Jfood eats at Nick & Eddie (MSP) - Add to the "A" List
Jfood just had a delightful meal at a new restaurant for him, Nick and Eddie. Not only was the food delicious, the space beautifully done, but the entertainment factor at the bar caused Jfood to limit his reading, as he normally does at dinner, as he spent most of his time people watching and listening to two people discuss parties they attended in the West Village 30+ years ago. It was a hoot. And, at the end of the meal Jfood spoke a bit with the owner who was gracious and understands the person bringing customers into his establishment was fully engaged in the back turning out delicious meals.
Three restaurants oversee Loring Park on Harmon Place and Nick and Eddie is right in the middle. Parking is a bit tight and Jfood felt the $5 was well worth the price of the lot around the corner. Upon entering the restaurant the first thing you notice is the space. Twenty-five foot ceilings, great detail work and floor to ceiling speaker systems that would be the envy of every college student. To the left is a large expanse of a bar, several 2- and 4-tops and probably 20 bar stools. The remainder of the restaurant extends straight back with a large alcove to the right with plenty of seating. Whoever designed the restaurant should receive major Kudos as it is beautiful.
Jfood sat at the bar and the bartendress bought over his normal glass of water and both the Bar and Café menus. The person next to Jfood received the pasta and it looked great, so that was on the list. And after careful review Jfood decided on two entrees for his dinner. The first was the pasta that was Spaghetti a l Americana, and for the other dish he ordered the Spicy Steak with mashed potatoes & collard greens.
The pasta arrived and it included a nice portion of pasta with bacon, roasted plum tomatoes, with a touch of onion, slivered green peppers and chiffonade of basil on top. Although this was listed as an entrée, the size was smallish for an entrée and large for an appetizer. Mrs. Jfood would call it perfect sized for an entrée. The dish was delicious. The pasta was cooked to perfection, the mild sauce played second seat to the roasted tomatoes and bacon and the slivered peppers added just a hint of crunch. Jfood really enjoyed this dish. The dish was relaxing in its approach to all of the ingredients.
The steak arrived and it was stacked from bottom to top, the mashed potatoes, the collard greens and the steak, which sliced and fanned over the top. Surrounding these elements was a deep rich sauce. Jfood's first bite, as always, was the potatoes. Very good, Jfood is gaining some confidence. Next was a bite of the collards, and Jfood was nervous about the potential bitterness. Nope, these were fantastic. Next Jfood moved onto the steak, which had a reddish tint to the exterior. Jfood could only think spicy = cayenne pepper. Uh Oh. Maybe this was a bad choice. So he went for the end piece that had a good amount of seasoning, in for a nickel in for a buck. And it was delicious, spicy, but not too spicy. Next Jfood decided on trying all the pieces together. He picked up some potatoes, a nice portion of greens and a piece of the steak. All of which he gave a quick swath through the sauce and into Jfood's mouth. This was very, very delicious, extremely interesting, with lots of flavor and plenty of texture. The steak was probably a sirloin cut and it was a tender sirloin cut. So Jfood continued to work his way through the dish was plenty of gusto and pleasure. In the end he would describe this dish as comfort food with a kick.
As he was leaving he saw the owner having a cup of coffee outside with the pasta guy and went over to thank him. He was very humble, very pleasant and gracious, a true gentleman. So Jfood really enjoyed his visit to Nick and Eddie…great space, service, food and ownership. What more can you ask for?
I went here for lunch yesterday at the suggestion of a friend. Not knowing anything about the place.
And was very happy with my lunch. I was in the mood for comfort food, so I ordered the "chicken and dumplings" which is really chicken and house made gnocchi in an herb broth with vegetables. The chicken was sensational -- a very flavorful thigh-leg perfectly crisp on the outside and tender inside. The herb broth was very flavorful. And the vegetables were perfectly cooked crisp tender, not soggy. The gnocchi were standout -- browned in pan juices and creamy. So I was very happy with the dish.
My friend ordered a Chicago dog. Then he asked if anything came on that. And the waiter told him all the things that come on a CD and asked if he would like those things on the side. My friend said yes, and the waiter said, "We call that our Minneapolis dog." That made me smile.
The place definitely has some attitude. It was almost empty at lunch - only a few tables taken. I will definitely head back to try some other things on the menu.
I also had a terrible experience there and will not go back. That says a lot, because I am not too finicky about food or service, and like to look for positives. But the service and attitude was disappointing, as was the food. Also: not a great thing to hear one of the owners yellign and swearing about an earlier unhappy customer - using "how dare he criticize us"-isms, in a loud vulgar way. Totally put off by it. Granted, it was very busy when I went, so I can understand some stress. But my experience was beyond that! I have maybe 3 or 4 bad reviews in my blog, and this is definitely one of them.
The sad thing is - the owners/management probably don't care if a customer doesn't like the place - that's how arrogant it is.
I've given up on N&E - at least for meals other than breakfast. The meals that I've had there - both before and after their restart - have been perfectly mediocre.
And for future readers of this thread - you'll note that there was a 6 month break between the initial accolades and this current set of comments. In that time, N&E went through some financial difficulties and has reinvented its menu somewhat.
Nick & Eddie
1612 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403
re: bob s
My waiter told me there is a new young chef there. All I know is he knew what to do with a good piece of chicken, he knew how to cook vegies and he knew how to make gnocchi.
When we arrived, the person who sat us was on a cellphone. I did think that was an odd way to begin but he did acknowledge that himself. I liked our waiter.
It sounds to me like this place has been very inconsistent. But I'm curious about this new chef and how much of the bad experiences are old and how many are recent.
What follows is a totally different experience. There were positive moments as well as disappointing ones, and I'll try to be balanced.
My wife and I ate here last night for our anniversary. Another couple joined us. Positive: We were seated at the table I would have preferred. It was in the back of the restaurant, secluded, and only for four diners. Half of the seating at it was mini-banquette, the other half was two chairs. It is next to the stairway leading to the restrooms, but that was okay. It also is the only non-bar seating table that has a window.
Positive: The wine list has a selection of well-chosen wines that are priced very well. However, I have a tradition on our wedding anniversary of bringing my own wine from the year we got married (1992) and also a Champagne. Good thing I brought the Champagne since I didn't see one on the list (the restaurant really needs to add at least one). Positive: I was told on the phone that the corkage fee is $5/bottle. Disappointing: I was charged a total of $15 for two bottles. I didn't make an issue of it since there was plenty of other things to make an issue over.
Appetizers. Two people ordered the spring greens soup. It was served lukewarm. I don't know if that was the intended serving temperature or not. My wife wished is was warmer. I ordered the steamed mussels special. It was okay, but not very remarkable. The other diner ordered three raw oysters. Disappointing: When she pulled up a lime from the plate using her fork, there was a bit of herb that also came up suspended about three inches below the lime, held there by a hair. She mentioned it to our server, and the dish was replaced. She then commented to us at the table that the oysters had some grit. Personally, I think you'll have that from time to time with Pacific Northwest oysters, so I didn't make a deal of it.
Entrees. Positive: My wife liked the salmon dish, and the salmon was cooked perfectly. The sauce was very flavorful without being overpowering. Positive: The two diners who orderd the Spicy Steak (a holdover from the original NYC Nick and Eddie) found the steak to be seasoned well, and very flavorful. Disappointing: One of those diners asked to substitute leek mashed potatoes. That request was forgotten. On top of that, the mashed potatoes on his plate were cold. Not just lukewarm; not just not hot; but downright cold. The dish was taken back and new potatoes--this time leek mashed potatoes--were on the plate. Disappointing: I ordered the Flatiron steak. I ordered it medium rare. It was rare. It was almost under-rare. I don't mind rare steak, and even order it that way, if it is a certain cut of meat. With Flatiron steak, I really prefer it cooked to medium rare. The steak was removed from my plate so I could continue eating the grilled broccoli and frites. A new steak was brought out. It was cooked less than the first one. I called our server over again, and asked her to just box it up; I'd finish cooking it at home.
Dessert. Disappointing. I was looking forward to the butterscotch pudding having had it many times when Doug and Jessica ran Bakery on Grand.. Too liquified on this trip.
Service. Disappointing overall. If the restaurant is going for what I'll call "Bohemian Bordeom Chic," then they've accomplished their goal. Overall, it seems the staff was hired for their pose than their ability to serve in a restaurant that wants to be of a certain caliber. Our main server was okay. She appropriately apologized for the problems we were having with our meal, but the apology seemed tired. Either it wasn't heartfelt, or she has had to apologize many times in the past. That's the impression I got. The other servers replacing flatware, filling water glasses, bringing bread to the table, etc, appraoched those tasks with a careless attitude--not professional at all. When my second Flatior steak was boxed and brought to the table, at least it was brought by the dining room manager (positive). She gave a quick apology and told us the restaurant would take care of that dish (positive). One final disappointment--even though our anniversary was mentioned when making the reservation, no one acknowledged it.
When the bill arrived, the oysters and the desserts had also been comped. Even so, I tipped as if they weren't. I didn't want to take the kitchens foibles out on the servers. Nor did I want to take it out on our main server that she didn't have any on-the-spot authority to make our meal better.
Overall, I wished we'd had a better experience. I absoluely loved Bakery on Grand and ate there countless times. Similary, I really enjoyed A Rebours for the time it was open. But this experience at Nick and Eddie was nowhere in the same league.
re: Brad Ballinger
re: Brad Ballinger
I guess I should add to Brad B's original post that a friend of mine got the spicy steak when we were there last fall and it was overdone pretty badly. He asked for medium rare and got something every bit of well done. The mistake was rectified quickly, but that sort of mistake absolutely should not happen in a restaurant that is damn near empty.
That was a terrible experience. We were seated in the very back of the restaurant and given one dinner menu and one breakfast menu. We waited 15 minutes or so for a waitress, who explained that she just found out she had us as a table. She brought us a second dinner menu (but did not ask about drinks). After several minutes, she came back and took our drink order. Drinks followed about 10 minutes later (long enough for the beer to warm up). We ordered several appetizers to start. And then we waited. And waited. All the apps came out at once. Our table was too small to hold everything, so it was sort of a mess. Frankly, though, so was the food. The gnocchi was ok, but not great. The excellent dumplings stuck to the steamer, the smoked chicken tacos were probably the best thing we had, but not nearly as good as a similar item from Barrio. We also ordered the smorgasboard (sp?) - just not good. The shrimp were incredibly mushy, the gravlax was tasteless and the pirogis were burned. So we called it a night and went to Quangs for a big bowl of pho.
Thanks as always for the nice review.
I really enjoyed my experience at Nick and Eddie a few months back and I had the same main course you did. Interesting is the perfect description for it.
In terms of the food as a whole, N&E is generally regarded as a very talented kitchen and well respected local chef Steven Brown is currently in the kitchen (last I knew, anyway).