana, Key Lime, French Vanilla, Cherry, Banana Kiwi, Orange, Butterscotch, and Pina Colada.
Price guide: Sandwiches $5-8  Sides $1-4 Milkshakes $3-4
What we ordered: I ordered the French Dip, a hearty sandwich of thinly sliced roast beef piled onto a hoagie roll with real Swiss cheese and a side of au jus.  The roast beef was fantastic! It was flavorful, cooked so that it was still pink and very tender.  I loved that they had fresh horseradish at the condiment bar; I added a bunch to mine.  The au jus was very transparent and pretty weak; I ended up not even using it.

My companion ordered the Roast Beef sandwich, Maverick’s signature item, which comes with a large helping of thinly sliced roast beef on a bun.  Excellent!

We each got an order of fries which were the light, golden shoestring variety.  They were delicious, very similar to Mickey D’s if you like that sort (and who doesn’t?)

When we told the guy working behind the counter that we were first-timers, he gave us a sample sandwich of the Beef Brisket.  This was also good but seemed overcooked in comparison to the roast beef.  It reminded my companion and I both of roast from a  crock pot rather than a barbeque smoked beef brisket.  I’d opt for the roast beef over this brisket any day of the week, but it was still decent.

Service: We had great service at Maverick’s, considering that they offer service behind a counter.  We were greeted with a smile and the guy helping us took his time to tell us about the menu and then gave us a sample of the beef brisket to try.  He also followed up with us later to ask what we thought.
Overall Impression: The roast beef at Maverick’s was as good as its reputation and will be a new regular place to grab a great roast beef sandwich.
Maverick's on Urbanspoon

Osaka Seafood Steakhouse ~ Roseville, MN

 Bar, Flat Screen/Large TVs, Japanese, On-Site Parking, Roseville, Sushi, Teppanyaki  Comments Off on Osaka Seafood Steakhouse ~ Roseville, MN
Aug 042012

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi, Teppanyaki
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking
Location: Roseville, MN
Address: 1675 County Road C West Roseville, MN 55113  651-633-3188


  • Mon-Thurs  11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10pm
  • Friday 11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-11pm
  • Saturday 12pm-11pm
  • Sunday 12pm-10pm

Links: Osaka Steakhouse Website * Osaka on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: The Roseville location of Osaka Sushi & Hibachi is located at the far end of the strip mall on the northwest corner of Snelling and County Rd C. (same strip mall as Byerly’s and ZPizza).  The restaurant is divided into three areas: the dining room, the bar area and the hibachi room.  The dining room is to the left when you first walk in, a contemporary space with tables and booths to seat about forty people or so, and a sushi bar at the back to accommodate another dozen.  The wall to the left side of the restaurant is interesting to look at, with floor-to-ceiling textured back-lit glass panels in a variety of patterns, nestled between columns of stone bricks.

The sushi bar is a good place to sit if you like to interact with the sushi chefs, or if you want a closer look at the TVs hanging on the wall behind.

The Bar area is the first thing you see when you enter Osaka, centered between the dining and hibachi rooms.  It has a contemporary feel to it with the under-bar lighting and hanging pendants above.

To the right of the main entrance is the hibachi room.  There are a handful of  hibachi tables, each of which seats about 10-12 people.  The hibachi chef stands in the center of the table and cooks at the grill built into either side of the table.

Menu: Osaka receives their seafood fresh on Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays.

Appetizers include Edamame, Squid Ginger Yaki, Yakitori, Steamed Shrimp Shumai, Calamari, Gyoza, Age Tofu, Vegetable Gyoza, Beef Negimaki, Haru Maki, Soft Shell Crab and Tempura.

Salads at Osaka include Garden Salad, Tataki Salad, Avocado Salad, Seaweed Salad, Kani Salad, Seafood Salad Squid Salad, and House Salad.  Soups include Miso, Spicy Miso Vegetable, Onion Soup and Dobin Soup.

Japanese Entrees include Teriyaki (chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon, seafood), Tempura (vegetable, chicken, seafood), Yaki Udon Noodles, Yaki Soba, Nabe Yaki Udon, Seafood Noodle Soup, Una Don, Chicken Katsu, Pork Katsu, and Beef Negimaki.

Sushi and Sashimi selections come with two pieces in an order: Maguro (tuna), Toro (fatty tuna), Spicy Tuna, Hamachi (yellowtail), Ebi (shrimp), Sake (salmon), Smoked Salmon, Ikura (salmon roe), Hirame (fluke), Tobiko (flying fish egg), Unagi (eel), Hotategai (scallop), Amaebi (sweet shrimp), Tamago (egg custard), Kani (crab stick), Saba (mackerel), Hokkigai (surf clam), Uni (sea urchin), Ika (squid), King Crab, Live Giant Clam, Tako (Octopus) and White Tuna.

Osaka Sushi dinners are served with miso soup and salad.  Options include Sushi Entree, Sashimi Entree, Chirasi Sushi, Tri Color Sushi, Sushi & Sashimi Combo, Roll Combo, Vegetable Roll Combo, Tekka Don, and Tuna or Salmon Love.  You can also order Sishi for 2, Sushi and Sashimi for 2, Love Boat or Chef’s Special.

Rolls and Hand Rolls at Osaka include Avocado, Kappa Maki, Oshinko Maki, Asparagus Maki, Mushroom & Avocado, A.A.C. Maki, Califormia Roll, Boston, Crispy Shrimp tempura Roll, Philadelphia Roll, Eel Cucumber, Salmon Skin Roll, Spicy Snow Crab Roll, Lobster & Avocado, King Crab & Avocado, Dragon Roll, and Spider Roll.  Fresh fish rolls include Tuna, Salmon, Yellowtail, Toro, Alaskan, Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Spicy Yellowtail, and Rainbow Roll.

Osaka’s specialty rolls include Angel, Crazy, Black Dragon, Osaka, Spicy Girl, Crazy Tuna, Sweet Heart, Naked Girl, Salmon Family Roll, Alligator, No. 9, M.J Roll, Roseville Roll, Pink Lady, Yum Yum, B.M.W., Crunch Roll, New York, Dancing, and Sex on the Beach.

Hibachi dinners are served with onion soup, house salad, hibachi noodles, hibachi vegetable with choice of meats including Vegetable, Chicken, Salmon, Scallops, Shrimp, Tuna, Sword Fish, Steak, Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail.
Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Entrees $11-24 Sushi/Sashimi $4-9 Specialty Rolls $13-17  Hibachi $15-31
What we ordered: My companion and I ordered a variety of rolls and sashimi, including surf clam, uni with quail egg, spicy tuna roll, spicy girl roll, and dancing roll.

The Spicy Girl roll had spicy tuna and spicy yellowtail with cucumber on the inside and then wrapped with rice and topped with spicy salmon and panko.  This roll had a fair amount of kick to it, as one would hope with a name like Spicy Girl.  I thought it was good but it didn’t blow me away.

We also tried the Dancing Roll, which turned out to be one of the favorites of both of us.  This roll had tuna, salmon and yellowtail on the inside then was wrapped with rice, escolar, a very thin slice of avocado and then topped with tobiko.  I loved the flavors of the different fish all rolled together, while the tobiko gave it a nice contrast in texture.

My companion was thrilled to see Uni on the menu and even happier when told it was delivered fresh that same day.  We initially ordered two orders with quail egg and later ordered an additional two orders.  I have not been a fan of uni when I have had it in the past, however this uni at Osaka looked very fresh so I wanted to give it another try.  While I can’t say I’ve grown to love uni, this was the best uni I’ve had to date.  The freshness gave it a more mild and less mineral-like taste than other uni I’ve eaten.  The creaminess of the egg and the uni was well complimented by the rice.

The Surf Clam was also fresh; pretty good if you like surf clam.
(I personally can take it or leave it.)

We went back to Osaka less than two weeks later and once again ordered the Dancing Roll and the Uni with Quail Egg, as well as the B.M.W. Roll .  The BMW Roll was really good; it had spicy tuna and avocado wrapped with rice and then deep fried.  It was topped with unagi sauce, spicy mayo and tobiko.  Very good!

Service: Our first visit was late on a Friday night, and while it was busy, we had missed the dinner rush and were able to get a nice booth.  Our server greeted us promptly and was very attentive throughout the evening.  Our drinks were brought and refilled when needed and the wait for the sushi to be prepared was minimal for all the items we ordered.
Overall Impression: We enjoyed the Osaka Seafood Steakhouse in Roseville.  It had a cool atmosphere and pretty good sushi.  The hibachi is reasonably priced in comparison to other Japanese steakhouses in the Twin Cities, I would like to give it a try with a group in the future.
Osaka Seafood Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

May 062012

Cuisine: Asian Variety, Chinese, Thai
Restaurant Features: Bar, Gluten-Free Menu
Locations: Edina, Minnetonka and Roseville
Addresses and Maps:
Roseville (Rosedale Center) – 1705 Highway 36 West  Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 636-7173
Edina – 3669 Galleria Edina, MN 55435 (952) 928-7888
Minnetonka (Ridgedale Center)-  12649 Wayzata Blvd Minnetonka, MN 55305 (952) 797-9888
Hours:Mon-Thurs 11am-9:30pm * Fri-Sat 11am-10pm * Sun 11:30am-9pm
Links: Big Bowl Website * Big Bowl Facebook PageGoogle Map

Atmosphere: There are several Big Bowl locations in the areas of Minneapolis and Chicago.  The Roseville location is found inside Rosedale Center on the same side of the mall as AMC Theaters, Granite City and Flame. The dining room is big and decorated with a contemporary Asian flair.  There are tables in various shapes and sizes, as well as booths along the outer walls.  There is also a bar area to the left of the entrance.

Menu: Appetizers include Chicken Potstickers, Veggie Potstickers, Chicken Dumplings, Veggie Dumplings, Spicy Sichuan Green Beans, Crispy Garlic Tofu, Grilled Chicken Satay, Chicken and Shrimp Eggroll,  Barbeque Spareribs, Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps, Thai Herb Calamari, Spicy Sichuan Eggplant, and Summer Rolls (Chicken, shrimp or Veggie).

Soups and Salads include Dumpling Noodle Soup, Vietnamese Noodle Soup (Pho), Chinese Hot & Sour Soup, Tom Yum Shrimp Soup, Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles, House Mixed Salad Greens, Asian Chicken Salad, Mandarin Chicken Salad, and Lucky 8 Vegetables & Tofu.

Chinese Chicken dishes include Kung Pao, Ginger Chicken, Spicy Cashew, Orange, and Sesame Chicken.  Beef Dishes include Kung Pao, Spicy Sichuan Beef, Beef & Broccoli, Mongolian Beef, and Seven Flavor Crispy Beef.  Seafood Dishes include Sweet Ginger Sea Scallops & Shrimp, Shanghai Shrimp & Scallops, Teriyaki Glazed Salmon, and Black Pepper Scallops.

Fried Rice options include Teriyaki Chicken, Teriyaki Shrimp, and Barbeque Pork.  There is also an Unfried Jasmine Rice dish.  Chinese Noodle Dishes include Kung Pao Tofu and Spinach, Kung Pao Chicken and Noodles, Steak & Noodles, and Sichuan Pork Belly with Noodles.

Thai Specialties include Red Hot Pepper Chicken Noodles, Thai Hot Pepper Chicken (or Shrimp) with Basil & Peanuts, Bangkok Shrimp & Scallops and Thai Shrimp Fried Rice.  Pad Thai is Big Bowl’s signature dish, try it with Vegetables/Tofu, Chicken, Shrimp or Salmon.  Big Bowl also has a make-it-yourself Stir-Fry bar option.  You choose your vegetables, meat, sauce, and noodles and they will cook it for you.

There are also a number of Curries including  Spicy Thai Green Vegetable Curry, Yellow Curry Vegetables, Yellow Curry Chicken with Sweet Green Beans, and Claypot Shrimp Panang, and Claypot Panang Curry Chicken.

Big Bowl also offers a Gluten-Free Menu, which includes many of the above items.

Desserts include Coconut Tapioca Pudding, Mango Cheesecake, Honey Apple Crisp, Homemade Double Chocolate Brownie, Lucky Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, and Mochi of the Moment (ice cream and sweet rice).
Price guide: Appetizers $5-7 Entrees $12-18

What we ordered: We started with a round of drinks, I had a Mai Tai, with a traditional mix of light and dark rum, pineapple and lime juices.  Delicious, albeit on the short side.

Later I tried a Margarita, a mix of Sauza white tequila, cointreau, and Yuzu sour.

One of my companions ordered the Ginger Jameson, made with fresh Ginger.

One of us had the Red Sangria

Another companion had the Passion Fruit White Sangria.

For the inconvenience of seating out party of twelve at two different tables, they sent out some complimentary appetizers, including these Steamed Veggie Dumplings ($5.95) served in the house soy-ginger sauce.  The order came with five plump dumplings.

We also tried the Pork Potstickers ($5.95), which also came with five in the order.  These were pan fried to give them a crispy, golden brown crust.  They were served with the soy-ginger sauce, hot mustard and sweet plum sauce for dipping.

For my entree I asked for a recommendation of something spicy and the server suggested the Claypot Chicken Panang Curry ($12.95), so that is what I ended up ordering.  The base of this dish was the delicious, thick peanut-coconut curry, stuffed with pieces of all natural white meat chicken, red bell pepper and snow pea pods.  It had a lot of flavor but only a slight kick to it as far as spice goes.

One of my companions ordered the Pad Thai with Pork ($12.95).  This was a big pile of rice noodles, stir fried with big pieces of barbeque pork, basil, eggs, bean sprouts, peanuts and fresh lemon and herbs.  It looked and smelled great!

One of my companions had the Mongolian Beef ($14.95), a traditional Chinese dish with big tender chunks of beef, shitake and button mushrooms, shredded carrot and green onions in a sauce made with hoisin and soy.

Another companion had the Veggie Stir Fry with tofu, broccoli, green beans, carrots, peppers and onions with Chinese rice noodles.

For dessert we shared a Double Chocolate Lava Brownie

Service: Our visit to Big Bowl was on a busy Saturday night, with a reservation for 12 people made a month in advance.  We had to wait 30 minutes past the reservation time before they could arrange space for us.  When we were seated, they put four of us in a booth and the other eight were seated at two nearby tables that had been put together.  It was very awkward and completely separated our party into two.  For this “inconvenience” they brought us complimentary appetizers.  While we were sitting, the hostess had sat a table fo two at the booth next to ours and three minutes later another employee came rushing over to their table where we overheard her telling that could sitting there that they had to be moved, that that particular table was reserved for someone else and they didn’t seem very apologetic about it. My companions and I were appalled by it. As for the rest of our service, drinks took some time coming from the bar but once we put in our dinner orders, they didn’t seem to take any longer for our party of twelve than it would’ve for a much smaller group.
Overall Impression: This was my second time ever visiting Big Bowl, the first was about five years ago.  Big Bowl is a chain restaurant that prides themselves on using fresh ingredients sourced locally and naturally raised meats.  I liked the fresh ingredients and overall our food was pretty good but the service was less than stellar.  I personally won’t be rushing back anytime soon.
Big Bowl 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 222012

Cuisine: American, Chinese, Dessert
Restaurant Features: On-Site Parking, Counter Service for Take-Out
Location: Roseville, MN
Address: 1163 Larpenteur Ave W St Paul, MN 55113 (651) 488-6687
Hours: Daily 11am-9pm
Links: House of Wong Website * House of Wong on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: House of Wong is a large restaurant located within a large strip-mall in Roseville.  The restaurant is long and narrow shaped, with several high-backed booths that run all the way to the back of the restaurant. The taller booths give you a sense of privacy and the way they are placed might make you forget the restaurant is as big as it is. The decor of the House of Wong is more casual and homey than sophisticated Asian, but the hand-carved wooden doors and  handful of Asian vases serve to remind you this is indeed, a Chinese Restaurant.

Menu: Appetizers include Egg Rolls, Cantonese Chicken Wings, Fried Potstickers, Szechuan Wings, Chinese Barbeque Pork, Crispy Chicken Fingers, Jumbo Golf Shrimp, Meat Wontons, Cream Cheese Wontons, Shrimp Toast, Fried Chicken Livers, and Onion Rings.

The House of Wong has several variations of Chow Mein including Meat, Diced Chicken, Sliced Mushroom, Subgum, Chicken Mushroom, Chicken Subgum, Shrimp, and Barbeque Pork.  Lomein entrees are made with either Chicken, Barbeque Pork, Beef, Shrimp, or the House of Wong Special Lomein.

Fried Rice specials include Chicken, BBQ Pork, Beef, Fresh Shrimp, Special Fried Rice, and Meatless.

Chinese Chicken dishes include Sweet & Sour, Sesame, Orange, Moo Goo Gai Pan, Chicken and Broccoli, Chicken Almond Ding, Kung Pao,  Szechuan, Chicken in Garlic Sauce, General Tsao’s, and Curry Chicken.

Beef Dishes include Beef & Broccoli, Beef & Snow Peapods, Beef Pepper Steak, Mongolian, Kung Pao, Szechuan, and Mandarin Beef.  Pork entrees include Sweet & Sour and Sesame.

Vegetarian and Seafood plates include Gulf Shrimp & peapods or Broccoli, Szechuan Shrimp, Kung Pao Shrimp, Triple Kung Pao, Hunan Triple Crown, Szechuan Vegetarian Tofu Stir Fry.

You can also get a  Noodle or Rice Bowls topped with either Mandarin beef, Teriyaki Chicken, Szechuan Garlic Chicken, Pepper Steak, Chicken Almond Ding, Kung Pao Chicken, Beef and Broccoli, and Szechuan Vegetarian Tofu.

There are a number of combination plates as well.

Besides the large amount of Chinese dishes, House of Wong also has several American Items on their menu with Entrees such as Hamburgers, Fresh Roasted Turkey, Grilled or Breaded Pork Chops, Leg of Pork, Pork tenderloin, Frilled Round Steak, Cod Filet, Baby Beef Liver, Sauteed Chicken Breast, Breaded Pork Cutlet, Jumbo Golf Shrimp,  Hawaiian Ham Steak and Fried Chicken.

Sandwiches include Triple Decker Club, Grilled Cheese, Cold Turkey, Hot Turkey, Grilled Chicken, Grilled Ham and Cheese, Chicken or Tuna Salad, and Fish & Chips Basket.

You can even order Italian entrees like Spaghetti, Meat Lasagna, Mostaccioli, Chicken Parmigiana, and Fettuccine with Chicken and Broccoli.

The homemade pies at House of Wong include Banana Cream, Coconut Cream, Chocolate Silk, Apple, Custard, Pumpkin, and on Sundays there is also Carrot Cake.
Price guide: Appetizers $4-7  Entrees $8-12
What we ordered: We started with the Shrimp Toast, which was fabulous! The bottom was made with a piece of cocktail-sized bread and then large pieces of shrimp were butterflied, seasoned, and then placed on top and then battered and deep-fried.  What a delightful combination of textures! The toast was crispy yet the top was light, fluffy,  crunchy and somewhat greasy.  It was served with hot mustard and a mild duck sauce.  I have only had shrimp toast at a handful of restaurants and I think House of Wong has the best :)

We also tried the Barbeque Pork appetizer.  Unbelievably good!  The pork was so tender you could cut it with a fork and the outside was glazed with a sweet sauce, complimenting the natural flavor of the pork.  This is a must-have every time I visit the House of Wong and is especially good when dipped in the spicy hot mustard and duck sauce. Yum!

We also had the Pork Fried Rice, which had several small pieces of the barbeque pork that I like so much.  The rice was deliciously flavorful with green onions, scrambled egg, mushrooms and bean sprouts and the portion size was very generous.

We also ate the Shrimp and Mushroom Egg Foo Young.  I usually love this dish at House of Wong but on this visit the shrimp seemed kind of fishy and the sauce was very very salty.  It wasn’t the worst but it wasn’t nearly as good as the many other times that we have had it over the years.

The entree that we tried was the Lomein with Beef Tenderloin.  The order came with a huge pile of stir-fried Cantonese egg noodles that were cooked with a sweet hoisin sauce with slices of onion, pea pods, napa cabbage, bean sprouts, slices of carrot and several big pieces of beef tenderloin.

Every entree comes with a free dessert and I chose the Custard Pie, as I do nearly every time I visit House of Wong.  It is thick, rich and creamy; a perfectly set custard with a bubbly browned top.  Love it!

Service: Our visit was at dinner time on a Monday and the restaurant was busier then you would expect so early in the week.  We were greeted by the friendly young host who brought us to a booth after asking our preference.  We waited a few minutes before we were greeted by our server, who took our drink order right away, followed by our order for appetizers.  The appetizers were brought out about ten minutes after we ordered, the entrees came out about 15 minutes later.  Some of the minor requests we had seemed to take longer than necessary but overall it was good.
Overall Impression: I have been eating at this restaurant for 30+ years now and while the service can be hit or miss, the food is consistently good.  It isn’t gourmet Chinese, but it is what I would consider Chinese comfort food since I have been eating at House of Wong since I was a toddler.  Large portions and good quality meats and veggies.

House of Wong on Urbanspoon

Mar 172012

Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Mexican
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Screen TVs, Happy Hour, On-Site Parking

Locations: Coon Rapids. Columbia Heights, Roseville and Waite Park, MN

Addresses and Maps:
Columbia Heights– 5085 Central Avenue NE Columbia Heights, MN 55421  763-571-7784
Coon Rapids– 8955 Springbrook Dr Coon Rapids, MN 55433 763-432-2479
Roseville– 1925 Perimeter Rd Roseville, MN 55113  651-287-4055
Waite Park– 314 West Division St Waite Park, MN 56387 320- 230-8633

Hours: Sun 11am9pm * Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm * Fri-Sat 11am-11pm

Links: La Casita Website * La Casita on FacebookGoogle Map

Atmosphere: The Roseville location of La Casita is located on Perimeter Rd, just a few blocks west of Fairview Ave.  The restaurant is quite large and has many different dining areas, including a large indoor courtyard.  There are historic photographs and hand-painted murals on several of the walls, many of which are depicting Mexican soldiers.

The courtyard is well lit from the skylights overhead and the decor is bright and colorful.

The Bar Area is to the left when you walk in and is quite spacious, with several bistro tables as well as seating along the length of the bar.  There are a handful of flat screen TVs hung up over the bar.

Menu: Appetizers include Chili con Queso, Queso Blanco, Chicken Fiesta Flatbread, Nachos, Ultimate Nachos, Layered Bean Dip, Quesadilla, and Veggie Quesadilla.  Tortilla Soup also available.

Salads offered include Taco Salad, Mexican Grilled Chicken, Southwestern Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, Fajita Salad, and House Salad.

La Casita offers many Burritos including El Grande Burrito, Burrito Supreme, Shredded Beef Burrito, Burrito Colorado, Garden Burrito, Fajita Burrito, Chimichangas, Blanco Chimichanga, Grande Chimichanga, and Pollo Fundido.

Skillet Entrees offered at La Casita include Grilled Steak Fajitas, Grilled Chicken Breast Fajitas, Shrimp Fajitas, Garden Fajitas, and Fajitas Supremas.  Other Grilled items include Tacos Al Carbon, Grilled Chicken Breast, Carne Asada, Rancheros, Tex-Mex Chicken Sandwich, and Fiesta Burger.

Favorite Mexican Entrees include Chalupa, Mexican Club, Flautas, Baja Tacos, Mazatlan (spoinach and mushrooms in wheat tortilla), Arroz con Pollo, Carnitas, Chili Colorado, and Enchiladas.

Entrees with Seafood include Seafood Enchiladas, Cancun, Tacos de Dorado (Mahi Mahi) and Tortilla Crusted Tilapia.

There are a number of combination meals as well.
Price guide: Appetizers $6-10   Burritos $10-12 Skillets $12-16 Entrees $8-11

Happy Hour:

  • Daily 3-6pm
  • $1.00 off House Margaritas, Tap Beers, House Wines, and Rail Drinks.
  • Free Appetizer bar (Monday through Friday 3-6, 4.95 minimum purchase) featuring: chili con Queso dips, Bean dip, Fresh Veggies and dip, and more.
  • Late Night Happy Hour 9pm-Close = 2 for 1 House Margaritas, Tap Beers, Rail Drinks

Daily Specials:

  • Tuesday – ½ price house margaritas (open until close)
  • Wednesday – Tall tap domestic beer $3.00, Tall imports Specialties $4.00, Tacos $.99 (7 to close)
  • Thursday – Long Island Teas $4.00, Sauza Gold Margaritas $5.00
  • Sunday – Kids Eat Free Every Sunday – Your children (8 and younger) who accompany you on Sundays can select one item from our Children’s menu for FREE (beverage extra).  Children must be accompanied by parent who orders food of equal or greater value.

Birthday Special –Receive a FREE DINNER of your choice with purchase of entree of equal value.  Not valid with other offers or coupons.  (Drinks, appetizers and desserts are extra; I.D. required)

What we ordered: Our visit was during Happy Hour so I took advantage of the $3 House Margarita.  It was quite large for the price and was strong and tart.  Perfect for the price!

If you dine during Happy Hour you are welcome to the Chips and Salsa Bar, where this is quite a selection of different dips including Bean Dip, Carne con Queso, Salsa, Salsa Verde, Queso Blanco, and a Smoky Salsa.  All this for free, what a deal!

Another item on the Nacho Bar was a huge pan of hot, fresh Nachos Supreme.

This was my first visit to La Casita in nearly four years and I noticed immediately that they changed the menu in that time and as soon as I saw that they offered Fish Tacos, my decision was made. These “El Dorado” tacos came with two double-corn tortillas each piled with sauteed strips of mahi mahi, fresh cilantro, lettuce and tomato with a spicy chipotle mayo.  The plate was piled with salad, savory Mexican rice, and freshly sauteed peppers, red onions, zucchini, yellow squash, and broccoli.  I topped my taco with additional salsa and some of the chipotle mayo and they were awesome!

One of my companions ordered a Beef Enchilada and one Chicken Enchilada a la carte.  The beef enchilada was a corn tortilla stuffed with mildly seasoned ground beef and covered with a red chili sauce with melted monterey jack and cheddar.  This was enjoyed very much.

The Chicken Enchilada had shredded chicken stuffed inside a corn tortilla, smothered with salsa verde and melted cheddar jack cheeses.  This was decent but the beef enchilada was preferable.

Another companion ordered the Veggie Quesadilla, a large whole wheat tortilla was stuffed with cheeses and roasted peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, and yellow squash.  It was served with guacamole and a bed of lettuce.

Service: We had very good service at La Casita.  My companions and I met early on a Tuesday evening during Happy Hour before it started to get busy, and pretty much had our pick of tables.  Our server was friendly and attentive, yet left us alone to talk and eat.  We loved the complimentary Chips & Salsa Bar and another positive was the split checks.
Overall Impression: La Casita is one of my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants around, even more so now that they offer fish tacos! Big portions at very reasonable prices.
La Casita Mexican on Urbanspoon

Jan 292012

Cuisine: American, Healthy Eating
Restaurant Features: Beer & Wine, On-Site Parking
Locations: Edina and Roseville, MN
Roseville– 1910 West Highway 36  Roseville, MN 55113 651-636-0956
Edina- Galleria 3460 Galleria Edina, MN 55435 952-925-1001
Hours: Monday-Saturday 7am-10pm Sunday 7am-9pm

Links: Good Earth Website * Good Earth on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Roseville Good Earth is located along the frontage road along the northern side of Hwy 36, west of Fairview Ave.  The decor inside the restaurant is very mellow and casual.  There are many wooden tables throughout the dining room, with a few booths along a couple of the outer walls.

Menu: Breakfast foods include fresh juices & smoothies, Organic Oatmeal, Granola, Ten-grain Hotcakes, Buttermilk Pancakes, Brioche French Toast, Wild Mushroom Omelette, Veggie Omelette, Tomato Basil Omelette, Turkey Sausage Scramble, Grilled Salmon Hash, Good Earth Huevoa, Breakfast Quesadillas, Black Bean Roaster, Vegetarian Joe’s Eggs, Breakfast Wrap, Bacon & Eggs, and the Heartland Breakfast.

Small plates offered at Lunch and Dinner include Middle Eastern Medley (tebouleh, hummus, spiced feta, kalamata olives), Nachos, Edamame, Bangkok Chicken Satay, Vegetable Pot Stickers, Baked Artichoke Dip, Wild Mushroom and Gruyere Flatbread, Thai Chicken Pizza, and Pear and Fig Flatbread.

Soups and Salads at Good Earth include Vegetable Bean Soup, Tropical Spinach Salad (side or full), Cashew Chicken, Mediterranean Greek Salad, Curried Turkey Salad, and Chopped Salad.

Sandwiches offered include Cashew Chicken Salad, Cashew Chicken Melt, Almond Tuna Salad, Almond Tuna Melt, Grilled Shrimp Pita, Grilled Veggie Sandwich, Turkey Club, Rueben, Harvest Wrap, Thai Chicken Wrap, and Bean Burrito.  Burgers include Basic Burger, Bison Burger, Turkey Burger, Patty Melt, The Good Earth Burger, Vegetarian Planet Burger, and Turkey Porcupine Sliders.

Good Earth’s Entrees “From the Farm” include Grilled Chicken Quesadillas, Teriyaki Chicken, Thai Chicken Chiang Mai Noodles, Turkey Meatloaf, Coconut Curry Chicken, and Mandarin Beef.

The Entrees “From the Sea” include Wild Mahi Mahi, Wild Ahi Tuna, Keta Salmon, Atlantic Salmon,  Farm Raised Tilapia, Grilled Tuna with Ginger Noodles, Shrimp and Scallops with Creamy Corn Polenta.

Vegetable Dishes include Wok Seared Seasonal Vegetable, Winter Pear Risotto, Vegetarian Enchiladas, and Winter Gnocchi.

There is also a selection of Monthly Seasonal Specials including Apple and Sunchoke Salad with Pomegranate, Pan Roasted Rainbow Trout, Pomegranate Braised Rainbow Trout, Grilled Pomegranate Glazed Chicken, Vegetarian Chili, Grilled Shrimp and Zucchini, Coconut Panna Cotta, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and Sorbetto.
Price guide: Breakfast $  Small Plates $5-10  Salads $6-13  Sandwiches $10-12  Entrees $11-16
Weekly Specials:

  • Sunday- Corn Meal Crusted Walleye $10.95
  • Monday- 10 wines, 10 bottles, 10 Bucks
  • Tuesday- Chicken Marsala $10.95
  • Wednesday-All Natural Steak Fajita $10.95
  • Thursday – Wok Seared Shrimp Curry $10.95

What we ordered: We started with the complimentary basket of Breads.  It contained a sampling of many different breads and homemade pita chips and was served with a side of hummus.

I asked our server what the spiciest thing on his menu was and without hesitating he said the Thai Chicken Chiang Mai Noodles. I was sold!  This dish had a nice amount of heat to it, the base of which was a coconut curry sauce.  It had several large pieces of white meat chicken and was tossed with red and green bell pepper, cucumbers, garlic and ginger and noodles that similar to vermicelli.  The cucumber helped to cool it down a little.  I liked this a lot.

One of my companions had the Good Earth Burger.  The burger was made with fresh ground bison served on whole wheat bun, then topped with caramelized onions, avocado, portobella mushrooms, tomato, sunflower sprouts and Gruyere cheese.  It was a big, hearty burger.  It comes with a sweet red pepper aioli and side greens salad.

Another companion had the Turkey Burger on whole wheat bun, also served with field greens.

One companion had the Wok Seared Vegetables with the Tropical Spinach Side Salad.  The vegetables were a mix of  yellow squash, pea pods, bell pepper, carrots, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, mushrooms, water chestnuts, celery, with roasted almonds.  It was served with brown jasmine  and wheatberry rice.

The Tropical Spinach Side Salad consisted of a bed of baby spinach topped with chopped mango, red bell pepper, jicama and candied pecans.  It was served with a tahini poppyseed dressing.

Another companion ordered the Shrimp and Scallops with Creamy Corn Polenta.  This dish was sauteed with zucchini, yellow squash, and tomato in a tarragon wine sauce.

For dessert a few of us shared the Carrot Cake.  It was a large piece; fresh, moist and delicious.  The cream cheese frosting was sprinkled with toasted oats which contrasted in texture with the creaminess of the frosting.

One of my companions ordered the Blood Orange Sorbet.  It looked good and I heard no complaints ;)
Blood Orange Sorbet at Good Earth ~ Roseville, MN

Blood Orange Sorbet at Good Earth ~ Roseville, MN

Service: We had very good service at Good Earth.  It was a busy night and our party of five took our time enjoying our meals and each others’ company.   Our server was very attentive and had good suggestions from the menu.  The Good Earth is great about dietary needs and chef will often discuss options with guests.
Overall Impression: The Good Earth is a restaurant that makes a conscious effort to work directly with the farms who produce the meats and vegetables they use in their dishes. Everything is organic and locally sourced whenever possible.
Good Earth on Urbanspoon

Jan 082012

Cuisine: Asian, Mongolian
Restaurant Features: Bar, Lunch Buffet, Dinner Buffet, On-Site Parking
Locations: Coon Rapids,  Richfield, Roseville
Addresses and Maps:
Coon Rapids– 2085 Northdale Blvd NW Coon Rapids, MN 55433 (763) 767-3018
Richfield– 500 E 78th St Richfield, MN 55423 (612) 861-7991
Roseville- 2720 Snelling Ave N. Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 631-3398

Hours: Daily 11am-9pm

Atmosphere: At the Roseville location there are several small dining areas situated around the restaurant, which are made a little more private with the creative use of live plants.  The dining areas all surround the centrally-located meat and vegetable buffets.  All seating is limited to tables, but there is at least one dining space that allows for tables to be pushed together for larger parties.

Within the restaurant there is a small bar area to accommodate patrons who may have to wait for a table on a busy night, or for those who would like to try one of the specialty tropical drinks or wines.

Menu: The concept of Khan’s is one that allows diners to customize their own stir-fry dishes.  Guests choose from a buffet containing a variety of sliced frozen meats (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, shrimp and imitation crab).  You take a bowl, fill it with the meats and noodles of your choosing, and then move down to the vegetable line where you can choose from a large selection of fresh vegetables to be used in your custom stir-fry.

After filling your bowl with your preferred meats and vegetables, you then add sauces to flavor your stir-fry, such as Garlic Sauce, Cooking Wine, House Sauce, Dragon Sauce, Teriyaki, Curry, Lobster Sauce.  There is a sign over the sauce bar that suggests which sauces and flavorings you should choose, depending on how spicy you would like it.  After you have your bowl filled with meats, noodle, vegetables and sauces, you take it to the Barbeque Area, where  your stir-fry is cooked right in front of you.

Price guide: Lunch (1 bowl) $10  Dinner (unlimited bowls) $14

What we ordered: It is true, Khan’s has changed their appetizer.  Each table now receives a plate of crispy fried wonton chips with a sauce that is a combo of sweet, sour, spicy and garlicy.  They are great but I miss the chicken wing and hot and sour soup that it used to come with.

At first it may seem overwhelming what to include in your stir fry but I have been to Khan’s enough to have my combination down.  I always get beef and the very fine noodles at the bottom of my bowl.  For my veggies I get broccoli, purple cabbage, onions, bok choy, bean sprouts, pineapple, zucchini, red and green bell peppers, mushrooms and a ton of fresh cilantro.  Its the sauces that can get tricky and impact the flavor of your stir fry.  I like sweet, savory and spicy all together so I usually follow the recipe for the spicy and add a scoop of garlic, fresh jalapenos, chili oil, teriyaki, and Thai peanut sauce.  Yum!

My companion made a stir fry that had beef, lamb, shrimp, noodles, mushrooms, bok-choy, green pepper, water chestnuts, crushed red pepper, garlic, and curry.  Much more savory than my dish and quite spicy. Very good!

Service: I have eaten at Khan’s a handful of times each year for the past decade and while they once had very good service, the service at the Roseville location has really gone downhill this past year.  On this particular visit we especially had bad service from the moment we arrived.  There is a big sign that says “please wait to be seated” but there wasn’t a host present and we waited several minutes before someone acknowledged us.  Once we were finally seated, we had to wait several more minutes before seeing our server and then it was an even longer wait before initial drinks as well as refills were brought to the table.   On most visits a server will ask us if we have been to Khan’s before so they can explain the procedure.  On this particular visit, our server did not ask us this.  I can imagine that if we had not been to Khan’s before, we still would have figured it out but its easy to see that newbies might not know how it works.  We went ahead and got in the buffet line fast and efficiently since we both know exactly what we want.  Sometimes Khan’s will have someone available to offer help with sauces, but not on this visit.  The line for the Barbeque goes rather quickly.  We sat down and started enjoying our dinner but then the server brought our check out to us before we had finished our first plates!  I thought this was strange, but I guess I would rather have it now than wait forever later.  I haven’t had anyone to help me with my sauces in the last 2-3 visits either.
Overall Impression: I go to Khan’s for the food and definitely not for the service! The make-your-own stir fry at Khan’s can be varied thousands of ways, depending on what combination of ingredients and sauces you use.  Be prepared because it can take some time to create the stir-fry to your liking, at least it did for me. If you’re lucky, there may be an employee helping customers with their sauces.
Khan's Mongolian Barbeque on Urbanspoon
Khan's Mongolian Barbeque on Urbanspoon