Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Minneapolis-St. Paul >
Nov 2, 2010 07:31 AM

Scusi is open!

First night open last night. Ate at the bar--loved everything! Half as expensive as Heartland and delicious (if less avant garde) food. I'm in heaven.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: SmartCookie

      What a clever name, scusi! How nice! Makes me want to try it out. Scusi, scusi I'm just a new restaurant in town :D Nice.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. The only meaning of "scusi ", or more appropriately "mi scusi" that I know if is: "excuse me".

        So I don't get it either. If it's some kind of double entendre or inside joke, it's kinda falling flat.

        In terms of the restaurant itself, I'm interested....but wary. I'm not a huge fan of the "Blue Plate Restaurant Company" eateries. I really like their concept, but I think they fall a little flat in execution. Good ideas, somewhat creative menus for a neighborhood eatery, and I like they they try to bring more upscale options but still have a regular dinner feel and options. But their prices are a bit high, they're a little too full of themselves (staff and many customers), and their dishes don't live up to their potential. I'm hoping that's not the case with Scusi.

        I think BPRC is an "excellent" business model - they know their customer base. Given where their restaurants are, they cater well to the crowd that mid 20's to mid 40's, has disposable income, wants more than dinner food and is willing to pay for it, may come in with kids, and is very unlikely to stray far from their comfort zone (in both food and locale). So they can offer mediocre to just above mediocre food and charge a relatively high amount. Great business model. It works for the Parasol Group with the younger set in Uptown - money to burn, wants to feel like they're eating special, but doesn't truly know high quality, and probably doesn't care about it.

        I've been to several BPRC eateries for a long time, mostly Highland Grill and Longfellow Grill. I'll still go to them. I refuse to set foot in Groveland Tap anymore. Never had anything that was decent in there, and I've given up on it. But I think Groveland Tap (and St. Clair Broiler, though I know that isn't a BPRC holding) represents that Highland/Mac-Groveland area very well - folks with lots of disposable income, but not too adventurous, and willing to settle for mediocre food. Because I just don't understand how SCB and GT could still be open after all these years. (And I certainly don't mean that as an across the board representation of folks that live in those 'hoods. But let's face it - there's a lot of mediocre restaurants that are floated soley by those neighborhoods).

        But hey, maybe Scusi will be different?

        Highland Grill
        771 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

        Groveland Tap
        1834 Saint Clair Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

        Longfellow Grill
        2990 W River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55406

        1. re: foreverhungry

          Based on the menu, it looks to be worth a shot. At least they are an Italian restaurant that isn't relying on tomato and alfredo sauce for every dish and calling themselves Italian. There are way too many of those in this town.

          1. re: foreverhungry

            [quote]The only meaning of "scusi ", or more appropriately "mi scusi" that I know if is: "excuse me".

            So I don't get it either. If it's some kind of double entendre or inside joke, it's kinda falling flat.

            Well scusi would be used if an Italian accidently bumped into you or something and wanted to say sorry or "excuse me!" - sort of short form for mi scusi. Many people who speak english think it is cute because of its phonetic similarity (possibly common latin roots? I'm not going to check) to "excuse me". It's a cool name for a restaurant, IMO cooler than choosing a letter or a number for a restaurant. Lets go to "7" tonight for the steak! :( sounds cooler to say lets go to scusi :D

        2. We ate there tonight.

          Pros: The staff is friendly and professional. The room is nice. They put sound absorbing material on the under-side of the tables to moderate the noise level in the room. My kid enjoyed the word-search stamped on the paper table cloth. The shrimp ravioli tasted pretty good. The sauce was a bit thick and obscured the flavors more than it complemented them. The angle hair pasta with tomato sauce and veal meatballs was pretty good. The grilled veg salad was nice too. The price, $18 / person including two glasses of wine and tax and tip was quite reasonable.

          Cons: It's not as good as D'Amico and Sons or Tucci Bennuch, two italian-esque restaurants in the same category. The pizza special was way too salty. The crust texture and flavor was like something from the freezer section at Cub. The wine I had was not very good (Poggio something or other Morellino di Scansano). I don't like to have TV on in the dining room, even if it's showing sub-titled italian movies with no sound.

          I suspect it will do very well in St. Paul. Like Buca di Beppo. I wish Broder's would open up a store on Grand.

          3 Replies
          1. re: JimGrinsfelder

            We went for happy hour in the wine bar. That's a nice space. Just enough Italian flair without being overwhelmingly kitchy. We ponied up to the bar.

            Got the chance to try two pizzas, since the first they brought was not what I ordered. Pizzas are 1/2 price from 4-6, and a very drinkable chianti was on pour for $4..

            Service was friendly, and explicitly comped the extra pizza. For those who lament the fact that Punch Pizza sags in the center under the weight of the oil, Scusi has "solved" this "problem" by using a bit thicker crust.

            I usually find pizza dough to be well under-salted, so I was happy to find that this one had some pop to it. The duck pizza was nice, as the bits of cured duck contrasted the salty dough. Destination pizza? No. Great bar food? Yes.

            The other pizza, which I did not order, was still more than competent. The red peppers had real flavor, and the basil was as prominent as it should have been.

            I should note that they nailed the wine temperatures. My chianti was appropriately chilled, and the flavors popped. The pour was also quite generous, exceeding 7 oz.

            I noticed they offered cheese and salumi trays, as well as olives, and the pricing looked to be a steal.

            I have a soft spot for inexpensive Italian, and for Blue Plate's gig generally. This is a great space for them, and a place I'm happy to pop by after work.

            Punch Pizza
            3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

            1. re: kevin47

              This phrase has me scratching my head: "cured duck contrasted the salty dough"

              1. re: Brad Ballinger

                Oh dear, that makes no sense as written. It had a nice sweetness to it, I should have explained.