Jfood tries Red Stag Supper Club (MSP)
- jfood Apr 24, 2009 07:57 AM
Jfood worked his way to Northeast Minneapolis to try a new spot, Red Stag Supper Club. An impressive wooden stag protects the main entrance and inside is very relaxing with both a long bar along the left wall and many table spaced nicely apart so conversation can occur. The space was alive with people of all ages. A wine tasting was occurring at the front window and at 630 on a Wednesday night the tables were 75% capacity. By the time Jfood left 90 minutes later the place was full. So people are really flocking here. Waitresses wear the button “I love NE” and not knowing Jfood asked. People reading this know the answer. Very nice touch.
Jfood ordered the Gnocchi with Braised Baby Squash, Basil, Ricotta Salata for an appetizer and the Cassoulet with Stewed Beans, Braised Pork, Sausage, and Duck Confit for his entrée. He also ordered two sides, an order of Triple Cooked Fries w Parsley & Garlic Butter and Onion Rings.
The server brought some crackers and two small rolls with a small plate of what appeared to be a white bean hummus. This was very nice and a great way to start the meal. Jfood really liked the hummus.
When the gnocchi arrived Jfood was excited. And his first bite did not disappoint. The gnocchi were exceptional and the braised baby squash was delicious. What was interesting was the restaurant grated the ricotta salata atop the gnocchi. Sprinkled on top were some micro-greens that were full of flavor. This was a fantastic dish and Jfood with wholeheartedly recommend.
The cassoulet arrived with the fries and onion rings. Jfood's first impression was it looked very dry, not the rich creaminess he was looking for. Jfood took a bite of the black-eyed peas and carrots under the breadcrumbs. It was too dry for Jfood and could also use more flavor. The next stop was the sausage. This was very dry (probably homemade) and could have benefitted from a little more fat in its preparation. The duck was very tender but it was too salty for Jfood. And the braised pork was way too fatty for him. This dish could use a little TLC. As you can see this was not a favorite for Jfood. The chicken at the next table, though, looked outstanding.
The French Fries were the size of fish sticks, perpendicularly placed upon each other like Lincoln logs. They were very good and could have benefited from a quick dash of salt when they came out of the oil. The inside of these logs were soft, poofy and the outside was nicely cooked. Jfood liked the FF’s a lot. The onion rings could have benefited from a little more time in the oil, which could have been hotter. Jfood found them a little greasy and undercooked.
The service was flawless. The waitress knew the menu and recommended a dish (Red Deer Stroganoff) that Jfood did not order, bad move by Jfood. She checked in when needed, was prompt and attentive. Another interesting point to note is the water. They have two pitchers from which they serve, both filtered, and one was flat and the other sparkling. The server knew which as a result of your coaster. One side said flat, the other sparkling. This is one of the BEST ideas Jfood has seen in years.
The Red Stag has some very good points and bright spots, with some dishes are very good, but you need to be selective in your choices. Jfood will give this place another try over the next few weeks.
NE is Northeast Minneapolis - a vibrant area of recent immigrants, long-time residents, and many artists. It's a great chow location, too - Central Ave NE has Holy Land, Pak Zam Zam, Adelita's, Sen Yai Sen Lek, Charly's Polleria, and many other great places to eat.
Technically, Restaurant Alma is in Southeast Minneapolis, as is Brasa (Alex Roberts' casual place), but they're only a few blocks from NE, so that's close enough. Both areas claim these great places.
Nice review as always.
I would have two recommendations for your next foray into NE:
1) If possible, try the Friday night fish fry at Red Stag. Fish fry is an upper midwest (MN and WI for sure) tradition that you can't find anywhere else, and Red Stag does a great one.
2) Get over to Brasa, which is no more than a block away from Red Stag. Brasa is Alex Roberts (Alma owner/exec chef) other, more casual option. I love this place, and it is great on a nice summer day.
600 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414
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Went last night with the South Dakota in-laws. The place is definitely a people-pleaser. Meat and potatoes fare with great local ingredients. Love the room. Open and sociable, without being loud or busy.
Started with the gnocchi. I liked the fresh greens atop, but I thought the dish needed a little more punch. The baby squash were lost in a gravy like sauce.
In-laws ordered the steak and pork chop, both of which were spot on. I had the blue gill off the fish-fry menu. The vinegar comes in an atomizer, which is a nice touch. The fish is perfectly fried... Not too salty or greasy, and the flavor of the fish comes through. The "chips" actually consist of one giant potato wafer. That was a bit too cute for me. The coleslaw was very good, though, and I wouldn't have minded the option to expand my portion.
Wife had the ravioli. I'm trying to break her of this habit, and the Red Stag isn't doing me any favors. The goat cheese delivers a nice punch which gives way to a smooth, creamy pesto. They don't skimp on the pine nuts, either.
Overall, the place lives up to it's "supper club" moniker. It's not my favorite genre (I can't remember the last time I ordered fried fish outside of a Japanese restaurant), but this is top of the line, and THE place to bring non-foodie in-laws.