best restaurant for birthday dinner for two
I am a temorary transplant from NY and have found these boards very helpful. Tomorrow is the birthday of my significant other and I am looking for a great place for dinner. I am sad to hear about the closing of Auriga and I am wondering if 112 and W. Puck's restaurant are good alternatives. Willing to spend money and open to all kinds of cuisine as long as it is good. Twin Cities, St. Paul, or surrounding areas welcome.
I would recommend Alma. We were there the other night and both the food and service were the best I've encountered in a long time. They have a wonderful 3 course tasting menu for $42. I got the chicken pate bruschetta as my first course which was out of this world and then the pheasant entree which was delicious. I had never had pheasant before and was pleased that it was light, moist and flavorful. Plus it came with roasted radishes - I'm not a fan of raw radishes but these were sweet and savory - absolutely amazing. For dessert I ordered a serving of the roquefort which was wonderful and came with nuts, honey and dried fruit. A fantastic evening overall.
112 would also be a great choice. I'm not sure with 1 days notice you could get a reservation. We tried about a week in advance recently and 9:30 was our only option.
Ugh, I really dislike Anemoni (the sushi bar at Azia). The service was absolutely terrible. I just heard a story last night that my non-sushi eating friend went there and the refused to serve her anything from Azia even though they had no cooked food on the menu. Eventually another diner spoke up and said she knew they regularly served food from Azia and the server should just do it.
As far as sushi, I feel like there are a few places that rise above the rest and which one we head to depends mostly on our mood:
Origami - we now exclusively sit at the bar due to such poor experiences with table service.
Midori's - we like heading her for a more casual yet traditional experience. I do think the quality of fish is the best here although people have complained about the speed of service. I've never had a problem.
Bagu - Bagu is in our neighborhood and the staff is friendly. I think the sushi is very good and the hot appetizers are very creative. I've heard others say it's overpriced but I'm willing to pay to keep good food around the corner.
Sakura - I like the overall ambiance, selection and sushi quality here. We just don't make it to downtown St. Paul that often.
Alma would be my strong rec for an all-around awesome dining out exp too. great service and really extrordinary food & the tasting menu is excellent--
$0.02 on tc sushi re katebauer's list:
Anemoni is yucky & freshness has been questionable/frightening
Origami: can be good but service is really up & down
Midori's: good when you don't have a concert/theater date--sometimes very slow
haven't tried Bagu-Bagu or Sakura yet
thought Sushi Tango was okay-- sat at bar only many times, never at tables
I've had better luck at the St. Paul Fuji-Ya so far than Mpls, might be better kitchen staff, imho
i am making mental note to hit Sakura, as i thought Fuji-Ya was our only sushi option on this side of the river
oh and even tho it's not a sushi place you might really like Tanpopo, a great (more homestyle) Japanese place in lowertown St. Paul. it is an excellent choice for a (relatively cheap) dinner out, esp with a warming bowl of noodles in our lovely current temperatures (beer/wine only), nice atmosphere