Nov 062011

Cuisine: American, Steaks, Fine-Dining
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking
Location: Willernie, MN
Address: 310 Stillwater Road, Willernie, MN 55090
Hours: Daily 11am- 12am  Friday-Saturday until 1am
Links: The Hanger Room Website * The Hanger Room on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located in the space that was formerly Wildwood Bowling alley and Wildwood Pizza, The Hanger Room looks nothing like the former occupant.  After major renovations, the space metamorphosized into a fine steak house with rich wood features, and white-clothed tables.

The dining room is split into a couple of long corridors with tables along the wooden walls.

The bar is the busiest area in the restaurant, with a handful of booths as well as several bistro tables.  Colorful neon signs sporting the names of many premium beers that can be found on tap at The Hanger Room’s bar adorn the walls.

The 70+ beers on tap at The Hanger Room are rather impressive….

Menu: Small Plates offered at The Hanger Room include Artisan Cheeses, Steak Frites, Tuna Poke, Seared Sea Scallops, P.E.I Mussels, Shrimp and Green Beans, Duck Confit, House Smoked Salmon, Home Made Gnocchi, Filet Mignon Carpaccio, Bing Cherry Glazed Pork Belly, Braised Beef Springrolls, Spicy Beef Tips, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and Crab Cakes.

Salads include Frisee au Lardone (with fried egg), Grilled Caesar Salad, Spinach and Blue Cheese, Mixed Green Salad, and Beet Salad.

Entrees include Duck Breast (with roasted truffle cauliflower), Chicken Breast (with jalapeno corn and black bean hash), Pan Seared Elk Loin, Walleye, Scallops, Bourbon Glazed Salmon, Risotto (with mushroom,spinach, caramelized fennel and goat cheese), Shrimp Strozzapretti, Chicken Orrechiette and Porcini Rubbed Filet..

The Steaks at The Hanger Room are dry-aged for 21-28 days. 21 Day Aged Steaks include the 8oz Sirloin, 10oz New York and 12oz Ribeye.  28 Day Aged Steaks include the 20oz Kansas City Strip, 20oz T-Bone, 22oz Porterhouse, and 30oz Ribeye/  There is alsoa  14 Day Aged Pork Chop.  All steaks come with one set.  Set #1: mashed Potatoes, Garlic Spinach and Roquefort Sauce Set #2: Au Gratin Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts and Bearnnaise  Set #3:Mushroom Risotto, Haricot Verts, and Bordelaise Sauce.

Desserts change frequently but may include Toasted Coconut Creme Brulee, Mocha Parfait, Craisin Walnut Bread Pudding, and Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake.

Items offered in the bar include Onion Rings, Chicken Wings, BBQ Ribs, Chicken Saltimbocca, Angus Cheeseburger, MN Game Burger, Tenderloin Steak Sandwich, Vegetarian Panini, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Margherita Pizza and White Pizza.

Price guide: Small Plates $7-21  Entrees $16-36  Steaks $28-75

What we ordered: We started with some of the complimentary homemade bread.  This was wonderful; it was thick and dense, with tiny pieces of garlic baked within so it was very flavorful.

My companion and I ordered the Duck Confit small plate, which was recommended by our server.  As the technique requires, the leg of duck was cured with salt and other seasoning and then rendered in its own fat until extremely tender.  The duck was rich and delicious, served on a  bed of crispy spaetzel and then covered with tart balsamic cherries, feta and chives.  I thought the combination of the cherries and the feta worked really well together and complimented the richness of the duck perfectly.

For my dinner I ordered the MN Game Burger, which was a blend of ground bison, elk and bacon.  The elk and bison meats are very tasty but so lean that the bacon is needed to give it additional juiciness. The burger sat on a very fresh bun and was topped with bleu cheese and caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, red onion and a lingonberry aioli.  It was served with fresh cut fries and homemade ketchup.

My companion ordered the 28 Day Aged  22oz Porterhouse Steak which came with a choice of set; the set chosen was au gratin potatoes and brussel sprouts with bearnaise sauce.  The steak was quite large and was cooked rare while still having a slight charred crust.  It was very lightly salted so the aged flavor of the steak was more noticeable.  My companion thought this steak was wonderful but the few bites I tried weren’t all that tender.  At $65 for this steak, I thought it would be the best steak I’ve ever eaten and it fell short.

Service: We had excellent service at The Hanger Room.  Our server was very knowledgeable of the menu and had several great recommendations for us.  The food was prepared in a reasonable amount of time and every detail was attended to with forethought.
Overall Impression: Everything on the menu looked great and was made from scratch. Meats and produce are locally sourced when possible.  The service was very good but prices were on the high end. The bar is a great place to come and have a beer, especially since there are 70 on tap.

This is an original review of The Hanger Room on Twin Cities Restaurant Blog
The Hanger Room on Urbanspoon
The Hanger Room Reviews in Willernie

Nov 052011

Cuisine: Gyros, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Cafeteria Style, On-Site Parking
Locations: St Paul, MN
Addresses & Maps:
Hillcrest Shopping Center– 1676 White Bear Ave North St Paul, MN 55106 (651) 776-5419
University– 860 University Ave W St Paul, MN 55104  (651) 228-0310
North End– 1700 Rice St # G St Paul, MN 55113 (651) 489-2900
East Side– 949 Payne Ave St Paul, MN 55106 (651) 771-6740
Hours: Mon – Sat 11am-9pm Sundays 11 am- 7 pm
Links: Best Steak House Website * Best Steak House on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Hillcrest location of Best Steak House is at the corner of White Bear Ave and Larpenteur.  You walk in and are immediately directed toward the counter where you order, then head through the cafeteria-style line which includes the salad bar, toward the cash register at the end of the line.

The dining room is long and narrow, with several booths running along the wall, as well as a large room in the back with tables.

Menu: The menu varies slightly at each Best Steak House location but most include T-Bone, Fillet, New York Strip, Ribeye and Shrimp.  Gyro Sandwich and Steak Burger.

Additionally, the Best Steak House on University offers Cod Filet, Catfish, Cheeseburger, and Chicken Tenders.
Price guide: Steaks $9-17

What we ordered: Nearly every plate you order at Best Steak House comes with a trip through the salad bar.  My salad consisted of some of the basic but fresh items offered.

I ordered the Gyro with Fresh Cut Fries.  I cannot believe how much food I got for under $10! There was a giant pile of thickly sliced gyro meat, many of which were crispy on one side and still moist and tender.  It also had thinly sliced white onions and a couple of slices of tomato.  It came with a small side of sour cream with chives rather than traditional tzaziki sauce.  It was still great, overall and so big that  I had enough left over for a second meal the next day.

My companion ordered the Sirloin for $10, which came with a baked potato and Texas Toast.  The steak was ordered medium rare but was served closer to medium, but was still tender and juicy.  It may have had a tiny sprinkling of salt, but other than that it wasn’t seasoned.

Service: We were able to order right away and move through the line to get our salads and then paid at the end of the line.  We sat ourselves, which is how you do it at Best Steak House, and our food was delivered about five minutes later.
Overall Impression: Fast service and decent food at very reasonable prices.  Excellent gyro!

This is an original review of Best Steak House on Twin Cities Restaurant Blog
Best Steak House - White Bear Avenue on Urbanspoon

Jul 262011

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 fo 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: (Disclosure: My visit was part of a pre-arranged five course dinner held to kick-off this summer’s The Generous Pour Wine Event. I will only be writing about the items I tried that are permanent features on The Capital Grille’s dinner menu.)

I started with samples of two appetizersPictured below on the left is the Pan Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers.  I really love calamari when it is cooked right and this calamari was cooked perfectly so that it was tender without a hint of chewiness.  It was lightly breaded and slightly crispy.  I have been loving the combo of fried calamari with peppers lately and The Capital Grille’s version really hit the spot.  The other appetizer that was paired with the calamari was the Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella with Vine Ripe Tomatoes.  One look at this treat had my mouth watering and it smelled amazing.  The prosciutto was thickly sliced, slightly smokey and perfectly crispySimilar to bacon but even better!  The melted mozzarella was creamy, a perfect contrast to the crisp prosciutto. Could I eat nothing but this every day for the rest of my life and call it a low-carb diet? Sounds like a great idea to me!

Just before the main course we were brought a basket of different breads.  They all looked great but I didn’t want to ruin my appetite.

For the entree, I chose the Kona-Crusted Sirloin with shallot butter. This steak had exceptional flavor, having been dry aged and cut on-site, extremely tender with just a trace of marbling throughout the meat.  It was broiled at a high heat to give it the prefect amount of char while still between a medium and medium rare temperature, as I requested.  The shallot butter melted on top just emphasized its natural juices and flavors.  Everything about it was excellent.

My companion has the Cedar Planked Salmon with Tomato Fennel Relish.  This looked amazing! The salmon filet was thick and cooked al dente toward the center, as it should be.  It was seasoned with fennel seed and then covered with a relish made from shallots and tomatoes.  I tried just a bite of this and thought it was great.

We were served two different side dishes with our entrees, including the Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese.  This delicious, rich and creamy dish was made with Marscapone, Havarti and Grana Padano cream sauce.  I can’t recall having a macaroni and cheese with this exact combo of cheeses, but the flavors were pleasant while being somewhat strong. There were a handful of large pieces of lobster claw meat in the dish, which was then covered with white cheddar and Panko bread crumbs.

Another side dish we were served with our entrees was the Sauteed Spinach.

For the dessert course I chose the Strawberries Capital Grille.  This dish consists of handmade vanilla ice cream that is topped with fresh strawberries and a special sauce made with Ruby Port and Grand Marnier.  My first impression of this rich and creamy dessert was that it tasted like marshmallow but the strawberries brought a nice mix of both sweet and tart.

Service: I had great service at The Capital Grille, which can only be expected since I was their guest for this special dinner.
Overall Impression: The Capital Grille may be a chain restaurant, but it is one of the finest chain restaurants in the Minneapolis area.  You can always count on a delicious, high-quality meal at The Capital Grille.  One of the best deals around is their Generous Pour Wine Event currently running through Sept. 4, 2011, where patrons can get unlimited glasses of wine with dinner for only $25/person.

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon
Capital Grille Reviews in Minneapolis

Jun 282011

Would you believe that I often eat at the same restaurant more than once?

It’s true.

I even have a handful of favorites that I eat at regularly.  One of those is Norman Quack’s Chophouse in Forest Lake.  Not only is Quack’s just a ten minute (or so) drive from my house, but they also have a great Happy Hour and awesome weekly specials.  The best deal in town might just be on Sundays for the 12oz Prime Rib with Hand-Battered Onion Rings for $11.99.

The last time we were there we ordered a double cut (24oz+) that was a real “Humunga Cowabunga”.  Just look at this piece of meat!

I still can’t believe the size of this thing. Ginormous Maximus. Oh so good!

Salut Bar Americain ~ Edina & St Paul, MN

 American, Bar, Edina, Fish & Seafood, Patio Dining, St Paul, Steak, Chops, Ribs, etc  Comments Off on Salut Bar Americain ~ Edina & St Paul, MN
Jun 262011

Cuisine: American, Fish & Seafood, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, Patio, Sunday Brunch Menu
Locations: Edina & St Paul, MN
Addresses & Maps:

Edina– 5034 France Ave South Edina, MN 55410 (952) 929-3764

St Paul– 917 Grand Ave St Paul, MN 55105 (651) 917-2345
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm Fri-Sat 11am-12am Sun 10am-10pm
Links: Salut Website * Salut on Facebook

Atmosphere: Salut Bar Americain St Paul is located in the heart of Grand Ave, between Lexington and Victoria St.  The inside of the restaurant is a big open space, with booths along the back wall and tables placed throughout the rest of the dining room so that each table had plenty of space. The lighting in the dining room is very soft and the walls are painted warm colors, giving it a cozy feel.   The black and white checked tablecloths and the tables themselves are reminiscent of many cafes in France, helping to set the mood as a swanky French-inspired American restaurant. One thing that stood out that night was that it was uncomfortably warm inside the restaurant. I am not sure if there was a problem with their cooling system on this particular night or if it is always like that in the summer, but we honestly left as soon as our meal was done because we were all feeling too warm.

There is also a Bar, which is illuminated in a similar fashion as Chino Latino and Il Gatto, two of Parasole’s other restaurants that I have been to.

You can’t miss the patio, as you have to walk through it to get inside the restaurant

Menu: Salut’s Hor’sD’oeuvres include French Onion Soup, Soud du Jour, Ricotta Hushpuppies, Tenderloin Carpaccio, Five Spice Seared Tuna, Baked Brie, Pommes Frites, Crispy Calamari, Escargot Bourguignon, Truffled Deviled Eggs, Artichoke Pizza, Pizza Espagnole, Moules Cafe De Paris, Blue Crab Cake, and Charcutiere Et Fromage.

Raw Bar items include  Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Le Grande France Platter (oysters, crab, shrimp, lobster, mussels and tuna tartare), Oysters Moscow, and Fresh Oysters.

Salad offerings are the A La Greque, Baby Beet, Salade de Canard, Salut Bleu, Caesar, Grilled Ahi Tuna Nicoise, Chicken Cobb and Seafood Louie.

Items offered only on the lunch menu include Chicken and Artichoke Crepes, Crepes Madame, Seafood Crepes, Eggs Benedict, French Country Omelette, and Smoked Salmon Omelette.

Sandwiches are served with either hand-cut fries or side salad.  Choices include Le Pesto Burger, Cheeseburger Royale,  French Onion Soup Burger, Burger Bar Americain, Steak Sandwich, Grilled Tuna Steak Sandwich, Knife and Fork Chicken Club, and Croque Madame.

Steak options at Salut include Steak Classique, Steak Au Poivre, Hanger Steak, and Petite Filet.

Fish dishes are made with fish flown-in daily.  Options include Scottish Salmon, Pacific Ahi Tuna, Jumbo Shrimp, Grilled Rum Shrimp and Crispy Walnut Salmon.

Other Entrees include Pepita Poulet, Herb Roasted Half Chicken, Duck a l’orange, Braised Lamb Shank, and Cassoulet (traditional French stew).

Pasta dishes that are offered at Salut include Bolognaise, Smoked Chicken Fettuccine, Butternut Squash Tortellaci, Carbonara Milanese, and Champagne Shrimp Fettuccine.

Price guide: Appetizers $6-15 Salads $8-17 Sandwiches $11-15 Steaks $23-29  Fish $24-28 Pastas $16-18

Happy Hour:

  • 3 – 6 pm daily
  • Late Night: 10 pm – 12 midnight, Friday and Saturday
  • $4 tap beers, well drinks and house wine
  • $3 small plates
  • $1.95 Oysters

Weekly Specials:

  • Monday: Poulet Morrocain $17.95
  • Tuesday: Shrimp Arrabiata $17.95
  • Wednesday: Zee Walleye Feesh N Chips $19.95
  • Thursday: Short Ribs $22.95
  • Friday: Bouillabaise Seafood Stew $29.95
  • Saturday: Cote de Boeuf Prime Rib  $29.95
  • Sunday: Steak Dianne $19.95

What we ordered: I started with a House Margarita, which was decent but only slightly tart and not overly strong.

My companions and I started with a couple of starters, such as the Pomme Frites.  These were skinny-cut fries that had a justa  hint of a batter on them which made them extra crispy.  The order was served with a boat of homemade bearnaise sauce.

We also shared an order of the Moules Cafe de Paris.  This was a big order of mussels steamed and then served in a broth of butter and wine with a sprinkling of green onions for garnish.  The mussels were cooked perfectly so they were tender rather than chewy and the broth was very light.  I enjoyed the mussels but would’ve like them even more in a sauce that had more flavor.

Before our meals were brought out we were served warm baguettes with whipped sea-salt butter.  Simple but delicious.

Like usual I debated about what I was going to order, afraid of getting something boring.  I ended up with the Steak Sandwich and ince I got to choose my side, I went with the Cream of Potato Soup.  I was very happy with my choice, as the beef tenderloin was very tender and perfectly flavored with caramelized onion and melted gruyere cheese, served on a ciabatta bun.  As per my usual when ordering steak, I requested freshly grated horseradish on the side.  The cream of potato soup was also delicious.

A couple of my companions each ordered the Fork & Knife Chicken Club.  You can see from the photo exactly why a fork and knife are needed for this beast of a sandwich; a giant grilled chicken breast atop a ciabatta bun with romaine then topped with thick-cut bacon and half an avocado.  Side salad was chosen for the side item.

One of my companions ordered the Chicken Cobb Salad, which was packed with chopped chicken breast, bacon, avocado, hard boiled eggs, tomato, roasted beets, and bleu cheese crumbles.

Another companion ordered the Croque Madame, a fabulous spin on the traditional Croque Monsieur.  Like the classic Croque Monsieur, this sandwich is open-faced with toasted  ham and  gruyere but then is topped with a fried egg.  This is one item that would be great to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  Mixed baby greens  salad was choice of side.

The last of us ordered the Seafood Louie Salad.  This salad consisted of a bed of greens, then topped with grilled salmon, shrimp and blue crab.  Tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions  and Louie Dressing (mayo, lemon, chili, worcestershire).  Served with toast.

Service: We had decent service at Salut.  We had a reservation for a group of six and our table was ready for us when we all arrived on a somewhat busy Friday night.  We did not see our server immediately and when we did she was busy getting our drink orders and didn’t tell us about the daily specials until just before we ordered our meals.  Luckily there was a sign near our table that featured the daily specials so we could have time to decide what to order.  Our food came out reasonably fast, appetizers followed by the entrees about 15 minutes later.  One thing I thought was really nice is that the server wrote us all separate tickets, eliminating the need to split everything up ourselves at the end of the night.  I always appreciate that when out with a big group!

Overall Impression: For the most part, I enjoyed my visit to Salut.  I thought the food and service were good and the atmosphere was nice despite how warm it was.

Salut Bar Americain on Urbanspoon

Jun 112011

Cuisine: Fish, Seafood, Steaks, Sushi, Dessert
Restaurant Features: Banquet, Bar, Hotel
Locations: Edina & Minneapolis, MN
Addresses & Maps:
Edina– 3203 Galleria Edina, MN 55435(Edina Westin Galleria Hotel) 952.920.1142

Minneapolis– 800 Nicollet Mall  Minneapolis, MN 55402    612.338.3300

Hours: Mon-TH: 11am-10pm  FRI:    11am-11pm  SAT:     4pm-11pm  SUN:  4pm-10pm

Links: McCormick & Schmick’s Website * McCormick & Schmick’s on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Downtown Minneapolis McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant is located on Nicollet Mall at 9th St..  The restaurant is quite big, or so it seems.  On the way to our table we walked by several curtained-off areas which I can only assume lead to additional or private dining areas.

My companions and I were shown behind one of the very last curtains and into a large dining room.  Deep, rich colors on the walls and floor gave it a masculine feel which was softened up by the white tablecloths.

There is also a  large Bar area at the Downtown location that has booths as well as seating at the bar.  Much less formal than the dining room but just as cozy.

Menu: The Menu at McCormick & Schmick’s changes daily, depending on what type of fresh catch is available.  The following is the menu that was available to me on the night of my visit in late May 2011.

Appetizers include Tempura Shrimp, Lump Blue Crab Tower, Fried Calamari, Duck Potstickers with Raspberry Hoisin, Crispy Thai Chicken Spring Rolls, Portabella Mushroom and Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Steamed Black Mussel & Clams, Crispy Fried Oysters, Crab Cake, Kobe Beef Carpaccio, and Coconut Fried Shrimp.

Offerings from the Seafood Bar include Malpeque Oysters, Deep Bay Oysters, Alpine Bay Oysters , and Spiced Jumbo Prawns.

Sushi and Sashimi includes Tuna Tartare, Salmon Lomi Lomi, Spiced Seared Ahi Tuna Tostada, California Roll.

Soups at McCormick & Schmicks inlcude New England Clam Chowder and Crab Bisque.  Salad options are the Chopped, The Wedge, House, Caesar, and Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad.

This season’s Wild Features include Angry Tuna Roll, Wild Alaska Halibut & Salmon Baked in a  Crispy Pastry, Wild Canada Whitefish, Wild swordfish Casino, and Wild Seafood Trio.

Seafood Specialties include Cashew Crusted Tilapia, Seared Sea Scallops, Parmesan Breaded Tilapia, Atlantic Salmon Stuffed with Crab, Chilean Sea Bass with Miso and Udon Noodles, Horseradish Herb Steelhead, Macademia Nut Breaded Halibut, and Blackened Catfish with Fire Roasted Corn Salsa.

Traditional Seafood Items include Rainbow Trout, Horseradish and Potato Crusted Red Snapper, Atlantic Salmon with Berry Sauce, Fried Shrimp Platter, and Wild Ahi Tuna.

Other Entrees include Petite Filet Mignon, Filet Mignon, Top Sirloin with Bleu Cheese Sauce, Lobster Steamer, Maple Brined Chicken, Shrimp Linguini, King Crab Legs, Kobe Burger with Mushrooms and Swiss, Tenderloin and Portabello Brochette, and New York Strip.  Filet & Shrimp Scampi combo also available.

Desserts include Key Lime Pie, Apple Pie, Creme Brulee, and Chocolate Trio.

Price guide: Appetizers $-12  Sushi $9-14  Oysters $3+   Seafood Specialties $17-32  Entrees $14-47

What we ordered: We started with an order of Fried Calamari.  Delicious! The batter was crunchy but the calamari was cooked perfectly;  the rings were tossed with banana peppers and sprinkled with fresh parmesan.  The order aame with fire-roasted tomato sauce for dipping.

We also ordered the Large Oyster Sampler, which came with eight oysters in total: Malpeque Oysters, Deep Bay Oysters, and Alpine Bay Oysters.  I can’t honestly tell you which two varieties I tried but they were both fresh and delicious.  I always top my oysters with lemon, cocktail and horseradish.  I’ve said it before but I LOVE horseradish.  Goes perfectly with oysters ;)

We also tried a couple orders of the Angry Tuna Roll.  These fabulous rolls contained spicy tuna, then topped with more tuna, thin slices of fresh jalapeno, spicy mayo and flamed tobikko.  I love spicy sushi and this really hit the spot.

We also ordered the California Roll, which I did not try.  Nothing wrong with a California Roll every now and then but I would take the Angry Tuna Roll over this plain jane any day.

Just before our meals were served we were brought Sourdough Bread which was fresh and crusty.

I had a hard time deciding what to order for my entree. I love halibut and the Macademia Nut Crusted Halibut sounded really good but I was afraid it wouldn’t have enough flavor for me.  The server assured me it was excellent so I did end up ordering it.  The dish looked good but I was immediately disappointed by the somewhat small size, in comparison to my companions’ dishes.  My piece of halibut was about 3″ x 1″, very lightly crusted and pan fried.  It sat on a bed of steamed broccoli and atop the mango butter sauce.  The fish was cooked just right so the texture was firm without being tough but the taste of the overall dish was very mild.  Nothing wrong with this dish, just too boring for my tastes.  For the money, it was about $3 per boring bite.  Ridiculous if you think of it like that.

One of my companions ordered the Horseradish Hashbrown Crusted Red Snapper.  I tried a bite of this and thought it was very good.  The flavor of the horseradish was apparent but not overpowering, it really just enhanced the taste of the fish.  The hashbrowns that were crusted around the fish were a nice compliment in texture, however my companion thought there was a little too much potato in proportion to the amount of fish.  I liked it much better than my halibut.

One of my companions ordered the Sea Bass, which turned out to be one of the best dishes I tried.  The sea bass filet was quite big in comparison to the halibut and it sat atop a bed of stir-fried veggies and udon noodles soaked in the delicious, flavorful Asian miso sauce.  Once I was offered a bite I had to show restraint so I wouldn’t eat half the dish.  A winner!

One of my companions started with the Chopped Salad and then had the Steak & Scampi Combo.

The Steak and Scampi combo is a great value, it come with the filet mignon, jumbo scampi-style shrimp, gruyere croquettes, and steamed broccoli.  I tried a small bite of this steak and it was delicious; tender and juicy.  A grilled Lobster Tail was added to the dish for an additional charge.  The bite of lobster I tried was also excellent; sweet and succulent.

The steak and Scampi combo also came with Creme Brulee.  This was creamy and cooked just right, with a nice crunchy layer of  caramelized sugar on top.

We also tried the Key Lime Pie, a cheesecake-style key lime with a thick graham cracker crust.  Oh, I love key lime and I love cheesecake.  Great combo.

Another dessert we tried was the Apple Pie.  The caramel drizzled on top gave this dessert a messy appearance but by all reports, it was very good.

Service: We had a reservation for dinner and were promptly seated.  Our server was very good but our visit was a long, drawn out experience.  We ordered many courses and ended up staying almost three hours for dinner.  The kitchen seemed to take their time preparing our food, most of it being worth the wait.  Toward the end of our night things started to seem very slow, it took 25 minutes to get our dessert after we ordered it, despite being the only ones left in our dining room at the time.  When our server brought them out to us she said she made them herself, so I guess someone in the kitchen dropped the ball.

Overall Impression: There were many items that I tried at McCormick & Schmick’s that I thoroughly enjoyed and the prices seem reasonable for the portion sizes.  Our server was great but the food did take a long time.  I will definitely try McCormick & Schmick’s again in the future.

McCormick & Schmick's on Urbanspoon
Mc Cormick & Schmick's Reviews in Minneapolis

Apr 302011

Cuisine: American, Chops, Steak, Fish & Seafood
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking
Locations: Lakeville & Little Canada, MN
Addresses & Maps:
Lakeville-11211 205th Street West Lakeville, MN 55044 (952) 469-2995
Little Canada– 235 East Little Canada Road Little Canada, MN 55117  (651) 483-9248
Hours: Mon-Fri 5pm  Sat-Sun 4pm
Links: Porterhouse Website * Porterhouse on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Little Canada location of Porterhouse Steaks and Seafood is located just off I-35E at Little Canada Rd.  When you walk in the restaurant, the dining room is to the left, the lounge os to the right.  The dining room is warm and masculine, with dark wood lining the walls, and deep booths around the perimeter of the room.  The lighting is very dim  and the room seems quite dark (it was a challenge to get good photos).

In addition to booths there are also a handful of tables that can be arranged for larger groups.

The lounge area seats about ten around the bar.

Menu: Appetizers at Porterhouse include Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna, Balsamic Sea Scallops, Smokehouse Shrimp, Shrimp Cocktail, Walleye Fingers, Spinach Artichoke ad Parmesan Dip, Grilled Chicken Satay Skewers, Blackened Sirloin Tips, Baltimore Crab Imperial, and Freshwater Split Prawns.

Soups include New England Clam Chowder and French Onion.

Classics and Lighter Fare include Cobb Salad, Beef Liver and Onions, Stuffed Chicken Florentine, Canadian Walleyed Pike, Boneless Pork Loin Chops, Top Sirloin and Petite Filet Mignon.

Porterhouse has a selection of fineAged Angus Beef with cuts such as Filet Mignon (9 or 12oz), Top Sirloin (12 or 16oz), Bone-In New York Strip, Porterhouse, and Ribeye (18 or 24oz).  The signature steaks are the Black & Bleu Ribeye and the Tenderloin Imperial (filet mignon topped with crab imperial).  Add-On options include Sauteed Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, Bearnaise Sauce,  Melted Bleu Cheese, Extra Potato, Vegetables, Walleye Filet, Smokehouse Shrimp, Lobster Tail, King Crab Leg, Prawns and Scallops.

Seafood and Fish dishes include Jumbo Freshwater Prawns, Jumbo Sea Scallops, King Crab Legs, Smokehouse Shrimp, Canadian Walleye Pike, Nova Scotia Lobster Tail and Daily Fresh Fish.

There are several surf & turf combos as well.

Price guide: Appetizers $8-12  Classics $14-23  Steaks $20-35  Seafood $21-42

What we ordered: We started with a few appetizers, including the Spinach Artichoke Dip.  This dip was delicious, it was rich and creamy from the parmesan cheese and had large chunks of artichoke and spinach blended throughout.  It was served with a loaf of hot baguette

We also tried the Cajun Walleye Strips, a serving of about eight nugget-sized pieces of walleye, lightly coated with flour and seasonings then pan fried.  These were pretty good, flaky yet slightly crispy with just a hint of cajun seasonings.  Served with tartar sauce.

The Smokehouse Shrimp also sounded good, so we got an order fo these.  The order came with four large shrimp wrapped with bacon and coated with a smokey barbeque sauce then grilled.  Mmm, these were great.  I plan to make my own version on the grill often this summer.

After we finished our appetizers, a basket of bread and our salads came out.  The bread was thick and dense.

My dinner also came with a salad and when the server explained the options, I knew immediately that I would be getting the Spinach Salad when I heard “warm sweet bacon dressing”.  This salad was amazing! First of all, I think spinach and eggs so wonderful together and bacon goes fabulously with both.  This salad had it all! The dressing was not like any I have had before and I instantly fell in love.  It was served warm, thick and sweet with the true taste of bacon with a ton of crispy pieces of bacon on top of the spinach as well.  I could eat a salad like this for breakfast or lunch every day!

This was my first visit to Porterhouse so I knew I would be ordering a steak and the Black & Bleu Ribeye is exactly what I was craving.  They had two size options: 18 or 24oz.  I thought these steaks surely had to be bone-in at those hefty weights and I ordered the big daddy at 24 oz.  I typically order my steaks cooked medium but out server gave us the option of “plus” or “minus” since a steak so thick has a lot of room for cooking temps.  I ordered mine “medium minus”.  This steak was actually boneless and absolutely huge, a great value in comparison to other fine steak houses.  I was already pretty full from appetizers and salad, but made room for a few bites of the most delicious, juicy, tender cut of steak.  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.

The side I chose with my steak was the Parmesan Bacon Mashed Potatoes.  These were delicious, with each the flavors of the smokey bacon and creamy parmesan coming through the soft buttery potatoes.

One of my companions ordered the 24 oz Ribeye with a side of mushrooms.  This was the same size and cut of steak as what I ordered, but it was much thicker and much more grisly.  All the while I was oohing and ahhing about how tender my steak was, this companion struggled to cut through this steak with ease because of all the tendons.  I was happy to share some of my more tender cut.  If this were the only example of our steaks at Porterhouse that evening, we would have been disappointed.  Not sure why the cut was so inconsistent with the other two 24oz Ribeyes we had amongst us.

One of my companions ordered the Tenderloin with a baked potato.  This steak was also tender with a beefy, robust flavor.  The potato it was served with was very big.

Service: We had very good service at Porterhouse Steaks and Seafood.  The food was timed perfectly and our the server was very good about refilling drinks when needed.  I loved that when ordering our steaks the server suggested we use “plus or minus” with the cooking temperature to get it just how we wanted it.  She made sure to check back with us to make sure everyone had their steak cooked the way they wanted it and offered to cook any steak longer, if desired.

Overall Impression: I am glad to finally have tried Porterhouse Steaks and Seafood.  I was impressed with the size and quality of my Black & Bleu Ribeye but wish that all of the 24 oz ribeyes were consistently as tender.  The menu isn’t huge but offers a nice selection of steaks and seafoods, I will definitely be back to Porterhouse again sometime for dinner.

Porterhouse Steaks and Seafood on Urbanspoon

Apr 262011

Cuisine: American, Greek, Fish & Seafood, Pasta, Steaks, Chops, Ribs
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Patio, On-Site Parking
Location: Fridley, MN
Address: 6161 Central Ave. N.E. (Hwy. 65) Fridley, MN  55432 763-398-0088
Kitchen Hours: Mon-Tues: 11am – 9pm  Wed-Thurs: 11am – 10pm  Fri- Sat: 11am – 11pm  Sun Brunch: 10am – 2pm  Sun Dinner: 4pm – 9pm

Links: Shorewood Grill Website * Shorewood on Facebook * Google Map
Atmosphere: The main dining room is a cozy space, with rich, warm colors and murals on the walls, along with a fireplace and big booths.

The bar/lounge area is an extra large room with the bar centrally located.  There are a number of large booths around the perimeter of the room, with several bistro tables spread throughout as well.  There was a small stage at the front of the room where a band played later in the evening.

There is a patio that can be accessed from both the dining room and the bar with views of the small lake nearby.

Menu: Appetizers at Shorewood include Calamari, Shorewood Meatballs, Spanakopita, Saginaki, Gyros, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Kalamata Bruschetta, Crab Cakes, Shrimp Cocktail, Stuffed Mushrooms, Pita Bread & Spreads, Ahi Tuna, and Hercules Bites.

Salads include Greek Village, Peasant, Chopped, Caesar and King Louie.  Soups include Chicken Orzo or a Soup du Jour.

Shorewood’s sandwich offers a handful of sandwiches such as Prime Rib Dip, Gyro, Black Angus Burger, Chicken Caesar Wrap, and Walleye Sandwich.

Entrees include Kebobs (chicken, beef or swordfish), Chicken in Phyllo, Athenian Lamb Chops, Gyros Dinner, Meatloaf, BBQ Ribs, Roasted Chicken, and Chicken Pot Pie.

Steak and Pork options include New York Strip, Steak de Greco, Grilled Ribeye, Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, Short Ribs, and Pork Chops.

Shorewood’s seafood options include Lobster Tail, Walleye,Grecian Shrimp, Crab Stuffed Salmon, and Jumbo Scallops.

Pasta offerings include Lobster Ravioli, Lime Chicken Tortellini, Theva Pasta with Lamb,  Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Alfredo, and Mediterranean Pasta.

Children’s Menu has items such as Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Tenders, Mini Pizza, Mini Prime Rib, Mini Burgers, and Mini Gyros.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-12  Salads $9-14  Sandwiches $10-14 Entrees $14-24 Steak $17-27 Seafood $18+

What we ordered: (In order of appearance) One of my companions ordered this Spinach Artichoke Dip, a creamy blend of cheeses baked in a ramekin and served with pita bread.  I tried a few bites of this and it was very good.  It had the rich flavor of artichoke, spinach, onions, parmesan and other cheeses and was baked until the cheese was a bubbly golden color.

My entree came with a salad, so I went with the Greek Salad, which was the basic salad with feta and pepperoncini.  Crisp and fresh.

One of my companions ordered the New York Strip, prepared medium.  This meal comes with both veggies and au gratin potatoes, but was ordered without veggies due to a food allergy; as you can see it was still served with a sauteed veggie medley.

Another companion ordered the Grecian Shrimp, a dish of shrimp baked with garlic butter and feta.  These were delicious; the shrimp were decent sized and covered with feta.  The meal was served with veggie medley and mashed potatoes.

My companions also ordered the Calamari, which came after their meals.  I tried this and thought it was some of the best calamari I have had; the squid was cooked perfectly yet the batter was still crispy.  It was served over a bed of sauteed banana and pepperoncini peppers, which was a nice tangy accompaniment.  I could also taste a hint of lemon and I loved that it had little squids in addition to the rings.  Served with a Crab Louie sauce, which was tangy and creamy.  Huge portion.

Another companion ordered the Chicken Tenders, which came with six large, ordinary pieces of white meat chicken.

The guest of honor had the Seared Ahi Tuna, which came with two thick pieces of tuna seared on the outside and raw in the middle.  The fish was served over thin slices of carrots and cucumbers and drizzled with wasabi mayo.

Another companion ordered the Stuffed Burger, which was still slightly pink in the middle along with the melted cheddar cheese.  For some reason it didn’t come with any fries?

One companion ordered the Phyllo Chicken.  I did not try this dish but it looked very good.  It had a chicken breast stuffed with spinach, feta and pine nuts, then wrapped in the light and flaky phyllo dough and baked to a golden color.  It was topped with a creamy sauce and served with veggie medley and mashed potatoes.

I ordered the Lobster Ravioli, which I liked very much.  The portion came with 4-5 large raviolis filled with a cheesy lobster mix, then topped with a creamy rosa sauce and a small about of lobster meat.  I loved every bite and was still hungry when it was all gone (and it is very rare that I finish my entree!)  It would’ve been great to have bread with this meal but it was not brought out until after we already ate.

Another companion ordered the Chicken Pot Pie, which I tried and thought was very good.  There was just the right amount of vegetables and chunky white chicken to the creamy chicken soup.  It had a flaky, buttery crust baked on top, then sprinkled with parmesan.  Total comfort food!

Another companion ordered the Gyro Appetizer.  I did not try this at all but it looked like standard gyro meat and fixings,

A couple of my companions ordered Flaming Cinnamon shots which were quite spectacular when set on fire (at the bar only).

Service: The service that we experienced at Shorewood Bar & Grill was beyond disappointing; it was downright appalling. Our party consisted of fifteen people, with a reservation made four weeks in advance.  We arrived on time to be seated in the lounge, with one large booth (seats 6-8)  and a handful of 2-person bistro tables for our party.  It was very awkward from the get-go, with there being no good way of arranging the tables so that everyone was included.  Our server was a new employee, having just started at Shorewood the week prior.  She was nice and sweet and I can cut her a little bit of slack because she was new, but Shorewood should know better than to put a newbie with a group so big on a busy weekend night.  I guess Shorewood’s mentality with new wait staff is “sink or swim”?

Our biggest problem of the night wasn’t necessarily with our server; it was more the bad timing of the food.  We all ordered within a half hour of our arrival, with the server starting at one end of the party and then finishing at the other end.  Logical, right? The first four people to order received their salads about 43 minutes after ordering.  Not even two minutes later their entrees showed up, but no sign of the calamari that was ordered as an appetizer.  The timing of the food was just totally off! Someone did bring the calamari right out to us after inquiring to its whereabouts and we were not charged for it.  This first group that got their food also had a serious problem: After requesting “no vegetables” to the server due to a food allergy, the steak entree showed up with vegetables.  This mistake could have turned into a scary and life-threatening situation real quick.  About twenty minutes later (an hour after ordering), the second wave of food arrived to those in the middle of the seating arrangement, myself included.  It was not for another 30 minutes beyond this point that the last section of our group received their food, approximately 90 minutes after ordering.  Our bread wasn’t served to us until the second time we requested it, and it came after the meal.

All the while we were waiting (and waiting!) for our food, the people who arranged the party spoke with the management to express their unhappiness with the chain of events.  I am not sure of how that situation was remedied but I personally never saw the management once that evening, nor did they come to check with the guests in our party.  I think that personal tough was warranted in this situation and being accustomed to good service most places I go, I expect it.  They did, however send in a few additional servers to check on us after the first two hours and these girls were very nice.  At the end of the evening someone in our party passed my card along to the management and let them know that I was there and I was doing a review for this blog; the management sent our server over to me and asked if he could by me a drink since he knew I was writing a review.  I find it kind of insulting that they thought maybe they could keep me quiet by buying me a margarita.

Overall Impression: Very mixed.  I thought the food was really good but the service was terrible.  As much as I liked the food, more importantly to me is how the service is and how the restaurant made us feel.  I know I personally never felt like my business was valued or appreciated and I think it is safe to say the same for the majority of the people in our large party.  The fact that our party was so big was a factor in the quality of service (I can only assume), but to me that shouldn’t matter.  I have been to plenty of restaurants as part of a large group and most have done a great job.  Shorewood has a long way to go with their service before I would  consider going back.

Shorewood Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon