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 242009

Cuisine: American, Breakfast, Steak, Chops
Restaurant Features: Bar

Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 1305 West 7th Street St Paul, MN 55102 (651) 228-1408

Hours: Daily 8am
Links: Bennett’s Website * Bennett’s Facebook PageGoogle Map


Atmosphere: The Dining room at Bennett’s is a large open space with several round and rectangular wooden tables adorned with white table cloths and a layer of white butcher paper in lieu of placemats.  A bar runs along one long wall with additional seating that provides  an excellent view of the TVs hung over head.  It was mellow at lunch time but looks like it could be a fun place to come before/after an event at the Xcel Energy Center or other downtown St Paul venue.


Menu: Bennett’s is open for breakfast and has a few classic breakfast combos with egg, hashbrowns, choice of meat, and toast, pancakes, or French toast.  They also have a selection of 3-Egg Omelets such as the Farmer’s, Italian, Ham & Cheese, Cheese and Mexican.  Signature breakfasts include Eggwich on English Muffin, West 7th Special (hashbrowns with veggies, eggs and cheese), Eggs Benedict, Little Charlie Benedict (eggs benedict served over tenderloin medallions with caramelized onions),  Italian Skillet, Veggie Skillet, and Yogurt with Fresh Fruit.

Bennett’s has a long list of appetizers including Smoked Salmon, Bruschetta, Stuffed Mushrooms, Grilled Scallops, Onion Rings, Walleye Strips, Chicken Drummies, Chicken Quesadilla, Chicken Wings, Tenderloin Tips, Crab Cakes, and Spinach Artichoke Dip.

Specialty salads offered are the Caesar, Chop Chef, Buffalo Chicken, Raspberry Pecan Chicken, Oriental, and the Rio Grande.

There are a pleasant number of sandwiches and burgers and all come with chips, including the BLT, Club House, Little Charlie’s Tenderloins, the Reuben, Veggie Delight (Grilled Asparagus), Meatloaf, Open-Faced Sandwich, Braised Short Ribs, French Dip, Shore Lunch Walleye, Dante’s Inferno, Spicy Italian, and Emma’s Original Turkey.  Substitute chips with fresh cut fries for an additional $1.  The selection of chicken sandwiches alone is impressive with the Teriyaki Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, Chicken Parmesan, Pesto Chicken, Swiss and Mushroom, Fort Road, and the Crispy Chicken.  Specialty 1/2 lb. burgers include the Juicy Lucy, Patty Melt and the Black N Blue.  Fresh cut fries included with burgers and chicken sandwiches.

Pasta is also a specialty of Bennett’s with dishes such as Cajun Chicken, Chicken Alfredo, Lemon Shrimp over Fettuccine , Spaghetti with Meatballs and Lobster Ravioli (dinner only).

Dinner entree items include Apple Bourbon Glaze Pork Chop, Creole Meatloaf, New York Strip, 16 oz Ribeye, Liver Steak with Bacon and Onions, Braised Short Ribs, Sirloin, Beef Tenderloin Kabobs, Petite Filet, Filet Mignon, BBQ Pork Ribs, Walleye Pike, Colossal Scampi,Grilled Salmon, Lobster Tail, Chicken Kiev, Chicken Osacar, and Chicken Pot Pie.

Bennett’s is known for their homemade carrot cake and fresh fruit pies.

Price guide: Breakfast $4-8 Appetizers $6-11 Sandwiches $ 7-9  Pasta $13-18 Dinner Entrees $14-30

Weekly Specials:

Monday 1/2 price bottles of wine and 1/2 price appetizers
Tuesday All you can eat Spaghetti – $12.95
Wednesday Birthday of the week night – Free Sirloin Dinner
Thursday Burger of the week night
Friday All you can eat Snow Crab Legs – $26.95
Saturday 14 oz. cut USDA Choice Prime Rib – $14.95
Sunday Family Night – Kids 10 and under eat free

What we ordered: To start, my companions and I shared the Tenderloin Tips.  These were melt-in-your-mouth tender and infused with flavor that had a pleasant kick.  The homemade bernaisse and horseradish sauces looked good but I loved the beef without it.  My only complaint is that the portion seemed like just a few bites, not much to go around if you’re sharing.


We also ordered the Stuffed Mushrooms, which came as an order of four giant mushroom caps filled with wild rice and Mornay sauce and loaded with mozzarella and cheddar baked on top.  These were delicious!


For my entree I was really debating between the Dante’s Inferno or the Reuben.  I am a Reuben girl and had to follow my heart, so Reuben it was. The corned beef was the real deal, sliced thin and then topped with melted Swiss and sauerkraut that had a touch of thousand island dressing mixed in.  It was on thick pumpernickel bread that was grilled to a crispy golden brown.  I up-graded and got the fresh cut French Fries for $1 extra.  It was worth it, as the portion was pretty big and the fries tasted just like the fresh French Fries you can get at the MN State Fair, with the insides still just slightly firm.

Bennetts-reuben1000 One of my companions had the BLT sandwich, served on ciabatta bread.  The bacon was crispy and the lettuce and tomato fresh.

Bennetts-blt1000 Another companion ordered the Chicken Pecan Raspberry Salad, which looked so good!  It came with a large chicken breast grilled and sliced atop a bed of fresh spinach and other greens.  It was also loaded with bleu cheese crumbles, candied pecans and a sweet raspberry dressing.  It comes with one fresh warm breadstick but my companion asked for an extra.

Bennetts-chickenpecansalad1000 Another companion had the Oriental Chicken Salad.  There were a few pieces of crispy white-meat chicken atop a bed of mixed greens with carrots, with crispy chow mein noodles and mandarin oranges and then tossed with an oriental sesame ginger dressing.


Service: Our visit was at lunch time on a Wednesday and fortunately for us it wasn’t too busy.  Our service was very good, with food and drinks served in a timely manner.  The server was good about answering questions and helping with food selections.  There was a slight mistake with one of the orders and it took awhile longer to be served than the rest of the food, but Bennett’s was gracious in correcting the slight mix-up.
Overall Impression: Lunch is served quickly and they have a lot to choose from on the menu.  Prices seemed a little high for what you got, but the food was quite good and so was the service.  I would like to go back and try the dinner sometime.
Bennett's Chop & RailHouse on Urbanspoon