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Restaurant Week ... [MSP]

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linfr21 Feb 16, 2009 06:56 PM

...is coming up! It is Mar 1-6. Discuss. Anyone planning on going? Which are you debating on going?

I thought of trying out one of D' Amico's restaurants, Solera, or Stella's. I love Stella's for normal fair and wanted to see what they could muster up for a tasting menu.

Any suggestions? I know that some restaurants don't exactly put out their top dishes during this week or they aren't exactly "fair" portions, shall we say?

This is by far one of my favorite weeks of the year so if you share my enthusiasm, let's hear it!

http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?p...

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    BigE RE: linfr21 Feb 17, 2009 06:16 AM

    I love it. Last year, I went to Masa, Cosmos, Chambers and Saffron. I enjoyed the hell out of it, and I'm looking forward to this year.

    I think I'll go back to Chambers, and I also plan on going to Vincent, LBV and...not sure after that. Any suggestions (based on the participating restaurants)? Of that list, I've been to: Barrio, Chambers, Cosmos, Masa, Red Stag, Saffron, Smalleys, Solera and Vincent.

    1. drew13000 RE: linfr21 Feb 17, 2009 09:52 AM

      Already have reservations at Lurcat and Chambers. Last year I did Cosmos, Saffron, and Craftsman and loved them all. I didn't find that the portions or quality of the dishes were less than any other week.

      1 Reply
      1. re: drew13000
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        BigE RE: drew13000 Feb 17, 2009 12:07 PM

        I was impressed at the portions at Chambers last year. They served a good sized bowl of soup (brothy though it may have been), followed by 3-4 good sized walleye fillets and the best dessert I've ever had. I can't wait to go back there.

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        raforce RE: linfr21 Feb 18, 2009 08:18 AM

        Solera is great and as they serve tapas, it seems like the perfect place to sample during R Week. Thanks for providing the link!

        2 Replies
        1. re: raforce
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          BigE RE: raforce Feb 18, 2009 11:43 AM

          I don't want to bag on the idea of going to Solera, but they always have three different tapas tasting menus going on (8 courses for $29).

          1. re: BigE
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            raforce RE: BigE Feb 21, 2009 03:09 PM

            Ah, good to know. Thanks!

        2. l
          latte4me RE: linfr21 Feb 19, 2009 05:47 PM

          I'm a big fan, too, but was disappointed last year at LBV - was still hungry!

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            Enso RE: linfr21 Feb 20, 2009 05:19 AM

            Do the restaurants list what the special menu is going to be? I visited that link but couldn't find that info...

            5 Replies
            1. re: Enso
              drew13000 RE: Enso Feb 20, 2009 06:41 AM

              Try this link at Mpls-St. Paul magazine:

              http://www.mspmag.com/dining/restaura...

              1. re: drew13000
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                Enso RE: drew13000 Feb 20, 2009 11:54 AM

                Thanks, drew; that link goes to one specific restaurant, here's the one that goes to the list of restaurants: http://www.mspmag.com/promotions/wher...

                1. re: Enso
                  drew13000 RE: Enso Feb 20, 2009 02:00 PM

                  Oops! I was browsing the Lurcat menu this morning...

                  1. re: Enso
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                    linfr21 RE: Enso Feb 20, 2009 09:51 PM

                    oooo man.

                    thanks to all for your suggestions. based on above, i made reservations at chambers. but now that i see the menus, saffron looks good. eek! i don't know which!

                    1. re: linfr21
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                      faith RE: linfr21 Feb 23, 2009 09:25 AM

                      Saffron! I was underwhelmed by chambers, only went once. The art pieces were
                      kind of fun though.

              2. cheeseguysgirl RE: linfr21 Mar 2, 2009 09:01 AM

                Last night CG and I went to Campiello. Not a place we'd normally go, definitely not one we'd spend a Restaurant Week night on, but we needed to be in Chanhassen by 7:30, so it seemed harmless. First, there were 1/2 price bottles of wine-- very nice to be able to add to the value of RW. They had quite a variety of offerings on their RW menu. We shared the house salad (I was pleased that they split it onto 2 plates for no charge)and the fritto misto (lightly fried veggies, shrimp, calamari, fish) and it was delicious- not greasy, not heavy, and the lemon was the perfect touch. CG had the orechiette with sausage and chard, and I had the seared salmon with cauliflower puree and bacon/brussels sprouts side. Mine was perfectly cooked to medium, and the smooth creamy puree was the perfect foil to the slightly oversalted charred sprout leaves and bacon. CG liked his, but wished the chard had been more prevalent. For dessert, we shared the Molten Chocolate cake and the Toasted Pistachio semifreddo with dark chocolate sauce. Preferred the latter for its uniqueness.

                All in all, we were pleasantly suprised. Our server, Damon, told us the RW special menu and price are in effect all month! I would definitely recommend going after RW is over.

                4 Replies
                1. re: cheeseguysgirl
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                  BigE RE: cheeseguysgirl Mar 2, 2009 09:05 AM

                  Sounds nice. I was considering Campiello, but it's just too much of a drive from the NE suburbs.

                  I'll be going to Vincent tonight, Oceanaire tomorrow and Chambers on Wednesday. Not sure about Thursday and Friday, but I wouldn't count them out just yet.

                  1. re: BigE
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                    BigE RE: BigE Mar 3, 2009 09:42 AM

                    Vincent was outstanding. Two choices per course, and between the four of us, we got everything on offer.

                    Starters were a country style soup (savoy cabbage, salted pork, white beans) or a mushroom tart. I'm really not a mushroom guy, so I went for the soup. It was simple, but very flavorful. My friend agreed. The two that got the tart were absolutely delighted with their choice.

                    The first entree was Coq au Vin on top of yukon mashed potatoes with cooked carrots and pearl onions. I got this and really enjoyed it. I've never had Coq au Vin before, so I can't really compare it to anything. Still, it was quite good. Meat was tender, potatoes were good. And I usually hate cooked carrots, but I believe these were simply sauteed and nothing more. The second entree was trout stuffed with crawfish mousse, served with fingerling potatoes and butternut squash. This dish was also excellent. I tried a little bit of the fish, and I just loved it.

                    First dessert choice was a crepe pouch filled with carmelized apples and served with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. The pouch was held together by two vanilla beans that had prepared in such a way that they were rigid like skewers. I thought that was a nice touch. Again, great flavor in this dish. Second choice was a peccorino cheese platter, served with bread, nuts, frisee and some sort of jelly that I couldn't figure out. I'm not too experienced with a lot of cheeses, but I enjoyed that as well.

                    Overall, an exceptional first night. I'm looking forward to Oceanaire in a few hours.

                  2. re: cheeseguysgirl
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                    galewskj RE: cheeseguysgirl Mar 3, 2009 08:44 AM

                    Thanks for the information. So sunday night is 1/2 price wine bottles at Campiello?

                    1. re: galewskj
                      cheeseguysgirl RE: galewskj Mar 3, 2009 09:48 AM

                      Yes, any bottle of wine less than 100.00 (even half bottles) is half price.

                  3. Foureyes137 RE: linfr21 Mar 3, 2009 08:59 AM

                    I got a tip last night that D'Amico Cucina will be offering their restaurant week menu (price and all) til' the end of the month, which is great news for those that work in some of the featured restaurants since they won't get a day off this week.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Foureyes137
                      cheeseguysgirl RE: Foureyes137 Mar 3, 2009 11:37 AM

                      That makes sense with my comments above, since Masa is owned by D'Amico.

                      1. re: cheeseguysgirl
                        Foureyes137 RE: cheeseguysgirl Mar 4, 2009 11:12 PM

                        This will also include Lurcat.

                      2. re: Foureyes137
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                        reannd RE: Foureyes137 Mar 4, 2009 10:34 AM

                        Tried Oceanaire last night. Very filling $30 (though we also split a bottle of wine 4 ways). Upon leaving, our waiter informed us they're having a similar 3 course meal for $32.95 at least through this month (he could have said til end of April).

                      3. cheeseguysgirl RE: linfr21 Mar 4, 2009 11:08 AM

                        Went to Masa two nights ago. I'd never been before, which I guess is the purpose of RW. CG and I shared the guacamole and the queso fundido. Loved them both, although the guac could have used a bit more salt since the chips, which usually balance out the sodium, were quite bland. It was thus a nice touch that they gave you a little salt cellar with the chips. For second course I had the hangar steak (LOVED the ancho butter, it totally made the dish) and CG had the chicken in mole. Nice tasty mole with lots of chile/nut/seed/chocolate flavors- not very spicy, though, so I guess it would appeal to a broad base. For desert, I had the coconut flan, which was nice and creamy, but I am a coconut-nut, so I always want more coconut flavor. CG had the tres leches cake, and it was a decent representation, not "OMG!", but nice.

                        I would recommend going, especially if you've never been.

                        1. drew13000 RE: linfr21 Mar 4, 2009 12:40 PM

                          Ate at Chambers on Monday with a friend. One of us ordered the restaurant week menu; we also ordered off the regular menu and shared. The mushroom spring rolls we started with were okay, but I wouldn't order them again. We also ordered the bacon-wrapped shrimp which looked and tasted much more classy than it sounds. Really delicious. For entrees, we shared the red duck curry and the soy miso sirloin. I've never been a huge duck fan (other than fois gras, which I love), but now I'm a convert! Both tasted amazing and portion sizes were really generous. We finished with the passion fruit pavlova and the chocolate trio desserts. The chocolate-banana dessert was my favorite. Because we ordered off the regular menu as well, and ordered a lot, the night didn't turn out to be much of a bargain. But had we just ordered off the RW menu, it would have felt like a bargain.

                          1. Foureyes137 RE: linfr21 Mar 4, 2009 11:08 PM

                            The list of extending restaurants (through EOM) now includes La Belle Vie.

                            Cheers.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Foureyes137
                              bob s RE: Foureyes137 Mar 6, 2009 02:33 PM

                              According to the comments supposedly left by Vincent Francoul here: http://blogs.mspmag.com/foodiefile/20...

                              Vincent will be extending for at least another month.

                              1. re: Foureyes137
                                Foureyes137 RE: Foureyes137 Mar 7, 2009 01:53 AM

                                Might be that LBV only extends through next Thursday. Call to confirm.

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                                BigE RE: linfr21 Mar 5, 2009 05:56 AM

                                I went to Oceanaire on Tuesday, got the clam chowder starter, Marlin for entree and butterscotch pudding for dessert. Really nice meal (entree and dessert were excellent), and a heck of a lot of food for the price. I would definitely return.

                                Went to Chambers last night. I agree with drew on pretty much everything. The spring rolls were OK, but nothing special. The duck was one of the best entrees I've had in MSP. And, our group ended up ordering a few apps from off the RW menu, so the bargain part wasn't exactly there, but I was still happy.

                                I may try to make it to one more place this week, or I might wait and do one of the D'Amico places (or LBV) later in the month.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: BigE
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                                  reannd RE: BigE Mar 5, 2009 07:26 AM

                                  wasn't that butterscotch pudding bizzarely awesome? it still confuses me.. totally wasn't pudding, but it sure was tasty! i was sorta of disappointed when i saw the real menu bc they didnt have what was listed on the preview menu online, but that pudding was really something.

                                  1. re: reannd
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                                    BigE RE: reannd Mar 5, 2009 07:48 AM

                                    I don't know what it was. It was thick and rich with a wonderful taste, but I agree that it really wasn't pudding in the truest sense. Whatever it was, I could eat it every day.

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                                  MrSlippery RE: linfr21 Mar 5, 2009 06:29 AM

                                  Have been to Lurcat, Cosmos and D'Amico Cucina so far. Lurcat, good food, good service and a very nice space. Cosmos, very good food and service.

                                  D'Amico unfortunately fell into the "bad restaurant week experience" category. I actually heard a waiter telling a couple that RW was not really their thing. (?!) If the aim of RW is to entice people to try new places so that we can get a taste of what a restaurant is about and come back for more or "give you a hint of what defines and distinguishes their culinary offerings in the local dining scene" as the MSP Mag site says, I would have to say that D'Amico was about semi-competent food and incompetent service. It's a shame not only because we had invited others there but we love Italian food and eating out and would have liked to add this restaurant to our list of go-to places.

                                  On a less unhappy note, we really enjoyed Lurcat, another D'Amico restaurant. This was the first time we have eaten in the restaurant (as opposed to the bar), and we will definitely be back. Pot Roast! Mini-donuts!

                                  As for Cosmos, this was our second visit in two weeks. 'nough said :)

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                                    ike. RE: linfr21 Mar 5, 2009 07:48 AM

                                    I went to Barrio for lunch yesterday. The guacamole was pretty good, though the avocado could've been a bit more ripe. There was a trio of salsas as well, all of which were very different from one another and tasted great. The chips were piping hot and fresh. The steak taco was a bit cumbersome, but the flavor was very rich. The carnitas taco was nothing special, but not bad. It's not a stand-out deal though when compared to the regular menu. So don't go rushing there to hit RW. I'd love to go back for more of the chips/salsa and tequila!

                                    We're doing Chambers tomorrow. Based on the couple mentions here, I'm pretty excited.

                                    1. lawkitty RE: linfr21 Mar 7, 2009 05:13 PM

                                      My SO and I went to D'amico Cucina last night, and had the tasting menu listed for Restaurant week. We were impressed, to say the least! We ordered the wine pairing to go with our meals, also. First off, the food was spectacular: Large portions (much larger than we expected!), great presentation/service, and wonderfully prepared. There were 3 courses, with 3 choices for each course. I had the Truffled mushroom lasagna with house made ricotta for the primi, my SO had the sunshine squash soup (unique and flavorful!), the seared skate for the secondi, and the assorted chocolate pastries for the dolci. The skate was phenomenal. The wine that was paired with it, Vin Soave, was better. The assorted chocolates were decadent, but my SO's dessert, the frangiapane crepes, were like dying and going to heaven, or better... 3 courses with wine paired were $47 each. Ridiculous deal.
                                      This restaurant week menu is going to be extended, too, until March 28th, selections varying weekly... so find a way to get there, you won't be disappointed.

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