Jul 142012
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

Feb 262012
 

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and my meal was provided by Morrissey HospitalityAll opinions are my own.

Cuisine: Italian
Restaurant Features: Banquet, Bar, Valet Parking
Location: St Paul, MN (Downtown)
Address: 360 St. Peter Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102 651.223.7000
Hours: Daily 4-11pm
Links: Pazzaluna Website * Pazzaluna on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located Downtown St Paul on St Peter Street, Pazzaluna is in the heart of St Paul’s entertainment district , putting it within walking distance of The Ordway, Xcel Energy Center, Roy Wilkins Auditorium and the Science Museum of Minnesota.  The space is big and open, with the bar area greeting you when you first enter and the dining room taking up the remainder of the space.  The dining room actually has two tiers; an upper and lower.  The upper dining area has a separate room with French doors that can be used for private parties.  There are a handful of round booths but otherwise all of the tables in the dining room can easily be arranged for parties of various sizes.

The Kitchen at Pazzaluna is big and open, the center of which is a beautiful  green wood-burning oven.  It is set off to the side of the restaurant, you walk right by it on the way to the restrooms.

Menu: Appetizers at Pazzaluna include Bruschetta (White Bean & Prosciutto, Tomato Basil, Portabella Goat Cheese, Burrata & Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Braised Beef & Porcini Mushroom), Polenta Fries, Mozzarella & Artichoke Bagna Cauda, Calamari, Seared Scallops, Crab Cakes and Antipasti Bar (cheeses, meats, salad and vegetables).

Soups offered are the Scallop with Cucumber and Cannellini Bean.  Salads offered are the Mixed Greens, Caesar, Arugula, Shepherd, Beet and Panzanella.

Pazzaluna also offers traditional  12″ thin crust hearth baked Pizzas in a wood-burning oven.  Varieties include Quattro Formaggi, Grilled Vegetable, Pear and Gorgonzola, Margherita, Bolognese, Spicy Sausage and Peppers, and Grilled Chicken with Asparagus.

Pasta dishes include Spicy Penne, Rigatoni with Chicken, Capellini alla Caprese, Fettuccine Alfredo, Pappardelle Bolognese, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Seafood Linguine, Spinach and Cheese Ravioli, and Three Meat Cannelloni.  Pazzaluna also makes homemade Gnocchi.  Varieties of Gnocchi include Bolognese, Quatro Formagi, and Tomato Basil. Risotto options include Saffron Risotto with Chicken, and Herb Risotto with Shrimp and Chorizo.

Pazzaluna offers Entrees such as Salmon, Ahi Tuna, Sea Bass, Scallops, Rabbit, Chicken Saltimbocca, Chicken Piccata, Chicken Parmesan, Pork Chops, Beef Short Ribs, Veal Medallions, Filet Mignon, and New York Strip.

Desserts at Pazzaluna include Creme Brulee, Tiramisu, Mocha Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Versato, Banana Nutella Tart, Frangelico Pecan Pie, Gelato, and Sorbeti.

Price guide: Appetizers $8-14 Salads $7-11 Pastas $14-24 Entrees $19-45

Happy Hour:

  • Daily 4-6pm * In The Bar
  • $3 Beefeater, Pinnacle, Bacardi, Windsor or Campari Featured Cocktails Michelob Golden Light
  • $4 Stella Pinot Grigio or Montepuliciano D’Abruzzo, Summit EPA, Summit Seasonal or Blue Moon
  • $5 Coppola Bianco White Blend or Rosso Red Blend Fulton IPA, Stella Artois or Surly Bender ; $5 Two Antipasti Bar Selections, Fried Gorgonzola Gnocchi, Polenta Fries, Tomato Basil Bruschetta or White Bean & Prosciutto Bruschetta
  • $6 Pazzaluna Signature Cocktails Pazzaluna Signature Martinis  Appetizers: Three Antipasti Bar Selections, Portabella & Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Four Cheese Pizza, Pear & Gorgonzola Pizza, or Veggie Pizza
  • $7 Four Antipasti Bar Selections, Burrata & EVOO Bruschetta, Margherita Pizza, Bolognese Pizza or Chicken & Asparagus Pizza
  • $8 Five Antipasti Bar Selections, Braised Beef & Porcini Bruschetta, Rustica Pizza, Calamari or Mozzarella & Artichoke Bagna Cauda

Birthday Special: Dine at Pazzaluna the week of your birthday and they’ll give you a complimentary* bottle of wine priced at your age. *Purchase of two (2) entrees required. Offer valid for in-store consumption only. Equivalent credit of person’s age can be applied to a higher priced bottle of wine. Proof of age and birthday required. Must be 21 years or older. Offer good for one birthday per table.
What we ordered: We started with the complimentary basket of bread.  It contained slices of fresh ciabatta and focaccia.  The focaccia was especially tasty, as it was seasoned with butter, parmesan and herbs.

There are many delicious appetizers at Pazzaluna, making it hard to pick just one. For our first course we started with the Seared Scallops and an order of Calamari.  The Seared Scallops were cooked to perfection, with a nice caramelized seared crust and soft meat within.  The dish was garnished with slices of skinless pink grapefruit, orange, fresh mint and other fresh herbs.

We also tried the Calamari with our first course.  Pazzaluna puts their own spin on the traditional fried calamari by adding thin slices of carrots, zucchini and sweet onions and frying those too.  It was delicious, I loved the combination of textures and flavors.  The order was very big; piled several inches high and full of vegetables with lightly battered calamari rings tossed in (and a few pepperoncini peppers too!).  The dish was drizzled with a zesty roasted garlic aioli that finished the dish off nicely.

For our next course, my companion and I split the Beet Salad, which was served to us on two plates.  The base of this appetizing salad were the salt-roasted beets, which had a firm yet juicy texture.  We both enjoyed this salad quite a bit; it had such a unique combination of flavors and textures including shaved goat cheese that was subtle yet distinct at the same time.  The candied walnuts provided a nice crunch and hint of sweetness and the micro-greens were fragrant and refreshing.

Pazzaluna is known for its Bolognese sauce, which they offer with a selection of dishes. For our next course, we tried a half-order of the Bolognese Papperdelle and a half order of the Gnocchi Bolognese.  The sauce was a thick and rich blend of ground beef, pork, tomato, onion and a variety of Italian herbs and spices.  It was delicious and would be great on any pasta but was especially good served on the long strips of papperdelle.  Our server grated fresh parmesan on top giving it that extra touch.

The Gnocchi at Pazzaluna are made in-house and are fantastic!  They are soft potato dumplings that are sticky, velvety pillows that on their own don’t have much flavor but when topped with a thick and rich sauce like the Bolognese, they are delicious.

For my main course I ordered the Sea Bass.  This was wonderful! The fish was pan roasted until it had a nice crispy sear to the outside while being soft inside. It was served on a bed of carrot purée, and was topped with red onion jam with a drizzling of salsa verde on the plate.

My companion had the Veal Medallions for the main course and it was the highlight of the meal. The veal itself was cooked to a medium temperature and was extremely flavorful and juicy.  The medallions were served on linguine with garlic butter with sautéed porcini mushrooms & spinach.  The dish was topped with a silky roasted tomato butter sauce.  The server topped it with freshly ground pepper corns

I was much too full for dessert but ended up ordering the Banana Nutella Tart.  This was also very good; it had a layer of chocolate Nutella custard, then a layer of banana in a vanilla cream, then topped with real whipped cream.  It was topped with a wafer of caramelized nuts.

Service: We had excellent service at Pazzaluna, starting with the curb-side valet service.  We had a reservation ahead of time and our table was waiting when we got there.  Our server was very professional and highly knowledgeable about the menu, giving us many excellent suggestions from each section of the menu.  Each course that we had was separate and distinct, with plenty of time in between each.
Overall Impression: We really enjoyed our experience at Pazzaluna.  They have a great selection of both pasta and traditional Italian meat and seafood dishes and the service is top-notch.  Pazzaluna is a great place to visit for Happy Hour, a romantic dinner, to celebrate a special occasion or even for larger parties.
Pazzaluna Urban Trattoria & Bar on Urbanspoon
Pazzaluna Reviews in St Paul

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

Jul 262011
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Desserts include Trio of Handmade Ice Creams, Cheesecake with Fresh Seasonal Berries, Fresh Berries in Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberries Capital Grille, Coconut Cream Pie, Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, and Classic Creme Brulee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon
Capital Grille Reviews in Minneapolis

Aug 302010
 

Cuisine: Steak
Restaurant Features: Bar, Valet Parking
Location: Downtown Minneapolis
Address: 26 6th Street South, Minneapolis, MN‎ -(612) 339-0909
Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30a-2:30p    Dinner  Sun-Sat  4:30-10pm
Links: Murray’s Website * Murray’s on FacebookGoogle Map

Marquee ~ Murray's Restaurant

Marquee ~ Murray’s Restaurant

Atmosphere: Opened in 1946, Murray’s is one of the oldest established Steakhouses in the Twin Cities area.  Located in the Heart of Downtown on 6th St at Hennepin Ave, Murray’s is a big, open space that resembles an old ballroom.  With the chandeliers, white table clothes and mirrored, curtained walls, I almost felt like I was at a wedding reception.

Inside Murray's Restaurant

Inside Murray’s Restaurant

Murray’s has a Cocktail Lounge that is just to the right of the main entrance.  The Cocktail Lounge has been a popular place to catch a drink while waiting for a fabulous steak meal for seven decades!

Bar Area ~ Murray's Restaurant

Bar Area ~ Murray’s Restaurant

Menu: Starters at Murray’s include Smoked Shrimp, Crab Cakes, Steak Tartar, Shrimp Cocktail, Calamari, Walleye and Wild Rice Spring Roll, Tuna Tartar,  Lobster Tail Skewers, Escargot, Halibut Cheeks, Truffled Mushroom Canape, Broiled Oysters and Appetizer Sampler (crab cakes, shrimp, and spring rolls).

Salads include Caesar Salad, Gorgonzola Pear Salad, Crab and Mango Salad, The Wedge, Roasted Beet Salad and Cole Slaw.

Entrees include a variety of delicious steaks including the famous Silver Butter Knife Sirloin Steak ( 28 or 42 oz of aged beef), 14oz New York Strip, 14oz Peppercorn Strip, 10 oz Filet, 8 oz Sirloin, 20 oz Ribeye, 28 oz Bone-in Porterhouse, Tenderloin Medallions, Cedar Plank Salmon, Lobster Tail, King Crab Legs, Pork Chops, Chicken Saltimbocca, Beef Tenderloin Sandwich, Rack of Lamb and a Burger.

Price guide: Appetizers $9-37   Salads $5-15    Entrees $16-53   Butterknife Steak $94/$135
Weekly Specials:

  • M-F 4:30-6pm Early Bird 3 Course Dinner $19.95
  • Sun-Thurs 3 Course Dinner $29.95
  • Friday Night Special Dinner for Two  20oz Beef Tenderloin $69.95

What we ordered: My companions and I started with this complimentary basket of bread.  There were dinner rolls as well as seasoned parmesan toast.  The toast was delicious, salty with just a subtle hint of parmesan cheese and butter.  Warning! It is hard to resist this heaping basket of carb goodness.

Bread Basket ~ Murray's Restaurant

Bread Basket ~ Murray’s Restaurant

We also had an order of Calamari that was served with a seasoned mayonnaise. The portion was decently sized for the price. We all agreed that it was good and 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.

Calamari ~ Murray's Restaurant

Calamari ~ Murray’s Restaurant

There was no doubt I was going to order the Ribeye, my “usual” steak.  One bite had me declaring this the best steak of my life! The ribeye was huge; 20 oz 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.

Ribeye Steak ~ Murray's Restaurant

Ribeye Steak ~ Murray’s Restaurant

One of my companions ordered the Porterhouse, a giant 28 oz bone-in steak containing the short loin and tenderloin, unquestionably the best part of the beef.  This steak was also amazingly tender and juicy.  Choice of potato was fries, which were fresh cut and lightly fried.

Porterhouse Steak ~ Murray's Restaurant

Porterhouse Steak ~ Murray’s Restaurant

French Fries ~ Murray's Restaurant

French Fries ~ Murray’s Restaurant

Two of my companions shared the Silver Butter Knife Steak for Two, a giant 28 oz Strip Sirloin.  One bite and you might just think this sirloin is tenderloin, it was so tender.  I am not typically a fan of sirloin but I tried this steak and can attest that it is exceptionally tender and flavorful.  With the Steak for Two, each person gets choice of salad or soup and choice of potato.

Silver Butterknife Steak ~ Murray's Restaurant

Silver Butterknife Steak ~ Murray’s Restaurant

Dinner Salad ~ Murray's Restaurant

Dinner Salad ~ Murray’s Restaurant

Service: We were lucky to get a table on a busy Thursday evening, after arriving at a late hour and not having a reservation.  Our server was very professional and the rest of the wait staff was very efficient at clearing plates, refilling drinks, etc.
Overall Impression: I had high expectations for a Steakhouse that is commonly ranked in the Top 3 and I was not at all disappointed with our food or service.  I was a little surprised that the decor didn’t see to have been updated in many decades, but if you want a good steak, you can’t go wrong with a steak at Murray’s.  I highly recommend the Ribeye!

Murray's on Urbanspoon

May 132008
 

Cuisine: Thai
Restaurant Features: Bar, Valet Parking

Location: Downtown Minneapolis
Address: 1346 LaSalle Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612)332-6928  Fax: (612)338-4293
Hours d
ining Room: Mon-Thur 4:30pm-10pm,  Fri-Sat 4:30pm-11pm
Lounge: Mon – Sat 4:30 – 2am

Links: King & I Thai Website * King & I on FacebookGoogle Map

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Atmosphere: The restaurant was nice, but not as glamorous as I was expecting (not sure why I was expecting more?). King & I Thai is located in the lower level of a multi-level building, and has a Garden-Level entrance on the left side in the front of the building.  The inside of the restaurant was divided into a couple of main spaces, the Restaurant and the Lounge (which has a separate entrance).  We sat in the dining room, where there were wooden tables and a few large u-shaped booths. The restaurant was not overly decorated, but there were several statues of the Theravada Buddha, the symbol of Thailand’s predominant religion.

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Although I did not sit in the Lounge area, I did sneak a peak on my way to the Restrooms.

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Menu: Appetizers include Egg Rolls, Chicken Satay, Chicken or Mock Duck Curry Puffs, Cream Cheese Rolls, Steamed Mussels, Fried Calamari, Grilled Shrimp, and Fried Tofu.

Salads include Shrimp and Lemon grass, Spicy Steak, Laab, and Silver Thread Noodles.  Soups include Tom Kha, Tom Yum, Sriracha and Rice Noodle Soup.

Rice and Noodle Dishes offered: House Pad Thai, Bangkok Pad Thai, Pad Seyu, King & I Fried Rice, Pineapple Fried Rice, Sriracha Fried Rice, Indian Curry Fried Rice, Spicy Holy Basil Fried Rice, and Pattaya Fried Rice.

Hot and Spicy dishes served with your choice of chicken, beef or shrimp include: Holy Basil Sauce, Roasted Hot Pepper Sauce, Red Curry, Palatial Coconut Cream Sauce, Garlic and Thai Chili Sauce, and Gaeng Puk with chicken.

Savory and Mild Dishes include Egg Blanket Wrap, Beef with Fresh Ginger, Rich Peanut Sauce with spinach, Thai-Style Sweet and Sour, and Black Pepper Pork.

The Specialty Dishes at King & I are: Chef’s Special Curry (changes daily), Walleye Filet (Thai Chili and Coconut Cream), and Jumbo Prawns.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-10  Soups and Salads $8-15  Rice and Noodles $11-19  Hot & Spicy $16-25  Mild & Savory $17-23  Specialties $20-25
What we ordered: **Please note that the portions at King & I Thai are quite large and are meant to be served “Family-Style”.

To start with we tried the Cream Cheese Rolls.  A nice change from the standard wonton shape, these rolls were filled with a mild-garlic flavored cream cheese and were nice and crispy.  I love the Thai spicy sweet and sour dipping sauce.

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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.

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Pad Thai with vegetables.  I thought the noodles were very flavorful and not at all sticky.  There was a  ton of broccoli and pea pods mixed in.  Huge portion!

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Chef’s Special Curry:  Sweet Green Curry with potatoes, carrots, pea pods, onions and chicken.  This was delicious!

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Lemon-grass Salad: FRESH really good cold shrimp, cabbage, red onions and tomatoes and a light
lemon dressing.

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Pattaya Fried Rice with shrimp, scallops, pineapple and cashews.

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Service: Reservations were easy to come by in advance. My party and I purposely visited on the night of the Dining Out for Life charity event.  The restaurant was not busy for our 7:30 reservation time, but the restaurant was packed by 9pm.  The service was decent, but because it was so busy, food and drinks took a longer time than expected.  In fact, we had ordered mussels and they forgot to bring them to us until we reminded them, and then the mussels showed up at the same time as the rest of the dinner (about 45 minutes after we initially ordered).  The server was nice and helpful with ordering, but was definitely trying to up-sell us on everything and was somewhat pushy about ordering drinks and desserts.  We were not in a hurry, but it took our server a good 20 minutes to come back to our table to collect our $ and CC after she left us the bill.

Also, there is not a parking lot for King & I Thai, but they do offer Valet Parking for $5.  Other option is on-street parking.

Overall Impression: I thought the food was very good, but expensive ( dishes are meant to be served family-style).  Nice atmosphere, a good place for sharing a delicious Thai meal with friends.
King & I Thai on Urbanspoon

Jul 202007
 

Cuisine: Thai

Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, Valet Parking

Location: Minneapolis (Uptown)

Address: Calhoun Square 3001 Hennepin Ave S Mpls, MN 55408 612-827-1606

Links: *Chiang Mai Thai Website * Chiang Mai Thai Facebook PageGoogle Map

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Atmosphere: A mixture of trendy and Asian decor.  Your choice of either wooden tables or decorative booths, both of which are situated under an Asian-style wooden canopy that runs along the walls of the main dining room.  There are also two bars at Chiang Mai Thai, one in its own enclosed room, perfect for private parties.

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Menu: Chicken Satay, fresh or fried spring rolls, fried cashews, sweet dried beef, fiery wings, fried wontons, shrimp, fried tofu, fried scallops and a spicy pork dip.  Stir-fry dishes include Thai Basil, Garlic Pepper, Cashew, Pad Prig King ( fried ginger curry), Pad Sri Racha(Chili sauce) and sweet and sour. Stir-fry dishes are made from your choice of veggies/tofu, chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, squid or scallops.  Rice and Noodle selections include Thai fried rice, curry fried rice, pineapple fried rice, Pad Thai noodles, Pad See Yew noodles, Fire noodles with Thai Basil, and Khao Cadeukadeek (beef or chicken on tomato fried rice).  Curry dishes include Penang Curry , Sweet Green Curry , Massaman Curry , and Yellow Curry.  Other specialties at Chiang Mai Thai are the Grilled chicken (Chiang Mai Thai style), Seafood Stir Fry with Egg , Grilled Fish in Fresh Garlic Sauce , Fried Fish with Fresh Ginger , Fiery Seafood , and the Pirate’ s Treasure .

Price guide: Appetizers $4-9   Stir Fry $11-15  Rice & noodles $9-15 Curry $11-15  Specialty Dishes $12-18

What we ordered: My companions and I decided that we would order all of our dishes to share.  To start with, we ordered the cream cheese with jalapeno wontons.  These were excellent! There was a ton of cream cheese/jalapeno mixture and the wonton wrap was fried nice and crispy.  I had never had cream cheese wontons with jalapenos before, but I loved the added spiciness.

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We tried the Pad Thai with shrimp…it was one of the best I have ever had! The noodles seemed to have been pan fried first and had enough sauce that they didn’t stick together or seemed dried out at all (big plus!) and were loaded with flavor (slightly sweet, slightly spicy).  I was impressed with the amount of shrimp served with the dish, as there were several hidden within the noodles.

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We also tried the Pad Prig King/Fried Ginger Curry Stir Fry with chicken(Crisp green beans, bell peppers, carrot, peapods and zucchini stir fried with ginger curry paste and coconut milk.)  This was soooooo good!  The sauce that the chicken and veggies were cooked in/mixed with was slightly spicy but had so much flavor!

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Service: Our service was excellent!  Our server spent quite some time explaining dishes from the menu and making recommendations.  I was able to make reservations a few days ahead of time, host on the phone was very pleasant and accommodating.  My only complaint is that they do not have their own parking lot and do not offer parking validation.  Parking at the Calhoun Square ramp can get pretty costly.

Overall Impression: Fun atmosphere and location, excellent food and decent prices.

Chiang Mai Thai on Urbanspoon