Dinner in Rapid City
This is a very late response to this thread, but we have got to give you all the word on The Corn Exchange (which we had high hopes for, but alas.....)
We just returned from a 2-week trip that hit on a number of places in North Dakota, South Dakota, and so on. The second night we were in North Dakota staying at the Radisson (recommended -- a short walk away from restaurants and a decent pool; our daughter loved the "number" beds), we went to the Corn Exchange in large part due to a review we'd read in Gourmet.
The best phrase we can think of to describe this place is The Emperor in New Clothes. We walked in, were asked whether we had a reservation, which we confirmed, and were lead to our table. So far, so good.
Then our waiter arrived to tell us that we would be "chatting" with M.J. (the owner/chef?) re: the food; then he would come back and "chat" with us re: the menu; and we'd take it from there. We thought that sounded like a lot of "chatting" (his word), but we were game.
Well, it seems M.J. was busy chatting elsewhere, so after about 10 minutes, our waiter came back and said it looked like M.J. was tied up, so he would have to do both her chat and his. Oddly enough, the one-minute "chat" consisted of telling us about whatever specials were on for the night, and the fact that one of the appetizers (the one we'd decided on) was out but that M.J. had just pulled out some pheasant dumplings.
And so we started with the pheasant dumplings. Pleasant, but nothing special. And certainly overpriced at $9 for 3 less than plump dumplings. Our daughter leaned over and whispered "wow -- we could have had better dumplings at 1/3 the price in Chinatown!".
One of us opted for the steak with Point Reyes Blue Cheese (the best choice by far); one for the Pork Chop (ok, but so unmemorable now that I can't even remember how it was prepared); and the other chose the stuffed chicken with black beans (there were 8 black beans, by the way) on a bed, I think, of rice. Or maybe it was orzo (once again, I can't remember, because it was not terribly memorable). Somehow the nagging feeling kept building: this was a place that had pretensions, but not the culinary oomph to back it up. We had a decent bottle of wine which, again, was overpriced.
MJ, we noticed, essentially saves her chatting for chatting up the customers as they depart. Maybe it's a way of trying to leave a good note at the end so you'll return. We won't.
On the other hand -- if you find yourself in town for breakfast, try Tally's. The blueberry pancakes are amazingly good. Everything else looks like standard American breakfasts: respectable, hearty, and NOT overpriced.
Sorry to put the nix on Corn Exchange: we'd actually thought it had all the earmarkings for the dining highlight of our trip. It wasn't.
Yikes! Tough crowd...
I've been to the Corn Exchange several times (I'm in Rapid on business once or twice a year) and have not been disappointed. The food has been consistently good (the prices are a little high for the area, though not excessive). I found the Gourmet review accurate.
MJ (who is the owner and chef) has always been friendly, charming and helpful.
Perhaps you caught them on an off night.
The Colonial house. Best restaurant in town. Old style family food. Great breakfast. I recomend the pork chops. They say cooked on the grill but they mean grittle. Those chops remind me of grandma's. I ate breakfast there bacon,patty sausage, pancakes and amerian fries. I call them soft fries. A little crisp on the outside but soft. I think its on Mt Rushmore Rd. You can probably ask someone or look in the phone book. Hope this helps. I guarantee you will like it