Jan 252012

Kozlak’s Royal Oak ~ 4785 Hodgson Road Shoreview, MN 55126 (651)-484-8484

  • $20/Adults     $10.95/ Kids 6-12   $6.95/ Kids 5 and Under
  • 10:30am-1:30pm
  • Live New Orleans Jazz
  • Full Salad Bar, Scrambled Eggs Carbonara , Fresh Baked Biscuits with Sausage Gravy, Featured Chicken item, Cajun Ribs, Pecan-Breaded Catfish Fingers, Jambalaya with sausage & chicken, Classic Eggs Benedict, Kozlak’s home made French Toast with Pecan Maple Syrup, Breakfast Bacon, Sausage, Chef’s Fresh Vegetable, Gumbo Soup, Potatoes Pontalba with Béarnaise Sauce, Made-to-order Omelettes, Dessert & Sundae Bar

Links: Kozlak’s Royal Oak Website * Kozlak’s Facebook Page *  Google Map

Atmosphere:  If you like New Orleans Jazz, you are in for a treat at the Sunday Brunch Buffet at Kozlak’s! They have a Jazz Trio who make their rounds through the dining room, playing for every table.  You may have seen these guys on the Andiamo dinner cruises, where they sometimes play on the St Croix Riverboats.

What we ate: We started with the unlimited Bloody Mary and Juice Bar ($5). Kozlak’s makes their own Bloody mix that is very good and slightly spicy from the horseradish. There is an bartender pouring the drinks and then they have a table with pickles, olives, limes, summer sausage, cheeses, Tobasco and Worchestershire  for you to dress up your drink. I did not see any cocktail skewers so all of my goodies sank to the bottom of my drink once I gave it a stir.

Since the champagne and juice are included in the $5 unlimited, I also tried a glass of bubbly and an orange/pineapple juice mix. I noticed that the guy making my drink only had small airplane-style cans of Pineapple juice. I know that is common at bars but you would think that at brunch they would opt for bigger jugs of juice? Doesn’t matter to me either way ;)

Shortly after we were seated our server brought us a plate of caramel rolls.  They looked good but I didn’t eat one.

My first big plate included a bunch of breakfast items, including the Scrambled Eggs Carbonara, Eggs Benedict and Cheesy Potatoes. The eggs carbonara were pretty good but nothing out of the ordinary; they had pieces of bacon and spinach scrambled in.  I liked the Eggs Benedict; the Hollandaise sauce was silky and somewhat tangy.  They cheesy potatoes were okay but didn’t really catch my attention.

I also tried some of the breakfast meats including Bacon and Andouille Sausage with Peppers and Onions.  The sausage was great and I loved it with the peppers and onions.  The bacon was thick-cut and smoky.

I had to try the Biscuits and gravy too.  The biscuit was pretty standard but the gravy was really tasty.  They key to good gravy is good sausage and this had really well seasoned sausage.  It had a slight kick to it from all the black pepper, which I loved.

The French Toast at Kozlak’s is made with baguette so the slices are very small and very crispy.  The bread didn’t have the egginess of a typical french toast and remained crispy even when soaked with syrup.  Ah, that syrup! It was real maple with toasted pecans.  I promise you I did not eat all of this ;)

The Sunday Brunch at Kozlak’s has a nice selection of desserts including Bananas Foster.  I tried it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and wow, this was so good! Mmm, there is just something I love about warm banana desserts and what could be better than cooking bananas in brown sugar, butter and rum? The sauce was pre-cooked so I did not get to see the chef make it.  Heavenly!! The vanilla ice cream was perfect with it.

I also tried a few bites of the Pecan Pie. Super delish! The crust was really good and there was a layer of toasted pecans on tip of the gooey pecan filling.  This would also be great with vanilla ice cream.

By this point I was too full to try the Ribs or the Jambalaya, but they Kozlak’s does have them.

May 262011

Cuisine: Barbeque, Southern-Style
Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter Service, Take-Out ONLY
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Address: 2814 E 38th Street Minneapolis, MN 55406
Hours: Tues– Fri 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.  Sat– Sun 1 p.m. – 10 p.m. Monday- CLOSED
Links: Ted Cook’s Website * Ted Cook’s on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Ted Cook’s is a small operation located two blocks west of Hiawatha on E. 38th St, a quick walk from the Lightrail.   The small size does not afford room for dining, therefore all orders are take-out only.  Half of the space serves as the ordering/waiting area and the other half is the kitchen/pit area.  I could smell the strong pit smoke the second I walked in the place and there is no doubt I smelled like it when I left.  The room is equipped with the bare minimum; the service counter and a bench.

Menu: The heart and soul of Ted Cook’s is the Barbeque.  Choose from Half or Full Slab of Pork Ribs, Rib Tips, Barbequed Beef, Barbequed Pork, Barbequed Half Chicken, and Beef Ribs. All meats can be ordered ala carte or in a dinner combos  with Jo Jo Potatoes, Coleslaw and Bread.

Side Dishes include Coleslaw, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Jo Jo Potatoes, Collared Greens, Black Eyed Peas, Red Beans and Rice.

Desserts include Peach Cobbler and Sweet Potato Pie.

Price guide: Dinners $10-13 ($20 full rack), Side Dishes $2-4

What we ordered: We ordered a feast full of almost everything Ted Cook’s has to offer, starting with a couple of slabs of Pork Ribs in medium sauce.  These were meaty and tender, with a wonderful smoky  flavor embedded into the meat.  I am a big critic when it comes to barbeque sauces and tend to prefer mustard-based sauces over tomato-based, but I really liked this medium sauce from Ted Cook’s.  It was slightly spicy, tangy.

The Barbeque Beef is where it’s at at Ted Cook’s.  This beef was not like your typical beef brisket, instead it was very thinly sliced and extremely tender and moist from being tossed in the sauce.  The serving size was also extra big.  I loaded it up on the bread that came with it and had a big ol’ sandwich.  Excellent!

We also got the Rib Tips, which were tender and meaty.

We also had a couple of the Pulled Pork Dinners.  The pork was smoky, tender and very moist.  Another huge portion.

One of the sides we ordered was the Baked Beans. I thought these were really good, they were like classic baked beans with a hint of brown sugar, chunks of pork and the pleasantly surprising taste of garlic.

The Potato Salad was also good, standard deli-style with chunks of potato tossed in mayo, mustard, onion, celery.

We also had the Coleslaw which was very creamy.

I became a fan of Peach Cobbler while working in Texas the past two summers and had to try the version at Ted Cook’s.  This was pretty good, the peaches were swimming in a tart yet sweet syrup and had strips of pie crust floating on top.  It was served cold but I think it would be better served warm with vanilla ice cream on the side.

We also ordered a piece of Sweet Potato Pie. I did not try this and I didn’t see anyone else try it either so I am unable to report on the verdict. Hopefully next time!

Service: I live at least 40 minutes away from Ted Cook’s and I had a giant order so I wanted to call it in ahead of time.  No such luck at dinner time on a Saturday, when it gets busy at Ted Cook’s, they don’t bother to answer the phone.  We arrived to find a line about 8-10 people long, which went fairly fast.  Once we were able to order, our food was ready in about 10 minutes.  The man working the register was very nice and helpful too.
Overall Impression: I had been hearing about Ted Cook’s 19th Hole Barbeque for quite some time so I jumped on the chance to try it after buying a Deal from LivingSocial.  Very good barbeque at very reasonable prices for the large portion sizes.   I really  wish they had a dining room to eat in, it was a very long drive just for take-out (but worth it!)

Ted Cook's 19th Hole Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Nov 092010

Cuisine: Cajun, Creole, Southern Style
Restaurant Features: Banquet Room, Bar, Catering, Dessert, Live Music, Patio, Sunday Brunch
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 695 Grand Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105 651-222-7345
Hours: Mon-Wed 11am-12am   Thur-Sat 11am-2am    Sun 10a-10pm
Links:*Dixie’s on Grand Website * Dixie’s Facebook Page * Google Map

Atmosphere: Dixie’s is located in the same building as Saji-Ya.  The dining room is toward the back of the space, with tables and booths located on two levels.  A street-lamp type decoration bearing a “Bourbon Street” sign reminds you that Dixie’s is a Louisiana-inspired restaurant.

There is a big bar area in the front of Dixie’s, complete with a dance floor. This is a very popular place every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month when they have Salsa Dancing.

Dixie’s also has a patio area in the front of the building, and despite being attached to the parking lot, it is a great place to have food & drinks when the weather is nice.

Menu: Appetizers at Dixie’s include Beef Jerky, Coconut Fried Shrimp, Dixie Wings, Deep-Fried Avocado Fries, Blacken Shrimp or Chicken Quesadilla, Cornmeal Catfish Nuggets, Soul Fries (fries with cheddar, bleu cheese, bacon and ranch), Chicken Nachos, Baby Back Ribs, Baby St Louis Style Ribs, Spicy Sesame Green Beans, Carolina Crab Cakes, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Baked Mushrooms.

Soups and Chilis at Dixie’s are the Carolina Crab Soup, Cuban Black Bean Vegetarian Chili, Louisiana Gumbo, Chicken Chili and Pecos Red River Chili.

The few salad options include Caesar, Key Largo (smoked turkey, pecans, gorgonzola), Grilled or Fried Chicken Salad, and Coconut Chicken Salad.

Dixie’s sandwiches and burgers include Pulled BBQ Pork, Pulled BBQ Chicken, BBQ Beef Brisket, Cajun BBQ Chicken, Blackened Chicken Deluxe, Sesame Chicken Mushroom Melt, Portobello Mushroom, Catfish Club, Pot Roast Cheeseburger, Dixie Burger, Cajun Burger, Blackened Bleu Burger, and Black Bean Veggie Stacker.  Po’ Boy sandwich options include Blackened Catfish, BBQ Pork Tenderloin, and Fried Gulf Shrimp.  All sandwiches and burgers come with choice of potato or vegetable.

Dixie’s House Smoked Specialty items are the Baby Back Ribs, St Louis Style Ribs, Barbeque Chicken, Thick-Cut Pork Chops, Rib Combo and BBQ Sampler Platter.

Dinner Entree options are Country Fried Steak, New York Strip Steak, Kentucky Bourbon Pot Roast, Pecos Pork Tenderloin, Veggie Black Bean Cakes, Honey Pecan Chicken, Bourbon Chicken, Jambalaya, Carolina Crab Cakes, Coconut Fried Shrimp, Blackened Catfish, Bleu Grass Chicken Breast, Almond Grouper, and Seafood Potpie.

Desserts at Dixie’s include Key Lime Pie, Butterscotch Pecan Pie, Fudge Cake, and Traditional Bread Pudding.

Price guide: Appetizers $10-14  Soups $5/cup $7/bowl  Sandwiches $11-15 Smoked Specialties $15-40  Entrees $14-25  Desserts $6-7

Happy Hour:
  • 7 Days 3-6pm
  • $3.50 Tap Beers
  • $2.50 Dom. Bottles  $3.50 Import Bottles
  • Many 1/2 price Appetizers

Sunday Brunch:

  • $19.95/ Adults     $12.95/ Kids 5+
  • 10am-1:30pm
  • Bottomless Champagne Flute, Made-to-Order Omelets and Egg Benedict, Fresh Fruits, Salads, Hot Biscuits, Brunch Potatoes, Red Beans & Rice, Country Scrambled Eggs, Specialty Entrees and Homemade Desserts.
  • Live Jazz Music (check calendar)

What we ordered: I started with a bowl of the Squash and Sausage Chowder, which I shared with one of my companions.  I really had no idea what to expect when I ordered this, because I had never had anything like it before.  It was delicious!! The consistency of the dish reminded me of sloppy joes, but replace the ground beef for the more flavorful ground sausage and replace the tomato with a sweet pureed squash.  What a great combination of flavors and textures together; slightly sweet and slightly spicy. It had toasted croutons on top which added a satisfying crunch to the mix.  This was a huge bowl of chowder….. my companion and I were both nearly full before the rest of our meals were brought out. What a sublime dish for Autumn!

Another companion started with a bowl of the Louisiana Gumbo.  I tried this and thought is was very good.  I know that authentic lousiana gumbo has many variations and since I haven’t had it before,  I am not sure how this compares.  It was a thick soup-like dish that had a hearty mix of shrimp, andouille sausage, and chicken.  It was flavorful but not spicy, not sure which spices Dixie’s uses.

We were given a basket of biscuits, which literally disappeared in seconds.  They were still warm!

I ordered the Catfish Club, which turned out to be a great choice! The large filet of catfish had been char-blackened and then layered with buttery-toasted bread, thick sliced crispy bacon, romaine lettuce, sliced tomato and mayo.  Each ingredient brought something to the table in both texture and taste.  I was happy that the catfish wasn’t at all fishy and was a thick enough cut that I could sink my teeth into it.    This sandwich really hit the spot! It was served with a lightly battered french fry.

One of my companions ordered the Pork Tenderloin Po’ Boy.  The tenderloin had been sliced thin so it was extremely tender, and blackened for that cajun flavor.  It was coved with melted pepper jack cheese and barbeque sauce, lettuce and mayo.  Very tasty!

Another companion had the Pecos Pork Tenderloin, which was well-seasoned and then char-broiled to give it a blackened texture and taste.  It was served with two dipping sauces, one was spicy peanut and the other was a mustard bbq.  Choice of potato or vegetable was offered and my companion chose the succotash, which was sauteed vegetables with corn (sorry, no photo)

Another companion tried to order the $39.95 Dixie’s BBQ Sampler but the server talked him out of it, saying it was too much food for one person.  After contemplating the menu and hearing other suggestions, my companion ordered the Pot Roast Dinner instead.    It was a large serving of pot roast that was covered with a Kentucky Bourbon sauce. This dish did not go over very well, my companion didn’t care for the sauce.  The server offered a free dessert for the trouble.  The BBQ Platter would have been a much better choice, even if it was too much food for one person!

My companion was given a free dessert to make up for the pot roast, and chose the Key Lime Pie.  This was very good, but very sweet.  It had a delicious, thick graham cracker crust and a lot of whipped cream.

Service: Our service at Dixie’s was decent, as far as spacing our courses, etc, but overall the service could have been a lot better.  Sodas were refilled in the proper amount of time but the server  forgot to put in a 2nd drink order from the bar, so we never received the cocktails we ordered with our meals.  There were a few other items we asked for that the server forgot as well, not to mention she talked my companion out of ordering what they really wanted.  At one point a large group that sat near us all stood up to leave after finishing their meal, but they continued to stand and talk for at least 5 minutes.  This wouldn’t normally bother me but they were practically hovering over our table, which made it very uncomfortable for us, not to mention they were blocking a major walkway through the restaurant.  I don’t know what Dixie’s could have done about that, other than gently asking them to stand somewhere else? I am hoping that service is better on a night that isn’t so busy.
Overall Impression: The service wasn’t that great but the food was very good.  I would go back at a less busy time and try some other items on the menu.  Dixie’s has a banquet room and also offers catering.

Dixie's on Grand on Urbanspoon