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Oct 30, 2008 07:29 PM

Jfood's final meal this week at 112 Eatery (MSP) - Very good

Another week in MSP and for his last meal this week Jfood went to an old standard, 112 eatery. He was looking forward to the tagliatelle w/ foie gras meatballs and it was just a matter of what to have as an entrée. As he sat at the bustling bar eating those great olives, he thought back to his first visit when he met the great couple from Chicago who offered him a piece of their chicken and recommended Nonni’s. The husband was very insistent on the steak and given the great meal Jfood ate the night before at Nonni’s, he figured this guy was really on his game. So Jfood went with the nori encrusted sirloin w/ ponzu.

The tagliatelle arrived and to be perfectly honest it was not up to the standards that Jfood had so much enjoyed in the past. He is not saying it was bad, but the meatballs themselves lack the deep flavor of the foie gras and if Jfood was blindfolded he would have guessed veal meatballs, not foie gras. The pasta was perfectly cooked but the sauce also lacked the flavor that he experienced in previous visits. The standards were so high in Jfood's mind he was disappointed. Alas, he can only rate this dish a 6 on this visit.

The steak arrived and the first item Jfood noticed that the nori was not encrusted around the steak, but was shredded on top. Personally this was a better choice. A nice dollop of wasabi accompanied the steak in the ponzu sauce. The steak was perfectly cooked medium-rare. And then the first bite. Now Jfood has never eaten ponzu with steak and he was not sure how it would work, and the first bite was a bit overwhelming. A deep breath and Jfood was ready for his second bite. His palate was ready this time, and the flavors were anticipated. OK, he’s beginning to like this combo. Next slice was cut and a little wasabi was placed on the steak. Now there were a lot of flavors all over the palate and Jfood gave a grin. Bit four was fully anticipated and the grin turned into a full smile and Jfood was ready to move through this dish with pure enjoyment. At the end he has to give the dish a 9. But if you order the dish be prepared for an initial shock to the palate on the first bite with the ponzu.

So this trip Jfood added to restaurants to his list, Inonni Osteria Enoteca in Lilydale and Arezzo Ristorante in Edina and placed one on the DNR list, Salut in Edina. All in all a pretty good week. Jfood is happily spending next week at home with Mrs Jfood, so no new restaurants for him in your great town.

And as they say a couple of states away. Vote early and often.

Thanks to all the MSP CH’ers for your guidance and suggestions.

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  1. I'll try to remember the ponzu steak. Sounds interesting!

    Sorry you wasted an evening at Salut. If you're stuck at 50th and France again, I'd recommend either the Edina Grill or Tejas over Salut. I would not suggest either as destination dining, but I think both are better alternatives to Salut in that neighborhood. (I've not been to Arezzo so I don't know how it fares in comparison.)

    10 Replies
    1. re: bob s

      If I was in that neighborhood, I'd go the 8 or 9 blocks east to Broder's. Either the pasta bar or the deli would be a vast improvement over all of them.

      Edina Grill (and it's "brothers") have always struck me as "Perkin's for the rich." There's a place for them, for sure. And, when I want a decent meal that will be unobjectionable to whomever is around, I turn to them.

      Given jfood's palate, I think the Broder's would be much more to his liking than Edina Grill (or Tejas).

      1. re: Danny

        I agree that there are better restaurants fairly close to 50th and France - if you're going to send someone to 50th and Penn (16 blocks), you could open the discussion up to anywhere in South Minneapolis such as Cafe Maud, Blackbird, Heidi's etc. The purpose of my post was that there are better alternatives to Salut AT 50th and France.

        I think that the criticism of the Edina Grill is a little harsh - I'd put the Good Day Cafe as closer to "Perkins for the rich" but that's my take. I think that some of their dinner entrees are fairly inventive. I've been a long time customer at EG and I will admit that it has become a bit more corporate and less imaginative since they've begun the roll out of different "Blue Plate" restaurants.

        1. re: bob s

          are there "different 'Blue Plate' restaurants" beyond the 4 i know of (longfellow, highland and edina grills, plus the groveland tap?).

          i used to work for them and while they certainly had their shit together and were ambitious businesspeople i wouldnt classify them as the least bit capital C corporate. as a company they were really pretty impressivly good with their employees, and while i agree that its not chef driven weekly menu changing falutin-ness, i think they do a pretty good job when the plates hit the table.

          1. re: tex.s.toast

            Yeah, they've recently added another one to the Blue Plate clan--
            3 Squares" in Maple Grove. I have to agree with Bob, they've gotten a lot more corporate feeling.


            1. re: tex.s.toast

              I love 3 Squares! They have a great happy hour from 3-6 with $2 taps and 1/2 price appetizers. Their beer selection is amazing, too. I'm sure it's pretty comparable to the other Blue Plate restaurants, but it's just such a nice change of scenery to have a great neighborhood restaurant in maple grove.
              their serving staff is always really fun, too. very knowledgeable and helpful. sometimes they have really cheap dessert specials. i'm still salivating over how great the butterscotch pudding was that i had last week. yummmmmy!

            2. re: bob s

              Funny--I really liked Longfellow/Highland when I first moved to the Twin Cities, but, I've gotten pretty bored with them. I don't know if they've changed or I've changed or both. I think it's both, actually. They've made a lot of tweaks to their menu here and there that just adds up to an overall less satisfying experience. I honestly think they are being managed by someone who is pretty saavy about the restaurant business in general (Longfellow's brunch menu seems to be all about creative --some successful, some not--uses of leftovers, for instance)--and lately, it's just felt like they are all just clones of each other with a pretty massive marketing & management machine behind it all. I will say, they do have some more ambitious menu items than the typical diner and it's still quite affordable. Also, they have some menu items that are pretty darn good and some that are downright inedible. It's really hard to know which is going to be which, though.

              In the end, my favorite of the Blue Plate chain is Groveland Tap, because it's the most humble of all and I think comfort food is what Blue Plate does best.

              But, the real reason I posted in this thread is, Arezzo? I've never heard of this place!


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Arezzo is a small Italian joint that's just down the street - the northeast corner of 51st and France. I've not eaten there because my better half had a few meals there and has always said meh. I've heard varying things so I've not rushed over.

                1. re: bob s

                  I had an underwhelming Italian dinner at Arezzo a few years back. I would describe it as 'trattorita generica', from the olive oil & bread combo on. Completely unmemorable, although it is an attractive and romantic dining room.

                  I agree with those who say that the best choice in the area is Broder's Pasta Bar. Some of the most inventive pasta combinations around, showcasing lots of produce, meat, and fish. Check out the menu here:


                  The Cucina Italiana, across the street, has more casual Italian food and a very good take-out deli.

                  Also within a short drive are Cafe Maude, Heidi's, and Blackbird. This is all about a five minute drive from 50th & France.

                  Right at 50th & France, I would prefer Tejas (much better for appetizers than entrees ... the blue corn breadsticks are still killer) or Edina Grill. However, I will say that if you are looking for a good brunch in that neighborhood, Salut has a great brunch menu.

                  1. re: Jordan

                    jfood should have mentioned he had the pizza, which he liked a lot.

                    1. re: jfood

                      jfood- The nori "encrusted" steak at 112 is one of my all-time favorite things. Some friends like to brush aside the wasabi, but I love it!! I haven't been to 112 in nearly two months, but the last time I was there they had cream corn on the menu. Ahhhh, cream corn, rich and buttery ... a unique complement to the tang of the steak.