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[MSP] Bulldog or Bulldog NE, need a tie-breaker

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Friends of ours have asked us to dinner at the Bulldog. I assumed they meant Bulldog NE, but they insist they want to go to the Uptown joint. We are all great friends and the rivalry for which place to enjoy is light-hearted, but we need a tie-breaker. I am a big fan of the NE location and not so much the Uptown location. They haven't been to either but have heard good things about Uptown.

Where should we go?

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  1. Originally, the Bulldog in Uptown was a bar and all I ever remember eating there is hot dogs. Bulldog NE came on the scene with a "gourmet" bar menu. I believe they had an owner or two in common, but weren't intended to be replicas of each other. At one point I heard the Uptown one was adopting the NE's menu, but I haven't been there in at least a year so I don't know if that's happened. If there's any doubt, head to NE. The service is kind of slow, and the place is loud, but the food is quite good.

    4 Replies
    1. re: katebauer

      The food at NE is great. The Uptown one still doesn't have the made-over menu the NE location does. The choice is a no brainer, if you're going for food.

      1. re: pgokey

        Not so fast. The hot dog menu at the Uptown location is far better. The execution fo the menu at NE has gone downhill a bit since Schoenefeld's exit.

        1. re: mplsmike

          agree with mike on this one-- bulldog ne has gone downhill imo too. it might be just sausages in uptown, but the last time i was there it was done well.

          1. re: soupkitten

            I've been to Bulldog NE a few times in the last few months, and other than the patchy level of service, I've been really pleased. The much-vaunted truffle oil hamburger was really terrific (and it impressed a particularly picky out-of-town friend), and I can't find a thing to complain about vis-a-vis the tater tots. And I enjoyed my Chicago dog, though it was no hot shakes in an absolute sense. On the execution front: they do that thing where "medium rare" gets served "medium well," which drives me crazy. Even Fudruckers seems capable of serving its burgers at the correct level of doneness.

    2. I'd go for NE if you are going for food, but I prefer the atmosphere and the staff at the Uptown location. Bulldog NE lost their chef early in the year, I believe and the food hasn't been that great since. BTW - both locations are owned by the same folks, contrary to what someone else posted....

      7 Replies
      1. re: Iver60271

        I went to the Uptown location tonight, and really thought the burger was good. Had a Stilton Burger with roasted garlic. Fries were perfectly cooked. Staff was friendly and very efficient.

        I have never been to Bulldog NE, but now I am really curious. The NE location menu says they use domestic Kobe beef, ground daily. The uptown menu doesn't say anything about the type of beef. Anyone know if they are the same of different? The burger menu looks pretty similar between the two, but no truffle burger at uptown location. Seems odd if it is such a hit...

        1. re: TDS1

          from what I understand the Bulldogs share a Co-Owner but are not outright owned by the same people. I may be the minority here but I enjoyed the Uptowns burger over NE's. IMHO it's one of the best in the Cities.

          1. re: sixpintsofbitter

            Just to show you that even the Chowhound places are, uh, not always at the top of their game...I was there for lunch at 1:30p yesterday based on the recs here; had a Chicago Dog and fries, root beer, $12.....warm (at best) fries, the meat was sorta hot, soda WAS cold and so am I on ever going back...coulda had 2 Subway meals for the price and they would have been hot, satisfying and no regrets.

            1. re: DaKing

              Interesting. Which location was that? I finally tried the Bulldog NE today (see my other post above about Uptown location). What a huge disappointment. On the plus side, the restaurant itself is a bit nicer. Had the Stilton burger, as I had ordered at the Uptown location. I swear it wasn't as satisfying, and certainly had a lot less Stilton and far less garlic. The fries were awful - but I suppose that wasn't a problem, as I only received about 15 of them. I have never received such a small portion of fries in any restaurant (wife's was the same amount). They were limp, and warm at best. Plus, they were plain fries, unlike the Uptown location which were well spiced (can't remember exactly how they were prepared). Requested mustard, and was given French's. I know restaurants can have off days, but it was lunch and relatively uncrowded. Maybe I was expecting too much, but I have had better burgers for the $$$. I will give Uptown another visit to see if it is as good as my first visit, but won't be back to NE....

              1. re: TDS1

                It was NE, and I got the same 15, warm, limp fries.

                1. re: TDS1

                  Just wondering-- requested mustard and was given French's-- what were you expecting or hoping for?

                  1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                    The Stilton burger is served with horseradich mustard on the burger, so I was hoping for more of the same - I suppose I should have been more explicit. Maybe it's just because I am a mustard lover, but if you ordered a gourmet burger with Stilton/roasted garlic chips/horseradish mustard, wouldn't yellow French's mustard be last on your list to put on top? Anyway, all in all it's a small detail, I was just unpleasantly surprised with the meal given the high praise NE has received in the past over the uptown joint. For me, it seems the opposite is the way to go (Uptown over NE) - at least in terms of food.

        2. I've never been to Uptown, but NE is garbage. For a supposed beer-centric bar they lack both knowledge and glassware. Burgers are a joke! My wife had a burger last time we went that didn't even taste like meat, not even salty or peppery or anything. When we told our server that it wasn't good at all she looked aghast and said, "but it's Kobe beef!" I don't care what kind of beef it was, it should taste good. Thumbs and toes down to NE!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: fishface

            A shame to hear these reports. I've usually had good burgers and fries at Bulldog N.E. I say "usually" because, like any other burger place, you occasionally get one where something is messed up -- overcooked, undercooked, sloppily assembled, not properly rested/degreased, etc. For me, though, the hits have far outnumbered the misses there.