Jan 192013

Cuisine: American, Steak, Seafood, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Hotel
Location: Bloomington, MN (Inside Embassy Suites)
Address: 7901 34th Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55425 952-854-1010
Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm *Dinner Daily 4:30pm-10pm *Sunday Brunch 10am-2pm
Links: Woolley’s Steakhouse Website * Woolley’s on Facebook * Google Map

Woolley’s is located inside the beautiful, lush courtyard at the Embassy Suites Airport in Bloomington.  Unfortunately I did not take any photos of the interior, but if you have been to any Embassy Suites before, you can instantly visualize the courtyard setting, with intimate seating areas nestled in among a variety of plants.  The lighting was dim and romantic and there was a jazz band playing music somewhere nearby.

Menu:  Appetizers include Calamari, Walleye Fingers, Martini Steak Bites, Crab Cakes, Shrimp Cocktail, and Diablo Bites (blacked beef tips).

Small Plates include Short Ribs, Marcona Almond Purses, Sea Scallops, Duck Sausage, Foie Gras and Pork Tenderloin.

Woolley’s has a Salad Bar for $14.95 or you can add it on to any entree for $4.95. Side salads are also available to add-on to any entree for $3.95. Dinner salads include Grilled Salmon, Apple Proscuitto Brie, Woolley’s Steak salad, The Classic Wedge, Winter Greens, and Caesar. Soups available are a French Onion and a Soup du Jour.

Woolley’s is known for their Beef, with options such as Beef Tenderloin, Bone-In New York Strip, Top Sirloin, Martini Steak, Beef Oscar, Prime Rib (12oz or 16oz), and 16 oz Red-Eye Ribeye. Any beef or steak can be served Classic Style (with bleu cheese, bacon, onions and mushrooms), Gratinee Style (with croutons, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese), or Oscar Style (with bearnaise and crab). All steaks come with choice of baked potato, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, wild rice pilaf or broccoli, with the option to upgrade to any of the following sides including Glazed Carrots, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Hashbrowns, Loaded Baked Potato, Sweet Potato Hash, Brussel Sprouts, and Grilled Asparagus.

Other Entrees include Chicken Marsala, Pork Tenderlon, Short Ribs, Duck Breast, Woolley’s Burger Deluxe, and Swedish Meatballs. Pasta options include Pasta Vodka, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Kielbasa Mac & Cheese.

Woolley’s also serves Fresh Fish and Seafood such as Grilled Walleye, Panko Walleye, Grilled Salmon, and Shrimp & Scallops.

Desserts include Creme Brulee, Bread Pudding, Chocolate Lava Cake, Cheesecake and more.

Price guide:

Salads $5-20 Entrees $14-28 Steak $21-45

Happy Hour:
Happy Hour is served in the bar Monday – Friday from 4pm until 6pm.

  • $2.25 Domestic Tap & Bottle Beers
  • $2.75 Craft Tap & Bottle Beers
  • $3.25 House Wine
  • $3 – $3.5 Call Cocktails
  • $3.75 – $4.5 Martinis and Specialty Drinks
  • 50% OFF all Appetizers

Weekly Specials:

  • Sunday-Wednesday: Half priced bottle of wine

What we ordered:  We started with a couple of drinks (Cranberry and 7Up for me!) and the complimentary basket of bread.  This was a standard French loaf, served warm and crusty.

We knew we were going to be ordering more food than necessary, but I really wanted to try the Calamari.  This was delicious! It was fried crispy with a panko breading, while the calamari  itself was still quite tender.  It was sprinkled with parmesan and parsley and then served with spicy marinara and lemon aioli for dipping.

I opted not to get a starter salad and went straight for the Red-Eye Ribeye ($36), which comes served over a bed of  swiss chard and melted gorgonzola.  This steak was amazing!!! I ordered it medium rare, and it was cooked just perfectly.  When I say that this steak was tender, it could melt in your mouth.  The melted gorgonzola was a wonderful accompaniment and added even more flavor.  It was served with a warm cheddar ale biscuit and choice of potato. I will order this steak again every time I visit Woolley’s from now on.  I might even dream about it ;)

I got the loaded baked potato which came with the standard cheddar, pieces of bacon, and green onion with sour cream and butter on the side.  When all was said and done, I was too full to eat more than a bite of this!

I was happy when our server mentioned that one of the New Year’s Eve specials included an add-on 6oz Lobster Tail for just $11.95.  It was a holiday, so why not?  It was nicely seasoned and cooked just right.  Served with drawn butter and lemon.

My companion ordered the 16oz Prime Rib with fingerling potatoes as the choice of potato. This was a fairly thick cut of beef, tender and mildly juicy.  It was good but couldn’t compare to the ribeye.  It was served with a side of au jus with a couple of mushrooms.

My companion also ordered the Jumbo Sea Scallops ($10), which came as an order of three.  The scallops were seared to give it a caramelized crust while still being very tender within.

Being that it was New Year’s Eve, I decided to treat myself to the Dessert Sampler, which is basically three desserts of the price of three. The spotlight was the Bread Pudding, drizzled with a caramel whiskey sauce and topped with whipped cream.  It was surrounded by colorful berries, whipped cream and orchids for garnish.

One of the desserts was the Chocolate Lava Cake, served warm with blackberries on top.  I loved the combo of textures and flavors of the chocolate with the berries.  Very good!

Last but not least was the Creme Brulee which was smooth and creamy, with hints of vanilla.

Service: We had made reservations several days ahead of time to ensure we could get in on New Year’s Eve, and a table was waiting for us when we got there.  Our server was very friendly and had some excellent suggestions, but we found that the food took longer than expected between courses.  We were not in a particular hurry however our dinner with the appetizers, entrees and desserts took about two and a half hours.  The longest wait was for our main entrees, which took at least 45 minutes to arrive after ordering.  I attribute this to the fact that the restaurant was completely booked.

Overall Impression: We thought the food at Woolley’s was wonderful.  In fact, the ribeye is one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, rivaling the ribeye at Capital Grille for top contender on my Editor’s Picks for Best Ribeye.  The atmosphere at Woolley’s is wonderful if you like a somewhat tropical feel, so make sure you sit at one of the seating areas in the courtyard.  While we were treated wonderfully by our server, our only complaint was that the food service was slower than expected.
Woolley's on Urbanspoon

Jul 142012

Disclosure: I was invited out to The Capital Grille on this visit for the purpose of The Generous Pour wine event.  Our meals and wine were provided for us.

Cuisine: Fish & Seafood, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet, Valet Parking
Location: Downtown Minneapolis, MN
Address: 801 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-692-9000
Hours: M-F 11am-2:30pm  M-Th 5-10pm  Fri-Sat 5-11pm  Sun 5-9pm
Links: The Capital Grille’s Website * The Capital Grille on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: The Minneapolis location of The Capital Grille is located down town in the Hennepin Theater District, with the main entrance on Hennepin Ave and an additional entrance from inside La Salle Plaza.  The main dining room is big with several booths arranged around the room to maximize both space and privacy There are also a couple of smaller private dining rooms.

There is a bar area just inside the entrance from Hennepin.

Menu: Appetizers at The Capital Grille include Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, Cold Shellfish Platter, Lobster and Crab Cakes, Pan Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers, Smoked Salmon, Shrimp Cocktail, Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell, and Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella with Vine Ripe Tomatoes.

Soups offered are the Clam Chowder, Lobster Bisque, and French Onion.

Salads offered include Fresh Mozzarella with Tomato and Basil, Chopped Salad, The Wedge, Caesar, Spinach with Warm Bacon dressing, and Field Greens with Tomatoes.

Chef’s Selections include Seared Tenderloin with Butter Poached Lobster, Cedar Planked Salmon with Tomato Fennel Relish, Bone-In Kona Crusted Sirloin with Caramelized Shallot Butter, Porcini Rubbed Delmonico with 12-Year Aged Balsamic, Sliced Filet Mignon with Cippolini Onions and Wild Mushrooms.

Other Entrees at The Capital Grille include Filet Oscar, Dry Aged Sirloin, Dry Aged Porterhouse, Dry Aged Steak Au Poivre with a Courvoisier Cream Sauce, Filet Mignon, Delmonico Steak, Double Cut Lamb Rib Chops, and Roasted Chicken.

Seafood items include Broiled Fresh Lobster, Grilled Swordfish with Lemon Shallot Relish, Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon, Lobster and Crab Stuffed Shrimp, and Sushi-Grade Sesame Seared Tuna with Gingered Rice.

Side Items include Vidalia Onion Rings, Parmesan Truffle Fries, Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Au Gratin Potatoes, Fresh Asparagus with Hollandaise, Fresh Creamed Spinach, Roasted Seasonal Mushrooms, Sam’s Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach, and Fresh Green Beans with Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel.

Desserts include Trio of Handmade Ice Creams, Cheesecake with Fresh Seasonal Berries, Fresh Berries in Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberries Capital Grille, Coconut Cream Pie, Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, and Classic Creme Brulee.
What we ordered: We started with a basket of different breads and enjoyed the first of many glasses of wine as part of The Generous Pour, the Lunetta Rose, a sparkling rose wine from Italy.

We started with an order of Raw Oysters, served in the half shell and on ice.  They were served with cocktail sauce and lemon and horseradish at my request.  Fresh and delicious. These went so well with the Gary Farrell 2009 Chardonnay that is part of The Generous Pour.  I love oysters and I thought these were really good

We also tried an order of the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio.  The beef was sliced ever so thin, raw with just the very edges seared.  It was topped with arulgula and lemon vinaigrette with shaved parmigiano.  This was wonderful! The beef was so tender and delicious, it melted in my mouth.  This was excellent, I especially enjoyed it paired with Villa Mt. Eden, Grand Reserve 2007 ~ Pinot Noir, Russian River

For my entree I was debating between the Kona Crusted Sirloin and the Delmonico Ribeye. Our server made my decision very easy for me by suggesting I get the Delmonico with the Kona rub. Sold! This steak was so wonderful that it has moved its way to the very top of my Best Ribeye Steak list.  I would say this whether or not my meal was free.  The Delmonico was served bone-in and was perfectly seasoned.  The shallot butter really kicked up the flavor a notch as well.  I ordered it a medium minus and it was cooked perfectly for me.  The cut was of superior quality, the fat marbled to really give it a rich meaty flavor.  The quality of  steaks at The Capital Grille is consistently among the best out there.  We enjoyed our steaks with Conn Creek Cabernet and Ferrari-Carano.

My companion ordered the Porcini Rubbed Delmonico, which has become our new pick for best ribeye in the Twin Cities.  This bone-in steak was prepared medium rare, just as requested, with a beautiful char on some of the edges.  It was juicy and tender as can be, a superior cut  aged to give it a more robust, deep flavor.  This steak had just a hint of sweetness form the balsalmic vinegar that it is cooked with.  Wonderful flavor, a great departure from traditional steak seasonings or sauces.

We shared a half order of sauteed mushrooms to go with our steaks.  Delicious!

I absolutely had to order the Lobster Mac N Cheese. If you have never had this before, you absolutely MUST try this at The Capital Grille! It is rich and cheesy, made with a bland of marscapone, havarti and Grana Padano cream sauce. It had several big pieces of lobster throughout and was baked with white cheddar and panko bread crumbs on top.  The panko was a nice crunchy contrast to all the creaminess. SO GOOD!

We also got a half-order of Asparagus to share, grilled perfectly.

We also ordered one mini coconut cream pie to bring home.  This was absolutely delightful, I could eat it for dessert once a week if I truly wanted to indulge, it was one of the best coconut cream pies I have tried.  The base of this pie was similar to a sugar cookie and absolutely wonderful as each bite melted in my mouth. It was then topped with a layer of coconut pastry cream, whipped cream, and then shredded toasted coconut.  The portion was about the size of two pieces of standard pie so plan to share it ;)

Service: We had a reservation and The Capital Grille was expecting us as their guests for dinner and to experience The Generous Pour.  That being said, we had great service.  Our server was great about explaining each wine as he poured them for us.  Complimentary valet parking
Overall Impression:  Dinner at The Capital Grille is always a treat and it is even better when you can enjoy it with a glass of good wine… or several, as is the case with the famous summer wine event, The Generous Pour.  The Delmonico Ribeye steak and the Lobster Mac N Cheese are two of my favorite food items that I have eaten this year, if not ever.  That says a lot!

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

Jul 072012

Cuisine: American, Fish & Seafood, Steaks, Chops
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet Room, Hotel, On-Site Parking
Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 4940 Hwy 61 N White Bear Lake, MN • 651.653.6718
Hours:  Mon- Thurs 11am-1am *Fri-Sat 11-2am * Sun 9am- 12am  * Kitchen open until 12am
Links: Rudy’s Redeye Website * Rudy’s on FacebookGoogle Map
Atmosphere:  Located in the White Bear Country Inn & Suites just a few blocks from Downtown White Bear Lake, Rudy’s Red Eye Grill is a beautiful, elegant yet casual restaurant.  The walls are painted a rich red, with a handful of abstract paintings adorning the walls  and flower arrangements placed strategically.  The seating is a mix of tables and deep, dark booths along the outer walls.  The Bar Area is also a very popular spot, with several bistro tables as well as seating along the long, beautiful wooden bar.

Menu: Appetizers include Spinach Artichoke Dip, Jumbo Tabasco Onion Rings with Seasoned Sour Cream, Buffalo Wings with or without the Bone, Oysters Rockefeller, Oysters on the Half Shell, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, New Orleans Shrimp, Brueschetta, Calamari, Chicken Kabobs, Walleye Cakes, Bull Bites, Walleye Fingers, Coconut Shrimp, and Tuna Taki.

Soups and Salads offered at Rudy’s include French Onion Gratin, Homemade Chicken Noodle, Soup Du Jour, Chili, House Salad, Iceberg Wedge with Bacon and Blue Cheese, Garbage Salad, Caesar Salad, BLT Cheddar, Oriental Chicken, Bleu Bistro, Rudy’s Chopped Salad, Seared Black & Bleu Tuna, Salmon Goat Cheese with Raspberry Vinaigrette, Calamari Caesar, and Redeye Sirloin with Creamy Horseradish Dressing.

Sandwiches come with french fries, fruit, coleslaw, pasta salad, or cottage cheese. Rudy Burger or Chicken Sandwich with BBQ Sauce, Cheddar, and Hickory Smoked Bacon, Grilled Portabella, Bacon Bleu Burger, Chicken Caesar Wrap, and Beer Battered Walleye Sandwich.

Pasta dishes include Fettuccini Alfredo (chicken or shrimp), Spaghetti and Meatballs, Seafood Scampi with Shrimp and Scallops, Sun-Dried Tortellini Pesto with Shrimp, Cajun Chicken Fettuccini, Lobster Ravioli, Seafood Fra Diablo, Baked Five Cheese Penne

Rudy’s Entrees are served with choice of potato.  Options include Angus Medallions, Prime Rib (limited availability), Ribeye: 20 oz. Served Bone-In, Redeye Marinated Sirloin, New York Strip: 16 oz. Served Bone-in, Cajun Combo: Two-4 oz. Blackened Medallions and 3 New Orleans Style Sauteed Shrimp, 8oz Filet Mignon, Blackened Pork Tenderloin topped with Bernaise, BBQ Pork Baby Back Ribs, Drunk n’ Dirty Pork Chop, Tomato Basil Grouper on Mashed Potatoes, Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast with Marinara, Rudy’s Pan Fried Walleye, Coconut Shrimp, Fish n’ Chips, Pistachio Encrusted Alaskan Halibut, Bruschetta Salmon, Seared Scallops, Blue Ribbon Meatloaf, Blackened Ahi Tuna, Steak & Lobster, and Cold Water Lobster Tails.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-12 Salads $5-13 Sandwiches $9-12 Entrees $15-34
Happy Hour:

  • Everyday from 3 to 6 PM and 9 to 11 PM
  • $4.25 Appetizers
  • $2 off Tap Beer
  • $4 House Wine

Weekly Specials:

  • Sunday Breakfast Menu 10am-1pm
  • Pancakes, Breakfast Quesadilla, Pecan Encrusted French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Seafood Benedict, Breakfast Burrito, Steak & Eggs, Ham and Cheese Croissant, and Rudy’s Skillet (Diced ham, red pepper, green pepper, onion, potatoes, cheddar cheese, and scrambled eggs).  Omelets include Ham & Cheese Omelet, Veggie Omelet and Rudy’s Omelet.
  • Monday ~ 1/2 priced Bottles of Wine
  • Tuesday ~ $5 Ruditinis all day
  • Wednesday ~ $16 Walleye Entree

What we ordered: Several of my companions and I  started with Rudy’s famous house drink, The Ruditini. This cocktail comes in a  shaker filled with Stoli Razberi, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, and a splash of cranberry juice. Comes with a shot of champagne to pour on top.

We were brought a big basket of Warm french rolls, served with a side of honey butter.  Delicious!

A couple of my companions started with an order of the Artichoke Spinach Dip ($9).  Served with toast and tortilla chips.  I did not try this but I have had it before and it is very good.

Another companion ordered the Bruschetta ($9).  The order came with six pieces of toast topped with fresh tomato, basil, olive oil, and melted parmigiano.  The order was drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

For my entree I ordered the Beer-Battered Walleye Sandwich ($12).  This sandwich came with a long, thick walleye fillet, heavily battered and deep fried with a side of steak fries.  Although the breading seemed a little on the thick side, the fish was quality walleye.

One of my companions ordered the Cajun Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo ($18), a bowl full of fettuccine alfredo topped with slices of cajun-spiced chicken breast.  This looked delicious, and as much as I think I might have liked it, it was very peppery and nearly too spicy for my companion to eat.

One companion ordered the Caesar Salad ($9), served with several whole leaves of romaine topped with homemade Caesar dressing, toasted croutons and freshly grated parmigiano.

One of my companions ordered the Mozzarella Chicken ($18), a large chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella cheese, then topped with marinara and more mozzarella cheese.  It was served with angelhair pasta with red sauce, and green beans.

Another companion ordered the Oriental Chicken Salad ($10).  This photo you see is actually the second salad served, as the first was below standard.  The salad which was remade looked far more appetizing and was topped with several slices of grilled chicken, served cold.  It was topped with a handful of wonton strips and served with a side of the Oriental dressing.

Another companion ordered the Pistachio Encrusted Halibut ($17).  This dish was served with green beans and choice of potato (mashed). Looked great!

Service: On this particular visit, our party of eight had reservations for 6pm on a busy Saturday evening.  The table was waiting for us when we got there and we were quickly seated.  We took our time, first ordering appetizers and cocktails, then later our entrees.  It was a very busy night and there were several other large parties at Rudy’s that night and it took an exceptionally long time (about an hour) for our entrees to be brought out to our table.  Despite the long wait, our server was apologetic and otherwise very accommodating.
Overall Impression: I have been to Rudy’s many times since they first opened in 2003 and they consistently deliver excellent food.  The food can often take longer than you would think necessary, so plan accordingly.
Rudy's Redeye Grill on Urbanspoon

Mar 182012

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and our meals were provided by Mystic Lake. All opinions are my own.

Cuisine: Fish & Seafood, Steaks, Ribs, Chops,  Desserts
Restaurant Features: Casino, Hotel, Lobster Tank
Location: Prior Lake, MN
Address: 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, MN, 55372 1-800-264-2821
Hours: Sun, Wed & Thurs 5-10pm * Fri-Sat 5-11pm
Links: Mystic Steakhouse Website * Google Map

Atmosphere: The space that is now home to Mystic Steakhouse was remodeled in 2010 when it became the (then ) home to Il Premio Italian Steakhouse.  Fast forward to December 2011 when the space transitioned to become Mystic Steakhouse with an all-new menu featuring steaks, chops and seafood.  Gone are the fancy white table clothes to reveal a much more casual, comfortable space with a contemporary feel.

There is a live Lobster Tank near the kitchen that you can see when you enter the dining room.

Menu: Appetizers at the Mystic Steakhouse include Seared Tuna, Broiled Jumbo Shrimp, Battered Walleye Strips, Fried Calamari, Maryland Crab Cakes, Hearth-Baked Pizza, and Bull Bites.

Salads offered are dinner-size and include House or Caesar or you can order a full Cobb Salad.  Soups offered include Wild Rice or French Onion.

House Favorites offered at Mystic Steakhouse include Homemade Lasagna, Spaghetti with Meatballs,  Chicken Parmigiana and Steak House Burger.

Mystic’s Seafood Selections include Fried Jumbo Shrimp, Broiled Shrimp, King Crab Legs, Shore Lunch Battered Walleye, Broiled Walleye, Grilled Norwegian Salmon, and Jumbo Sea Scallops.

Steakhouse Entrees include 6 or 8oz Filet Mignon, 10oz Ribeye, 10oz New York Strip, 16 Oz T-Bone, Brick Oven Chicken, Roasted Lamb Chops, Hickory Smoked Barbeque Ribs, Bone-In Pork Chop.  You can also order the Filet, Ribeye or New York Strip as a combo with any of the following added: Walleye Fillet, King Crab Legs Fried Shrimp, Broiled Shrimp, 5 oz Lobster Tail or Scallops.

Accompaniments include Caramelized Onions, Sauteed Mushrooms, Demi Glace Sauce, Bearnaise Sauce, or Melted Bleu Cheese.

Desserts offered at Mystic Steakhouse include Almond Cheesecake, Apple Streusel Pie, Creme Brulee, Tiramisu, Chocolate Cake,
Price guide: Appetizers $10-13  Fish/Seafood $19-35  Steakhouse Entrees $15-24
What we ordered: My companion and I started with a couple of non-alcoholic beverages, since the Mystic Steakhouse adheres to the alcohol-free policy of the Mystic Lake Casino and Mdewakanton Sioux Community.   I tried the Pina Colada which was sweet and every bit as tasty as its counterpart with rum.

My companion ordered the Ginger Beer by Cock N Bull. The undertones of this drink were similar to a Ginger Ale, but the ginger was much more pronounced and quite spicy.  Excellent choice if you enjoy ginger!

We started with the basket of bread, which included two varieties that were both delicious. The Italian loaf was soft inside and crusty on the outside but the real star in this bread basket was the Pumpernickel with raisins. So good, especially with the salted sweet cream butter.

We then ordered a couple of appetizers.  The Walleye Strips were one of our first choices for appetizer and I am so glad we got these! There were four pieces of fish in the order, each of which was battered with Shore Lunch then fried to a crispy golden brown.  The texture of the breading paired with the light, flaky walleye was a winning combo.  It was served with Mystic sauce,  a spicy aioli, and lemon wedges.  These were great and rank up there, I highly recommend.

We also tried the Maryland Crab Cakes.  These were delicious; a mixture of succulent crab pieces mixed with mayo, mustard, worcestershire, herbs and breadcrumbs and then fried to a crispy golden.  Each of the three crab cakes were served atop a very thin slice of lemon, plated with little dollops of a spicy Cajun Remoulade (mayo, lemon, cayenne, mustard, ketchup, worcestershire, garlic, celery salt).

Our entrees came with side salad, my companion and I both chose the Caesar.  The lettuce was cold and crisp and the Caesar dressing was fresh and homemade, the croutons crunchy and flavorful.

For my entree I ordered the ribeye, which I was sold on after looking at the menu for about two minutes.  I was delighted with my ribeye in every way, yet I wish I had paid closer attention to the fact that there was a tank full of Live Maine Lobsters that I somehow overlooked on the way to be seated at our table.  I love lobster and any of of those big beauties would have made me a fine meal, but I was just as satisfied with the tender, juicy, flavorful ribeye steak that I chose.  The steak itself was only 10 oz so I paired it with the Broiled Shrimp, which came recommended (along with the fried shrimp) by the server.  Each of the three shrimp were butterflied with the shell still on, then lightly seasoned and broiled.  The meal came with sauteed carrots and choice of potato. I chose the sea-salt crusted baked potato which is how I think I shall make baked potatoes at home from here on out.  The salt made the skin really soft and no further seasoning was necessary even after I added butter and sour cream.

My companion ordered the Bleu Cheese Crusted Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail combination dinner.  The filet was a ten oz cut of very tender beef, and my companion opted to add the warm bleu cheese which was not a sauce but rather bleu cheese that had been baked into a fluffy golden pillow. Awesome! The steak was paired with a 5 oz Lobster Tail and a sea salt-crusted baked potato.

We companion and I ordered a variety of accompaniments for our steaks, including Demi Glace, Bearnaise, Caramelized Onions and Sauteed Button Mushrooms.  Everything was wonderful, just depends on what flavors and textures you like ot enhance your steak with.

I saved a tiny bit of room for dessert, starting with the Apple Streusel Pie.  Filled with a heaping pile of tart, firm apples mixed with cinnamon and sugar.  The crumbly streusel topping was good but let the apples take center stage.

We both love Creme Brulee and the version at Mystic Lake is one of the biggest serving sizes I’ve seen to date.  An entire bowl is filled with the creamy custard and then a layer of sugar is crystallized on top, then topped with whipped cream, tea cakes and a slice of strawberry.

Service: The folks at Mystic Steakhouse knew we were coming, as they had invited us down to try to the new menu and set up a reservation in my name.  We were greeted by the smiling hostess and shown through the partially seated dining room to one of the nice semi-circle booths along the wall.  Our server greeted us just a few minutes later and talked up the non-alcoholic drinks selection.  Our server also had some good suggestions for appetizers and although I wish he had made it a point to talk up the live lobsters, it is my own fault that I overlooked them after not reviewing the menu more carefully.    The food was prepared in the appropriate amount of with the courses being staggered.  Drinks were filled and plates cleared often.  The manager was friendly as usual, and stopped by to check on us a couple of times.
Overall Impression: Mystic Steakhouse has a nice selection of steaks and seafood at very reasonable prices and is a great sanctuary away from all the stimulation of the casino.  Mystic Steakhouse is a great destination restaurant, so whether you plan to spend time at the casino or not, consider a trip down to Mystic Lake soon.
Mystic Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Jan 222012

Here are my current picks for Best Ribeye based on the restaurants I have personally visited and reviewed.  I admit this list is limited but it will grow and change as necessary.   If you know of other tender, succulent ribeyes that I need to try, please leave me a recommendation in the comments of this post.  I plan to add Manny’s, Woolley’s (visited 12/31/12), Seven, St Paul Grill, Pittsburgh Blue, Capital Grille (visited  7/10/12), Kincaids and many others as soon as I have a chance.  Not all steakhouses offer ribeye steak but since it is my favorite cut, I will certainly find the ones who do!

#1 The Capital Grille ~ The Porcini Rubbed Delmonico is currently our top pick for the best ribeye in the Twin Cities.  This bone-in steak was prepared medium rare, just as requested, with a beautiful char on some of the edges.  It was juicy and tender as can be, a superior cut  aged to give it a more robust, deep flavor.

Woolley’s Steakhouse ~ The Red-Eye Ribeye ($36), which comes served over a bed of swiss chard and melted gorgonzola. This steak was amazing!!! I ordered it medium rare, and it was cooked just perfectly. When I say that this steak was tender, it could melt in your mouth. The melted gorgonzola was a wonderful accompaniment and added even more flavor. It was served with a warm cheddar ale biscuit and choice of potato. I will order this steak again every time I visit Woolley’s from now on. I might even dream about it ;)

Murray’s Restaurant ~ One bite had me declaring this the best steak of my life! The ribeye was huge; 20oz without the bone.  I ordered it medium and it was cooked just the way I like it.  I could tell that the quality of this steak was excellent, it was extremely tender and seemed to be completely gristle free.  The fat was barely noticeable except for the delicious flavor it added.  The aged beef had a robust flavor and was really well seasoned while also being served atop a small amount of au jus.  Magnificent!! Worth every penny of the $42 price tag.  It was served with choice of potato or salad.  I had baked potato which was also very good.  I have been to Murray’s a few times now and the steaks are consistently wonderful.

Porterhouse Steaks & Seafood ~ They had two size options: 18 or 24oz.   This 24oz steak was boneless and absolutely huge, a great value in comparison to other fine steak houses.  Every bite was extremely  juicy and tender.  I was happy I ordered it medium minus, it was much more red than I usually eat it, but I found that I really enjoyed it like that.  The bleu cheese that was melted on top was flavorful but not too overpowering. So good!  Another of my companions ordered this same steak and also enjoyed the extremely tender cut.

Lakeside Club  ~ They offer two sizes of Ribeye at Lakeside: 12oz & 16oz.  I usually order the 12oz Ribeye, medium temperature.  My steak was phenomenal; it was cooked perfectly and was incredibly tender and juicy.  It was only lightly seasoned with salt but the flavor of the aged meat was wonderful.  It is served with a side salad and choice of potato.  I chose the Shoestring fries

Gordy’s Steak House ~ My companion and I both ordered the 18 oz Delmonico Ribeye Steaks. My steak was a very tender cut, grilled to a perfect medium. The steaks at Gordy’s are said to be aged for 28 days; I could taste just a hint of the aged flavor. The steaks were seasoned very mildly (if at all?!), emphasis was purely on the beef. I dressed mine up with raw horseradish and my companion ordered a side of bearnnaise. Unfortunately my companion’s cut of ribeye was not nearly as tender as mine, unsure of consistency since I have only visited there one time.

Watch this list change and grow as we try more ribeye ;)

Jan 162012

Cuisine: American, Steak, Fish
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet Room, On-Site Parking,
Location: Mahtomedi, MN
Address: 10 Old Wildwood Road Mahtomedi, MN 55115 651.777.4097
Hours:  Tuesday-Saturday 4pm-10pm
Links: Google Map

Atmosphere: The atmosphere at the Lakeside Club is one that is very laid-back.  The restaurant has been family-owned and operated since 1946 and the emphasis is definitely on the food.  There isn’t anything fancy about the small, wood-paneled dining room, and eating at the Lakeside does not require anything but casual attire.  A small bar is a popular spot to have a beer and watch whatever game is playing on the TV behind the bar.

Menu: Appetizers at Lakeside Club include Chicken Wings, Cheese Curds,

Sandwiches include Steak Sandwich, Hamburger or Cheeseburger.

Steaks served at Lakeside Club include 12 or 16oz Prime Rib, 12 or 16oz Ribeye, New York Strip, Filet Mignon, and Sirloin. Other entrees include Porkchop, Grilled Chicken Breast, Shrimp or Walleye.  All meals come with side salad and choice of potato or vegetable.

Price guide: Appetizers $7  Steaks $19-30
What we ordered: My companions and I started with the Chicken Wings.  This order of wings came with eight wings that had a crispy, seasoned breading on them.  They were great!

We also tried the Cheese Curds, a large serving of lightly breaded nuggets of hot cheddar cheese.  These were really good; they had a crispy texture and weren’t too greasy.

After we ate our appetizers, our server brought out our dinner salads and a plate of warm rolls, which come with the entrees.  The salads were served in a small bowl with ice berg lettuce, tomato and goldfish crackers.  You can always expect bread of some kind at Lakeside, although it changes frequently.  On this visit we were served brown dinner rolls that were hot and fresh.

I have eaten at the Lakeside countless times over the past decade and I always order the same thing; the 12oz Ribeye, with a medium temperature.  My steak was phenomenal; it was cooked perfectly and was incredibly tender and juicy.  It was only lightly seasoned with salt but the flavor of the aged meat was wonderful.  I had the choice of potato and I ordered fries, which are the salty shoestring variety, similar to McDonald’s. Yum!  Another of our companions also ordered the Ribeye and it was just as wonderful as mine.

Another companion ordered the 16 oz Prime Rib, which was a giant cut prepared medium rare.  This cut was comparatively lean for the size, which was thickly cut.  It was served with prepared horseradish and au jus with choice of fries.

One of my companions ordered the New York Strip, a lean and juicy cut that was just as tender as the ribeye.  Also served with choice of potato and side salad.

Service: I have been going to the Lakeside for over a decade and have become somewhat of a regular over the years.    Our server always remembers what we like to order, which I think is a nice touch.  Sodas are refilled quickly by any available server and the team effort seems to be carried through to the running of dishes and requests, etc.
Overall Impression: The Lakeside Club is a long-time favorite casual place to go for a delicious steak.
Lakeside Club on Urbanspoon

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

Nov 122011

Cuisine: American, Pizza, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Screen TVs, On-Site Parking,
Location: Falcon Heights, MN
Address: 1611 West Larpenteur Ave  Falcon Heights, MN 55113  651.789.8888
Hours: Daily 11am
Links: Stout’s Pub Website * Stout’s Pub on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located in the former home of Chianti Grill (Ciatti’s before that) on Larpenteur just off Snelling Ave,  Stout’s Pub opened just a couple of weeks ago and is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The newly remodeled interior is laid-back and somewhat rustic, with wooden floors, walls, tables and booths.  There are several flat-screen TV’s mounted all over the restaurant and bar area.

The bar area is the first thing you see when you walk in the front doors; a large island with seating around all four sides as well as additional seating in booths.

Menu: Appetizers include Ahi Tuna, Blackened Tenderloin Tips, Cajun Walleye Strips, Little Charlie’s (filet mignon sliders), Pig Wings, Onion Rings, Roasted Veggies, Buffalo Wings, Spicy Popcorn Shrimp, and Spinach Artichoke Dip.

Small Plates include Roasted Pork Taco, Hard Boiled Eggs, Smoked Jerky, Peel & Eat Shrimp, Pickled Herring, and Guacamole with Chips.

Soups include Chili and Soup du Jour.  Salads include Build-Your-Own Lettuce Wraps, Cobb and Pacific Rim Salad.

Sandwiches at Stout’s Pub come with fries and include Chili Cheese Dogs, Reuben, Stout’s Dip, Spicy Cajun Chicken, Walleye, Grilled Cheese, Hot Turkey, and Pulled Pork Sandwich.

Burger options also come with fries and include Cheeseburger, BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, Cajun Cheeseburger, Proud Stout Burger, Portabella Cheeseburger, and Patty Melt.

Stout’s Pub also offers 10″ Wood-Fired Pizzas including the Sausage & Mushroom, Margherita, Diavola (spicy giardiniera, pepperoni), Chicken Alfredo, Shrimp Alfredo, Mediterranean, BBQ Chicken, Thai Chicken, Paul’s Jambalaya, and Meat Lovers Trifecta.

Entrees include Fish & Chips, Filet Mignon, Wood-Fired Atlantic Salmon, and Pig Wings Dinner (tender pork shank).

Desserts include Chocolate lava Cake, Cinnamon Apple Wood Fired Tart, and Ice Cream Sundae.
Price guide: Appetizers $7-11  Small Plates $2-5  Sandwiches $8-13
What we ordered: We started with the Meat Lovers Trifecta Pizza, which came with chicken, pepperoni and sausage on a 10″ hand-tossed dough.  The pizza was baked in the wood-fired oven so it was crispy while still being chewy.  I had the option of either red sauce of cajun alfredo as the base of the pizza; I wanted to try both so I asked if they could do half-and-half for me.  The white sauce was good but I thought the red sauce had more flavor.  The meats were good; the pepperoni was evenly distributed and the pizza also had a decent amount of sausage and chicken, most of which was piled in the middle.Trifecta Pizza at Stout's Pub ~ Falcon Heights, MN

For my meal I ordered the Chili Cheese Dogs.  The two all-beef hot dogs were covered with Stout’s Pub homemade chili, shredded cheddar, sour cream and green onions.

My companion ordered the Portabella Cheeseburger.  When ordered, the server asked if we wanted it pink or no pink.  It was ordered pink and was indeed quite pink when it was served so it was very juicy.   It was topped with sauteed portabella mushrooms and topped with rich and creamy Swiss cheese.  It came with a large pile of french fries.

Service: Our visit was on a Saturday afternoon after the lunch rush so we had no problem finding parking or a table.  Our server was very friendly and informative of the menu and had a variety of suggestions from the menu.  Drinks were refilled as needed.
Overall Impression: We had a nice time at Stout’s Pub; the service was friendly and the food was pretty good.  They had only been open less than two weeks at the time of our visit and things seemed to be running smoothly.