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112 Eatery, still good?

We ate at 112 Eatery last Sunday and it really was awful! The fries were way overdone, almost like canned fried potatoes. My husband pork chops were so salty they were almost inedible. He had to get up in the middle of the night to drink water. My burger, usually so reliable, was so greasy the bottom bun disintegrated.
We hadn't gone there for a while and it was a celebration dinner so I was really disappointed. My question to you, is this just one of those off nights?

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  1. It's funny, we go to 112 about every other Sunday to hang out with our favorite bartender Jim, and had been there two Sundays ago and had a somewhat similar experience.

    My pork chop was overcooked, the mussels were super salty and they'd run out of gnocchi and escarole. The service was outstanding as always, and they took care of some things due to the pork chop.

    But it was honestly an anomaly. Every other Sunday, the food and service are as good as the first year they opened. Perhaps they are training new cooks or have a lot of people staging...I wouldn't presume. We'll return again Sunday, if we encounter a similar result, I'll update.

    1. 112 has never been on my short list. I hadn't been in a few years and really I've never been caught up in the hype.

      I went a few weeks ago and the starters were good to excellent

      good - lamb, steak tartare
      great - prawns
      excellent - duck salad

      honey glazed butternut squash was great on the side

      My main was the sugo and it was disgusting. Oversalted beyond belief and I'm a huge fan of salt.

      Chowhubby was disappointed in his burger as well.

      We didn't bother with desert.

      The service at the bar was perfect (I was early) and the service upstairs wasn't that good at all. The server didn't mention that certain items weren't available and cleared dishes that were still being eaten.

      I'm not heading back anytime soon.

      2 Replies
      1. re: St Paul Susie

        Say it ain't so about the lamb sugo! I love that dish, but I didn't have it the last couple of times I've been to 112 Eatery. I wonder if Becker is too busy with BLG these days and 112 is getting the short shrift.

        I thought the service at my most recent visit was pretty absent-minded. Nothing evil, mind you, just not impeccable. The woman who took my reservation acted a little surly as well.

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          I was wondering the same thing, maybe Becker is too distracted. That's why I went on the board with it. My food dollars, and time are not so great so every meal is important.
          Thanks for the feedback.
          Also, I must add the waiter was very nice, offered to buy dessert and did buy our drinks. I refused the dessert as we really ate most of it. When I was a waitress I hated people who ate every morsel then would say how bad it was.

      2. I love 112, but my husband and I had an unfortunate experience there on Valentine's Day due to an elementary problem: I ordered the barramundi and the chickpeas weren't sufficiently cooked. What a disappointment.

        I brought it to the server's attention and he was shocked; here it is, 10:00 pm on Valentine's and nobody's mentioned that the chickpeas are underdone?

        I still love the place, though. Try the choucroute bread pudding while it's still on the menu. Wow.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Gretchen P

          Maybe they ran out of Chick Peas and you were getting a hurried Chick Peas 2.0? I dunno. I know that the one time I went to 112 I had the worst mussels I've ever tasted. Could not believe it, took a second bite and that was it. Sent it back. On the other hand, the other dishes that night ranged from OK to stellar. My impression from the menu and our group's results were they were reaching and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.

          The wine list was good.

          I haven't been lately.

        2. Jfood has been probably a half a dozen times in the last year. It is very binary from outstanding to send it back.

          BTW - Jfood believes one of the chef's, Ryan, recently left to take the position Adam vacated in January at Trattoria Tosca.

          1. 112 Eatery wins my award for the most arrogant restaurant in town. They don't use Open Table and they seldom bother to answer their phone. Their encouragement to walk-ins is transparently for their own convenience, not the customer's. In a tough and competitive restaurant environment, excellent customer service counts for a lot, and 112 doesn't have it. The food is good but not that good, and the menu is essentially the same as the day the place opened. You can do better.

            -----
            112 Eatery
            112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

            12 Replies
            1. re: bill1jan

              Open Table costs a restaurant money. Since the 112 is always busy, it wouldn't make much sense for them to spend that money. I was able to make a reservation immediately upon my first call. Are you calling during off hours.

              1. re: kevin47

                All hours.

                1. re: kevin47

                  We always walk-in when our group is under 4 persons, and get sat within 15-20 minutes, so I'm also not experiencing this, but I rarely try to eat here with more than 2 others due to the lack of accommodating tables. Additionally, Open Table for a restaurant this size would be a waste of money.

                  And to say the menu hasn't changed is a joke. I think they've kept 6-7 things from the opening menu. If you can never get in, how would you know?

                  1. re: Foureyes137

                    jfood agrees with some of the points and disagrees with others.

                    - Jfood has about a 40-50% success rate in getting in;
                    -Getting them to answer the phone has been a challenge at times
                    -The hostess is the least professional of the staff; all the others are great
                    -The menu is about 40-50% of the menu jfood started to eat about 18 months ago

                    1. re: jfood

                      Foureyes 137, I didn't say that I never get in. In fact, I dine there with some frequency. My point was that 112 stands out among foodcentric TC restaurants for its ungracious treatment of customers. Interestingly, no one has argued otherwise. The rejoinders seek to justify the treatment rather than deny it by asserting that Open Table charges a fee, the place is too small, etc. Obviously, these are weak defenses since almost every good restaurant in town uses Open Table (Alma being a notable exception), including those as small or smaller than 112 -- Piccolo, for example. In my original post, I said "the food is good but not that good." I meant both parts of that statement. 112 serves good (sometimes very good) food, but it isn't good enough to warrant an "our way or the highway" approach to customer service. A truly great restaurant excels at both.

                      1. re: bill1jan

                        One quick correction, Alma is on Open Table under Restaurant Alma. Agree that service needs to be above average for a location to be truly "great", and on that note I haven't experienced a lack of customer focus at 112 in the numerous times I've dined there. That's certainly not to say others haven't experienced it. It's a shame if that's happening, the place is still near the top of my list in Mpls.

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

                        1. re: b ster

                          b ster, thanks for the correction on Alma.

                        2. re: bill1jan

                          I was not treated ungraciously. We had to wait a few minutes for our reservation, since we were early, and they comped a glass of wine anyway. For such a hot spot (this was prior to BLG's opening), I found the experience surprisingly unpretentious. But that was just my experience.

                          As far as OpenTable goes, Corner Table, Victory 44, Duplex, Jasmine 26, Tosca and others aren't on it. I've always assumed it was something the resto did for its own convenience. I have never ascribed a positive or negative connotation to its use.

                          Not picking up the phone, impatience and spilling water are far more concrete criticisms, in my view.

                          -----
                          Corner Table
                          4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409

                          Victory 44
                          2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

                          Jasmine 26 Restaurant & Bar
                          , Minneapolis, MN 55401

                          1. re: bill1jan

                            I'll go ahead and add to the "arguing otherwise" regarding their service. Cowboy, Sarah, Jim, Shay and all but one server, who is no longer there presumably for offering the type of service you've received, are always terrific.

                            I definitely agree with the over-salted sentiments however. We were there last night and the escarole must have been salted in addition to the anchovies in the dish as it was hardly bearable.

                            And the Open Table rep(s) in this town must be making money hand over fist selling a service system to restaurants with under 20 tables. I guess the art of the maitre'd is dead...long live the hostess greeting me while looking at a screen.

                          2. re: jfood

                            I love 112 Eatery and it will likely remain one of my favs, but I have to agree with bill1jan and jfood that getting through on the telephone for making reservations is a nuisance. They don't always answer the phone , unless you call right around 4pm, and then they act like you're bothering them and that they're doing you a favor by making time for you.

                            It pains me to say that I do think that service has slipped from 112's early days, and not just at the hostess desk. I think some of the servers have grown indifferent. They don't have the same patience in describing menu items to you. I had a server pour me a glass of water so sloppily that she spilled ice and water all over my table, and pretended she didn't. Rather than making a scene, I just wiped it up with my napkin after she left. Another time recently, one of our dishes came out of the kitchen so much later than all of our dishes that we had one bite each just to taste it, then asked to have the dish wrapped to go. They forgot to wrap it up for us. So, basically they threw an almost entirely uneaten dish in the garbage, which is strange. You'd think someone on staff, if the word hadn't gotten to them that we wanted to take the dish to go, would have wondered why they were throwing out an uneaten dish and at least inquired if there was something wrong with it.

                            Also, the food isn't as great. I can't remember what it was, but last time I was there, there was one dish (oh, I know, the pork ribs) that were inedibly salty. I am not as sensitive to salt as others on this board, but I couldn't eat these (though I gave it a valient effort as the flavors were otherwise wonderful). I've had this dish in the past and recalled no issues with oversalting.

                            I don't know what's going on, whether it's the distraction of BLG, or they've simply relaxed too much, or if my expectations have changed, but the food and service aren't impeccable anymore.

                            I still enjoy eating there, but the shine is a little tarnished.

                            ~TDQ

                            -----
                            112 Eatery
                            112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              I agree with the comments about too much salt at 112. It's off of my list because of that issue.

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Sorry to hear this. I've only eaten there once, over a year ago and everything was hunky-dory. No problems getting a reservation and no service issues.

                      2. When I moved from Boston to Minneapolis last winter everyone was raving about how great 112 Eatery was. After 2 bites my wife and I both agreed that the restaurant would be very short lived on the east coast. Very salty, ok technique and that lamb sugo was just terrible. The sad thing is that there aren't many better restaurants in Mpls.

                        -----
                        112 Eatery
                        112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                        24 Replies
                        1. re: palescales

                          I think you'll find opposition to your last comment, maybe you haven't experienced all there is to offer. I suggest you take a look at some of these threads:

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/705767
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/703760
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/673877

                          1. re: jfood

                            took a visiting east coast relative (prof at nyu) to 112 prior to blg's grand opening and he commented that he wished he could transport the restaurant back home. i haven't been back in a while and can't speak to a possible decline since blg opened, but our service and the food were very good.

                            1. re: soupkitten

                              The visits I'm referring to above with the water-spilling etc have all been in the past 6 months, so, definitely post BLG. Prior to that, it had been awhile since we'd been, maybe a year?, but those prior visits were all pre BLG.

                              ~TDQ

                            2. re: palescales

                              jfood from the east coast checking in. He spends 35-40% of his time in MSP.
                              Here is a list of restaurants he wishes he could pack in his suitcase and bring back east.

                              Alma
                              Brasa
                              Bar La Grassa
                              Meritage
                              Craftsman
                              Ngon Bistro
                              Grand Szechuan
                              Heidi's (before the unfortunate fire)
                              Cafe Levain
                              Saffron
                              112 (on a good night)

                              Boston has some outstanding restaurant, Clio, et al, but jfood would disagree quite loudly that the list above would be short lived

                              -----
                              Meritage
                              410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                              Cafe Levain
                              4762 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                              Bar La Grassa
                              800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                              1. re: jfood

                                You still like Levain, even after all of the chef turnover? Just curious.

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  jfood can speak from when Adam and his replacement were there, been a few months since the last visit.

                                  1. re: jfood

                                    Vickerman's replacement, Colestock, left Levain in December. http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2010/... Colestock's sous chef appears to have replaced him at Levain.

                                    Interestingly enough, Vickerman's replacement at Tosca, Zander, appears to have been the sous-chef at 112 Eatery. Perhaps that explains the recent decline at 112 Eatery? Perhaps we should all rush over to Tosca and see what Zander's up to.

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      you guys need to start a blog wherearethechefs.com. :-))

                                2. re: jfood

                                  It's funny that you use Clio as an example because it has nothing, and i mean NOTHING, in common with the above listed restaurants. When a restaurant in Mpls gets a weekly delivery from the Tsukiji Fish Market let me know and I'll be there in a heartbeat.

                                  I do love some twin cities restaurants like Brasa, Heartland and too a much lesser extent Meritage, but as a died in the wool New Englander I can say that many of those restaurants would have a hard time staying above water.

                                  -----
                                  Meritage
                                  410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                                  1. re: palescales

                                    Tell you what; when Clio starts getting deliveries from Au Bon Canard and Braucher’s I'll buy another ticket to Boston.

                                    Your argument is a red herring.

                                  2. re: jfood

                                    Grand Szechuan? jfood likes Chinese American Chinese fare then! Certainly plenty of that in CT/NY.

                                    1. re: scoopG

                                      Hey soop, jfood kept going to the well because of people like you, ty very much. the milky & crsipy shrimp at GS is a 12 on a 1-10 scale and he found thelast 2 pages of the menu versus the first 2. Went to Tian Jin the other night, just too spicy for jfood's palate but the flavors want him to go back and order mild versus medium.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        I don't think you've been to Little Szechuan yet j ! I've only been to 112 and GS on your list and do agree that 112 would work in NYC.

                                        1. re: scoopG

                                          I love L.S. but hesitate to recommend it to jfood because of his aversion to spicy foods...

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            jfood has really been trying to understand spicy but just cannot get there. Ate at Tian Jin last week, have been to BTK a few times and he lioves the flavors and will now go back to "mild." He will try LS at some point in the next couple of months.,

                                            Thanks TDQ.

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              I don't think you should have to force your tastes to meet other peoples. You like what you like, you know? I think it's important to try stuff, and to try stuff in places where you think they are doing it right so that you are giving it the best shot, but beyond that, eh, to each his or her own.

                                              I do hope you end up liking L.S. should you try it some day. I like the stir fried green beans and the ma po tofu. I don't think those are too spicy. The dan dan noodles are a little spicy, I think, but not bad.

                                              Good luck!

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                jfood isn't forcing his tastes but trying to understand why people are enamored by this taste. Little jfood travels with a bottle of Frank's Hot Sauce with her in the car. Jfood thinks the flavors can be enjoyed without the heat and will ask for mild to give his non-spicy palate some flavor pleasure and if they say they can not do a dish mildly, he'll choose another. He'll report his finding now that he will let those that enjoy the spiciness report those great 3-pepper wonders and jfood will stay with the 0-pepper wonders. Diff strokes.

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  I think there are plenty of non-spicy things on the menu at Little Szechuan that jfood would enjoy. In fact, Little Szechuan also has a milky crispy shrimp entree that I used to order until I found the Kung Pao Shrimp, which I like much better. The kung pao has got a little spice to it, but I don't think it's too much. And like TDQ, I love the stir fry green beans and the dan dan noodles - neither of which are spicy IMO.

                                                  And unrelated, but jfood - you need to try Haute Dish. Seriously - good stuff and no spice! :)

                                                  -----
                                                  Little Szechuan - West End
                                                  5377 16th Street, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

                                                  1. re: Seige

                                                    will try HD on the next trip, never heard of it til your post, TY Seige.

                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      HD is brand-new Jfood, & it would be great to have your review. i haven't been, myself but am curious.

                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                        website says they opened last month. very cool menu and some good pictures to guide people. must be hell on a night the twins are in town. yippee, more good grub to try. :-))

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          the young chef has a colorful reputation of being very talented, and also very. . . erm, impetuous. "artistic temperament," and all that ;-P

                                                          lots of people have been waiting with bated breath for this place to open and to try his most unfettered creations yet. everything i've heard so far is that the food lives up to the hype, so yay. on a personal note, i am also very curious to see what they've done w the old cafe havana space-- dh used to work there years ago, and i spent more than a little time whiling away the hours in the back booths or at the pretty bar. *sigh*

                                                      2. re: jfood

                                                        HD is where Adam Vickerman and Colestock were expected to end up, post the link I provided above. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6924...

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          I reviewed it a few weeks ago - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7097... It's REALLY good. Definitely a new favorite for me and my hubby! Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

                                      2. Soupkitten's post, was moved to the Food Media and News board,here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7124...

                                        1. Sadly--I was very underwhelmed last night when my sissies and I ate there. We always order our favorites...and then try something new.

                                          The Boston bibb salad (which I often crave for its crisp tang, brave & light architecture, and for its depth) was a total disappointment. It was dowsed...totally covered with parmesan (looked like a coconut cake!), was room temp, and way off balance in a way I don't expect from 112. I had no dressing on mine, while my sister's was drowning. Warm, lettuce weighed down by so much cheese that all three of us scraped it off to the side and left it on our plates. I told the waitress and she said, "Oh, I'll let the kitchen know."

                                          The lamb scottadito was devine as usual, as were the duck breast, the escarole, and the glorious pan-fried gnocchi.

                                          The usually delectable tagliatelle w/ foie gras meatballs was not up to par. Not dressed correctly. Very unmemorable.

                                          I want this to just be a bad dream. I will try again... but not for a while. Alas, 112 was my GO-TO for consistency of top-notchedness.