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Restaurants everyone loves--except you

Fans of the Manhattan board will recognize this right away. I've enjoyed reading THAT thread for about two years now and it still attracts posts. What say we have a go in MSP? I don't mean for this to be a thread to skewer well meaning restauranteurs, just to draw attention to my own taste befuddlement. Or yours..

For me it's La Grolla. A few years ago I thought it was THE answer. I really enjoyed it. Now? Cant stand it. Yet it's packed every weekend, especially in the summer. It just seems to have gone flat for me and I can no longer develop an interest.

Love to know your hang-ups.

HuaGung

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    1. Easy answer for me: Alma. I realize that many here swoon at the mere sound of Alex Roberts's name, but my experiences there have been perfectly adequate. Nothing bad, but also nothing that makes me go running back there. I can name several other places where I've had meals as good if not better.

      There are also a few other board faves that I've found to fall flat (at least for me): The cocktails at my one meal at the Strip Club were good, but the food didn't do much for me. I've also had perfectly adequate (but not extraordinary) meals at Meritage but I give them the benefit of the doubt because I've only eaten lunch there. I'd be game for going back for dinner.

      5 Replies
      1. re: bob s

        Alma is mine as well. My meals there were just OK, but were priced as if they were going to be outstanding.

        1. re: Jordan

          I have to agree with the two assessments above. Maybe I haven't gone enough but my experiences were "perfectly adequate" as well. I actually enjoy eating at Brasa more.

        2. re: bob s

          I can say ditto. Alma was outstanding 4 years ago... Now its good.

          1. re: bob s

            Agree wholeheartedly on the Alma selection. Went with another couple and found both the food and service to be insipid. Given the reviews, I thought we'd be treated to an extraordinary meal and found that it was fare that was unmemorable in the preparation and service that was haphazard at best. In fact, I distinctly remember we were so disappointed with our meal that we opted to skip dessert there and head out somewhere else.

            1. re: spahkee

              Interesting take on Alma. I enjoyed my experience there and had some stellar food but there are definitely other places in town I'd go to first given the option.

          2. I'll jump in with Meritage. I've had dinner there three times. One was outstanding, one was OK and one was dreadful. This is not a condemnation of the restaurant though, the dreadful meal I had was cassoulet which has had rave reviews on this board. My palet is just not well suited for cassoulet and maybe even the cooking style there.

            4 Replies
            1. re: qajohn

              Several come to mind.

              Hell's Kitchen. Now, in HK's defense, I've only been there for lunch and 1 breakfast ... I thought their pear/ham sandwich was fine, not great...their other sandwiches seem like sandwiches I can get anywhere and their breakfast choices (except for a few items) are not noteworthy to me...on a weekend, I never think to go there for breakfast/brunch - I'm thinking Bon Vie, etc.

              I seem to like Mirror of Korea over King's. Most people disagree with this. Even a co-worker (we're both Korean) disagree on it. So, I guess, to each of us, it's a matter of taste. I thought King's was overpriced, we only got end pieces of squid that were really tough, and I don't think the variety of ban chan are near as many or tasty as MOK.

              1. re: snoboardbabe77

                Red stag - would not eat there again even if it were free, sorry

                  1. re: cookkevin

                    +1

                    I agree.

                    Horrible dining experience there last spring. Food OK. Service was atrocious.

              2. Al Vento. People seem to love this place, even if only as a treasured neighborhood place. I've only been once and cannot bring myself to try it again (and as it's no where near my house it's not like there's three million other places I could go instead). Good appetizers. Terrible pasta dish, the tomato-based sauce somehow managed to be over-salted and insipid at the same time. Possibly the worst tiramisu I've ever had- it was grainy. ick! Have heard that the secundi piatti are very good but unfortunately we didn't know that before we went.

                I generally dislike most TC Italian places, including La Grolla, Al Vento, etc, as being half a step above the Olive Garden. Half a step is not enough for me!

                2 Replies
                1. re: turtlebella

                  I didn't like Al Vento either-too salty. I have been to Craftsman three times, and have not had a good experience there at all-although others say it is the best restaurant EVER.

                  1. re: turtlebella

                    I have to agree on Al Vento. All my co-workers love it and I've gone 2 - 3 times. It's edible, but not a place I would take my wife voluntarily.

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                    Al Vento
                    5001 34th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                    1. re: Foureyes137

                      Citizen Cafe - I only live a block away and have been there more than 6 times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; have never had a note-worthy meal.

                      1. re: Foureyes137

                        Agree. Strip Club small plates were good and inventive. The steaks? A slab of grisly meat and some unpeeled, dirty tasting carrots? Not even good, much less great.

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                        The Strip Club
                        378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106