Mar 102012

Maynards–  21415 136th Ave. N.     Rogers, MN 55374  763.428.0700

* Additional location at 685 Excelsior Blvd  Excelsior, MN 55331 952.470.1800

  • $14.95/ Adults
  • 10am-2pm
  • Caramel Rolls, Eggs Benedict, Bacon, Smoked Sausage, Biscuits, Hash Browns, Waffles, Apple Crisp, Shrimp Creole, Swedish Meatballs, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Chicken Stir Fry, Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Smoked Salmon, Cheesy Scalloped potatoes, Pasta Salad, Fresh Fruit, Fresh Veggies, Szechuan Green Beans, Chicken Wild Rice Soup, Pickled Herring, Omelet Bar and Assorted Desserts.

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

What I ate: While Maynard’s has a wide selection of both breakfast and entrees, I was more in the mood for breakfast on this day and my choices at the buffet reflect that.  My first plate included a caramel roll, which was soft and gooey.  I like it although I would’ve liked more cinnamon as well as nuts.  I also enjoyed a glass of pineapple juice, as a glass of juice comes with the Sunday Brunch.

In tried the crispy, perfectly cooked bacon and the sausage with peppers.  The meats were both very good, as was the Eggs Benedict.  The English muffin was well toasted then topped with the traditional egg and Hollandaise sauce.  Everything on this plate was very good overall.

I also tried the Biscuits with Gravy which were very creamy with just the finest pieces of sausage within.  Delicious!

At the end of the buffet line is where you will find the Waffle Bar and I just could not resist.  I love waffles and I made mine with real whipped cream and topped with fresh strawberries and blueberries.  I could eat this weekly without a doubt.

A choice of three desserts is included with Sunday Brunch, and I couldn’t resist the Ice Cream Pie.  This was similar to a Dairy Queen ice cream cake but much, much better! It was heavenly, in fact.  It had layers of Oreo cookie crust, ice cream, caramel, fudge, ice cream, ganache, and whipped cream.  I might drive an hour back to Maynard’s just for this sinful treat!

Service: It was very busy at Maynard’s during Sunday Brunch and I am glad we made our reservation over a week in advance.  We had a table that was very close to the buffet which we were able to move through at a predictable pace.  Our server refilled drinks in a somewhat timely fashion and was friendly with our group.

Overall Impression: The Sunday Brunch at Maynard’s is really good and has a wide variety of items to choose from.  I will definitely be back!


Feb 122012

Girvan Grille- 8700 Edinbrook Crossing  Brooklyn Park, MN 55443  763.315.8535

  • $9.95/Adults      $4.95/ Kids 10 and Under
  • 10am-1pm
  • French Belgian Waffle Station, Thick Cut Bacon, Specialty Egg Dishes, Biscuits with Gravy, Two Potato Hash, Carved Ham, Stuffed French Toast, Soup du Jour, Specialty Salad, Fresh Baked Pastries, Caramel Rolls, and Fresh Fruit.
  • Eggs Benedict, Made-to-Order Omelets and Bloody Mary Bar also available at additional $1-2 charge.

Links: Girvan Grille Website * Girvan Grille on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Girvan Grille is located inside the Clubhouse at Edinburgh Golf Course in Brooklyn Park.  The restaurant is spacious, with giant windows running the entire length that lookout onto the  golf course.  The brunch is actually set up in a different room outside of the restaurant.

Girvan Grille also has a bar area just inside the entrance to the restaurant, with both booths and seating at the bar.

What we ate: Girvan Grille has a make-your-own Bloody Mary for $3.  I was given a celery salt-rimmed glass of Vodka on the rocks and had my choice of V-8, Clamato, Worchestershire, Tabasco, pepperoncini, pickles and olives.  It was good but I would’ve liked horseradish too and some cheese and meats but for $3, I won’t really complain.

Shortly after our entire party of twelve was seated we were brought plates of Caramel Rolls.  The ones without nuts were soft and delicious.

They also brought out Caramel Rolls with Pecans which were also good but slightly over-baked and not as soft as the ones sans pecan.

My first plate had a mini waffle and some fresh fruit.  The waffle was crispy but softened up nicely with the berries and cream.  The strawberries and pineapple were good, but the melon was hard and not quite ripe enough.

My big plate included bacon, breakfast sausage, red potatoes, quiche, biscuit and gravy, and peanut butter and banana stuffed french toast.  I enjoyed the meats; the bacon was crispy and smoky and the sausage was also your standard Hillshire Farm-style breakfast links.  I also enjoyed the Quiche, it was light and filling, and seasoned well with pieces of pepper, onion, and potato.  The peanut butter banana filling of the french toast was also delicious but the outer breading was kind of  hard.

One of my companions made this pretty plate of Waffles with Berries, which sat at the wayside while she ate her first plate.

Service: We had pretty good service at Girvan Grille.  We had a reservation for eight people originally but called to make it for 12 only a half hour before our reservation and they were great about trying to accommodate us.  Drinks were refilled when needed and they were really good about all the kids in our party.

Overall Impression: This might be the best brunch buffet around for only $10/Adult and $5 for kids!

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.

Sep 042011

Cuisine: American, Greek, Mediterranean, Pizza,
Restaurant Features: Banquet Room, Bar, Patio, On-Site Parking, Sunday Brunch Buffet, Valet Parking
Location: Eden Prairie, MN
Address: 13000 Technology Drive Eden Prairie, MN 55344   (952)546-6722
Hours: Daily 11am-2pm (Kitchen until 10pm)
Links: Santorini Taverna Website * Google Map
Atmosphere: Santorini Taverna is located in Eden Prairie, near Prairie Center, in a giant stand-alone building.  The main dining room is casual yet sophisticated, with a giant fireplace in the center, giving each side of the room a more intimate feel.  There are tables as well as booths, complete with layered tablecloths.

There is a separate dining room that can be used for banquets or large parties and is used for over-flow on busy nights.  There is a fireplace in this room as well as a door leading to the patio.

The spacious lounge area is near the front entrance, complete with a beautiful bar and several bistro tables and an elevated floor.

The patio is a very popular destination for many months of the year.  Tucked away behind the property, you can access the patio around the right side of the building or from the dining room.  There is a giant outdoor bar in the middle and many tables (with umbrellas!) surrounding it.

The far side of the patio has many more tables for dining.

Menu: Appetizers (Mezedes, Tapas and Antipasti) include Dolmades, Wood Grilled Octopus, Grecian or Buffalo Wings, Shrimp Cocktail, Buffalo Shrimp, Artichoke and Crab Dip, Wood Grilled Lamb Chops, Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Seared Ahi Tuna, Santorini Gyros, Flamed Saganaki, Baked Mussels, Pastichio en Phyllo, Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Calamari a la Romano, Spanakopita, Wood Grilled Shrimp & Veggies, Greek Peasant Sampler.

There are also a number of Meditteranean Pita Spreads served with warm pitas including Spicy Feta, Taramosalata, Tirosalata, Tzatziki, Tahini Hummous, Roasted Pepper Hummous, Melitzano, Kalamata and Goat Cheese Tapenade.

Wood Oven Pizzas include Four Cheese Classico, Mediterranean, Iberian, and Pizza Margherita.

Salads include Greek Salata, Peppered Steak, Nicklow’s Deluxe, Horiatiki, Caesar, Spiced Ahi Tuna, Shrimp and Avocado, and Chop Salad.  Soups include Avgolemono and a Soup du Jour.

Sandwiches and Burgers all come with choice of Lemon Oregano Fries or Tavern pasta.  Options include Gyro Pita, Chicken Pita, Veggie Pita, Pita Melt, Mediterranean Chicken Wrap, Walleye Sandwich, Burger, Pepper Jack Burger, Surf and Turf Burger, Prime Rib French Dip, Santorini Club Croissant, and Open Faced Prime Rib Sandwich.

Meat Entrees include Lamb Chops a la Thebes, Filetto de Greco, Athenian Pork Chops, Surf & Turf, Bone-In Ribeye, South American Strip Steak, Prime Rib, New York Strip, and Filet Mignon.

Seafood Entrees include Pan Fried Walleye, Scampi con Pollo, Roasted Norwegian Salmon, Seafood Platter (shrimp, scallops, lobster and salmon), Shrimp Mikrolimano, Moroccan Shrimp, Roasted Scallops, and Lobster Dinner for Two.

Pasta dishes include Taverna Pasta, Seafood Bucatini, Spaghettini  Arrabbiata, Ouzo Linguini, Raviolo Basilio, Lobster Ravioli, Tortellini Baronessa, and Cajun Pasta.

Mediterranean Favorites include Grilled Chicken & Shrimp Kabob, Traditional Pastichio, Grilled Beef Kabob, Lamb & Beef Moussaka, Grilled Swordfish Kabob, Kotopita, Eggplant Moussaka, Gyro Dinner and Lamb Shank.

Desserts include Chocolate Fudge Cake, Key Lime Pie, Cheesecake, and Galaktoboureko.

Price guide: Appetizers $8-12  Salads $7-15  Sandwiches $10-19  Meat Entrees $24-34  Seafood $19-49  Pasta $13-26  Greek Favorites $16-23

Happy Hour:

  • Mon-Fri 4-7pm, Sun-Thurs 9-11pm, Fri-Sat 10pm-2am
  • $2-  Mini Burgers, Cheesy Bread with Marinara, Pita & Spread
  • $3- Rail Drinks, Tap Beers, Santorini Wings, Onion Rings, Szechuan Green Beans, Mini Pizza, Mini Cheesecakes
  • $4- Santorini Sliders, Fish & Chips, Sloppy Joe’s, Pork Potstickers
  • $5- BBQ Shrimp Skewers, Mini Crab Cakes, Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Gyro Appetizer, and Shrimp Gazpacho.

Weekly Specials:

  • Friday- Fresh Alaskan Halibut Char-grilled with fresh herbs and lemon, served with roasted potatoes and vegetables $24
  • Saturday-  Boneless leg of lamb stuffed with spinach, feta and loukaniko sausage Served with roasted potatoes and vegetables $23
  • Sunday- Family Style Platter with Avgolemono soup, Greek salad, gyro & fixings, sliced chicken breast, two lamb chops, Taverna pasta and baklava  For two $45 | For four $75

What we ordered: We started with an order of Artichoke and Crab Dip.  This was a delicious blend of cheeses, with garlic and chunks of artichoke and crab, baked until hot and bubbly then topped with fresh tomatoes.  It was a decent sized order served in a ramekin with several triangles of warm pita bread.  Great stuff!

We also ordered the Baked Mussels, which I thought were excellent.  They were magnificently tender and came swimming in a big, deep bowl of broth made with white whine, saffron, tomatoes, fennel and garlic.

Another appetizer we tried was the Goat Cheese Bruschetta.  We loved this! The goat cheese was blended with cream cheese and then placed on a bed of tomato-basil bruschetta.  The order came with several slices of crustini drizzled with balsamic vinegar for building little bruschetta toasts.

There were many items on the menu that sounds really good to me, but I wanted to try authentic Greek food.  The owner of Santorini himself highly suggested the Moussaka, so that is one of the items we tried.  This dish was sort of a Greek lasagna, with layers of ground beef-lamb, eggplant, and slices of roasted potato topped with tomato sauce and bechamel cheese.

We also shared a New York Strip which was extremely tender, juicy and well seasoned.  The steak came with a serving of roasted zucchini, yellow squash, onion and fingerling potatoes.  The steak was wonderful.

We also tried the Kotopita, which was a chicken breast topped with spinach and feta, then wrapped in flaky phyllo dough.  This was a great dish with a wonderful combo of flavors and textures, from the tender chicken to the creamy feta to the flaky phyllo crust.  It was served with Santorini’s famous Angel Hair pasta tossed with brown butter, garlic and mizithra cheese.  Both were delicious!

Our server presented us with the dessert tray and enticed us to order a couple of desserts, including this Galaktoboureko, a lemon custard wrapped in phyllo dough.  Excellent!

We also tried the Chocolate Fudge Cake, which was very moist, drizzled with chocolate sauce.  Way too much for just one person after all that food!

Service: We had very good service at Santorini Taverna.  We arrived after 7pm on a beautiful Thursday night and opted to wait 15+ minutes for a table on the patio.  It was very busy but our server was attentive and had some good suggestions from the menu.  Our appetizers came out in waves and the entrees came much later.

Overall Impression: Santorini Taverna is a beautiful restaurant and has a great selection of Greek and Mediterranean foods.  I thought the food was great and I especially loved the giant patio and good service.
Santorini Taverna on Urbanspoon

Apr 052011

Cuisine: American, Fish & Seafood, Steaks, Dessert
Restaurant Features: Banquet, Happy Hour (bar only), On-Site Parking, Patio, Sunday Brunch
Location: North Oaks, MN
Address: 5959 Centerville Road North Oaks, MN 55127  651-426-9222
Hours: Mon-Thurs 5-9pm (Bar 4-10pm), Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm (bar 4-11pm)  Sun 10am-8pm
Links: Tria Website * Tria on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Tria is located at Centerville Rd and County Rd J in a large, beautiful building that more closely resembles a modern mansion than a restaurant.  There are six dining areas within the property.  The main dining room is just inside the entrance; a homey room with arched entries, fireplaces and wooden floors.

Another popular area at Tria is the Bar, which is where we sat.  The beautiful wooden  bar is the center of the room, with big booths running along the wall.

This is one of the areas available for private dining
Private Dining Area at Tria ~ North Oaks, MN

Private Dining Area at Tria ~ North Oaks, MN

Here is another dining space.

Additional Dining Area at Tria ~ North Oaks, MN

Additional Dining Area at Tria ~ North Oaks, MN

Menu: Appetizers at Tria include Bruschetta Boursin, Seared Scallops, Escargot, Beef Bites, Crab Cakes, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Dijon Chicken Bites, Walleye Fingers, Chicken Tenders, Calamari, Shrimp Pronto Pup, Mushroom Puff, Wild Mushroom Flatbread (bar only, and Prosciutto and Arugula Flatbread (bar only).

Soups include Cream of Wild Rice and Brie, French Onion, and the Scallop and Cucumber.  Salad offerings are the Caesar, Wedge, Spinach and Roasted Beet.

Casual Classics include Chicken Pot Pie, 1/2 lb Burger, Chicken Club, Walleye, Prime Rib Dip, and Baked Mac N Cheese.

Tria’s Entrees include Tournedos of Beef (choice of Dijon Cream, Bearnaise or Sauteed Mushrooms), Walleye (broiled, blacked or pan fried), Veal Scaloppine (piccata, marsala, caprese), Chicken Penne, Pappardelle Pasta, Chardonnay Chicken, Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Stuffed Chicken, Pork Shank, Steak Frites, 6 oz or 9 oz Filet Mignon, 14 oz Ribeye, New York Strip, Lamb Chops, Venison, Salmon, Seared Ahi Tuna, Halibut, Sea Bass, Scallops, and Shrimp Scampi.

Desserts include Artisan Cheese Board, Homemade Ice Cream (pistachio white chocolate, ), Homemade Sorbet, Hot Fudge or Mixed Berry Sundae, Chocolate Lava Cake, New York Cheesecake, Creme Brulee, Chocolate Decadence, Apple Tart, and Chomeur Pudding.  There are also a number of dessert wines and ports.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-12  Entrees $15-30  Desserts $3-9

Happy Hour:

  • Early Bird M-F 4:00-6:30
  • Late Night M-Th 9pm-close  Sunday 8pm-close
  • Bar Area Only
  • 1/2 price Salmon Creek Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, Michelob Golden Light, House Rail Cocktails
  • $3 off Appetizers

Weekly Specials:

Wednesday-  Maple Glazed Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes $18

Thursday- Prime Rib with Twice Baked Potato, Green Beans and Popover Queen Cut $20 King Cut $24

Friday-  Cioppino $27

Saturday- Beef Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes $24

Sunday- Prime Rib with Twice Baked Potato, Green Beans and Popover Queen $20  King $24

What we ordered: My companions and I visited Tria during Happy Hour, so we ordered several appetizers, including the Chicken Dijon Bites.  These little bites of white meat chicken were mixed with a flavorful, creamy dijon mustard sauce along with sauteed mushrooms and spinach. Delicious and low-carb! Came with a long slice of toasted ciabatta.

We also tried the Artichoke Dip, which was also very good.  The blend of cheeses, spinach and artichokes was baked in a ramekin with breadcrumbs on top.  It was served with a plate-full of  golden baguette toasts.  Both the dip and the toast were wonderful, just wish there was more dip for all the toast ;)

We also had the Beef Bites, mmm mmm mmm. The bites of beef were tender and juicy, seasoned with Montreal spices and cooked in a red wine reduction, then served with a side of bearnaise and extra-long slice of toasted ciabatta.  Delish!
.Beef Bites at Tria ~ North Oaks, MN

Beef Bites at Tria ~ North Oaks, MN

And last but certainly not least of the appetizers is the Wild Mushroom Flatbread.  I like everything I tried but this definitely stood out, it was fabulous! The flatbread was topped with chive oil, fresh garlic, wild mushrooms and boursin cheese, then baked to a crispy golden brown and topped with fresh sprouts.  The pizza was light and very flavorful and  I absolutely loved the cheese they used, it had much more to offer in the flavor department than any ordinary mozzarella.  I might dream about this pizza, it was that good.

We also ordered a Burger with Bacon and Bleu Cheese.  The burger was 1/2 lb of beef topped with extra thick slices of smokey bacon and bleu cheese crumbles on a fresh, toasted bun.  The entire thing was very good but the bacon was outstanding.

We were definitely full from our appetizers and wine but when I heard they had a list of homemade ice creams and sorbets, I had to try one.  Our server ran down the list of flavors and once I heard “pistachio” I was sold.  This was no ordinary pistachio ice cream.  It was a scoop of frozen heaven in a dish and I am an ice cream lover to the core.  It was rich, creamy and packed full of small pieces of pistachios and the white chocolate was infused into the pistachio cream.  Heavenly!

Service: We had excellent service at Tria.  We wanted to take advantage of the happy hour specials so we sat in the bar; fortunately we arrived early enough that a booth was available.  Our server greeted us right away and told us about the happy hour specials.  Our glasses of wine arrived within minutes so we enjoyed it while we looked over the appetizer menu.  Our server was great about checking on us even when the bar area became busy, all requests were taken care of quickly.

Overall Impression: I am glad I finally tried Tria; the food, service and atmosphere were all excellent.  I am still thinking about the Wild Mushroom Flatbread and the Pistachio Ice Cream, but would also like to have dinner there next time I visit.  Looking forward to the patio when it gets a little warmer too!


Tria on Urbanspoon

Mar 272011

Cuisine: Italian, Fish & Seafood, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, Gluten Free Menu, Happy Hour (Bar only), On-Site Parking, Sunday Brunch
Locations: Burnsville & Roseville, MN
Addresses & Maps:
Burnsville– 14296 Plymouth Ave  Burnsville, MN 55337  952-892-7555
Roseville– 2050 North Snelling Ave Roseville, MN 55113  651-644-2808
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-12am  Sun 10am-10pm
Links: Chianti Grill Website * Chianti Grill on Facebook

Atmosphere: The new home of the Chianti Grill in Roseville is on Snelling Ave next to Har Mar Mall.  This newly constructed restaurant has been open for about two years now and is a much larger and more modern version of its former home.  The main dining room is large and seems even bigger with the tall ceilings.  The room is divided into sections of high backed booths, which help to keep noise levels under control and also offer some privacy for the guests.

The bar area is another large seating area, with seating at the bar as well as booths along the wall.  The bar is beautiful and runs the entire length of the room.

There is also a little lounge area in the bar near the entrance; a great place to have a cocktail and wait for a table when it gets busy on the weekends.

Menu: Appetizers at Chianti Grill include Spicy Tenderloin Tips, Calamari, Mozzarella Caprese, Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Seared Ahi Tuna, Crab Claws, Bruschetta, and Spinach Artichoke Dip.

Flatbread options include Prosciutto Arugula, Mediterranean, Margarita, and Grilled Chicken.

Pastas include Seafood Canneloni, Lasagna Bolognese, Mostaccioli, Manicotti, Tortellini (ham, mushrooms and peas), Spinach Ravioli, Cappellini al Fresco, Spaghetti with Meatballs, Cappellini al Gamberetti, Spicy Chicken Penne, Seafood Linguini, Chicken Cappellini, Fettuccine Alfredo, Gnocchi alla Crema di Campagna, and Shrimp and Lobster Linguini.

Seafood options include Grilled Tiger Prawns, Walleye Impanato, Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Salmon Taormina, and Crab Claws.  Steaks include 8 oz Filet Mignon, 16 oz Sirloin, 16 oz Ribeye, 14oz NY Strip.  Chicken and Veal options include Marsala, Sorrento, and Parmigiana.

House Specialties include Zuppa de Pesce, Lobster Ravioli, Grilled beef Skewers, Lobster Oscar Filet.

Gluten-Free items include Chicken Spicy Penne, Lobster & Shrimp Spaghetti, Chicken Spaghetti, Penne Chicken Alfredo, Spaghetti and Mostaccioli, as well as all of the steaks and many of the seafoods from the dinner menu.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-13  Flatbread $8-10  Pasta $14-20  Entrees $16-28 (items on lunch menu considerably less)

Happy Hour:

  • Served in the Lounge only

Sunday Brunch:

  • $12.95/Adults $6.95/ Kids 4-11  Free/ Kids 3 and under
  • 10am-2pm
  • a variety of homemade pastas, fresh fruit, pastries, salads, an omelet bar, traditional breakfast items and delicious desserts.

What we ordered: What do you do when two different appetizers sound really good and you can’t decide which to get? Order Both!! At least that’s what I do ;) First on that list is the Spinach Artichoke Dip.  This was a large portion of cheeses, artichoke, spinach and onion blended then baked in a ramekin.  It was served with a sliced, toasted baguette.  Delicious! The dip was very flavorful, partially because it had a lot of onions in it, which I thought was great.  You might not love it as much if you aren’t a fan of onions.

We also tried the calamari.  This was good, but nothing out of the ordinary.  The calamari was cooked just right so it was still tender but the breading wasn’t too crispy and was kind of boring in the flavor department.  It was served with marinara and also a  horseradish dip, which were both good and definitely helped spice up the flavor.

Then came the basket of bread with our meals.  We didn’t have any room for this at dinner so I brought it home and had it later.  It was very good and kind of dense.

Our meals also came with a house salad, I got mine with ranch.  I just love fresh buttermilk ranch dressing and this one was really good!

For my meal I ordered the Mostaccioli.  Although this is kind of an ordinary meal for me and I usually order pastas that are more adventurous, I was in the mood for red sauce.  I was too full to eat more than a few bites while we were still at the restaurant, but it was very good.  The noodles were tossed with a zesty red sauce, ground Italian sausage, chunks of mushrooms, sauteed onions, garlic and other spices.  It was topped with a ton of mozzarella then baked.  I also had it topped with freshly grated parmesan.  This was yummy (although I know I could easily make something similar at home) and hit the spot.  The leftovers were just as good the next day.

My companion wanted to have something with seafood and after much deliberation and suggestions from the server, ordered the Crab Ravioli, one of the daily specials.  This was a unique dish; there were about five raviolis stuffed with shredded crab meat.  The bell pepper cream sauce that it was served with was very sweet and contained pieces of the tri-colored peppers.  We both liked it but I admit I think I would like it better with a more savory sauce.

Service: We had good service at Chianti Grill.  We visited at an odd time (3:30pm) on a Saturday and had no problem getting a table without a reservation.  Our server was both friendly and also had a funny sense of humor.  She had several recommendations on the menu and did a good job timing our food so that everything was staggered.  Most of the time our drinks were refilled as soon as needed but there were a couple of times while we were eating that I waited for several minutes without anything to drink.

Overall Impression: I am glad I finally had the opportunity to try Chianti Grill.  I thought the food was decent, as was the service.  Items from the lunch menu are considerably less expensive, so if you want to save a few bucks, visit before 4pm.  Happy Hour offered in the Lounge only.

Chianti Grill on Urbanspoon

Mar 202011

Cuisine: American, Bar & Grill, Fish & Seafood,  Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Screen TVs, Happy Hour, Kids Menu, Live Music, On Site Parking, Sunday Brunch
Locations: Brooklyn Center & Bloomington, MN
Addresses and Maps:
Bloomington– 5001 American Blvd Bloomington, MN 55437 (952) 746-8887
Brooklyn Center– 2590 Freeway Blvd Brooklyn Center, MN 55430 (763) 503-3561
Links: Oak City Website * Oak City on Facebook


Atmosphere: The Brooklyn Center location of Oak City is located next to Country Inn & Suites Hotel, on the frontage road that runs along the north side of 694.  The building is a decent size (formerly TGIFriday’s), with the dining room arranged into several distinct eating areas to allow for more privacy.  The section my companion and I sat in had several two-person booths, other sections had bigger booths and also some tables. The decor of Oak City is sophisticated contemporary, with gold accents and fun quotes throughout the restaurant (hanging on walls and also embedded into the backs of the booths).


Above the booths in the middle of the restaurant are these cool metal sculptures made to resemble Trees.


There is also a large bar area when you first walk into the Brooklyn Center location, with seating at the bar and also several high-topped tables.


Menu: Appetizers at Oak City include Walleye Fingers, Captain Crunch Chicken Strips, Mini Black Angus Burgers,  Cheese Curds, Mile High Nachos, Pot Stickers, Chicken Wings & Boneless Wings (6 sauces).

Oak City also serves Flatbread Pizzas including Margherita, Signature Sausage, Spinach & Artichoke Heart, and Traditional (sausage or pepperoni).

Appetizer Salads include House, Caesar, Candied Walnut and Spinach and Applewood Bacon.  Entree Salads include Chicken Caesar, Portabella, Peppercorn Tenderloin, Candied Walnut, Spinach & Applewood Bacon, and Cashew Chicken.

Specialty Sandwiches at Oak City include Chicken Ciabatta, Oak City Philly, Walleye, French Dip, Hickory Chicken, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Gyro, Reuben, and Oak City Club.

Burgers include Bourbon Teriyaki Bacon Cheeseburger, Hickory Burger (smoked gouda and chipotle bbq sauce), Sauteed Shroom Burger, Bleu Cheese Burger, Cajun Ranch Burger, Cheeseburger and Basic Burger.

Entrees include Fajitas, Fish ‘n Chips, Baby Back Ribs, Broasted Chicken, Choice Top Sirloin, Peppercorn Sirloin, Tenderloin Medallions, Gulf Shrimp, Cajun Chicken Alfredo, Ribs & Chicken Combo, Shrimp Scampi, Canadian Walleye, and Grilled Salmon.

Oak City’s Desserts include Chocolate Lava Cake, Banana Cream Pie, Turtle Cheesecake, Inside OutSundae, and Cheesecake.

There is also a lunch menu served M-F 11am-3pm

Kids Menu includes Walleye Fingers, Fettuccine Alfredo, Grilled Cheese, Chicken Fingers, Macaroni & Cheese, and Mini Burgers.

Sunday Brunch:

  • $10.95/ Adults   $5.95 Kids 5-12   Free/ Kids 4 and Under
  • 10am-2pm
  • Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, French Toast, Bacon, Sausage, Cheesy
    Hashbrowns, Mashed Potatoes, Pecan-Crusted Walleye, Tilapia, Shrimp
    BBQ ribs, Swedish Meatballs, Steamed Broccoli, Pork Tenderloin, Clam
    Chowder, Pasta Salad, Lettuce Salad, Cakes, Pies, Cheesecake, Chocolate

Price guide: Appetizers $ 7-11   Salads $ 4-13    Sandwiches/Burgers $8-11  Entrees $10-25  Desserts $5-7

Happy Hour:

  • Daily 3-6:30p & 10p-12a
  • $2 Appetizers (Buffalo Wings, Rock Shrimp, Walleye Fingers, Mini Burgers w/ Fries, Fresh Tortilla Chips & Salsa
  • $4 Flatbread Pizzas )margherita, BBQ Chicken, Oak City Signature, Spinacc & Artichoke, Traditional)
  • $2 Rail drinks & 16 oz Domestic Taps  $3 Vodka Redbull  $4 Long Islands
  • $1 off all other drinks

Weekly Specials served 4-9pm:
Monday- Any Burger on Menu $5.95
Tuesday- Any Pasta on Menu $9.95 and 1/2 price bottles of wine
Wednesday- All You Can Eat Snow Crab $19.95 (includes bread, soup or salad, veggie and choice of potato
Thursday- All You Can Eat baby Back Ribs $12.95
Friday- All you can eat Walleye Fingers $11.95
Saturday- 12 oz NY Strip $10.95
Sunday- Roasted Chicken $8.95 and Kids 12 and under eat free off Kid’s Menu (one per paid adult)

What we ordered: We started with a round of cocktails.  One of my companions ordered this Bloody Mary,

One of my companions ordered an Irish Bulldog.  This drink tasted good but it was obvious that Coke was one of the main ingredients (rather than a splash).

I had a margarita which was okay but it tasted too much like bottled margarita mix.  For dinner  I had the Beef & Chicken Fajitas, a large portion served with grilled chicken breast and a steak over a large pile of sauteed peppers and onions.  The fajitas were served with a basket of flour tortillas and a plate of shredded lettuce, cheese, tomato, salsa, sour cream and guacamole.  I thought the fajitas were very good; the meats were seasoned nicely and the peppers and onions were the perfect compliment.

One of my companions had the Mushroom Swiss Burger.  The grilled patty was covered with sauteed mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese, the bun was fresh and substantial.  Great choice!

Another companion ordered the Candied Walnut Salad with Chicken.  This salad had dried apricots, fresh pears and apples on a  bed of spring greens.  There were chunks of bleu cheese and also candied walnuts mixed with a honey vinaigrette.  The salad itself was very good but the chicken that was added-on for an additional price was a big disappointment; rather than being chicken breast, the chicken was of the shaved deli-variety (roughly three slices).  My companion would not have ordered the chicken if the menu had stated the type of chicken.

Service: We were greeted by the hostess within a few minutes of arriving and were shown to our table.  The restaurant wasn’t too busy after the dinner rush on a Monday and we were promptly greeted by our server.   Our food was served reasonably fast and overall the service was decent.

Overall Impression: Good burgers! Would love to try Oak City’s Sunday Brunch and the weekly specials look great too
Oak City on Urbanspoon

Feb 032011

Cuisine: American, Steak, Chops, Ribs, Fish, Seafood, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet, Buffet, Kids Menu, On-Site Parking, Pull-Tabs, Sunday Brunch
Location: Maplewood, MN
Address: 2999 Highway 61 North • Maplewood, MN • Phone: 651.482.0384
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am – 9pm  Fri- Sat 11am. – 10pm  Sun Brunch 10am. – 2pm   Sun Dinner  2pm -9pm
Links: Gulden’s Website * Gulden’s Facebook Page * Google Map

Atmosphere: Gulden’s is located on Hwy 61 (just south of 694) in Maplewood, near Maplewood Mall.   The upper level of the restaurant is separated into a couple of large rooms.  The main dining rooms are found to the left of the main entrance and the bar is located to the right/back.  The decor is very basic, with vinyl booths and plastic laminate tables.  The tables can conveniently be arranged to accommodate larger parties.  Gulden’s has been family owned and operated since 1934.

Gulden’s Lounge is in a separate space adjacent to the main dining room, with a full bar and plenty of tables to sit at.  They also offer pull-tabs.

Gulden’s also has a large lower-level that is used for banquets and weddings (up to 190 guests).

Menu: Appetizers at Gulden’s include Chicken Wings, Chicken Tenders, Onion Rings, Cheese Sticks, Potato Skins, Garlic Toast, Garlic Cheese Toast, Mini Tacos, Italian Fries, Frog Legs, Cheddar Jalapeno Poppers, Nachos Supreme, Chicken Nachos, Quesadilla and Jumbo Shrimp

Soup and Salad options include Caesar, Taco Salad and Salad Bar.  Soup changes daily

Gulden’s sandwiches are served with fries and include the Gulden’s Club, Reuben, Prime Rib Dip, Sirloin Sandwich, Fish Sandwich, Hamburger and Gulden’s Cheeseburger.

Prime Cuts include Top Sirloin, Texas Top Sirloin, Filet Mignon, Smoked Pork Chops, Porterhouse, Steak and Shrimp, Steak Oscar, Prime Rib (12 oz, 16oz, 20oz), and Pork Ribs.

Fish and Seafood dishes include Jumbo Shrimp, Scrod Oscar, Frog Legs, Broiled Walleye, and Seafood Combo.

Gulden’s also has a variety of chicken and pasta dishes including Chicken, Ribs or Steak Combo, Chicken Oscar, Texas Chicken, Marinated Chicken Breast, Ravioli, Fried Chicken, Chicken Parmesan, Fettuccine Alfredo, Tortellini Alfredo, Pasta Primavera, and Cajun Chicken Alfredo.

The Gulden Specials include  your choice of one entree, with choice of potato and soup or salad. Entree choices include Alaskan Pollack, Popcorn Shrimp, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Zander Filet with Almonds, Liver & Onions, 8oz Sirloin, 10oz Ground Sirloin with Mushrooms, BBQ Pork Ribs, Homemade Lasagna, Surf & Turf and Chicken Kiev.  All are $11.95

Kids menu items include hamburger, grilled cheese, mini corn dogs, chicken fingers, deep fried fish, spaghetti with meatballs, macaroni and cheese

Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Salads $7-9   Sandwiches/Burgers $8-9  Prime Cuts$14-25  Seafood $15-18 Chicken/Pastas $10-16  Kids Meal $5

Early Bird Specials: Served between 11am-5pm, all come with choice of potato and soup or salad for $8.95: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Alaskan Pollack, 6 oz Sirloin, 8 oz Ground Sirloin with Mushrooms, Lasagna, 1/4 Fried Chicken,and  4 oz Chicken Kiev.

Happy Hour: Monday – Saturday 11:00am. – 7pm. Wing specials all the time in the lounge.

Sunday Brunch:

  • $12.95/ Adults   $9.95/Seniors  $6.95/ Kids 5-12    Free/ Kids 4 and Under
  • 10am-2pm
  • 2 kinds of Scrambled Eggs , Homemade Bread Pudding, Eggs Benedict, Roast Turkey,
    Sausage, Baked Ham, Bacon, Chefs Choice Entrée, Smoked Sausage , Au Gratin Potatoes, French Toast, Mashed Potatoes, Hashbrowns, Stuffing, Homemade Carmel Rolls , Hot Vegetable, Fresh Fruit, 20 Item Salad Bar, Pies/Bars/and all the other goodies

What we ordered: We started with this complimentary basket of French Rolls.  They were soft and warm on the inside, crusty on the outside.

The soup that was offered the night of our visit was Clam Chowder, which my companion and I shared.  The soup was pretty good, thick and full of chunky vegetables.

Even though I was tempted to order the Reuben, I ended up ordering the Prime Rib Dip. Excellent choice! This was real prime rib, thinly sliced and piled (PILED!) high on the toasted kaiser roll.  It was served with au jus and I also asked for a side of freshly grated horseradish.  The sandwich came with a pile of crispy shoestring potatoes.  I would definitely get this sandwich again, it was excellent (and only $8.95!)

My companion ordered the Fried Chicken Meal, which was also very good.  It had a thick, crispy batter on it and was fried until it was a perfect dark golden color.  Very juicy on the inside!

Service: We arrived long after the dinner hour and had to wait nearly five minutes at the host stand before we were acknowledged.  Once we were seated, our server was very friendly and had several recommendations.  Drinks were filled in a timely fashion and other requests were also quickly satisfied.

Overall Impression: I literally have driven by Gulden’s on 61 hundreds of times and had only been there one other time almost a decade ago.  Glad I finally stopped in and I will be back.  The decor at Gulden’s is nothing fancy but the food was pretty good and was reasonably priced.

Gulden's 61 Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon