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[MSP] Woohoo! Saigon (St.P) & Hell's Kitchen (Mpls) relocating

The Dairy Queen Aug 28, 2008 04:24 AM

Finally, good news! Saigon is re-locating down the street to the old Thai Bazil space on University Ave in Saint Paul, closing Oct 12 in the old location and opening Oct 24 in the new. They will also be expanding their menu, apparently. I was so so worried they'd just give up and we'd lose them altogether. I'm glad my fears were unfounded.

Apparently, also in mid-October, Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis will be relocating a block away from it's current location to where Rossi's steakhouse currently is. Rossi's is closing Sept 5.

All of this is according to Nancy Ngo in today's PiPress.

~TDQ

  1. scoopG Aug 28, 2008 07:16 AM

    Thanks for the heads up. Hopefully HK will add French Toast to their menu when they move!

    1. s
      soupkitten Aug 28, 2008 07:34 AM

      good! brave of these places to make moves/expand in this economy. i do think hell's in particular will do well with a larger dining space (that's right, isn't it?)

      3 Replies
      1. re: soupkitten
        jsyx Aug 28, 2008 09:45 AM

        Hopefully HK will consider a different approach to their decor as well!
        yuck!

        1. re: jsyx
          Jordan Aug 28, 2008 10:19 AM

          I love their decor. Whenever I can, I want to sit under the vultures.

          1. re: jsyx
            Foureyes137 Aug 29, 2008 10:07 AM

            I too am a fan of the decor, I hope it continues in the new space.

            And good lord! The Rossi's space is about 6 times bigger then HK's current location. That should be interesting. I wonder what they will do with the basement...not sure about everyone else, but I certainly don't want to eat breakfast in a place with no sun. Hell, the private dining areas of Rossi's are as big as HK.

        2. b
          BigE Aug 28, 2008 10:50 AM

          I didn't know Rossi's was closing. That's too bad; I really enjoyed that place.

          Good to know a place like HK is going to be taking over the space.

          1. s
            steve_in_stpaul Aug 31, 2008 06:00 PM

            Hmm ... whatever will Saigon be like without the barely-converted-Long-John-Silver's decor? :-) Seriously, I'm glad to see them doing this well. Saigon remains one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants. And they deserve their success.

            1. s
              soupkitten Dec 1, 2008 01:32 PM

              visited the new hell's kitchen over thanksgiving weekend (because i'm an idiot, duh!) the entire restaurant was packed for breakfast/brunch, there was an hour wait, even in that cavernous space. definitely has a new "see and be seen" vibe that the old hell's didn't-- spotted al franken across the room. hounds will be interested to note that the menu is much expanded, including lots of new lunch/dinner items, notably **burgers & bbq**, a steak or two. we ate breakfast, though-- the pit ham benedict and the corned beef hash--and it was good as ever. service is not broken in yet but was fine. there is now a full bar-- yay real bloody marys at HK! oooh and a pet peeve: for eff's sake tip your bts, folks, the guy next to us tipped $3 on a $40 drink tab, pretty shabby--it's no different at breakfast, shame on you, dude!

              the ralph steadman art & decor in general arrived intact to the more corporate new surrounds, HK still looks unique & iconoclastic-- maybe even a little over-the-top-carnivalish, but also less shabby. i got a kick out of the (obviously conceived by a restaurant person) "house rules" painted on the stairwell next to the host's station, and the "these are the worst tables in the house, & here's why" next to the deuces near the kitchen door. downtown-luinching hounds should note that there is a lunchtime carryout counter which seems like it would whip butt all over the jimmy john's which occupies the street level. i am very pleased to report that HK seems to be settling in nicely in its new digs, and i'm so happy that a true local indie place is there & not an empty hole. the local folks sure seem to be giving good support, with lots of large families, 3+ generations, dining this thanksgiving weekend. i look forward to reading reports on how the lunch and dinner items measure up to other places downtown.

              oh, & i don't usually read c.j.-- but it sounds like there was a little friction between HK and the restaurant that moved into its old space. ha ha :) i wouldn't want to have been that clueless calhoun grill employee with mitch omer bearing down on me, i think a little pee might have trickled down the kid's leg. . .

              http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/...

              9 Replies
              1. re: soupkitten
                b
                BigE Dec 2, 2008 12:51 PM

                I ate at HK on Sunday morning a few weeks back...WOW. My first trip there (never made it to the old location). I went with a fairly large group, so I got to try a lot of things. Of course, I had to get the Huevos Rancheros, and I can't imagine ever getting anything else, although the Lemon Ricotta pancakes were outrageously good.

                The only letdown of the day was the peanut butter. I absolutely love peanut butter, and I've heard forever how legendary the HK peanut butter is. To me, it was much too sweet. Don't get me wrong, it was pretty good, but I thought the sweetness was a little overwhelming.

                As a side note, the live gospel music made the experience even better. I can't wait to go back.

                1. re: BigE
                  The Dairy Queen Dec 2, 2008 12:58 PM

                  Funny--I love HK's PB. At first I didn't like it because I thought it was too smokey, if that makes any sense, but then it grew on me. I even get it to go. On the other hand, I do love the lemon ricotta pancakes, except that I can only have a bite or two (must share with the rest of the table!) as I find them way too rich.

                  I haven't tried their huevos rancheros--must put that on the list now!

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    p
                    pgokey Dec 3, 2008 06:38 AM

                    Oh, do try the huevos rancheros. They are fantastic.

                    That's the frustration of HK - I can never decide what to get because there are so many excellent items. I feel like I was robbed if I leave and haven't had porridge, lemon hot cakes, peanut butter, huevos, BLT, walleye sandwich. Ugh.

                    I get the same feeling at 112.

                    1. re: pgokey
                      drew13000 Dec 3, 2008 11:39 AM

                      I think I must be the only person that hasn't found something they love at HK. I've been there a handful of times--twice in the last month. Recently, I had the bison eggs benedict with the rosti potatoes and while I normally love both bison and eggs benedict, this just tasted off to me. The bison was bitter, and the rosti just didn't have enough flavor. My friend ordered mac and cheese and she agreed it was also kind of bland.
                      A couple weeks ago I ordered the meatloaf sandwich special with sweet potato fries. The fries were awesome, but the sandwich was downright bad. Basically, thick-sliced, toasted white bread with a chunk of meatloaf. The meatloaf was a lot smaller than the bread, so there were a lot of bites that were mostly bread. The meat itself was hard and dry. The fact that it was a special made me think that they had meatloaf left over from the night before and needed something to do with it. Let's slap it on some bread and call it a sandwich special!

                      I want to love HK and keep going back because 1) I love the atmosphere and 2) I keep trying to find something I love! I'll definitely try the huevos rancheros next time because they seem to be a favorite of everyone else.

                      1. re: drew13000
                        s
                        soupkitten Dec 3, 2008 12:18 PM

                        the huevos are definitely one of my fave items there. the folks at roadfood also loved them-- i love their description: "huevos rancheros of the gods." ;-P

                        to Big E's post-- you know, we got the pb with some toast when we went (starving after the hour wait, wanted something right away), and it *totally* was not like the pb is usually and was noticeably sweeter tasting to me, & had a more granular texture, as if the honey/sugar granulated? maybe we all got the same off batch? because the pb usually-- i must agree with TDQ-- it *usually* does totally kick butt. i would expect some off items just after their move, it looked to me like they had to triple, or quadruple, their FOH staff, & i bet there are a similar proportion of newbies in the kitchen. i was pleased that our food was pretty solid, especially because it was so busy-- but then again, we ordered "safe," no new menu items for us. dh did mention his eggs being a little over-hard on the corned beef hash. . . hmm. i'm sorry to hear about Drew's mediocre experiences, but i think they'll improve as the staff gets broken in-- glad you'll go back. fwiw i prefer the pit ham benedict to the bison one :)

                        oh and i forgot to mention before, for the fish & chips lovers in msp, there is now a walleye f&c menu item at hell's. can't wait to try it sometime

                        1. re: soupkitten
                          b
                          BigE Dec 4, 2008 06:35 AM

                          My sister has been there multiple times, and she didn't mention the PB being any different than usual. I just thought it was entirely too sweet.

                          Hopefully it is better the next time I go, because I was expecting to take a jar home (before I tasted it).

                        2. re: drew13000
                          The Dairy Queen Dec 3, 2008 12:57 PM

                          If it's any consolation, I don't love everything I've had at HK, though, to be fair, I've eaten at HK Duluth almost as many times as I have at HK Mpls and my impression of them is kind of a merged one... Nevertheless, I think they do a great job at all of their house-made condiments. Most of the dinner items I tried at HK Duluth were pretty forgettable by Minneapolis standards. I think they shine best for breakfast , less so for lunch-y type dishes, and even less so for dinner type dishes. Funnily enough, in the not every place is going to please every one category, the decor irritates me.

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: drew13000
                            n
                            NordeastB Dec 3, 2008 01:08 PM

                            I have to agree on lunch not matching up to breakfast at HK. I was there last week with some work folks. The wait was long; both upon when we sat down to waiting for our food. On a kinda bizarre note, our server proceeded to kneel on the floor at every take he took an order at. The lukewarm ham pear melt and stale bread didn't help.

                            I'll give them time before we rush back.

                            1. re: NordeastB
                              j
                              jim n Dec 3, 2008 01:50 PM

                              My wife and I had a similar experience at lunch time.

                              The wait for a table was long despite there being dozens of empty tables throughout the restaurant, followed by a long wait for our orders to be taken followed by another ridiculously long wait for our food. My ham pear melt was also lukewarm which luckily made it easier to shove down my throat so I could get back to work.

                              On the bright side, our server eventually acknowledged our obviously poor experience and comped the entire meal without any provocation from us. Soon after that I could overhear him arguing with two management types on the dining room floor, presumably about our free meals.

                              I probably won't be going back over the lunch hour but I'll wait a while and go back for breakfast.

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