Oct 092011
 

Cuisine: American, Fish, Pasta, Steaks, Ribs, Pizza, Southwestern
Restaurant Features: Bar, Gluten-Free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night Happy Hour
Locations: Blaine, Eagan, MSP Airport, Plymouth, Savage, St Paul, Woodbury
Addresses & Maps:
Blaine– 4365 Pheasant Ridge Dr NE Suite 102  Blaine, MN 55449  (763) 398-2475
Eagan– 1555 Cliff Road  Eagan, MN 55121 (651) 452-0200
Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport 4300 Gluemac Drive RMLT3256  St. Paul, MN 55111 (612) 726-5360 x4633
Plymouth– 3000 Harbor Lane  Plymouth, MN 55447  (763) 398-7408
St Paul– 850 Grand Ave.  Saint Paul, MN 55105 (651) 312-1299
Savage–  14120 South Highway 13  Savage, MN 55378  (952) 447-1122
Woodbury– 1424 Weir Dr.  Woodbury, MN 55125  (651) 735-0085
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-12am  Fri-Sat 11am-2am  Sun 10:30am-10pm
Links: Axel’s Bonfire Website * Axel’s Bonfire on Facebook

Atmosphere: The St Paul location of Axel’s Bonfire is at the intersection of Grand Ave and Victoria St, in the same building as Cafe Latte.  The restaurant is divided into a bar area and a dining room; the latter of which has several tables in the bigger, open section, as well as a number of booths off to the right side of the dining room.  The walls are painted a rich, deep red and the lighting is very soft.  Casual and somewhat trendy.

One feature of the decor that is hard to miss is the giant Bull sculpture hanging from the ceiling over the dining room near the hostess stand.

The bar is also a dominant space with Axel’s Bonfire, a giant island seating at least twenty guests with an additional number of tables near the windows looking out onto Grand Ave.

Menu: Appetizers at Bonfire include Axel’s signature Bullbites, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Colossal trip (wings, bontons and teriyaki green beans), Tripe Dips and Chips, Alamo Nachos, Walleye Fingers, Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas, Bonfire Sticky Wings, Fire Roasted Peppers, Calamari and Bontons (chicken, gorgonzola and buffalo sauce in a wonton).

Soups include Tortilla, Chicken White Bean Chili, and a Soup du Jour.

Salads include House, Caesar, Bonfire Chopped, Blackened Walleye, Tempe Chicken Salad, Asian Chicken, and Baby Bleu.

Wood Fired Pizzas include Four Cheese, Three Sausages, Bella Roma (artichoke, spinach, tomato), Margherita, and BBQ Chicken.

Burger and Sandwich options at Bonfire include Cowboy Burger, Bacon Bleu, Be Bold Burger (two half-lb burgers with sauteed mushrooms, onions, peppers and four cheese, 1000 island dressing), and the Hickory Burger.  Sandwiches include Arizona Chicken Wrap, Chicago-Style French Dip, Mango Chicken, Bistro Chicken Club, Rotisserie Turkey Ciabatta, Texas Pulled Pork, and Walleye Sandwich.

Bonfire’s Southwestern items include Chicken Fajitas, Steak or Walleye Fajitas, Veggie Fajitas, Chicken Enchiladas, Walleye Tacos, Chimichanga and Baja Burrito.

Woodgrilled Meats include Bacon Wrapped Medallions, 8 oz Sirloin, 14 oz New York Strip, Drunk and Dirty Sirloin, and 8 oz Filet

Entrees include Rotisserie Chicken, St Louis Style Ribs, Prime Rib, BBQ Beef Brisket, and Brick Oven Kabobs, Blackened Grouper Tacos, Pan-Fried Walleye, Grilled Salon, Grilled Roughy, Fettuccine Alfredo and Broccoli, Fire-Roasted Baked Spaghetti, Cajun Chicken Penne, and Bonfire Fettuccine.

Dessert options at Axel’s Bonfire include Towering Carrot Cake, Death by Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Deep-Fried Cheesecake, Kids Sundae and Seasonal Dessert.

Price guide: Appetizers $8-13 Salads $6-14 Sandwiches $10-15 Entrees $12-27

Happy Hour:

  • Daily 3-6pm
  • Sun-Thurs 9pm-close
  • $2 off cocktails
  • 1/2 priced Appetizers

Weekly Specials:

Sunday Limited Brunch Menu 11am-2pm Brunch Menu with Hand-crafted Bloody Mary’s and Screwdrivers $4 and $.99 mimosas.
Sunday Night– 4-9pm Kids build their own pizza and sundae for FREE with the purchase of each adult entree.

Mondays- 1/2 Price Bottles of Wine (1/2 price on bottles that are sold by the glass & 20% off our reserve bottles)

Wednesday & Tuesday Evenings- Dinner for Two: Your four course culinary adventure includes an appetizer to share, two entrées with sides, shared dessert for $49 per couple

What we ordered: My visit happened to be during Happy Hour so I enjoyed the $2/off on cocktails and got myself a Margarita for just $4.  Just the right mix of tart and tangy with sweet and sour and Don Julio tequila.

A couple of my companions ordered the Dirty Martini, which came with a shaker full for $8 at the Happy Hour price.  Such a deal!

Dirty Martini at Axel's Bonfire ~ St Paul, MN

Appetizers were half off during Happy Hour so we started with the Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  I love artichokes and get this dip at many restaurants but Bonfire’s version was one of the most boring I have tried to date.  It had several decent sized chunks of artichoke but the sauce was very thin and didn’t have a lot of flavor.  It was served with tri-colored tortilla chips (which also happen to be my least favorite accompaniment to artichoke dip).  The good news is that we paid half-price for this during Happy Hour.

We also got the Triple Dips and Chips, which came with salsa, guacamole and jalapeno cheddar dip.  The salsa was very good, spicy and slightly sweet.  The guacamole was decent as well, but the serving was very small.  The third dip didn’t look very appetizing to me so I didn’t try it at all. The dips were served with tri-colored tortilla chips.

As usual, I had a hard time making up my mind about what I wanted to eat for dinner.  I was leaning toward fish tacos and since Axel’s has both Walleye or Grouper,  I asked the server his opinion.  He didn’t hesitate to recommend the walleye, so that is what I ended up getting.  There were three flour tortilla tacos, each piled with hand-battered Shore Lunch walleye fingers topped with pico de gallo, cilantro and shredded lettuce.  The walleye was good, crispy and not at all fishy.  One of the pieces of walleye still had a small bone in it which wasn’t very appealing but not unheard of.  I wish I would’ve asked for a side of salsa to spice up these tacos because while they were good, they were kind of bland.  The pico didn’t have as many jalapenos or cilantro as it could’ve. The order was served with burracho beans and tomatillo rice, both of which were full of flavor.

One of my companions ordered the Chicago French Dip.  This sandwich looked wonderful and was at least eight inches long, thinly shaved prime rib on top of a fresh ciabatta roll.  The beef was complimented by homemade giardiniera with spicy pickled peppers, onions, carrots, and caulifower.  My companion thought this sandwich was wonderful but wished there was more beef then what it came with.  Also, ketchup is preferred to be self-serve from a bottle instead of partitioned into a little dish.Chicago French Dip at Axel's Bonfire ~ St Paul, MN

Another companion ordered the Veggie Fajitas as a vegan option.  These were wonderful! There was a very large pile of seasoned and sauteed broccoli, green beans, baby carrots, portabella mushrooms and onions.  Hot tortillas, beans and rice were served on the side.

Another companion ordered the Mango Chicken Sandwich, a grilled chicken breast topped with fresh mango salsa served on a grilled bun with french fries on the side.

The last of us ordered the Margherita Pizza, light on the cheese.  This pizza looked really good but I think it would’ve been better with the standard amount of cheese.  It was topped with plenty of tomatoes and fresh basil.  This was also half price during Happy Hour.

Service: My five of us in my party all arrived at different times and met in the bar until we were all present.  We had made an advance reservation and our table was ready for us when we wanted to sit down.  Our server was patient with us while we perused the menu, and offered suggestions that were vegan-friendly for one of the members in our party.  The food was prepared reasonably fast so we decided to wait until our appetizers were served before ordering our entrees.  When presented with the bill, our server had taken the liberty of giving us separate checks with the appetizers split five ways…. so easy and convenient!

Overall Impression: This was my first visit to Axel’s Bonfire in many years and I had forgotten what a hassle it can be to park near Grand Ave.  I highly suggest parking in the ramp on the southwest corner of Grand and Victoria, as parking on the nearby residential streets is likely to get you a parking ticket for around $30.  You may also want to make a reservation, especially on the weekend evenings.  We had very good service during our visit.  The atmosphere is contemporary and somewhat artsy and the menu has a lot of variety.  The portion sizes were well sized.

This is an original review of Axel’s Bonfire on Twin Cities Restaurant Blog
Axel's Bonfire on Urbanspoon
Bonfire Wood Fire Cooking Reviews in St Paul

Jan 182010
 

Cuisine: Pizza, Delicatessen (hoagies)

Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter-Service, Delivery, Kids Menu, On-Site Parking (at many locations)

Locations: Arden Hills, Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Burnsville, Coon Rapids, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Golden Valley, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Richfield, Rogers, Roseville, Savage, St Paul, Woodbury
Addresses: (Click here for Maps of Davanni’s Locations)

Arden Hills: 3673 Lexington Ave N Arden Hills, MN 55126 651-481-7100

Bloomington:
8605 Lyndale Ave S Bloomington, MN 55420 952-888-6232

Brooklyn Center:
5937 Summit Dr Brooklyn Center, MN 55430 763-566-8220

Burnsville: 14639 CR 11 Burnsville, MN 55337 952-431-1500

Coon Rapids: 3430 129th Ave NW Coon Rapids, MN 55448 763-712-1000

Eagan:
1960 Cliff Lake Rd Eagan, MN 55123 651-688-6111

Eden
Prairie: 8061 Flying Cloud Dr Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952-941-4444

Edina: 5124 Gus Young Ln Edina, MN 55436 952-920-9090

Golden Valley:
663 Winnetka Ave N Golden Valley, Mn 55427 763-398-0303

Minneapolis: 1242 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-338-0000

Minnetonka: 15200 Highway 7 Minnetonka, MN 55345 952-938-4243

Plymouth:
3015 Harbor Ln N Plymouth, MN 55447 763-550-0003

Richfield:
2312 W 66th St Richfield, MN 55423 612-866-3324

Rogers:
14165 James Road Rogers, Mn 55374 763-428-2990

Roseville, 1905 W Perimeter Dr Roseville, MN 55113 651-636-3411

Savage: 14125 Highway 13 Savage, MN 55378 952-440-1200

St Paul:
310 White Bear AveSt. Paul, MN 55106 651-738-6992

St Paul:
41 Cleveland Ave S St. Paul, MN 55105 651-690-4848

Uptown Mpls: 1414 W Lake St Minneapolis, MN 55408 612-822-3111

Woodbury: 1905 Donegal Dr Woodbury, MN 55125 651-739-1010

Links: Davanni’s Website

Davannis-outside

Atmosphere: The East St Paul Davanni’s location is just off I-94 and White Bear Ave.  Like all other Davanni’s location, customers order at a counter and then wait for their name to be called when order is ready.

Davannis-counterservice

There are several different seating areas, each with booths that can accommodate up to four people.  There are also a  couple of tables in the very back section of the dining room.  There are many windows throughout the restaurant, leaving it very well lit during the day.

Davannis-inside

Menu: Appetizers include Potato Chips, Breadsticks and Garlic Cheese Bread.

Salads at Davanni’s are the Garden Salad, Side Garden, Chicken Cobb, Italian Chef, Oriental Chicken, Southwestern Chicken, Spinach Chicken, Chicken Caesar, and Side Caesar.

Hoagie sandwiches are served on either white, whole grain, or ciabatta roll with lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo.   Options include Southwestern Chicken, Chicken Bacon Honey Mustard, Chicken Breast, Turkey/Bacon/Cheddar, Turkey, BLT w/ Cheddar, Club, Roast Beef, Pastrami, Ham, Salami, Tuna Melt, Veggie, and Three Cheese. Hot subs made with meat, marinara and cheese only include Chicken Parmigiano, Meatball, Sausage, and Pizza.

Davanni’s Pizza can be ordered with a choice of three different crusts (thin, traditional and deep dish) and two sauces (red and white).  Sizes pizzas come in are Solo, Medium and Laqrge.  Toppings choices are Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Sliced Chicken Breast, Canadian Bacon, Hamburger, Red Onion, Green Pepper, Garlic, Mushrooms, Hot Peppers, Green Olive, Black Olive, Pineapple, Bacon, Gorgonzola Cheese, Anchovies, Roma Tomatoes, Cheddar Cheese, and Jalapeños.

Davanni’s also has Penne Pasta (with chicken, meatballs or sausage), Lasagna and Stuffed Calzones.

Kids menu items include Hlaf Pasta, Solo Cheese Pizza, or Half Ham Hoagy.

Desserts include Brownies, Rice Crispy Treats, and Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Price guide: Hoagies $3.25-7  Salads $4-7   Pizzas $5-20  Calzones $5.50+

What We ordered: My companions and I ordered a variety of pizzas, including this large Chicago-style deep dish pizza with pepperoni and sausage.  Davanni’s deep dish is a treat for those who like real Chicago-style pizza and has been my one of family’s favorites for many years.  The buttery brown crust is at least 1″ deep yet it is light.  The lightness of the crust is deceiving because the pizza is actually very filling.   The cheese and meats were baked directly on top of the crust with pizza sauce spread out on the very top to prevent the crust from getting soggy.  The large pizza had 10-12 wedges.

Davannis-deepdishpizza

Our party also ordered a Large Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza.  The crust on the thin crust pizza was also pretty good, crispy but slightly chewy.  It was loaded with melted mozzarella and a fair amount of pepperoni (although I personally like more).

Davannis-thincrust c and olive oil)

This is a solo deep dish pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and “pink” sauce.  Pink sauce simply means that it has both white sauce (garlic and olive oil) and red sauce.  If you like garlic, you would love either the white or the pink sauce.  This pizza was also very good, the mushrooms were fresh and there was a lot of pepperoni.  The light and buttery deep dish crust practically melts in your mouth.

Davannis-solodeepdish

One of my companions ordered a half pizza hoagy on whole grain with a special request for the sauce to be served on side.  This is a good sandwich but it doesn’t have much substance, just a thin layer of pepperoni and a thin layer of melted cheese on one half of the bread.  You better order the whole sandwich if you’re hungry!

Davannis-pizzahoagie

Another companion ordered a pepperoni and veggie calzone to-go.  Safe to say that this thing was loaded with melted cheese, meat and veggies.

Davannis-calzone

Service: You can call ahead for pick up or delicery, otherwise Davanni’s offers standard counter-service.  There are typically 2-3 cashiers taking orders during the lunch and dinner rush but you can still expect to wait a few minutes before placing your order. It was fairly busy during my visit and it took about 30-40 minutes for our pizzas, which seems a reasonable amount of time for the deep dish pizzas to bake.
Overall Impression: Davanni’s has excellent deep dish pizza and is conveniently located in several places around the Twin Cities.  Service is reasonably fast and menu prices aren’t going to break the bank.
Dari-ette Drive in on Urbanspoon

Jan 112009
 

Cuisine: Authentic Mexican,

Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking
Locations: Burnsville, Eagan & Savage, MN
Addresses & Maps:

Burnsville– 2501 Horizon Drive (Cliff Road & 13th) Burnsville, MN 55337 (952) 808-0068

Eagan1428 Yankee Doodle Rd Eagan, MN 55121 (651) 405-8244

Savage– 4749 West Highway 13 Savage, MN 55378 (952)736-8307
Link: El Loro Website * El Loro on Facebook

ElLoro-outside1000

Atmosphere: The Burnsville location is quite large, with several small dining areas throughout the restaurant.  The parking lot wraps around the building and there are two entrances to the restaurant.  The decor is authentic Mexican, with large bright murals painted on the walls and a sombrero hung up here and there.  There are a mix of tables and booths, as well as a small bar area near the back entrance.  There also appeared to be a small patio area for use during warmer months.

ElLoro-inside1000

Menu: Appetizers include Nachos, Queso Fundido, Chicken Fingers, Jalapeno Poppers, and Guacamole.

Salads at El Loro include a couple of different Taco Salads, Tossed Salad, and Chicken Salad.

Special dinners (entrees) include Fajitas (Shrimp, Beef, Chicken, Seafood), Carne Asada, Steak Ranchero, Carnitas,teak a la Tampiquena, T-bone Steak, Burritos Mexicanos, Burritos Rancheros, Enchiladas Rojas, Enchiladas Verdes, Enchiladas Poblanas, Quesadilla Ranchera, Enchiladas Rancheras, Pollo Asado, Pollo Loro, Pollo Monterey, Pollo Veracruzano, Chori Pollo, Yolandas, Burritos Deluxe, Burrito Ruleta, Chilaquiles Mexicanos, Taquitos Mexicanos, Shrimp Quesadilla, Shrimp Chimichanga, Quesadillas Veracruzanas, Quesadilla Rellena, Chimichanga, Enchilada Suprema, Chile Colorado, Chile Verde, Combo Special, Special Dinner, Loro Loco, Seafood Enchilada, and Camaron a la Diabla.

There are several combination plates and smaller-portioned lunch specials at reduced prices.

Desserts include Tres Leches Cake, Sopapilla, Flan, Fried Ice Cream, Cheesecake, Churros, Bunuelos (puffy pieces of pastry covered with honey, butter, and chocolate sauce) and Xangos (cheesecake wrapped in a tortilla and fried that dusted with cinnamon and sugar).

Price guide: Appetizers $4-7 Salads $6-9 Lunch Specials $5-6 Special Dinners $9-14  Combination Plates $8-9
What we ordered: We started with the complimentary chips and salsa.  The chips were freshly made; warm, crispy, and lightly salted.  The salsa was slightly spicy and had great flavor, I especially liked the fresh cilantro.  We also were given a side of “Loro” house dressing, which was a thick, sweet and tangy ranch style sauce.  I also ordered the Texas Margarita, which I believe to be Jose Cuervo Gold and lime juice.  Very good but very strong!

ElLorro-chipssalsa1000 For my entree I ordered the Special Combo, which was a chicken chimichanga and a shredded beef taquito covered with nacho sauce and served with rice and beans.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Nacho sauce when I ordered, but it seemed to be made from melted Mexican cheese, spices and chile peppers and had a lot of flavor.  I thought it was pretty good.  The chicken in the chimichanga was shredded breast meat that was very tender and seemed to be of excellent quality, and the flour tortilla was fried to a nice crispy golden brown .  The beef taquito was also very good, made from a  fried corn tortilla. I also ordered a chicken enchilada a la carte, but substituted salsa verde for the enchilada sauce, which I think turned out to be an excellent idea! The chicken was great and the salsa was also very good.  Beans and rice were also both very good.  The consistency of the beans was on the thicker side, and the rice was flavorful and slightly dry (which I like!).

ElLoro-combospecial1000

ElLoro-chickenenchilada1000 One of my companions ordered the Special Dinner, which was a chicken burrito, shredded beef enchilada, beef taco, chile relleno, chalupa with guacamole salad, and rice & beans.  Everything was very good.  The chile relleno was a spicy poblano pepper stuffed with cheese and deep fried.  The enchilada sauce was okay, kind of sweet & tangy.

ElLoro-specialdinner1000 Another companion ordered the Carnitas Dinner, which was delicious! The hefty portion of pork was very tender and moist and came with three flour tortillas, guacamole salad and rice & beans.  There was definitely enough meat to make several tacos, but I think corn tortillas would have been better with the carnitas (more authentic!).

ElLoro-carnitas1000

Service: Our party of four arrived at El Loro on a very busy Friday night when all but one table near the door were already taken.  I was disappointed we did not get a booth, but we were hungry and did not want to wait for one to open up, so we sat at probably the worst table in the place (which wasn’t really too bad).   Food and drinks arrived in a decent amount of time considering how busy the restaurant was.  One thing I noticed was that all of the servers in the restaurant were Latino Males.
Overall Impression: Very good, authentic Mexican food at reasonable prices.
El Loro on Urbanspoon