Aug 042012

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi, Teppanyaki
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking
Location: Roseville, MN
Address: 1675 County Road C West Roseville, MN 55113  651-633-3188


  • Mon-Thurs  11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10pm
  • Friday 11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-11pm
  • Saturday 12pm-11pm
  • Sunday 12pm-10pm

Links: Osaka Steakhouse Website * Osaka on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: The Roseville location of Osaka Sushi & Hibachi is located at the far end of the strip mall on the northwest corner of Snelling and County Rd C. (same strip mall as Byerly’s and ZPizza).  The restaurant is divided into three areas: the dining room, the bar area and the hibachi room.  The dining room is to the left when you first walk in, a contemporary space with tables and booths to seat about forty people or so, and a sushi bar at the back to accommodate another dozen.  The wall to the left side of the restaurant is interesting to look at, with floor-to-ceiling textured back-lit glass panels in a variety of patterns, nestled between columns of stone bricks.

The sushi bar is a good place to sit if you like to interact with the sushi chefs, or if you want a closer look at the TVs hanging on the wall behind.

The Bar area is the first thing you see when you enter Osaka, centered between the dining and hibachi rooms.  It has a contemporary feel to it with the under-bar lighting and hanging pendants above.

To the right of the main entrance is the hibachi room.  There are a handful of  hibachi tables, each of which seats about 10-12 people.  The hibachi chef stands in the center of the table and cooks at the grill built into either side of the table.

Menu: Osaka receives their seafood fresh on Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays.

Appetizers include Edamame, Squid Ginger Yaki, Yakitori, Steamed Shrimp Shumai, Calamari, Gyoza, Age Tofu, Vegetable Gyoza, Beef Negimaki, Haru Maki, Soft Shell Crab and Tempura.

Salads at Osaka include Garden Salad, Tataki Salad, Avocado Salad, Seaweed Salad, Kani Salad, Seafood Salad Squid Salad, and House Salad.  Soups include Miso, Spicy Miso Vegetable, Onion Soup and Dobin Soup.

Japanese Entrees include Teriyaki (chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon, seafood), Tempura (vegetable, chicken, seafood), Yaki Udon Noodles, Yaki Soba, Nabe Yaki Udon, Seafood Noodle Soup, Una Don, Chicken Katsu, Pork Katsu, and Beef Negimaki.

Sushi and Sashimi selections come with two pieces in an order: Maguro (tuna), Toro (fatty tuna), Spicy Tuna, Hamachi (yellowtail), Ebi (shrimp), Sake (salmon), Smoked Salmon, Ikura (salmon roe), Hirame (fluke), Tobiko (flying fish egg), Unagi (eel), Hotategai (scallop), Amaebi (sweet shrimp), Tamago (egg custard), Kani (crab stick), Saba (mackerel), Hokkigai (surf clam), Uni (sea urchin), Ika (squid), King Crab, Live Giant Clam, Tako (Octopus) and White Tuna.

Osaka Sushi dinners are served with miso soup and salad.  Options include Sushi Entree, Sashimi Entree, Chirasi Sushi, Tri Color Sushi, Sushi & Sashimi Combo, Roll Combo, Vegetable Roll Combo, Tekka Don, and Tuna or Salmon Love.  You can also order Sishi for 2, Sushi and Sashimi for 2, Love Boat or Chef’s Special.

Rolls and Hand Rolls at Osaka include Avocado, Kappa Maki, Oshinko Maki, Asparagus Maki, Mushroom & Avocado, A.A.C. Maki, Califormia Roll, Boston, Crispy Shrimp tempura Roll, Philadelphia Roll, Eel Cucumber, Salmon Skin Roll, Spicy Snow Crab Roll, Lobster & Avocado, King Crab & Avocado, Dragon Roll, and Spider Roll.  Fresh fish rolls include Tuna, Salmon, Yellowtail, Toro, Alaskan, Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Spicy Yellowtail, and Rainbow Roll.

Osaka’s specialty rolls include Angel, Crazy, Black Dragon, Osaka, Spicy Girl, Crazy Tuna, Sweet Heart, Naked Girl, Salmon Family Roll, Alligator, No. 9, M.J Roll, Roseville Roll, Pink Lady, Yum Yum, B.M.W., Crunch Roll, New York, Dancing, and Sex on the Beach.

Hibachi dinners are served with onion soup, house salad, hibachi noodles, hibachi vegetable with choice of meats including Vegetable, Chicken, Salmon, Scallops, Shrimp, Tuna, Sword Fish, Steak, Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail.
Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Entrees $11-24 Sushi/Sashimi $4-9 Specialty Rolls $13-17  Hibachi $15-31
What we ordered: My companion and I ordered a variety of rolls and sashimi, including surf clam, uni with quail egg, spicy tuna roll, spicy girl roll, and dancing roll.

The Spicy Girl roll had spicy tuna and spicy yellowtail with cucumber on the inside and then wrapped with rice and topped with spicy salmon and panko.  This roll had a fair amount of kick to it, as one would hope with a name like Spicy Girl.  I thought it was good but it didn’t blow me away.

We also tried the Dancing Roll, which turned out to be one of the favorites of both of us.  This roll had tuna, salmon and yellowtail on the inside then was wrapped with rice, escolar, a very thin slice of avocado and then topped with tobiko.  I loved the flavors of the different fish all rolled together, while the tobiko gave it a nice contrast in texture.

My companion was thrilled to see Uni on the menu and even happier when told it was delivered fresh that same day.  We initially ordered two orders with quail egg and later ordered an additional two orders.  I have not been a fan of uni when I have had it in the past, however this uni at Osaka looked very fresh so I wanted to give it another try.  While I can’t say I’ve grown to love uni, this was the best uni I’ve had to date.  The freshness gave it a more mild and less mineral-like taste than other uni I’ve eaten.  The creaminess of the egg and the uni was well complimented by the rice.

The Surf Clam was also fresh; pretty good if you like surf clam.
(I personally can take it or leave it.)

We went back to Osaka less than two weeks later and once again ordered the Dancing Roll and the Uni with Quail Egg, as well as the B.M.W. Roll .  The BMW Roll was really good; it had spicy tuna and avocado wrapped with rice and then deep fried.  It was topped with unagi sauce, spicy mayo and tobiko.  Very good!

Service: Our first visit was late on a Friday night, and while it was busy, we had missed the dinner rush and were able to get a nice booth.  Our server greeted us promptly and was very attentive throughout the evening.  Our drinks were brought and refilled when needed and the wait for the sushi to be prepared was minimal for all the items we ordered.
Overall Impression: We enjoyed the Osaka Seafood Steakhouse in Roseville.  It had a cool atmosphere and pretty good sushi.  The hibachi is reasonably priced in comparison to other Japanese steakhouses in the Twin Cities, I would like to give it a try with a group in the future.
Osaka Seafood Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Dec 312011

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi
Restaurant Features: Bar
Location: Northeast Minneapolis, MN
Address: 330 East Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis MN, 55414  612-332-6278
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-12am, Fri 11am-1am, Sat 4pm-1am , Sun 4pm-11pm

Links: Masu Website * Masu on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Masu Sushi and Robata is located in Northeast Minneapolis, just a few blocks from Downtown, on Hennepin Ave and 4th Street. Inside the restaurant, you will instantly discover a wall bearing a large pair of painted-up eyes belonging to an unknown Japanese woman.  The remainder of the restaurant is very contemporary, accessorized in black, red and Masu’s signature lime green.  I was having a such a good time with my companions that I forgot to take photos of the restaurant.  I hope to remedy this asap with a follow-up to Masu ;) Pictured below is a photo taken by Shea Link.

Menu: Izakaya (Small plates) include Japanese Cucumber, Steamed Edamame, Ginger Duck Gyoza, Sauteed Shishito Peppers, Agedashi Tofu, Crispy Pork Kara-Age, Crab and Edamame, Avocado and Oyster Tempura, Crispy Fish Chips, Oyster Shooter, Otsumami  Snack, Tsukemono, Shredded Dried Squid, Oysters on the Half Shell, Beef or Tuna Jerky, and Miso Soup.

Robata are skewers that are grilled.  Options include Sweet Corn, Asparagus, Japanese Mushrooms, Japanese Eggplant, Zucchini, Grilled rice Ball, Chicken Breast and Scallion, Chicken Livers, Chicken Thing, Chicken Wing, Chicken Meatball, Beef and Burdock Roll, Glazed Pork Ribs, Pork Belly, Pork Loin, Jumbo Shrimp, Mackerel, Sardine, Marinated Cod, Salmon with Scallion, and Scallop.

Sushi can be served as Nigiri or Sashimi.  Selections include Akame (Barramundi), Tai Tai (Snapper), Suzuki (Striped Bass), Faux-nagi (Striped Bass) in the style of Unagi, Anago (Sea Eel), Iwashi (Sardine), Saba (Atlantic Mackerel), Aji (Horse Mackerel), Sawara (Spanish Mackerel), Shiro (Magura Albacore) , Maguro (Yellowfin Tuna), Sake (Scottish Salmon), Iwana (Arctic Char), Ika (Squid), Kani (Snow Crab), Hotate (Sea Scallop), Kaibashira (Cooked Scallop with Tobiko), Hokki Gai (Arctic Surf Clam), Ebi (Cooked Wild Shrimp), Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp-Spot Prawn), Awabi (Abalone), Uzura (Quail Egg), Uni (Sea Urchin), Ikura (Salmon Roe), Yuzu Tobiko (Citrus Flying Fish Roe), Masago Capelin (Smelt Roe , Habanero Masago Smelt Roe), Wasabi Tobiko (Japanese Horseradish Flying Fish Roe), and Tomago (Japanese Egg Omelet).

Sushi Rolls include Sake (salmon and cucumber), Kappa (Cucumber), Shinko (Pickled Radish), Takuan Tekka (Takuan Tuna and Pickled Radish), Sabakari Takuan (Mackerel, Pickled Radish and Green Onion), Dynamite (Tuna & Albacore Tuna with Avocado and Chili Sauce) , Spicy Iwana (Arctic Char with Chili Sauce, Burdock, Kaiware and Cucumber ), Yellow Submarine Mamenori (Soy Paper, Masago, Ikura, Burdock, Avocado and Quail Egg), BLT (Crispy Salmon Skin, Lettuce, Tomato, Basil and Spicy Masago Mayonnaise), Poke (Marinated Tuna, Wakame, Scallion, Avocado, Cucumber and Sesame), Spicy Tuna (Tuna with Chili Sauce, Burdock, Avocado and Kaiware), California Roll (Snow Crab, Avocado, Cucumber and Masago ), Firecracker ( Shrimp Tempura, Crab, Avocado, Cucumber with Spicy Tuna and Tempura Flakes), Masu Roll (Shrimp Tempura, Habanero Masago, Avocado, Salmon, Scallop and Unagi Sauce), Chicken Teriyaki (Chicken Teriyaki with Cucumber, Avocado and Sesame Seeds), Rainbow Masago ( Cucumber, Maguro, Suzuki, Iwana, Hotate, Ebi, Tomago and Avocado ), Iwana Arctic Char, Ao-jiso Salted Shiso Leaves, Maguro Yellowfin Tuna, Kani Snow Crab, Oshinko (Assorted Pickled Vegetables), Wasabi Tobiko and Ikura Wasabi (Flavored Flying Fish Roe and Salmon Roe, Kani and Sesame Crab with Black Sesame Seeds), Ume Shiso (Pickled Plum and Japanese Mint), Kinoko (Assorted Japanese Mushrooms), and Uni (Sea Urchin and Yuzu Tobiko).
Price guide: Izakaya $5-11 Robata $2-6 Sushi $6-16
What we ordered: A couple of my companions started with the Oyster Shooter; which included a fresh raw oyster,  raw quails egg, fresh garlic and scallions served in a shot glass, filled to the brim with Sake.  Very exotic and Wonderful!

We then tried the Japanese Cucumber Salad which was wonderful.  The cucumber was thinly sliced and arranged in a wavy pattern then topped with seaweed and a sesame dressing that was tangy and slightly sweet.

We also tried the Spring Rolls filled with crab meat and edamame.  It was served with a spicy ginger dipping sauce.  Each little crispy roll was about 2 bites but the texture was great.

One of my companions had an order of Miso Soup. I did not try this but it looked like ordinary miso soup.

For the Robata we tried four skewers, which we were told had about 5-6 bites each. All four were served on one plate which was passed around.  We tried one Bacon-wrapped Asparagus skewer, one salmon skewer, ( I tried neither)

We also tried the Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp and Shrimp Skewer.  The one bite of robata that I tried was the bacon wrapped shrimp.  It wasn’t the greatest due to the fact that the bacon was barely cooked except for a few char marks.  As much as I love bacon, I am picky about how it is cooked and like it crispy over fatty.  The robata was good but we were not impressed with the amount of food we got for $20

There were several of us dining on this occasion and we were hungry!  Our initial sushi order included a Masu Roll, a Firecracker Roll and a Spicy Tuna Roll (pictured left to right).  The Masu Roll had shrimp tempura, habanero masago, avocado, scallop, salmon and unagi sauce.  This was good but the Firscracker Roll was a huge winner.  It had Shrimp Tempura, Crab, Avocado, Cucumber with Spicy Tuna and Tempura Flakes on top.  The taste and texture of this one was great.  The Spicy Tuna Roll was also delicious and perfectly spicy from the chili sauce.

The first order did not satisfy our sushi craving nor our appetites so we ordered two more orders of the Firecracker roll and a Spicy Iwana Roll.  We loved the Firecracker Roll as much the second time around and the Spicy Iwana Roll was also very good.  It had Arctic Char that was spiced with chili sauce and cucumber, burdock and kaiware.

We continued to eat even after all the sushi had disappeared! We tried the Tonkatsu Curry Noodles, served with a panko-breaded pork cutlet and poached egg.  This had a distinct Japanese flavoring to it but was quite tasty.  The egg yolk really gave the broth a silky texture.

We also ordered the Shrimp Yakisoba, which is fried wheat noodles flavored with a sweet yakisoba sauce.  It had several pieces of shrimp in addition to katsuobushi, which are dehydrated fish flakes, as well as pickled ginger and mayonnaise.  The fish flakes were “waving” when the dish was first brought out to us; it was pretty cool to watch for a second before we dug in.  The mayo gave it a slight creaminess which was a pleasant to the crispness of the veggies.

Service: We had a reservation made a couple of weeks in advance and our table was ready for us when we got there.  I was fortunate to find a spot at a meter just outside the entrance to Masu, otherwise I am not sure where you can park.  Our server had some personal favorites to suggest to us, some we went with, but many we chose on our own.  The entire dinner experience was very drawn out, as we ordered many courses throughout the night.  Masu is the type of place where you want to take your time to enjoy the experience.
Overall Impression: I had heard great things about Masu so I had very high expectations.  I was not disappointed.  The sushi was delicious, with fresh, high-quality fish, albeit slightly expensive.  The Robata was also good but didn’t seem to be as good of a value, unless you plan to only eat a skewer or two.  My companions and I really enjoyed Masu, I will definitely be back.
Masu Sushi & Robata on Urbanspoon

Aug 252011

*******Murasaki is now CLOSED************

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi, Teppanyaki
Restaurant Features: Beer, Wine, On-Site Parking
Location: Stillwater, MN
Address: 1491 Stillwater Blvd N Stillwater, MN 55082  (651) 439-1376
Hours: Closed Mondays * Tues-Thurs 5-9pm * Fri-Sat 4:30-9:30pm  * Sun 4:30-8pm
Links: Murasaki Website * Google Map

Atmosphere: Murasaki is located in a strip mall on Stillwater Blvd, just off Hwy 36.  The restaurant is split into two distinct areas, one area for Teppanyaki , and one with the sushi bar.  The Sushi Bar seats about eight people, and then there are a handful of other tables for dining.  It is simply but stylishly decorated, with cool green paint and Japanese screens covering the windows and walls.

Menu:  Nigiri/Sashimi offered at Murasaki includes Maguro (tuna), Hamachi (yelowtail), Sake (salmon), Smoked Salmon, Hirame (Fliunder), Tai (snapper), Saba (mackerel), Ika (squid), Ebi (cooked shrimp), Unagi (cooked freshwater eel), Anago (cooked saltwater eel), Amaebi (sweet raw shrimp), Tamago (sweet egg omelet), Kani (crab), Hotategi (scallop), Hokkigai (surf clam), Tako (octopus), Masago (smelt roe), Uni (sea urchin), Tobiko (flying fish roe), Wasabi Masago, Ikura (salmon roe), Spicy Scallop, Suzuki (striped bass), and Inari (deep fried tofu).

Specialty Rolls include Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Salmon Skin, Caterpillar (eel, cucumber), Number Nine Roll (shrimp tempura, salmon, avocado), Philly Roll (salmon, cucumber, cream cheese), Murasaki (tuna, salmon and yellow tail), Crunchy Spicy Salmon, Rainbow Roll (crab, cucumber, avocado), Shrimp tempura Roll, Dynamite Roll (yellowtail, jalapeno), Spider Roll (fried soft shell crab), Dragon Roll (shrimp tempura, eel, avocado), Red Dragon Roll (shrimp tempura, tuna).

Cold Appetizers include Kaiso Salad, Go Mae, Tuna Tataki, Beef Tataki, Kani Su, Ika Sansai, Ika Miso, Tako Su, Ebi Su, Hiya Yako, Oshinko Pickles.

Hot Appetizers include Shrimp Shumai, Wasabi Pork Shumai, Edamame, Shrimp Tempura, Vegetable Tempura, Yaki Tori, Beef Kushi Yaki, Soft Shell Crab, Kai Bai Shra Age, Pan Fried Ika, Grilled Ika, Grilled Ika, Spicy Broiled Mussels, Age Dashi Tofu.

Dinner Entrees include Teriyaki (beef, chicken or salmon), Tempura (shrimp, seafood, chicken, vegetable), and Katsu (pork, chicken or shrimp). Bento Box options include Murasaki (pork katsu, steak teriyaki and tempura), Seafood (salmon teriyaki, shrimp tempura, sashimi), and Vegetable.

Hot Pot Dishes at Murasaki include Sukiyaki, Yose Nabe, and Nabe Yaki Udon.

Desserts include Tempura Ice Cream, Japanese Ice Cream and Vanilla Ice Cream.

Price guide: Sashimi $5-10/order Sushi Rolls $9-16

What we ordered: We started with an order of Calamari. These giant, tender pieces of calamari were so big you could almost mistake it for fish, it was cooked perfectly so that the calamari had the right texture and the panko was golden brown. It was served with a creamy dipping sauce.Calamari at Murasaki Japanese ~ Stillwater, MN

We also tried the Korean BBQ Short Ribs.  The taste of these ribs was sweet and the meat was tender…. what little meat there was, that is.  The ribs were very small and had more fat than meat, we both decided these are more work than they’re worth.

Our Sushi Chef also gave us bowl of Kaiso Salad to eat while our sushi was being prepared. Made with seaweed, shredded cucumber and carrots in a sweet sesame vinaigrette sauce.  Very light.

We ate a lot of sushi and fish at Murasaki. First up was the Hamachi and Hokkigai Sashimi.  Hamachi, also known as yellow tail, is my favorite fish to eat raw.  Murasaki served us some of the best hamachi either of us has ever eaten.  The slices were giant and cut to perfection because it was incredibly smooth and tender, none of that stringiness that raw fish sometimes has, it practically melted in my mouth.  It tasted fresh and wonderful as well, without any hint of fishiness.  The Hokkigai (surf clam) was also very fresh.

The first roll we tried was the Crunchy Spicy Tuna.  This roll had tuna covered with spicy mayo, then paired with cucumber.  The roll was covered with crunchy panko flakes then drizzled with unagi sauce and spicy mayo.  Very good, I really enjoy spicy tuna and the crunch just gives it the extra oomph.

We ordered another specialty roll, the Vegas Roll.  This roll had salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, fried in tempura batter and hen topped with slice of jalapeno, spicy mayo and sriracha. This roll had just a little kick to it, which was offset by the smooth, cream cheese.

We had some of more of the delicious hamachi in a simple roll.  Delish!

We couldn’t pass up on the Murasaki Roll, a fine roll with salmon, tuna, hamachi and tobiko, wrapped in rice then covered with panko flakes, spicy mayo and unagi sauce. This roll was also great, I loved the combo of flavors of smooth fish with the contrasting texture of the crunchy panko flakes and flying fish eggs.

Last but certainly not least, as it was my favorite of all the rolls we tried, was the Red Dragon roll. This roll had shrimp tempura, then rolled with rice which was then topped with tuna, avocado, spicy mayo and unagi sauce.

Service: We didn’t have a reservation and knowing that Murasaki gets busy on the weekend,  we made sure to arrive shortly after they opened on a Saturday night.  There were a few tables available, as well as many seats at the sushi bar, so we opted to sit at the sushi bar.  We had a server checking on us throughout the night to refill our drinks, but most of our interaction was with the Sushi Chef.  As the restaurant started to quickly fill up, the sushi chef served most of our rolls one at a time, giving himself time to fill other sushi orders.  The whole dinner process took awhile because we ordered so much food, but we enjoyed every minute.

Overall Impression: Murasaki was one of the best sushi experiences I have had in the Twin Cities.  It may be located in a  strip mall but don’t discredit it, definitely worth the drive out to Stillwater for some top quality sushi.
Sushi Murasaki on Urbanspoon
Sushi Murasaki Reviews in Stillwater

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

May 142011

Cuisine: Banquet, Fish & Seafood, Sushi
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet, Flatscreen TVs, Rooftop Patio
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Address: 1400 West Lake Street Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408 (612) 824-8862
Hours:  *Sunday thru Wed.11:30am to Midnight *Thurs 11:30am-1:00am (food until 11:30) *Fri-Sat 11:30-2:00am (food until 12:30am)

Links: Stella’s Fish Cafe Website * Stella’s on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Stella’s Fish Cafe and Prestige Oyster Bar is located on Lake St,  just across from Calhoun Square. The building is a large three-story building with a rooftop patio.  The main floor is where you will find the bar and the main dining room, as well as the kitchen.

The lower level also contains a tank with live lobsters, just outside the kitchen.

The main floor also has a large bar area with several bistro tables spread throughout.  There are many large windows that let in the sunlight and keep the room bright during the day.

Menu: Appetizers include Sushi Grade Tina Dip, Gorgonzola Table Bread, Surf and Turf Sliders, Jalapeno Skillet Cornbread, Edamame, Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes, Fish Tacos, Deep Fried Walleye Fingers, Coconut Shrimp, Fresh Fried Calamari, Champagne Mussels, Cajun Beef Bites, Oysters Rockefeller, Hot Crab & Spinach Dip, Crispy Fried Chicken Wings.

Stellas also has a Prestige Oyster Bar with a variety of fresh raw oysters including Blue Point, Malpaques, Hog Neck Bay, Hawks Point, Oyster Bay, Totten Inlet, Japanese Style Oysters (topped with ponzu and chives) and Mexican Style Oysters (topped with citrus salsa and pico de gallo).

There are also a variety of fresh sushi rolls including Salmon Explosion( marinated wasabi salmon, cucumber and avocado topped with salmon), White Tuna Roll, Stella Roll (spicy tuna and cucumber), Crunchy (shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumbers), Tuna Poke Roll (ahi tuna, pineapple, asparagus, cilantro, topped with toasted sesame seeds and wasabi mayo), Baked Lobster Roll (crab and asparagus rolled in soy paper topped with baked lobster), Spicy Tuna Palooza (tuna, avocado, carrots, topped with tuna and chives), California Roll and Dragon Roll (tempura shrimp, cucumber, spicy mayo, topped with fresh eel, avocado and teriyaki).

Other Raw Bar items include Peel N Eat Shrimp, Daily Razzle Dazzle Ceviche, Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna, Spicy Tuna Crisps and The Spicy Oshi.

Soups include New England Clam Chowder with Bacon and a Soup du Jour.  Salads offered at Stella’s include Walnut Salad, Caesar, Roasted Beets over Mixed Greens, Miced Field Greens, and Asparagus and Prosciutto.  There are also two larger salads meant for sharing: Caesar and  Grilled Tuna Nicoise.

Stella’s Signatures include Stuffed Tilapia, King Crab, Blackened Swordfish, Stella’s Fish Sampler, Jambalaya, Blackened Ribeye, San Francisco Cioppino.

Fresh Fish selections vary from day to day but may include Grey Snapper, Halibut, Ahi Tuna, Altantic Salmon, Swordfish, Diver Scallops, and Maine Lobster.

Pasta options include Linguini Shrimp Scampi and Blackened Chicken Fettuccini.

Stella also has steaks for those who prefer turf over surf.  Choose from 8 oz Filet Mignon, 16 oz Ribeye, 16 oz New York Strip, and 16 oz Bar Steak.

Platter and Basket options all come with french fries or garlic mashed potatoes and include Barbeque Ribs, Beer Battered Walleye, Coconut Shrimp, Lobster Roll, Fish N Chips, Cornmeal Crusted Catfish and Beer Battered Shrimp.

Price guide: Appetizers $6-15  Oysters $2.50+/ea Sushi $15 Salads $5-15  Signatures $22-55  Fresh Catch $22-35  Steaks $20-35

Happy Hour:

  • Mon-Friday 3-6pm
  • Sat-Sun 12pm-5pm
  • Sun-Thurs 9pm-11pm
  • Fri-Sat 10:30pm-12:30am
  • $5.25 Appetizers: Salmon Burger Sliders, Philly Cheese Steak Sliders, Buffalo Wings, Fat Tire Frickels, BBQ Rib Basket, 1/2 lb Peel & Eat Shrimp, Hot Crab & Spinach Dip, Spicy Fried Calamari, Champagne Mussles, Cheese Curds, Taco of the Day, Ahi Tuna Crisps,
  • $1 Oysters on the half shell
  • 2-for-1 Rails and Taps

Weekly Specials:

Thursday- Crab Feast $24.95

Sunday- 1 1/4 lb whole live lobster $19.95

What we ordered: There was no doubt in my mind that we would be eating fresh oysters to start, the question was which kind we would order.  Opting to eat in the dining room instead of having Happy Hour in the bar where the oysters were much cheaper, we ordered a dozen of the Blue Point Oysters because they seemed to be the best value and they came recommended by our server.  These were tasty and tender without any hint of fishiness and even better when dressed with lemon, cocktail and fresh horseradish.  My only complaint was that the size of the oysters was not consistent and some of them were very small.

There were many items on the menu that sounded delicious and the server had many good suggestions but when it came down to it, I ordered the Fish & Chips, a regular feature.  These thick pieces of flaky cod were very enjoyable; the batter that was used had a pleasant mix of seasoning and the perfect amount of golden crispiness without being too greasy.  There were three pieces of the cod which didn’t seem like an overly big portion for the price but it was truly excellent fish.  The fries were fresh-cut and also very good, as were the tartar sauce and cole slaw.

After hearing a lot about Lobster Rolls recently, that is what my companion decided to order for dinner.  The large pieces of cold lobster were tossed with mayo, celery, and a dash of lemon, then topped onto a warm, toasty baquette.  This sandwich was quite good, especially to eat on a warm summer day.  I personally prefer my lobster hot and buttery but this was a very refreshing way to eat it.

Service: We had pretty good service at Stella’s Fish Cafe.  Our server was knowledgeable of the menu and had many recommendations.  Our drinks were refilled in a  decent amount of time but our meals were served to us too soon after the oysters were brought out.  It is a pet peeve of mine to have the main course served before the appetizer is finished or taken away, the experience just isn’t as enjoyable when I feel rushed.

Overall Impression: I had been wanting to try Stella’s for years and finally made the trip to Uptown specifically to have oysters and fish.  The oysters were good and the fish and chips were also excellent.  Next time I will try to make it out on a nice day to take advantage of the rooftop patio and the cheap happy hour oyster specials!

Stella's Fish Cafe on Urbanspoon

Aug 262010

Cuisine: Street Foods from around the Equator:  Asian, Caribbean, Mexican, South American, and Polynesian
Restaurant Features: Banquet Room, Bar
Location: Minneapolis (Uptown)
Address: 2916 Hennepin Ave  Minneapolis, MN  55408  ( 612) 824-7878

Hours: Sun-Thurs  4:30pm-1am   Fri-Sat  4:30p-2am

Links: Chino Latino Website * Chino Latino on FacebookGoogle Map

Outside Chino Latino

Outside Chino Latino

Atmosphere:  Chino Latino is located in Uptown on Hennepin Ave at Lake St (across from Calhoun Square).  It is a cool and chic restaurant that runs two stories, with most tables set closely together.  Most of the tables are big enough for larger parties, but there is also a extra-long community table on the lower level that allows for much bigger parties.  One side of the restaurant hosts a sushi bar, the other side has a giant bar that illuminates the entire restaurant with its orange glow.  The kitchen is on the lower level, as are the bathrooms.
Inside Chino Latino

Inside Chino Latino

Inside View of Chino Latino

Inside View of Chino Latino

Menu: The Menu at Chino Latino is printed on a daily basis, so items may vary depending on season and availability.

Tacos include Barbacoa (shredded beef), Tinga (stewed chicken), Crunchy Carne, and Mijangos (stewed chicken).

Sushi Options include Chipotle Salmon Roll, Salmon Roll, White Tiger Roll, Tuna Tataki, Weed Eater, Kalifornia Krab Roll, Spicy Mango Shrimp Caterpillar Roll, Ring of Fire Roll, and Sushi Sampler.

Little Dishes on my visit included Habanero Poppers, Queso Fundido, Chinese BBQ ribs, Black Laab (Thai lettuce wraps),  Jerk Chicken Skewers, Shrimp Feast, Tostada de Tinga, Firecracker Wings, Popocatepe (nacho-style fries), Potstickers, Shrimp Wraps, Shrimp Lollopops, Plum Blossom Salad, Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Cup, Empanada de Janeiro, Pescado Ahumado, Satay, Nachos del Sol, Chicken Enchiladas, Calamari, Mushi-Buro Beef, Crispy Saigon Rolls, Spicy Edamame, and Polynesian Pupu Platter.

Bigger Dishes to Share include Carne Asada Ala Moreliana (taco platter), Coconut Shrimp Curry, Mahi Mahi, Lo Mein, Philippine Paella, Fish Taco Platter, Banana Boat Chicken, Cuban Pork Roast, Mandarin Beef Stir Fry, Jerked Chicken, Big Chipotle Burrito, Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice, Miso Noodles, Kung Pao Chicken, Argentine Rodizio Roast, Cuban Pig Roast, and Cuy (roasted Guinea Pig).

Dessert Options include Deep Fried Snickers, Molten Chocolate Cake, Fried Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream, S’Mores Platter, Chocolate Flandango (flan layered with chocolate cake), Brownie Tres Leches, Fried Ice Cream, Mango Spiced Cake, Ice Cream, and Banana Split.

There are countless “Hot Zone Cocktails” at Chino Latino including a variety of Mojitos, Martinis, Margaritas, and many other fruity drinks.  Several Beers and Wines also available.

Price guide: Tacos $3-4  Sushi $12-25  Little Plates $7-17  Big Plates  $19-35  Desserts $6-14

What we ordered: **Must warn you that these photos are not very good, I was forced to use flash because of the eerie orange glow**

I started with the House Margarita, made with Sauza, fresh lime juice and Triple Sec.  Maybe I have gotten spoiled with all the sweet margaritas I have had lately, but I thought this margarita was terrible! It was bitter and strong, no matter how many limes I squeezed into it, it did not get much better.  A few of my friends had the same one and enjoyed it.  Must be a matter of preference, but I would not get it again.

Margarita ~ Chino Latino

Margarita ~ Chino Latino

I ordered the Pescado Ahumado, a delicious dish of bite-size pieces of smoked swordfish tossed in a light, creamy citrusy dressing, served with fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, and thick corn tortilla chips.  I loved it!  The smokiness of the fish was subtle but gave it such a nice flavor, there was no hint of fishiness at all.  The texture of the swordfish was very dense, almost more like poultry than fish.  Excellent choice!

Pescado Ahumado ~ Chino Latino

Pescado Ahumado ~ Chino Latino

One of my companions ordered the Chicken Enchiladas.  There were 3-4 corn tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken and black beans, then covered with a spicy chile salsa and topped with shredded lettuce, sour cream and tomatoes.  I tried some of these enchiladas and thought they were good, but not a highlight on the Chino Latino menu.  So many other fun and yummy things to try!

Chicken Enchiladas ~ Chino Latino

Chicken Enchiladas ~ Chino Latino

Another companion ordered Fried Rice with Chicken.  This was a giant order of fried rice, with tons of peppers, green onion, egg and chicken.  Absolutely delicious!

Chicken Fried Rice ~ Chino Latino

Chicken Fried Rice ~ Chino Latino

Another companion ordered the Potstickers, an order of six large pan-fried dumplings stuffed with chicken and vegetables.  Served with a ginger-soy dipping sauce.  Very yummy!

Postickers ~ Chin Latino

Postickers ~ Chin Latino

Another companion ordered the Ochos Rios Jerk Chicken Skewers, one of the best things that I tried! The chicken was very spicy and served with a delicious, refreshing mango pico de gallo.  The sweetness of the mango was the perfect compliment to the spicy chicken.

Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa ~ Chino Latino

Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa ~ Chino Latino

Another companion ordered the Nachos del Sol.  These nachos were unlike most you might be familiar with, because they were served with fried plantain chips instead of tortilla chips.  The bowl contained black beans, chorizo, pico de gallo, queso fresco, sour cream and jalapenos for dipping the chips.

Nachos ~ Chino Latino

Nachos ~ Chino Latino

And last but not least, is the Sushi Sampler that two of my companions shared.  Just one look at this tray and I was envious of their choice! For $25, this is the best sushi deal you can get at Chino Latino because you get to try the Tiger Shrimp Roll, Mango Shrimp Caterpillar Roll, Wasabi Tuna Balls, and Chipotle Salmon Roll.  Outstanding sushi!

Sushi Platter ~ Chino Latino

Sushi Platter ~ Chino Latino

Service: We had very good service while at Chino Latino.  We had a party of eight without a reservation but they were able to seat us without too long of a wait.  The drinks took some time and the food was brought out as it was made, so we were all eating at different times.  One thing that is very nice is that Chino Latino has some round tables and booths made for up to 10 people so we were all able to conversate more intimately and there is a lazy-susan in the middle of the table to easily share dishes.
Overall Impression: I love the food at Chino Latino and think the concept of  “street foods from the hot zones” is absolutely genius.  I wish the prices were a little more affordable so I could eat there often and try everything on the menu!

Chino Latino on Urbanspoon

Apr 012010

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, Zashiki Room
Locations: Minneapolis & St Paul, MN
Addresses & Maps:

St Paul– 465 Wabasha St N St. Paul, MN 55102 (651) 310-0111

Minneapolis– 600 W Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55408


St Paul M-F 11a-2:30p Mon-Sat 5-10p

Minneapolis Tue-Th 5-10p Fri-Sat 5-10:30a Sun 5-9p

Links: Fuji Ya Website * Fuji Ya on Facebook

Fuji Ya St Paul, MN

Atmosphere: The St Paul location can be found in downtown St Paul at the corner of 7th and Wabasha.  There is a small dining room with tables to accommodate up to 30, with additional seating at the sushi bar at the front of the restaurant.  There is also a private Zashiki Room behind the paneled doors pictured in the back in the photo below.  During the day the natural lighting is soft and calming, with fresh flowers adorning every table

Inside of Fuji Ya

Lunch Menu: Appetizers include Yakitori(chicken and green onions on swewer) , Harumaki (Japanese style eggrolls), Agedashi Tofu, Edamame, Gyoza, Tempura Appetizer, Soft Shell Crab, and Spinach Gomae.

Sushi options include 2-piece Nigiri or 3 Piece Sashimi: Akaza Ebi (Japanese Lobster), Ama Ebi (sweet raw shrimp), Anago (salt water eel), Ebi (shrimp), Hamachi (yellowtail), Hirame (flounder), Hokki (surf clam), Hotate (raw scallop), Ika (squid), Ikura (salmon roe), Inari (deep fried tofu), Kampachi (small yellowtail), Kaibashira (cooked scallop), Kaki (oysters), Kani (crab leg meat), Madai (japanese red snapper), Maguro (tuna), Masago (smelt roe), Mirugai (giant clam), Mutsu (white toro), Saba (mackerel), Shake (salmon), Suzuki (striped sea bass), Tai (red snapper), Tako (octopus), Tamago 9egg custard), Tobiko (flying fish roe), Toro (oily tuna), Unagi (fresh water eel) and Uni (sea urchin)

Specialty Rolls include Dynamite, Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Philly, Spider, Salmon skin, California, Tempura, Caterpillar, Crunchy, Wasabi Crunchy, New York, Dragon, #9, Winter and Futo.

There are also a handful of sushi lunch specials including Sushi Lunch, Sashimi Lunch, Makimono Lunch and Sushi Appetizer.

Noodle Dishes at Fuji Ya include Udon or Soba noodle soup served with choice of: Tempura, Vegetable Tempura, Sauteed Beef & Vegetable, and Sauteed Vegetables.  Ramen Noodles come with choice of Spicy Seafoos, Spicy Chicken, Yaki-Soba, and Yaki-Meshi.

Lunch Entrees include Teriyaki (chicken or beef), Bulgogi (chicken or beef), Katsu (chicken or beef), and Tempura.  Donburi “Bowl” Dishes include  Oyako Don, Chuka Don, Unagi Don, and Tofu Don.

There are three Bento Box specials including Fuji Ya Special, Reiko’s and the Vegetarian.

Fuji Ya also offers Hibachi, your very own personal teppanyaki choice of chicken, shrimp or vegetables.

Dinner menu offers same appetizers  from the lunch menu with the addition of the following items: Miso or Sumasi Soup, House Salad, Kaiso, Sunomono Salad, Tuna Tataki, Calamari, Sauteed Salmon and Sashimi Salad.

Dinner Entrees include Sesame Encusted Tuna, Seafood Doria, Black Angus Toban Yaki, Teriyaki Chicken, Roast Duck with Raspberry Teriyaki, Tempura, Salmoin Shio-Yaki,  Yose Nabe, and Sukiyaki.
Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Sushi $5-9 per order Specialty Roll $6-17 Noodles $7-10 Lunch entree $9-15  Dinner Entree $17-23

Happy Hour: Mon-Thurs 5-7p $4-5 appetizers See Happy Hour Menu
What I ordered: I was very hungry and knew I could spend a fortune on sushi, which is what I really wanted to eat but did not have the budget for.  I decided to get the #9 Roll (knowing that it would not fill me up), which was 8 delicious pieces of  Tempura shrimp with cucumber and spicy mayo, wrapped with salmon and avocado, then topped with special unagi sauce.  I loved every bite, but was indeed still hungry after eating.

One of my companions ordered the Sushi Lunch special which came with 6 pieces of maki roll (tuna) and 5 pieces of chef’s choice nigiri, served with miso soup.

Another companion ordered the Soba Noodle Soup with Vegetable Tempura.  There was a generous portion of tempura-battered onions, shredded carrots, sweet potato, broccoli and parsley and a large soup bowl filled with wheat soba noodles and broth.

Another companion was trying Japanese cuisine for the first time and wanted to go with something a little “safe”.  The Oyako Don was a good choice: Big bowl of rice and noodles topped with sliced chicken breast cooked in a dashi sauce, eggs, and a few veggies.  Flavorful but on the mild side.

Service: My companions and I were all able to find metered parking nearby, which was very nice! Our visit was on a Friday during the lunch rush and it was busy as expected.  Our server was nice but we didn’t see much of her; she was the only server scheduled for the entire dining room and was very busy.  Drinks took longer than necessary to be refilled but food was reasonably fast considering the day and time.
Overall Impression: I thought the specialty sushi that I had was very good, but I was left hungry for the amount of money I spent (typical for a quality sushi restaurant!). Would love to see an all-you-can-eat sushi option at Fuji-Ya but know that is unlikely.

Fuji Ya on Urbanspoon

Nov 282009

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and my meal was provided by the restaurant. All opinions are my own.
Cuisine: American, Sushi, Seafood, Steaks, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour
Locations: Mall of America, Edina (Galleria), St Louis Park (Shops at West End)

Addresses & Maps:

Mall of America– 368 South Avenue Bloomington, MN 55425 952.854.5000 (3rd Floor Across from Macy’s)
Edina-520 W. 70th Street Edina, MN 55435  952.697.6000

St Louis Park-1603 West End Blvd. St. Louis Park, MN 55416 952.933.6500

Hours: MOA- Lunch 11a-4p  Dinner M-Sa 4p-10p Sun 4p-8p

Edina- Lunch 11a-4p  Dinner M-Th 4-10p Fri-Sat 4-11p Sun 4-9p

St Louis Park- Lunch 11a-4p  Dinner M-Th 4-10p Fri-Sat 4-11p Sun 4-9p

Links: Crave Website * Crave on FacebookOpenTable Reservation

Atmosphere: The Mall of America location of Crave is on the 3rd floor of South Ave, across from Macy’s.  The restaurant is large and spacious, with a large bar off to the left side near the entrance and a sushi bar centrally placed along the wall in the middle of the main dining room.  Although the majority of seating is at tables throughout the dining room, there are also several high-backed booths that allow for more privacy.  The lighting is dim and romantic, with mood lighting created by the illuminated art behind the sushi bar and the softly glowing candles at each table.

The kitchen is open along the back of the restaurant, with subtle views of the place where the chefs work their magic.  The lighting from the kitchen also gives the nearby tables a soft glow.


Menu: The menu changes seasonally and features natural, organic and locally grown ingredients.  All beef is certified beef.

Appetizers on the new Fall Menu at Crave include Calamari, Chicken Satay, Lemon Garlic Wings, Pita & Spreads, Seared Scallops, Baked Crab & Artichoke Dip, Pesto Shrimp, Mini Burgers, Gingered Beef Eggrolls, Artisan Bread Basket, and Edamame.

Salads offered include Asian Noodle Salad, Atlantic Salmon, Steak Niçoise, Starter Crave Salad, Starter Caesar, Starter Roasted Beet & Walnut.  Soups include Hearty Tomato Pesto, Roasted Chicken & Wild Rice, and Leek & Potato.

Pizzas and Flatbreads at Crave are also quite popular.  Flatbread choices are the Roasted Chicken (with pesto, sun dried tomato and portobella mushrooms), Grape & Apple (with Amablu cheese and honey), Thai Chicken (a peanut sauce with cilantro, Asian cabbage and marinated cucumber), and the Napoleon (with garlic prosciutto). Pizzas include Pepperoni or Sausage, Margarita, Shaved Ribeye and the Chipotle BBQ Chicken.

Sandwiches on the dinner menu include Steak Sandwich, Ahi Tuna Steak and Crave Burger.

Pasta selections at Crave include Seas Scallop & Shrimp Fettuccine, Fettuccine & Roasted Mushrooms, Shrimp Scampi Al Fresco, Roasted Chicken and Penne, Baked Truffle Macaroni, Baked Cheese Penne, Spaghetti Pomodoro, and Ravioli Bolognese. Crave offers the option of a half-order of any of their pastas.

Crave has a nice selection of dinner entrees as well, such as the Grilled Petite Tender, Grilled Ribeye, Crab Crusted Filet Mignon, Tuscan New York Strip, Brined Pork Tenderloin, Chicken Stir-Fry, Crispy Half Chicken, Mango & Prawns, Grilled Ahi Tuna, Pistachio Crusted Salmon, Minnesota Walleye, Miso Glazed Sea Bass

The sushi selection at Crave is also pretty extensive.  Nigiri and Sashimi offerings include Crispy Rice Bars with Spicy Tuna, Scallops Poppers, Amaebi (sweet raw shrimp), Hamachi (yellowtail), Hirame (flounder), Hokki-Gai (surf clam), Maguro (red tuna), Mutsu (escolar), Sake (salmon), Suzuki (striped sea bass), Ebi (cooked shrimp), Unagi (cooked eel), Masago (smelt roe), Tako (octopus), Tobiko (flying fish roe), Wasabi Tobiko, and Seaweed Salad.

Maki Sushi offerings are the Tekka (tuna), Sake (salmon), Negihama (yellowtail and scallions), Unagi (cooked eel), Kappa (cucumber), Spicy Shrimp Cones, Chipotle Ocean Roll, Keilani;s Roll (shrimp tempuraavocado, wrapped with eel), Mexican Roll (yellowfin and escolar with avocado, cilantro,  jalapeños and spicy mayo), Number Nine (crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll), Dragon Wraps, Rainbow, Caterpillar, Spider, Veggie Roll, Tempura Roll, Spicy Tuna, California, Minnesota(cooked smoked walleye), Dynamite, Spicy Salmon, Crunchy Roll and Fire Roll.  There are alsoa  couple of sushi combos like the Sushi Sampler, Sushi Lunch Combo and Sashimi Lunch Combo.

Crave also has a delicious selection of desserts that changes seasonally.  The Fall desserts at Crave include Golden Raisin Bread Pudding, Key Lime Pie, Molten Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, German Chocolate Cake, and Coconut White Cake.  The dessert menu also includes a variety of after-dinner drinks such as the Girl Scout Cookie and Buttery Bailey’s, Ports and Dessert Wines, and hot cafe drinks.

Price guide: Appetizers $8-13 Salads $8-15 Pizza/Flatbreads $12-13 Pastas $14-24 Entrees $24-37 Nigiri/Sashimi $6-10/order  Sushi Rolls $7-19/order
Happy Hour Specials:


What we ordered: My companion and I started with a couple of the Crave specialty cocktails, the Cranberry Smash and the Blueberry Lemonade.  The Cranberry Smash was made with vodka, ginger ale, mint leaves and cranberry juice.  The Opulent vodka revved up the drink but it wasn’t overly strong. The ginger ale gave it a pleasant sweetness that I wasn’t expecting, but the cranberries were tart enough to counter the sweetness.  I loved that the cranberries were frozen into ice cubes and floated at the top.  The Blueberry Lemonade was also very good and slightly sweeter than the Cranberry drink.  Excellent blend of flavors.


The Pesto Shrimp appetizer came highly recommended by our server so we started with that.  What a great start to a great night of food! The sauteed tiger shrimps were served
on little slices of crostini toast that had been topped with oven-dried tomato, and then the shrimp toast was covered with pistachio pesto.  The shrimp was perfectly cooked so it was tender and complimented the crunch of the toast.  The pesto sauce was creamy and rich, a perfect sauce to go with the shrimp.


The Panko-Crusted Scallops also sounded really good so we tried an order of those as well.  These scallops may have been some of the best I have ever eaten! The scallops were large and coated with a layer of panko bread crumbs before being seared to a golden brown in the pan. They were cooked so that the meat was tender enough to melt in your mouth, yet the panko and seared edges gave it a nice crunch.  The scallops were served with a dressy arrangement of picatta buerre blanc and fresh field greens.  The butter and capers added the perfect touch of saltiness to compliment the sweetness of the scallop meat.


Sushi Chef Tony Lam brought us a special sampler platter that included a Mexican roll, ceviche, flying fish roe with quail egg wrapped in salmon,  amaebi (sweet raw shrimp), crispy rice bars, prawn heads, and three different fish mixtures atop cucumber slices.

The Mexican roll (pictured top right in photo above) is Crave’s most popular roll and became my new
favorite after just one bite.  This roll is the perfect marriage of
Mexican and Sushi, two of my most favorite foods.  It had both yellow fin
tuna and escolar with avocado, cilantro, a slice of fresh jalapeño
and spicy mayo wrapped in rice and seaweed.  It is then topped with a soy citrus sauce (ponzu), and
chili oil with fresh lime juice squeezed on top. It was so good! I
loved the spiciness of the jalapeño, and the lime and cilantro gave it a
fresh citrus twist.  The tuna and the escolar inside the Mexican roll
were very tender and not at all fishy. Bravo!

The Crispy Rice Bars were also wonderful.  The rice cake was like a thick chewy rice cracker and had a lot more flavor than ordinary sticky rice.  It was topped with a heaping pile of spicy tuna mix, flying fish roe, and sliced jalapeno pepper. The combination of textures went together really well and I enjoyed it quite a bit.


The ceviche was one of my favorite items that Sushi Chef Tony Lam made for us to try.  A very thin slice of potato was fried with tempura batter and then topped with sliced raw fish that was marinated with a citrus soy sauce, scallions and fresh chili peppers.  It was packed with flavor and the tenderness of the fish paired with the texture of the tempura potato went perfectly together.

The sushi was so good we ordered even more of Sushi Master Tony’s creations.  Clockwise From Lower Left: The Mexican Roll, Fire Roll, Number Nine, Dragon Wrap (top right), Hokki and Hamachi Sashimi, and Scallop Poppers (pictured in photo after the one below)


The Number Nine was filled with pieces of shrimp
tempura, spicy mayo, kaiware and yama gobo wrapped with salmon and
avocado and topped with a sweet soy based sauce. The Fire Roll was filled with pieces of shrimp tempura, cucumber, kaiware and yama gobo wrapped with
a spicy salmon mix and topped with chili oil.  This one was nice and spicy, just the way I like it.  The Dragon Wraps were also good.  Instead of rice, this roll is made with an egg omelet wrapped around  spicy tuna,
fresh water eel, avocado, fried green onions, crunchy flakes and miso
dressing.  Served in two big rolls.
The Scallop Poppers were also excellent. The scallops were baked in spicy dynamite sauce then wrapped in salmon and topped with crunchy panko flakes. Loved the combination of flavors and textures.


For my entree I ordered the Crab Crusted Filet MIgnon. This was outstanding! The filet was thick and cooked medium, as I requested.  It had a creamy crab and cheese mixture with just the slightest hint of buttery breadcrumbs baked on top and served on a bed of lobster cream sauce.  This absolutely melted in my mouth. The crab and cheese together created a rich flavor that went slendidly with the tender and juicy beef.  Herb roasted new potatoes and buttery seasoned baby carrots were also served, both were very good.

My companion had the Miso Seabass.  The perfectly-cooked Korean miso sea bass was served atop a bed of steamed white rice and adorned with baby bok choy and a crimson ponzu sauce.  Asian pickled cucumbers sat layered atop the fish.  This dish was delicious as well! The flavorful yet mild sea bass went really well with the sweet, fruity panzu sauce.


Despite being extremely full after enjoying all of this delicious food, we also tried a sushi dessert.  What an extraordinary creation this was! The middle of the the roll had homemade vanilla-bean cheesecake and a slice of fresh mango then wrapped with a thin layer of rice and topped with a thin slice of strawberry. The roll was arranged atop a drizzling of chocolate and vanilla sauce.  The cheesecake and rice were such a unique combo of flavors and textures and together it was like a thick, fruity, creamy and sweet rice pudding.  So different and so, so good!

Service: We had exceptional service at our first visit to Crave.  The hostesses were very friendly and our server, Dawn, was very knowledgeable about the menu and had some wonderful suggestions about appetizers, entrees and cocktails too.  We ordered a lot of food and took our time but never felt rushed since food was paced perfectly.  The restaurant wasn’t too busy (nor was the Mall in general) on this pre-holiday-shopping-season Tuesday evening and we were able to get great customer service and attention from everyone all the way up to the manager.

Overall Impression: The culinary and sushi creations were outstanding. I tried quite a variety of foods and loved every single thing.  The Mexican Roll should win an award! There is quite a variety on the menu and the Happy Hour specials are a really good deal.  Great place to have a casual yet elegant dinner and worth every penny for the fine ingredients.  The service was exceptional.  I can’t wait to go back again soon!
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