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MSP - NorthEast Neighborhood good eats

s
Slane0618 Jul 27, 2009 08:34 AM

Hey everyone-

I'm an east-coaster moving to NE Minneapolis in a week.

I've scanned the boards and can see that there are a lot of really fabulous restaurants in MSP and surrounding suburbs. However, I was hoping you guys could give me a jump start on getting to know my new neighborhood. I am hoping to get some NE specific advice.

Are there any NE restaurants I must go to? (Unique, delicious, etc)

Or...

Are there any NE restaurants I'd be wise to avoid? (overpriced, over-hyped, terrible, etc)

Thanks for your help!

  1. greenidentity Jul 27, 2009 09:23 AM

    Edited reply, see below.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greenidentity
      greenidentity Jul 27, 2009 09:41 AM

      I am a longtime resident of NE Mpls. Here are my suggestions:

      The Front Cafe. I find this palce to be unique AND delicious. Costa Rican food, and burgers etc. Please read my review here if you are interested.
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/639621

      Emily's Lebanese Deli - If you like Middle Eastern Food, you will love this place. It's really a small, no frill's place, but the food is excellent. I have also reviewed this one in my blog.

      Pizza Nea - arguably the best Neapolitan style pizza in all of NE Mpls. Nice little cafe setting.

      Red Stag Supper Club - a little more expensive, and more of a fine dining experience, but a great little NE spot nonetheless.

      Psycho Suzi's - a funky little tiki bar serving pizza, tots, sandwiches and appetizers. Fun to go with friends and check out the atmosphere and share a decent pizza (or sandwich - they are HUGE!

      )

      Brasa-new to NE. You can order diffent kinds of meats (chicken etc) with sides such as cornbread, grits, veggies etc. Southern comfort food that has been well recieved overall.

      -----
      Brasa Rotisserie
      600 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

      Pizza Nea
      306 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

      Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge and Tiki Garden
      2519 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

      Emily's Lebanese Delicatessen
      641 University Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

      Red Stag Supper Club
      509 1st Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

    2. b
      BigE Jul 27, 2009 10:20 AM

      First, welcome to MSP.

      If you're looking for slightly higher scale, Alma is one of the best restaurants in MSP and isn't far from NE.

      Although I've had uneven experiences there, Bulldog is worth checking out. Good beer menu and good (albeit inconsistent) burgers.

      Other than that (and what greenID mentioned), you aren't too far from downtown, and that opens up a bunch of possibilities.

      -----
      Restaurant Alma
      528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

      Bulldog NE
      401 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

      1. k
        KyleThomas Jul 27, 2009 10:42 AM

        Welcome to NE Mpls!

        You will find a lot of different options in NE, most of which are at least better than average, and a few are supurb.

        Fine Dining:
        Sample Room: My personal favorite- small plates, bistro type atmosphere
        Erte: trendy supper club vibe, good prices, decent food
        NE Social Club: new place, cool vibe
        Jax: Old School Mpls institution. Celebrate your important life events at this 70 year old supper club.
        Red Stag: Very good food, music, service- all top notch.

        Ethnic:
        Emilys lebanise deli: Excellent tabouli
        Holy Land Deli: Excellent hummus
        Cresent Moon: Excellent spinich pie
        Sen Yei Sen Lek: Very good thai (at least for mpls)

        Casual: Pizza Nea:
        Bulldog: If there burgers are on, they are the best in town.
        Brasa: Eat on the patio
        Psycho Suzies: Pizza, tiki drinks
        Modern Cafe: Quirky, good quality cafe/bistro hybrid

        1. l
          LauraB Jul 27, 2009 10:51 AM

          Welcome! I moved from Boston to the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis a little more than a year ago so NE is not my neighborhood per se, but I do like to visit. A few of my favorite places:

          Brasa: Delicious braised beef, roast chicken and sides. I also liked the pinapple upside down cake a lot.

          Alma: Not quite NE, but very close. Lots of local ingredients and interesting flavor combos. Definitely a bit more of a "special occasion place", but worth the money in my opinion.

          Surdyks: A store, not a restaurant. A very nice wine selection. The best place to find random liquors. Delicious (if expensive) cheese.

          1. AnneInMpls Jul 27, 2009 12:26 PM

            Welcome! You've picked a great area to live in, food-wise (and otherwise). I love NE.

            My advice to you - eat on Central Avenue. There are tons of hole-in-the-wall, mom & pop places serving food from all over: Indian, Mexican, Pakistani, Middle-Eastern, Colombian/Ecuadorian. A larger place is the amazing Holy Land Bakery & Grocery, which has a counter-service cafe with shawirma, grilled chicken, and a great halal buffet (sometimes featuring goat!). Holy Land bread, salads, and dips are available at local markets, but this is the mother ship.

            For more upscale, there's the relatively new Sen Yai Sen Lek, a Thai restaurant with a liquor license.

            For organic groceries, there's the East Side Co-op on Central. For gourmet cheese, oils, and various imported ingredients, there's Surdyk's Liquor Store & Deli. I think they have Rustica bread, too (thus saving you a trip to south Minneapolis).

            Down the block from Surdyk's is Kramarczuk's meat market, for great central European sausages and pierogies and goulasch. (The pastries are hit-and-miss, though - stick to Rustica.)

            Oh, and there's the Red Stag Supper Club halfway between Surdyk's and Holy Land. I haven't been there yet, but I've seen some good reviews. [EDIT: Aha, missed GreenIdentity's mention above. Consider that one of the good reviews. :-)]

            Yup, you're in a great area! As you explore, we'd love to hear your reports on your favorite finds.

            Anne

            -----
            Surdyks Liquor and Bistro 2go
            303 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            Holy Land Bakery & Grocery
            2513 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

            Kramarczuk Sausage Co
            215 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN

            Red Stag Supper Club
            509 1st Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

            Sen Yai Sen Lek
            2422 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

            East Side Food Co-Op
            2551 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN

            1 Reply
            1. re: AnneInMpls
              b
              BigE Jul 27, 2009 02:06 PM

              Definitely make a trip to Red Stag for the Friday Night Fish Fry. It is a slightly upscale version of the Upper Midwest tradition.

            2. k
              kevin47 Jul 27, 2009 02:53 PM

              Nye's is overpriced and overhyped.

              Definitely head to Emily's.

              Punch Pizza has a location in NE. The question of whether Punch or Nea has better pizza is the source of much teeth-gnashing. When you arrive, sign up for Punch's e-mail list. They offer very generous specials to their opt-ins.

              I've been going to Erte for years. They have a beautiful decor, and their house steak is the only one I'd bother with in the under $20 range.

              The U Otter Stop Inn has excellent karaoke every night, and charming regulars on weekdays. They don't have food, but the stiff drinks will make you forget about all that.

              Conga is despised around these parts, but it has a great happy hour. There are some really worthy items on their app. menu, which are half price, along with competent latin beverages.

              Kikugawa is a very competent, seasoned sushi place in a beautiful location. Getting a riverview seat shouldn't be a problem.

              Heading North on Central Avenue, even into the suburbs, will yield plenty of great spots. Sen Yai Sen Lek and Holy Land have been mentioned. Nala Pak (in Columbia Heights) has great veggie Indian. King's Korean in Fridley has a great reputation, though I have yet to get there.

              In between, there are no end of bakeries and hole-in-the wall places to try. None will be overpriced or overhyped, I assure you.

              3 Replies
              1. re: kevin47
                s
                stymie Jul 27, 2009 03:44 PM

                See the post re: Elsie's, a few days ago.

                1. re: kevin47
                  t
                  tex.s.toast Jul 28, 2009 05:39 AM

                  Conga's happy hour gets mentioned but not Erte's? there are no food specials but ive had some luck with their meats and cheese platter and found it to be very well priced even without a special, and when i was last there you could get a 20oz Domaine DuPage from two brothers brewing for 2.75!

                  1. re: tex.s.toast
                    k
                    kevin47 Jul 28, 2009 03:52 PM

                    Happy hour at Erte is quite nice, and the bar is more attractive than the dining room, so it's a win all the way around.

                2. s
                  Slane0618 Jul 27, 2009 03:54 PM

                  Thank you everyone for all the great advice! I see many great meals in my future.

                  I will definitely report back with my findings.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Slane0618
                    LiaM Jul 27, 2009 05:32 PM

                    I am a huge fan of the Modern Café. I haven't been there as recently as I'd like, but all my experiences in the past 2-3 years have been good.

                    Nye's is a great place for drinks, especially if you want to see the polka band (highly recommended!). Foodwise... I haven't heard much enthusiasm.

                    I like the Bulldog NE a lot - I usually get the Junk burger but I know there's much enthusiasm for their other offerings. The chili dog is also good.

                    I don't think I've seen Kramarczuk (sp?) mentioned here yet. I ate in the diningroom there once, and it was good, but I mainly buy sausages there and then grill them at home. Fantastic stuff.

                    1. re: LiaM
                      k
                      karykat Jul 27, 2009 08:25 PM

                      Yes, I agree about Kramarczuk as well. We grill their sausages all summer long.

                      A very nice variety, all flavorful -- and cheap.

                  2. d
                    dougrw Jul 28, 2009 09:19 AM

                    I have to reiterate the praise for the Modern Café. I don't think it gets nearly as much attention as it deserves, perhaps because their setting is so casual and they're not in a trendier area. It's first rate food with a creative kitchen following the local/seasonal trend. The presentations are more comfort food than fine dining, but the quality is first rate.

                    I'm surprised no one else has mentioned the Sample Room yet. A great blending of well executed old style comfort food with all sorts of modern eclectic dishes. Also a great place to try and share a lot of different dishes with friends.

                    And let's not forget the Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit, for pretty good Bavarian food and a worth-seeing festive dining room atmosphere on Friday and Saturday evenings.

                    This may be cheating, but a wee bit further north than Nordeast, there is always Kings Korean in Fridley, which is the Twin Cities best Korean food hands down.

                    -----
                    Modern Cafe
                    337 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                    Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit
                    2300 University Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

                    Kings Restaurant
                    1051 Moore Lake Dr E, Minneapolis, MN 55432

                    Sample Room
                    2124 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: dougrw
                      m
                      mmm789 Jul 28, 2009 09:51 AM

                      I'll second the Modern Cafe. They're most known for their pot roast (both for dinner and as a hash for breakfast), so the comfort food description is spot on.

                      I will make a special trip across town just for the pot roast--it's rich and meaty and fall-apart delicious. The best I've had anyplace.

                      1. re: mmm789
                        greenidentity Jul 29, 2009 08:48 AM

                        I visited Karmaczuk's for my first time (yes! first time) yesterday and was completely underwhelmed by it. My guest and I got: Nalesnyky (Crepes stuffed with meat, and topped with melted cheese, served with sour cream and horseradish sauce) and my guest ordered the Chicken Roll (Chicken croquettes stuffed in puffed pastry served with lettuce, tomato & dressing) and both just did not taste good. The Nalesnyky were doused in cheese, and the chicken roll tasted...weird. The meats in each did not resemble the meat that was supposed to be in them, and we ate 1/4 of each of our meals. However - I am not ready to write them off forever, as they offer sandwiches and many other tasty looking things. I will need to try at least 2 other things before I make an overall judgement.

                        1. re: greenidentity
                          k
                          kevin47 Jul 29, 2009 12:03 PM

                          I found that they are great for the sausages and not much else.

                          1. re: kevin47
                            The Dairy Queen Jul 29, 2009 02:58 PM

                            No, wait, the kolachies are really good, too! The sausages for grilling at home and the kolachies are the two must-haves from K'czuks.

                            ~TDQ

                        2. re: mmm789
                          princebaal Jul 29, 2009 02:02 PM

                          I like the Modern's pot roast hash ok, it's very inconsistent in both portion size and ingredient levels, but it is pretty good when it's "right". My question has always been why they can't do that with corned beef. That would be awesome! Real corned beef close to home, going to Hell's Kitchen is getting expensive.

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