MSP: Red Stag Supper Club
My wife and I have stopped by the Red Stag a few times since it opened a few weeks back. While we haven't had a full dinner yet, I thought I'd report on what we have had. The Red Stag is owned by the Barbette etc crew and is the first Leeds certified restaurant in town. That means the construction was done under strict reuse, recycle or green guidelines. It's tricky stuff and I am very familiar with it as my wife is a Leeds certified designer. This philosophy makes its way into the dinning room. You'll see photos of endangered species from the Midwest in the entry way and super high-powered hand driers in the restrooms.
While we've only had appetizers they were quite nice both times. We've had the Mac & Cheese with lobster and truffles which surprisingly had actual lobster (not the crawfish I've seen pawned off as lobster in several reputable restaurants) and actual truffles. Not bad for $8. We've also had the triple-cooked fries which are excellent. Not really fries, but huge slabs of potatoes cooked with garlic and parsley. We also have had the grilled oyster mushrooms which are skewered and have a nice char. Unfortunately, the mushrooms were a little cold but I think they got to the table hot and it's just the nature of mushrooms to cool quickly. They are also a little tough, but again, a huge chunk of oyster mushroom is going to be a little tough so no way around that unless you chop them up and that kind of defeats the whole grilling idea.
My wife had her favorite drink both times - a sidecar. A little on the sour side but well executed considering it is really hard to get this made well in the cities.
Anyone else visited yet?
Red Stag Supper Club
509 1st Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
We've been several times including the soft opening and for drinks and dinner.
Stand outs include the smelt fries, which have been perfectly fried (not overcooked into fish jerky), the mac & cheese was good, though the Modern does a much better truffled mac, the grits were good if a bit over salted, the duck was terrific as was the marrow salad.
Our issue up to this point however has been the less than stellar service. It runs hot and cold, one night having terrific service from a knowledgable server in the dining room, to a bartender who does not know the difference between brandy and bourbon and who on two occasions throws the bill on the bar rather than placing it in front of us and who gave us a bill for $0 (while I think I'm a big deal, I know no one else does and know this guy wouldn't have comp'd me).
So I will reserve a real review until the service improves, otherwise anything I say will be clouded with my displeasure with the service thus far.
Also, am I nuts or is Shay from MillCity Cafe hostessing @ Red Stag?
We ate there on a saturday 2 weeks ago when we had that big snow storm. Got down there at about 9pm and saw that half the restaurant was empty, but they seemed to be saving these tables for reservations. Another couple that we know got there at 8pm and it was the same deal and they ended up eating at the bar. We managed to get the only 2 top after a little wait. There doesnt seem to be enough 2 tops to me.
Anyway, onto the food. I have to say I liked everything we had. All of which was quite rich. lobster mac n cheese was good. not great, but good. marrow was good, but seemed like not a lot of bang for the buck ($12). The house mad charcuterie plate was really good. Their potted duck was incredibly rich. Also had the tempura veg, which was the lightest thing we got and it was still deep fried. That is just what we happened to order. It was all good enough that i do want to try a lot more. I liked the wine list. Good pinotage. Nice whites.
Our server was very excited. She did a great job, but you could tell she was new to the service industry. But A for effort. Loved the space, the hand driers, the menu and drinks. Will be back.
My only real complaint was that the place was only half full and yet people had to wait for a table. We left there around 10 and only one of the tables saved had been seated. And the location of the bathrooms. You have to walk through the servers station to get to them. Weird.
Six of us had dinner there Saturday night the 13th and we won't be going back. We arrived early, asked for our table, were told it was ready, but they weren't going to seat us for 20 minutes as our server needed a little break. No stools at the bar open, and they wouldn't give us our table. It took 25 minutes for the appetizers to arrive....and our salads arrived 2 minutes after the appetizers. Two couples ordered salads to share; they brought two salads and set them in front of one of the couples, who assumed the kitchen had split the salads and started to eat. After a few minutes when the other salads had not appeared, we asked our server....who told us she brought two salds (no extra plates) and expected the couples to share. My salad, advertised as having beets, had three tiny tiny pieces of beet, and no dressing. One of the beef stroganoff entrees was cold. This was the first and last time for us.
Yeah we had a lot of the same weird service issues you all had; our particular highlights..oh we'll have the "whtever" no don't get that it's not that good. This happened w/the first 3 things we ordered. Umm, ok what should we have then? umm,
how bout the mac and cheese? Sure what else? umm, (and on and on..)Then we got one drink order taken (this was a table of 8) and finallwhen we ordered dessert got offered a second round which never came and we ended up going to a different bar to get our drink on..We had each had each had one dronk during a 3.5 hour meal. Weird. And the food was just ok (like the server said) and my friend kept saying it looked like a Panera bread place in there. This made us laugh alot. We told her to turn around and look at the bar..Which she thought made it less Panera-ish.
My husband and I were there probably a month ago. Our service was S-L-O-W slow. Other than that, the meal was quite ejoyable. My husband is also a LEED accredited professional and read up on some of the specifics before we went. It was neat to look around and see some of the areas where they achieved points toward the certification. It's a cool thing that they did.
I really loved the bone marrow appetizer. It's one of the few places in Minneapolis that I've seen this on the menu and I think it's a very LEED thing to serve. Afterwards, our server packed the bones for us to take home to our dog. I rinsed off the excess gremolata and put them in the freezer. He loves marrow bones and didn't seem to notice that there wasn't much goodness left in the middle. It kind of brought the whole thing full circle.
I had the duck and my husband had the pork. I didn't love the pork, but my husband did. I thought you could really taste the brine which was different for me. The grits were good, but I don't know when they aren't, and I think the grits at Brasa are way better. The duck, however, was my perfect meal. It is served with butternut squash ravioli, arugula, preserved lemon, raisins, and feta cheese. With so many unique flavors, you could really get a different experience in each bite. The only downside to this dish, was that it was served in kind of a deep bowl and little bit of a pain to eat (huge compaint, I know).
I think the concept of Red Stag is incredibly relevant (and I know, a little trendy), but if you've found yourself in sort of a personal quandary after reading Omnivore's Dilemma, it's nice to find more and more local restaurants to make you feel better.
We finally made it to the Red Stag. One of our party of 3 ordered the special Restaurant Week menu, the other 2 ordered off the regular menu. All of us liked our food a lot, and we all agreed that the service was good. They have a nice beer list (v. important to me!) and seemed to also have a nice list of wines by the glass (I only glanced at it).
I had the pork chop, which I thought was outstanding. An amazing amount of meat was on that chop, and it was all very moist and tender and delicious. Understated seasoning. It came with goat cheese grits (yum) and hominy-bacon succotash (also yum) and barbequed shrimp (I don't eat seafood so I passed on that).
Everyone else liked their food too. Desserts were excellent as well. The decor of the place is perfect for a supper club, not that I've ever been to one before. But it just seemed right. We'll definitely be back!