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May 6, 2010 10:24 AM

Thoughts on Duplex?

I am likely going to Duplex for the first time this weekend. From my search of the board, Duplex seems to be regarded well, but I could not find any specific reviews or discussion of their food. Any suggestions on dishes I should try or dishes to skip?

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  1. This is a super-belated reply, but I figured I may as well add this review to an existing thread on Duplex.

    Went to Duplex with a friend last night and were treated to pretty bad service and mediocre-at-best food.

    We had a GroupOn, and we did everything right: made reservations, came on time, handed the thing to our server right away. Both of us felt like we got sub-par service because the server was assuming we'd leave her a crappy tip.

    The place wasn't busy at all (maybe 40% full), but it took a good 25-30 minutes to get our food.

    I got the gnocchi, which was OK. Bites with a tomato or mushroom were really good, but the gnocchi by themselves were bland, dry, and on the chewy side. Disappointing.

    My friend got the steak. When he ordered, he asked the server if he could get a different side to replace the broccolini (which he hates). She couldn't come up with anything other than to double the other side (a potato gratin, which she puzzlingly pronounced "gruh-TEEN"), and he said that would be fine. When she came up to refill our waters five or so minutes later, she mentioned that there would be a $2 up-charge for that replacement. Again, fine.

    Not fine: the potatoes were barely cooked. They were thinly sliced and stacked in a big slab, with some kind of cheese/cream sauce. I had a bite to confirm that he wasn't crazy, and the potatoes were truly raw. He said his steak was good (although medium rare instead of the medium he ordered), but the potatoes were inedible.

    Sadly, our server decided to ignore us for about 15 minutes, so we didn't have a chance to say something until it was too late for her to actually do something about it. I say "decided to ignore us" because she DID come upstairs a bit after bringing us our entrees to give another table their check, but she (seemingly) purposely didn't make eye contact with either of us and just went back downstairs.

    When she finally came to the table, my friend said, "This was terrible." She looked uncomfortable, and then she said, "Oh, you're actually serious!" He explained about the raw potatoes; she apologized and offered us a free dessert. We accepted it, and it was good (an apple crisp), but the fact remained that all my friend got to eat for dinner was about four ounces of steak. When the server brought out the dessert, she said she spoke with the chef and he said that the potatoes were undercooked. I guess it's nice of them to acknowledge it, but we kind of already knew that.

    My friend tipped really well (about 30%) to prove her wrong about GroupOn-ers. I wouldn't have done that.

    Despite the free dessert, I can't imagine I'll want to go back. And I live only a few blocks away from the place.

    Duplex Restaurant
    2516 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55405

    4 Replies
    1. re: ShinyCake

      What??? The chef already knew the potatoes were undercooked? Meaning, because they came back or because they left the kitchen that way? Either way, not handle well. That's awful. Sorry this happened to you.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        I'm not sure. The server heard my friend's complaint, spoke to the chef, came back to our table, and said something like, "I spoke with Chef [maybe the dude from South Park? not sure why she omitted the article], and yes, the potatoes were undercooked. Sorry about that." I can't remember her exact words.

        My guess is that gratin is prepared in a large pan, baked, sliced into individual portions, and those portions are reheated as ordered. Whoever did the slicing HAD to know the potatoes were nearly raw; they just made a decision not to say anything/serve them anyway.

      2. re: ShinyCake

        I went to Duplex and also used a groupon. I didn't feel that I received bad service because of that, but I was not impressed with the food either. There were three very small sea scallops on their appetizer, about the size of a quarter each. For $10+ dollars it was disappointing. We also got poutine. Although I don't understand the concept of putting cheese or gravy on fries, the saltiness of the dish made it inedible. My gnocchi experience was similar to yours, a bit dry and bland. The chocolate dessert was nice though. Overall, a poor experience even with the discount. I have no desire to go back.

        1. re: ShinyCake

          I too have only one experience at Duplex to report, and it was terrible. This was from last summer though.

          We had to wait an hour and 10 mins just to get the two simple things we ordered (standard breakfast fare, nothing fancy.). I can understand some kitchen delays, but the worst part was that our waiter (who was indifferent and uninterested from the moment we were seated) couldn't so much as come out to us and say " sorry, but your order will take a few more minutes". Also, I asked for a straw for my beverage and THAT took 20 mins. The food was serviceable, but overpriced for what it was.