Mar 282010
 

This is an updated review from the original I wrote in May 2007.  I have eaten at Norman Quack’s countless times since then and felt a new, updated review was long overdue!

Cuisine: American, Fish, Steaks, Chops & Ribs
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, On-Site Parking, Flat Screen TVs
Location: Forest Lake, MN
Address: 843 West Broadway Avenue   Forest Lake, MN 55025    651-982-6777
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-10p   Sun 11am-9pm
Links: *Norman Quack’s Website *Norman Quack’s Facebook Page *Google Map

Outside of Norman Quacks
Atmosphere: Norman Quacks is conveniently located at the end of a small strip mall facing Broadway Ave, between Hwy 61 and I-35.  The space is big and open, with a bar area to the left when you walk in and the dining room on the right.  There are a number of booths and tables throughout the restaurant, with space to accommodate larger parties in the back.  Everywhere you look there are interesting objects hanging on the walls, and a library’s-worth of books stacked on the half-wall between the booths, giving the restaurant character while making the booths more private.

The Bar Area also has tables as well as seating at the bar.  There are also a couple of flat-screen TVs that typically view local sporting events.

Menu: Appetizers at Norman Quacks include Colossal Onion Rings, Quesadillas, Potato Skins, Cheese Curds, Chicken Tenders, 7 Layer Dip and Chips, Buffalo Tender Bites, Peppered Tips & Blackened Toms, Chicken Wings, BBQ Pork Ribs, Creamy Pepperjack Queso & Chips, Coconut Shrimp Kabob and Garlic Alfredo Toast.

Salad offerings are the Chicken Tender Salad, Spinach Tips and Tomatoes, Fajita Salad, House, Salmon Black & Blue, Chicken Caesar, Oriental Shrimp, and Caesar Salad.  Soups include Creamy Baked Potato, Prime Rib Stew, and Soup of the Day.

Sandwiches include BBQ Pork and Cheddar, Buffalo Chicken, Prime Fajita Melt, Walleye, Catfish Po’ Boy, Monte Cristo, Skinny Ribeye, Roasted Bahama Chop (pork with jerk sauce, mozzarella and pico de gallo), Dante’s Revenge, Triple Play Sandwich (layers of ham, turkey, roast beef and bacon with cheddar, mozzarella and jack), French Dip, Philly French Dip, B.L.T, and Blackened Salmon Melt.

The following sandwiches can be made with either chicken breast, ground beef burger or bison burger: Plain Jane, Sloppy Rio (with cheese sauce, beans and sauteed peppers), Mushroom, 4 Cheese, Smoke Head (sauteed mushrooms, onion, bacon, bbq sauce and cheese), Peppered with Bacon and Blue Cheese, Patty Melt, Clubhouse and Bacon Blue.
Price guide:
Appetizers $7-9  Salads $7-9  Burgers/Sandwiches $7-10  Entrees $11-17

Happy Hour: 4-6pm EVERYDAY.  1/2 Priced Appetizers (all except the Samplers)

Weekly Specials:

Sunday- $10.95 12 oz Prime Rib with Onion Rings
What we ordered: We started with the basket of freshly baked Ciabatta Bread.  The bread is served with a flavored whipped butter, the flavor of which changes daily.  We had garden-herb butter on this visit.

Bread Basket at Norman Quacks

We also got an order of Cheese Curds.  I love the cheese curds at Quack’s! The gooey white cheddar curds are battered with  the same unique batter that is used on the giant onion rings, and are slightly salty.  They are fried perfectly until crispy golden brown on outside, and not too greasy.  Great dipped in the ranch that comes with it.

For my meal I ordered the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, which is what I order 90% of the time I visit Quacks. This is my favorite sandwich on the menu and is the best Buffalo Chicken sandwich I have had anywhere. They start with the biggest chicken breast they can find, then bread it, deep fry it, and coat it in delicious and mildly spicy Buffalo sauce. It has a couple of sliced of thick-cut bacon and melted cheddar cheese, tomato and lettuce served on the side. Very big and very messy, I usually end up using silverware to eat it.

One of my companions ordered a “double” of the the Sunday Prime Rib Special (usually 12 oz cut served with onion rings for $10.95). This GIANT cut of prime rib weighed in at around 25 oz, most of which was meat with just a small amount of fat.  Served with au jus and creamy horseradish.  Excellent cut of meat for a great price, making Quack’s a popular place on Sundays!

Another companion ordered the Two-Pork Chop Dinner (can order one or two chops), served with fries (choice of potato) and soup or salad.  These were two big, tender and juicy pork chops, with Cajun seasonings.  Big enough to share between two!

One of my companions also ordered a Bloody Mary, which came dressed with beef stick, olives, celery and pepperoncini pepper.  Thick and spicy!

We did not have dessert on this visit but here is a photo of the Giant Chocolate Cake that I took just a few months ago on a different visit.  Heavenly and gigantic with at least four layers of dark chocolate cake nestled between more layers of thick, chocolate butter cream frosting.  I recommend that you share this big boy!


Service: Our service on this occasion was great!  We were greeted and seated immediately and our order was taken promptly.  Within minutes of being seated we were given a nice big basket of bread fresh out of the oven right.  Drinks were refilled promptly  and food came out at a reasonable pace.
Overall Impression: I’ve already mentioned that Norman Quack’s is one of my favorite restaurants.  They have a fine selection of quality steaks and fish, the specialty sandwiches and burgers are all really good, and the half-priced appetizers during Happy Hour are a great deal.  The Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and Prime Rib are what we crave, in fact there is a good chance you’ll find me (and at least one companion) here on any given Sunday. See you there!
Norman Quacks on Urbanspoon

Feb 282010
 

This is an update to the original review I wrote in March 2007.  Time for an update!

Cuisine: Italian
Restaurant Features: Bar, Live Music, Nightclub, Sunday Brunch, Student Discount
Location: Minneapolis, MN (Dinkytown)
Address: 327 14th Av. SE. Minneapolis, MN 55414 612.378.4849
Hours: Mon – Thu: 11:30 a-9p      Fri – Sat: 11:30 a- 11p       Sunday: 11a-9p
Links: Loring Pasta Bar Website * Loring Pasta Bar on FacebookGoogle Map

Atmosphere: The inside of the Loring Pasta Bar is not only super cool, but breath-taking and romantic as well. Located inside a beautifully renovated building in Dinkytown (formerly known as Gray’s Drug Store) , the Loring Pasta Bar is an amazing site to see.  Ceilings are 2-3 stories high, with an upper-eating area overlooking the court-yard style main dining room.  Large trees and beautiful plants line the perimeter (glass windows are often opened or removed during summer months to really give you the feeling of eating outdoors.).  They also have live music every night from 6-9pm, usually in the form of a jazz band.

Besides having additional tables for dining in the upper level, there is also this cute little romantic lounge.


Menu: Appetizers include Artichoke Ramekin, Ciabatta Bruschetta, Fried Calamari, Pan Fried Potstickers, and Spicy Tuna Sushi Roll.

Salad options are the House Salad, Caesar Salad, and Salade Sauvage.

Pastas on the menu seem to change frequently and may include Beef Shortribs Farfalle, Fettuccini Carbonara, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Roasted Chicken and Mozzarella Ravioli, Linguini with Clam Sauce, Mushroom Penne, Cheese Tortellini Classico, Cheese Tortellini Nuovi, and Mac N Cheese.

Menu entrees also seem to change at least seasonally and may include items such as Seared Sea Scallops, South American Beef Tips, Grilled Salmon, New York Strip, Beef Tenderloin, Osso Buco (Braised Veal), Blackened Catfish, and Shrimp or Chicken Vegetable Stir-Fry.
Price guide: Appetizers $8-9 Salads $5-7  Pasta $13-17  Entrees $16-23

Student Discount of 30% with Valid Student I.D. (Excluded 6-9pm Fri & Sat)

Special Events:

  • Salsa Dancing every Friday and Saturday night 10pm $8/10  (18+)
  • Live Music from 6-9pm every day

Sunday Brunch Buffet: $10.95/Students $15.95/Adults

  • Items change weekly but always include a variety of breakfast items, lunch items, pastas, desserts and fresh fruits.

What we ordered: We started with an order of Bruschetta, a savory mix of  roasted red peppers, chopped golden tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella, topped with a balsamic sauce, all sitting on little toasts of ciabatta.  The four pieces didn’t go far but everyone enjoyed it.

I ordered the Cheese Tortellini Nuovi after much deliberation and asking the server for suggestions.  A pleasant choice!  The bowl-sized portion of tortellini was bathed in an enticing cream sauce, rich in flavor from a mix of spices.  The pasta was topped with sliced prosciutto and toasted pine nuts, a symphony of textures.  Oh Heavenly pasta!

One of my companions ordered the Spicy Tuna Roll, a large order of 9 pieces.  The roll had raw tuna, avocado, cucumber, spicy mayo, carrot and rice.  Served with a side of edamame ( wasabi and ginger too, of course!)

Another companion ordered the Roasted Chicken with Mozzarella Ravioli.  The raviolis are hand-made and tossed in a Napolitana sauce (concassed tomatoes, roasted garlic, basil, and extra virgin olive oil).  The bowl was topped with a serving of roasted chicken and freshly grated cheese.

We were celebrating a birthday that night and so one of my companions enjoyed this Chocolate Souffle with Vanilla Ice Cream.


Service: It was very busy on this Saturday night and parking can be scarce; options are metered parking or pay lots.  I ended up parking in a lot a few blocks away.  We had a reservation for a fairly large group and they were able to seat us all promptly.  Our server was really efficient at serving a large group.  Our visit extended over a couple of hours as we enjoyed our food and company, with food and drink served throughout the time.
Overall Impression: I enjoyed my visit to the Loring Pasta Bar just as much (if not more) than my first visit three years ago.  The atmosphere is really cool and they have a variety of pastas and entrees on the menu.  Seems like it would be a cool place to come for Salsa dancing on Friday and Saturday nights.
Lakeside Club on Urbanspoon