Aug 152012
 

Here are our current picks for Best Juicy Lucy.  Thanks to my partner Erick for contributing his opinions in this list, which will grow and change as necessary.  I requested his opinion since I do not eat American Cheese under any circumstances, and that is the most traditional cheese within the Juicy Lucy.. If you know of other Juicy Lucy burgers  that we need to try, please leave a recommendation ;)

#1 The Nook ~ The Nook is the best burger joint around and their Juicy Nookie gets our vote for the Best Lucy in the Twin Cities. This classic has two patties formed around a center of molten cheese served on a soft brioche bun.  My #1 companion loves this burger and thinks The Nook has the best one personally tried thus far.  The Nook also offers a handful of stuffed burgers for those who prefer other cheeses including the Paul Molitor (stuffed with pepperjack), The Spanish Fly (50/50 chorizo-beef burger stuffed with Queso), Stuffed Philly (with peppers, onions, swiss) and Guy’s Big Bite (stuffed with bacon and pepperjack then topped with roast beef and cheddar). There is also a Stuffed Burger of the Month. I have had the Paul Molitor burger and the Orchard Burger, the feature for August 2012.  The Orchard Burger is stuffed with cheddar, bacon and apples then topped with an apricot glaze.  Every burger we’ve ever tried at The Nook  has been a winner and they make our future list of Cheap Eats as well, considering the burgers come with fresh-cut fries for less than $8.  Who can beat that?
Juicy Nookie Burger at The Nook ~ St Paul, MN

Tin Cups ~ All burgers at Tin Cup’s are cooked over charcoal and then finished on the flat-top so you get the heavenly flavor of the grill.  It also came on a big toasted bun with coleslaw and french fries.  My companion ordered the Cedar Avenue Lucy, which is the Classic Juicy Lucy stuffed with American Cheese.  Normally it comes with caramelized onions but it was requested to leave them off.  I didn’t try this burger but my companion thought it was awesome, ranking just behind The Nook for best Juicy Lucy in town.  This gets my second place vote because they have several varieties of Juicy Lucy, just in case you’re like me and don’t eat American Cheese.  My favorite Juicy Lucy at Tin Cup’s are the French Dipper (stuffed with swiss and fried onions and a side of au jus) and the Dirty Lucy (stuffed with bleu cheese, jalapenos, caramelized onions and olives).

Matt’s Bar ~ The Jucy Lucy at the famous Matt’s Bar, is only about 1/3 lb, but a whole lot of goodness is packed into this smaller package.  The inside has molten American cheese that could burn your face in .2 seconds if you aren’t careful! The patty was served atop pickle rounds.  Matt’s offers fried onions with the burgers if you so desire. Good stuff, albeit a little greasy.   Shoestring fries are sold separately, by the basket.Jucy Lucy at Matt's Bar ~ Minneapolis, MN

Blue Door Pub ~ The Blue Door Pub is well-known for their many varieties  of  “Juicy Blucys”, which are what they call their version of the locally known cheese-stuffed burgers.   Options include the Blucy (bleu cheese and garlic), The Luau (stuffed with mozzarella and pineapple, Canadian Bacon on top), The Classic (cheddar cheese), Breakfast Blucy (cheddar, bacon topped with fried egg), Bangkok Blucy (mozzarella soaked in coconut milk and topped with pickled carrots, cucumbers, red onions and ginger), Cajun Blucy (pepperjack and jalapeños), Mushroom Swiss, Bacon Blucy (cheddar and bacon), The Frenchy (swiss and caramelized onions with a  side of au jus), and The Merriam Park (bacon, bleu cheese, garlic and topped with red currant jelly).  Fries and tator tots are $2 extra.  The burgers are great but the restaurant is always packed and there is always a long wait for a seat…. be prepared.

5-8 Tavern & Grill  ~ The eastern sister to the 5-8 Club in Minneapolis, home of the original Juicy Lucy, has a variety of Juicy Lucy’s as well.  This 1/2 lb burger comes with choice of stuffed American, Swiss, pepperjack or bleu cheese.  Burgers are served in a  basket with JoJo potatoes or you can upgrade to onion rings.  The quality of beef is excellent but the burger is so big and substantial that the cheese just doesn’t get hot enough to become truly molten, it is more gooey. And there is a LOT of it.  I personally prefer the un-stuffed burgers at 5-8  but they are known for having  many faithful Juicy Lucy followers.

So there you have it….. Twin Cities Restaurant Blog’s picks for Best Juicy Lucy.

Which Juicy Lucy in town is your favorite??  If you know of other restaurants that offer stuffed cheeseburgers (Juicy Lucy), please leave a comment and let us know!

Jan 222012
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 202011
 

Here are my current picks for Best Fish ‘n’ Chips based on the restaurants I have personally visited and reviewed.  This list will grow and change as necessary.  If you know of  other great fish & chips at other restaurants  that I need to try, please leave me a recommendation in the comments of this post. Restaurants, if you were named here, please feel free to use the badge to display on your own websites.

#1 Charlie’s Restaurant ~ This basket of crinkle fries was topped with one large fillet of walleye that was beer-battered and fried.  The fillet was impressive; not only was it long, it was also thick and meaty.  It was served with a homemade tartar that had dill rather than the traditional pickle.  Seriously good fish!

#2 Stella’s Fish Cafe ~ 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 coleslaw.

#3 The Anchor Fish & Chips ~ The cod filet was served in one large piece, battered and crispy with a sprinkling of sea salt.  The fish was light and flaky and the addition of the salt was a really nice touch.  There was a generous amount of chips in the basket, thick-cut fries lightly fried.  The curry sauce was a nice accompaniment to the fries and kicked up the flavor  few notches.  I also enjoyed the mushy peas, which were mushy and buttery.

#4 Patriot’s Tavern ~ The Fish N Chips at Patriot’s Tavern come with two pieces of beer-battered cod. The fish is thickly cut and flaky, with a very crispy battered and fried crust. Served with steak cut fries and homemade tartar sauce

#5 Jethros Char House ~ The Fish & Chips at Jethros is not a regular feature on the menu, but is offered as the Wednesday and Friday Night specials.  Fresh pollock is used and then breaded and deep fried.  The order starts with three thick, flaky pieces of fish but since it is an AYCE, order as much as you want! Comes with steak fries, toast, and coleslaw.

Wednesday Fish Fry at Jethros ~ Mahtomedi, MN

Wednesday Fish Fry at Jethros ~ Mahtomedi, MN

#6 Manitou Station ~ The Fish N Chips at Manitou Station comes with a fillet cut into two pieces of fish, thickly breaded.  The basket comes with thick-cut steak fries or you can order the meal which comes with the addition of mushy peas.

#7 Meredee’s Bistro ~ There were many pieces of cod, all of which had been battered with a light batter that was similar to tempura. The cod was very good.  The fish usually comes with fries or you can substitute for vegetables.

Cod Dinner at Meredee's Bistro ~ Chisago City, MN

Cod Dinner at Meredee’s Bistro ~ Chisago City, MN

Need to Try:
Mac’s Fish & Chips

Oct 162011
 

Here are my current picks for Best Artichoke Dip based on the restaurants I have personally visited and reviewed.  This list will grow and change as necessary.  If you know of  tasty artichoke dips at other restaurants  that I need to try, please leave me a recommendation in the comments of this post ;)

#1 Joe Senser’s Sports Theater ~ The Crab & Artichoke at Joe Senser’s really stands out as a winner.  The piping-hot baked dip was served in a ramekin with a pile of hot pita wedges, topped with fresh pico de gallo.  I thought this dip was delicious and flavorful.  You could distinctly taste both the well-blended crab and the artichokes, and a slightly smokey flavor somewhere in the blend of cheeses.  There was enough dip to pile it on every piece of pita.  A very different flavor than artichoke-spinach dip, but excellent all the same.

#2 Brit’s PubBrit’s Artichoke & Spinach dip has been my family’s favorite since the recipe was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune several years ago. It contains a blend of Four cheeses, and large chunks of artichoke hearts, fresh spinach and tomatoes. It could’ve been more bubbly brown on top but still excellent.  It is served with toasted baguette slices.   This dish is usually $11.95 but is offered during Happy Hour for a mere $4.95

#3 Gordy’s Steakhouse ~ The Spinach Artichoke Dip at Gordy’s is a large serving of creamy, cheesy dip served with a loaf of warm baguette.  This dip was heavenly! It had several bite-sized pieces of tender artichoke, along with spinach and green onion, baked with a blend of cheeses.  The crusty bread was partially sliced and offered the perfect compliment in texture to the creamy dip.  The serving was quite big and would easily feed more than two

Artichoke and Spinach Dip at Gordy's Steakhouse ~ Mahtomedi, MN

Artichoke and Spinach Dip at Gordy’s Steakhouse ~ Mahtomedi, MN

#4 Porterhouse Steaks and Seafood ~ The Spinach Artichoke Dip at Porterhouse is also delicious, it was rich and creamy from the parmesan cheese and had large chunks of artichoke and spinach blended throughout.  It was served with a loaf of hot baguette.  Big portion.

#5 Santorini Taverna ~ The Artichoke and Crab Dip at Santorini Taverna is 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.

#6 Chianti Grill ~ The Spinach Artichoke Dip at Chianti Grill is also very good.  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.

#7 Bunny’s Bar & Grill ~ The Artichoke Dip at Bunny’s is a creamy blend of artichokes, roasted red peppers, chiles and parmesan cheese.  It was baked in a ramekin and served with garlic toast.  Delicious and flavorful!

#8 Tria~ The Artichoke Dip at Tria is 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

#9 Shorewood Bar & Grill ~ The Spinach Artichoke Dip at Shorewood is a creamy blend of cheeses baked in a ramekin and served with pita bread.  It had the rich flavor of artichoke, spinach, onions, parmesan and other cheeses and was baked until the cheese was a bubbly golden color.

Spinach Artichoke Dip at Shorewod Bar & Grill ~ Fridley, MN

Spinach Artichoke Dip at Shorewood Bar & Grill ~ Fridley, MN

#10 WA Frost & Co ~ The Artichoke Dip at WA Frost is also wonderful.  The blend of cheese and artichoke was covered with cheese and baked to a crispy brown.  It was served with lavasch, a cracker-style flatbread. This is a  feature on the HH menu so the portion size is quite small.

Artichoke Dip at WA Frost & Co ~ St Paul, MN

Artichoke Dip at WA Frost & Co ~ St Paul, MN

#11 Psycho Suzi’s ~ The Backfire Dip at Psycho Suzi’s is a chunky dip made with artichokes, jalapenos, red pepper and cheeses.  This was a flavorful dip similar to many artichoke dips with the exception that it was much spicier than the average due to the jalapenos.  I thought it was pretty good.  I enjoyed the spiciness and it had plenty of chunks of artichoke.  It was served with sliced baguette.

Artichoke Jalapeno Dip at Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge ~ Minneapolis, MN

Artichoke Jalapeno Dip at Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge ~ Minneapolis, MN

#12 Roma Restaurant, Market and Bar ~ The Spinach Artichoke Dip at Roma was good.  The flatbread it came with was made to order and was the best part of the dish; it was baked with parmesan cheese until the perfect texture of soft and crispy.  The dip was very cream-cheese dominant with subtle pieces of artichoke and spinach blended in.  We liked it but both agreed we prefer artichoke dip with a blend of cheeses and seasonings.

Artichoke Dip that did not make my list:
Axel’s Bonfire ~ The Spinach and Artichoke Dip is one of the most boring I have tried to date.  It had several decent sized chunks of artichoke but the sauce was very thin and didn’t have a lot of flavor.  It was served with tri-colored tortilla chips (which also happen to be my least favorite accompaniment to artichoke dip).  The good news is that we paid half-price for this during Happy Hour.

Pizza Luce ~ The Artichoke Dip at Pizza Luce came in a large ramekin with three loaves of warm foccacia on the side.  The dip was primarily cream-cheese based with roasted garlic and some parmesan.  The cream cheese flavor was quite strong.  I could taste the artichoke but only mildly, as they were very finely chopped into the dip.  The bread was thick and really flavorful on its own, the best part of this dish.

Which Artichoke Dip do you like best? Vote here now!

Oct 022011
 

Here are my current picks for Best Mussels based on the restaurants I have personally visited and reviewed.  This list will grow and change as necessary.  If you know of calamari served at other restaurants  that I need to try, please leave me a recommendation in the comments of this post.


#1 WA Frost ~ The Coconut Curry Blue Mussels at WA Frost are nothing short of amazing.  The mussels were on the small side but they were extremely tender and the flavor was enhanced by the sweet, creamy and spicy coconut green curry broth with fresno chili and cilantro.  Delicious!  The order also came with grilled sourdough bread from Rustica Bakery.  I could eat a million of these!

#2 First Course ~ They are called Mediterranean Mussels but seem more like Thai mussels.  No matter what you call them, these mussels were very tender and soaked in a bath of coconut milk with red curry.  This is my favorite style of mussels and these were nearly perfect.

#3 Buca di Beppo– Mussels served in-the-shell with Marinara sauce. These were among the most delicious, tender mussels I have ever had the pleasure of consuming.  On the small side, but with amazing flavor.  A must-try if you like mussels!

 

#4 Mantiou Station ~  These steamers were also excellent.  They were steamed open with fresh garlic, white wine and butter; all flavors that go so well with seafood! They were cooked for just the exact amount of time and were soft and tender, easy to extract from the shell.  Even better when you Squeeze a little lemon.  Would you believe that this large plate of clams is only $8??!! You can’t even see half the clams in this photo because they were covered by the three large pieces of bread that came with.

#6 Santorini Taverna ~  The Mussels at Santorini are excellent.  They were magnificently tender and came swimming in a big, deep bowl of broth made with white whine, saffron, tomatoes, fennel and garlic.  Very savory.

#7 King & I Thai ~ Steamed Mussels.  These were really good but SPICY hot.  I enjoyed the spice but my companions thought it was almost too hot to eat.  The mussels were cooked perfectly.


Oct 022011
 

Calamari… so good when its cooked properly, so bad when its not.

Here are my current picks for Best Calamari based on the restaurants I have personally visited and reviewed.  This list will grow and change as necessary.  If you know of calamari served at other restaurants  that I need to try, please leave me a recommendation in the comments of this post.

#1 Murasaki– 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 wasn’t highly seasoned but the perfect texture puts the Calamari into the #1 slot on the TCRb Editor’s Picks.  It was served with a flavorful, creamy dipping sauce.

#2 The Six15 Room – The calamari fries at The Six15 Room rank up there with the best. These calamari strips were double-dipped in tempura batter and then fried just perfectly. The batter was crispy yet the calamari was tender and delicious. Thin slices of slightly pickled peppers were arranged on top, adding a slight bite and interesting contrast. A lemony mayonnaise was served for dipping, a light and fresh compliment to the calamari.  This is a very close second.

 

#3 Il Premio ~ The Calamari at Il Premio Italian Steak House ranks up there at 3rd place. The breading was crispy yet the calamari was cooked absolutely perfect. There was a mix of rings and babies. It was served with a basil tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

 

Calamari al Fritti at Il Premio at Mystic Lake ~ Prior Lake, MN

Calamari al Fritti at Il Premio at Mystic Lake ~ Prior Lake, MN

 

#4 Orchid Restaurant ~ The calamari at Orchid is also extraordinary.  It is cooked just perfectly so the texture is delicate, not tough. It is coated with a panko and is extra crispy in just the right places.  The spicy sweet and sour sauce that comes on the side is delicious and has just the right amount of “kick”, a perfect compliment to the calamari.

#5 Shorewood Bar & Grill ~ I much as I was let down by the poor service at Shorewood, I can’t knock their calamari; the squid was cooked perfectly yet the batter was still crispy. It was served over a bed of sauteed banana and pepperoncini peppers, which was a nice tangy accompaniment. I could also taste a hint of lemon and I loved that it had little squids in addition to the rings. Served with a Crab Louie sauce, which was tangy and creamy. Huge portion.

 

#6 First Course– This calamari was excellent! It was breaded and fried, cooked to the proper texture then served with some kind of smokey mayo. Seriously good calamari.

#7 McCormick & Schmick’s– 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.

#8 Enjoy! – The calamari strips at Enjoy! were thick and cooked perfectly without any hint of chewiness. The outside wasn’t as crispy as I like it but since that would mean overcooking it, I’ll take it tender over chewy any day! It was served with two dips, the spicy marinara and a lemon herb aoili. Both were excellent!

Calamari that did not make the cut:

Chianti Grill ~ 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.

 

Murray’s Restaurant ~ served with a seasoned mayonnaise. The portion was decently sized for the price. It was cooked just right so that the texture of the calamari was cooked without being chewy, but the breading wasn’t quite crispy enough and easily fell apart. Although I liked it, I probably wouldn’t order this again.

 

CRAVE~ This calamari at CRAVE was cooked so that it was the right texture inside but the breading wasn’t crispy at all on the outside, which was disappointing to me.

Calamari at CRAVE ~ Mall of America

Sep 012011
 

Fish on a taco?!  I once thought that was a strange idea but then I tried them a few years ago while working in Austin, TX and I was instantly hooked. I ate them all over Austin and now I am eating them all over the Twin Cities.

Here are my current picks for Best Fish Tacos based on the restaurants I have personally visited and reviewed.  This list will grow and change as necessary.  If you know of fish tacos served at other restaurants  that I need to try, please leave me a recommendation in the comments of this post.

#1 Mahi Mahi Tacos at Barrio
When I saw that they had fish tacos, I knew I had to try them even though they were deep-fried. Oh so glad I did, they were wonderful! The crunchy batter actually made it easier to eat the fish because it didn’t flake apart like fillets often do. There were two mahi-mahi fillets in the order for $3.50 and I was able to make two tacos with the extra tortilla. I loved the fresh pico and jalapenos that topped the tacos, and also the crunch from the cabbage.

Barrio St Paul - Mahimahi Tacos

Barrio St Paul – Mahimahi Tacos

#2 Jaws Tacos at Rudolph’s Barbeque
I was intrigued when I saw the “Jaws Tacos”, and thought it would be a good one for me to try. I love fish tacos but had never had any like these before! Each taco had a full fillet of walleye, seasoned with spicy cajun, and a generous serving of coleslaw and sliced avocado. I thought the cajun went really well with the sweet slaw. It was also served with a salsa that was mildly sweet.

#3 Fish Tacos at The Six15 Room
The Fish Tacos at Six15 Room are made with locally-caught walleye. Served on double white corn tortillas, each of the two tacos had a nice size fillet of pan-seared walleye topped with pickled cabbage and cilantro. Excellent and very filling!

Fish Tacos at The Six15 Room ~ Minneapolis, MN

Fish Tacos at The Six15 Room ~ Minneapolis, MN

#4 Fish Tacos at Patriot’s Tavern

Patriot’s Tavern is still a newer restaurant but they have quickly become one of my local favorites.  Their Fish Tacos are wonderful; you get two flour tortillas, each with a big piece of pan-fried mahi mahi topped with jalapenos, sliced radish, fresh jalapeno rings,  tomato, lettuce, and chevre cheese.  You  need to like goat cheese to enjoy these tacos; it was a little distracting but it definitely brought the strongest flavor of all the toppings.