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Mar 5, 2010 05:31 AM

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.


        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

                  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.


                            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.