3rd- lone spur, minnetonka
9th- vincent a restaurant, minneapolis
17th- rossi's steakhouse, minneapolis
20th- big 10, hopkins
24th- q. cumbers, edina
24th- auriga, minneapolis (a guest review)
25th- everest on grand, st. paul
26th- honey baked ham co., burnsville and
satay 2 go, apple valley
30th- kozy's steaks and seafood, edina
3rd- lone spur, minnetonka (b)
why it's termed a 'cajun' shrimp burrito is something i will probably never know, but it's not cajun. not bad, but not spicy or anything the term 'cajun' implies. it's shrimp, red and white onion, and peppers grilled and wrapped in a flour tortilla. beans and rice on the side, comes with salsa and sour cream. since there was a pile o'melted cheese on the burrito, you really didn't need the sour cream. mrs. brk liked her third of a rack of ribs (they were tender and lean) with texas toast and fries with that, but the coleslaw was too liquidy.
9th- vincent a restaurant, minneapolis (b)
new happy hour at vincent's- great prices, sure, and great food, but at this at this go around, service suffered. the bar was more crowded than i've seen it at any time something wasn't on at orchestra hall, but having one person serve the room, well, that so does not work. it was hard to get the one server to the table order things, ask questions, get water refilled, etc. they may want to get someone else to help out then. i think it would've gone quicker if we were at the bar instead of at a table in the bar. still, a bit disappointing there.
i got the fries (yeah, that's shocks you all, i'm sure), and for the happy hour price (half-off regular) i got about half the regular order. fine with me, as that's more than enough for one person.
since i was really in the mood for blue cheese, and couldn't find dish with it any on their happy hour menu, their bar menu, or their regular menu to go with the fries, i just got that as a cheese plate. comes with nuts, dried fruit, and balsamic vinegar. it also had decorative lettuce on the plate for no good reason. what's odd is that i had to request bread with it, as the plate didn't come to the table with it.
as i didn't have anything else, i can't comment on the rest of the menu, but the shrimp with kim chi, beef 'kefta,' and flat bread done pizza style were reportedly very tasty.
17th- rossi's steakhouse, minneapolis (c-)
it so does not bode well for your dinner if the best thing you 'eat' is an adult ice cream cocktail. (and even that wasn't quite blended well enough to rid itself of ice crystals and lumps of ice cream).
they missed details like that more than a few times. the bread the brought to the table was cold, so therefore kind of tasteless. it may have made good toast, but that's about all. the crabcake burger i ordered had a lump of inedible stuff in it. the coleslaw served with it was limp, as were the seasoned fries, which were seasoned nicely (unlike the other two items).
this was for mrs. brk's birthday dinner, and well, at least she really really liked her steak sandwich (she took off the bread, as it was the only way to get a somewhat reasonable sized steak for one). though they brought her out a medium rare one when she ordered itmedium to medium well. they realized this a quarter of her way into it. at least the steakhouse does good steak. it also came with the unseasoned limp coleslaw the seasoned fries.
the dessert we ordered, that's where it really got ugly. we ordered a 'tower' of strawberry shortcake, more or less. the strawberries were ok. the whipped cream (we got it on the side) went back to being just cream shortly after it hit the table. but the 'angel food' cake was inedible. dense, hard, crispy in places it shouldn't be, we could get through it with a fork only when we threw our weight into it. our guesses- too much egg white, frozen too long and not thawed totally, it was actually day old cake. possible all of the above and some of the below. just ick. and a bigass tower of ick, as that thing was the size of a hubcap (which made the huge price more logical, kinda... dessert was $13 or so).
they took that back and brought us the ice cream cocktail (the grasshopper version). that was also pretty good.
i will say this, it would so not have been worth it if i hadn't had a restaurant.com certificate that i saved lots of money on. this place is mad spendy. for example, baked potatoes were $6.50. for one. yes, it was a very large one, but it's still just a baked potato. i would pay for that much for one only if topped by caviar. my dinner was not $16 worth of good, and i am glad i didn't have to pay that much for it.
what's odd having said that is that the service was quite good. the water fillers were just there, there was plenty of staff, food got to the table in a timely manner. i mean, this was the first place i have been to in a while that had a restroom attendant. that just seems odd nowadays. or maybe it's just me.
as for decor, it was upscale old school steakhouse- dark wood, dark colors, etc.. i don't mean that in a bad way. i will say i was the youngest looking person i saw in the dining area that wasn't a server.
20th- big 10, hopkins (b-)
still with the decent enough comfort food and such. hadn't been in ages, so yeah, a half-turkey sub, this one was higher on the toasting scale than the last one but still needed a bit more time to be toast. and the fries were still underseasoned. service was still spacy, with a very long time between paying and getting the change. and very cold in there, too.
24th- q. cumbers, edina (c)
maybe i should just wear another layer to restaurants, as i was freezing here too. anyway, it's a buffet. from the name and their ads, i expect a lot more of a veg variety than i got. they had a fine array of salad dressings (tomato basil, that was a suprise), however. lots of breads, lots of soups, a good variety of dessert choices, and a few hot entrees.
nothing was spectacular (i enjoyed the garlic potato soup and the honey butter more than anything, nothing else was stand out), a few things below par (the teriyaki chicken was too dry), but nothing was gross either (except for the weird marshmellow dessert salad thing that mom got).
they get points for being one of the few places i have seen with diet lemon lime pop. and the dessert selection, well, to be more precise their soft-serve bar, was impressive in it's toppings selection.
not a place i would go rushing back to, but it was someplace different. kind of weird i'd not been here before. somehow i think i would have. it got a bit busy, so there was some table pile up of dishes. the decor is neutral, but the music is muzak, so that's disconcerting.... like... help, i'm in a giant elevator with lots of average food.
24th- auriga, minneapolis (a guest review) (a)
what can i say? it was everything it should have been.
thanks to open table, we nabbed reservations right when we heard it was closing. when we got there, the bar was packed, people were standing around waiting for chairs, and there was a page-long waiting list for people who wanted to get into the restaurant. they were all told they probably wouldn't be able to eat there tonight unless they were willing to wait until after 9pm. sorry.
the large number of people in attendance showed on the menu. a number of items were sold out, i'm sure because they weren't about to restock the pantry the last week in business. we were disappointed the duck was no longer available, but made due.
we started with a wonderful poached pullet egg over polenta. it was garnished with white asparagus and a nice vegetable medley. next, we had new york strip, medium rare, with apple puree, endive, and potato. the other entree was a fantastic roasted char with fennel, potato and bacon tower, white asparagus and a tarragon emulsion. we had a great pinot with dinner. dessert was warm donuts with a tobacco chocolate sauce, but it was missing the krispies we love so. ah - that ms. tranh. we'll miss her and that dessert tasting last summer that left us full and happily ill for days.
as would be expected, the service was very good. it was more enjoyable seeing all of the obviously regular patrons, some of them quite elderly, come in and share their memories with the servers. after celebrating multiple birthdays, happy hours, other special occasions, and dinners with friends there, it was a fitting way to say goodbye to an institution, if a ten-year old can be an institution.
we can only hope doug finds a new inspiration and returns from his west coast research sooner rather than later.
25th- everest on grand, st. paul (b)
once more to a buffet, but this one was mostly different (except for parts of the salad bar, oddly). buffets are sometimes a good way to see what you like at a place you've not been to or cuisine you've not sampled (i don't recall having nepali food before...), so it made sense. alas, one of the main buffet problems hit this one... when you take your food to the table, it seems to instantly cool down. here it made the bread tense up quite quickly, but other than that it was ok.
though this salad bar also had raita and achaar, potato version (from the everest on grand web site, achaar is a "...house seasoning made from either potato, tomato, and/or daikon mixed with cilantro, ginger, garlic, and spices. spiced medium to hot, achaar is a typical nepali condiment that compliments both the salad plate and the curry-rice dishes."). i was digging the achaar.
on the hot side, i picked off a pretty decent soup, lots of poori (that's the bread that's fried and puffs up a bit), basmati rice, a rice dish with nuts and fruit and a bit of curry, what i think was a very tasty dish called aloo-ko-achaar (another quote... "house condiment made fresh red potato mixed with banana blossom, onion, cilantro and spices to provide a uniquely nepali flavor") a chili chicken dish, and my favorite, pyazi ("onion and jalapeno strips dipped in gram-flour batter and deep-fried"
some things, like the goat, i skipped. and there were none of the famous hot momo on offer on the buffet, either. the place is basically what you'd expect... think campus restaurant, and you'd be pretty close (as it is close to a few campuses).
26th- honey baked ham co., burnsville (c-)
a boxed lunch for a staff workshop. the sandwich was one of those odd foods that taste like nothing (even with mustard and mayo). it was turkey and brie with lettuce and tomato on a white crusty roll. maybe warmed up it would taste like something, but it was weird eating it. why make so vast a sandwich (it was pretty huge) with no flavor? weird.
the cookie was pretty good, and it's hard to ruin a bag of chips. not the best pickle, not the worse. just though i'd share that.
i will say with my history of lunches at our annual staff workshop (first year i got the vegetarian sandwich, which turned out to be a cold potato slice sandwich, the grossest sandwich i've ever been served that did not have a foreign object in it, the other year i attended they had pizza, which i'm sure was fine, but it was passover and i could not eat any).
26th- satay 2 go, apple valley (b-)
stopped by for a quick bowl of shrimp ball/chicken soup. the shrimp balls were good, the chicken soup... well, let's just say i believe i use the same soup base at home. it's a bit salty if used full strength, so i was not so happy with that aspect. not a lot of chicken or veg happening either. nice shrimp balls though... (yeah, go ahead, you know you want to say 'heh heh heh, she said balls.')
by the way, though it looks like i've not been here since 2005 (see the bitedex), i usually stop by once a month for baked goods (still into the red bean curd buns, and they keep well in the freezer, as do most of their baked goods... remember that if you stop by there).
30th- kozy's steaks and seafood, edina (c-)
apparently i don't deserve bread.
other tables got bread.
we even had bread plates.
well, fine, it didn't look so great anyway.
this time out mrs. brk had a $20 off dinner certificate. if you order a dinner, that's pretty much not going to cover it. we ordered off the 'bar food' portion of the dinner menu, except for the appetizer. we split the jumbo shrimp cocktail (four big shrimp with horseradish-laden sauce, usually $12). it was decent, but the shrimp were a tad cold and the sauce a tad spicy. it took 15 minutes for that to get to the table in not very crowded conditions.
after we finished that, it took another 15 minutes or so to get the dinners (bread would've come in handy, no?).
i went with the chicken sandwich with carmelized onions, roasted tomato, and brie, fries on the side. not a lot of brie action there, and the chicken had too much gristle making it not that pleasant to eat and it was also overdone. brie coverage was skimpy. i dipped my fries (less good that mrs. brk's fries, as they were overdone and not seaoned well) into her pepperjack cheese sauce she got on the side (not at all spicy pepperjack). this is usually around $11.
she got the open-faced prime rib sandwich on ciabatta with sauteed onions, jus on the side. hers was a lot better except for an odd cold spot in the sandwich. that surprised no one. (brk jr powers activate!). this is usually $17.
except for the water guy (1/3 full once, otherwise never less than 1/2) service was slow and inattentive. i would've mentioned the icky chicken bits to the server had they stopped by to find out how the food was. but they didn't. no one asked how mrs. brk wanted her sandwich in the first place, really.
after the manager (or the person in the suit at the podium, as the case may be) said we had a lovely table, it turned out to be in siberia- right by the kitchen, which had an open door and freezing air coming out, and under a cold air vent to boot... just what you want on a 10 degree day. so yeah, very much feeling like siberia there.... had i realized how cold it was going to get, i would've asked for another one before we sat, but it snuck up on us.
oddly enough, even after saving $20 on the total, i was not impressed and feel no urge to return. even for about $10 per person (a bit more than)... i was disappointed.
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