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Another TC's sojourn begins.

b
bishopsbitter May 14, 2012 04:45 PM

I am not going to revive the old thread, but am back in the TC's for some more months, with time to check out new places. (Old Thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/675630).

i have already had quite good luck at Finnish Bistro on Como ave in St. Paul. Their traditional Finnish breakfast (photo attached) absolutely hit the spot. I have been known to expound that I could eat smoked fish for breakfast daily in perpetuity, and it's quite true. I think I have Nordic blood (my last name is I think derived from the Danish common surname Laerke).

Finnish Bistro was a nice experience. Although the klutzy way you have to order coffee from Dunn Bros I didn't like so much.

Also thanks to the young gent making coffee I have formulated a new inviolate rule. If I am standing on line, and a waitperson starts mouthing off to his friend about how cheap customers are about leaving tips . . . forget about getting even a penny tip. What a jerk!

I think you'll agree, that's one GOOD LOOKING breakfast.

Across the street the day before the Colossal Cafe was good but their egg-cooking skills let them down. (Once again, woefully undercooked whites and yolk.) And the wonderful bread was spoiled by having butter pre-applied and toasted. Would have so much preferred it dry and butter patties. Not horrible though and a beautiful quiet urban setting bar none.

Also had my first Jucy Lucy at Matt's Bar. (After 30 years off and on in the TC's . . . it was time.) A classic place no doubt, but the "Jucy" did not spark my juices at all. In spite of dire warnings of 7th degree burns when I bit into it a wimpy premature ejaculation of watery not-very-flavorful cheese puttered out. It was rescued by my election for raw onions but otherwise I think I will stick with cheeseburguer cheeseburguer.

Busters on 28th I enjoyed for their serious approach to beer. With even one cask ale on offer. The food was heavily fry-o-latere-ed but their artisan cheese plate was really good.

I liked it. I seem to be "on a roll" as nowhere so far (just back in town a week) has been really poor.

More reports to follow. thanks for reading.

bb

I

 
 
 
 
  1. b
    bkmnus Jan 15, 2013 07:00 PM

    Though it is a bit off the beat for you I hope you get a chance to try the kimchi ramen at 3Tiers bakery in south Minneapolis at 50th and 34th Ave.

    House made kimchi, good veggies, perfectly cooked egg and if you want added meat for a couple of bucks.

    The ramen fills you up and it is one of the best lunches you could have.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bkmnus
      f
      foreverhungry Jan 16, 2013 05:55 AM

      +1 on the kimchi ramen at 3 Tiers. Different from other ramens I've had in the twin cities, and a great flavor and heat.

    2. b
      bishopsbitter Jan 14, 2013 01:11 PM

      While I tend to think takeout can never give one the full picture, I was truly disappointed with takeout
      (actually delivery via bitesquad) from Hell’s Kitchen the other night.
      My menu choices were:
      Fromage-a-Trois (v) (g)
      Baby Brie, Gruyere, and Vermont White Cheddar with toasted baguette slices and fresh berries.

      BBQ Baby Back Ribs (g)
      Mouth-watering, award-winning pork ribs coated with our custom rib rub, slowly cooked til tender, then grilled over hot coals and slopped with our homemade BBQ sauce...Damn! Served with coleslaw, plus your choice of French fries, sweet potato fries ($1 extra) or fresh seasonal fruit.
      $14.95 (half) [$26.50 (full)]

      SALTED CARAMEL POT de CREME $6.50

      The three cheeses were very disappointing. Partly from having been in proximity to hotter food. The hard cheeses were uber floppy and the soft cheese was quite hard. Also it was impossible for me to locate a cheese that I thought was genuine Swiss Gruyere. (If not, then like Champagne, or Parmesan, do not advertise as such.)
      The berries were not picked over for “rejects” several were unripe and horrible.
      The ribs were awful, and also did not come with fries as requested. Instead two coleslaw (good ‘slaw).
      The ribs seemed like what I suspect they were: old ½ slab of dried out ribs, latterly slathered with sauce and reheated. The meat was very dry, and it did appear like a reheat job to me. Highly unappetizing, and while the sauce was not horrible, it was too o.t.t. on sweetness for my taste.
      The dessert was fine, if presented (for takeout) in a pretty unappetizing manner. Tasted good (has caramel ever not???).
      The only thing that had fresh vibrant taste was the ‘slaw.
      I thought otherwise all was pretty disappointing.

      Thanks for reading.

      bb

      2 Replies
      1. re: bishopsbitter
        s
        sandylc Jan 14, 2013 01:28 PM

        I'm not terribly surprised. HK, to me, has a great plan that is poorly executed. I so want to be more excited about the food, but once it has been placed in front of me disappointment always reigns. Added to that, last time I was there we were swatting away flies the entire time. Someone really needs to take this place and step up the quality. The menu creator/writer and and the marketing department get high marks; the purchasing person and chef need to work harder.

        1. re: bishopsbitter
          The Dairy Queen Jan 14, 2013 01:35 PM

          In my experience, HK is best for breakfast, less good for lunch, and even less good for dinner. Sorry you found out the hard way. :(

          ~TDQ

        2. b
          bishopsbitter Oct 7, 2012 01:21 PM

          Buster's on 28th has disappointed on the past two visits. The beer cellarage and food have both been quite lackluster. The bartenders are all good but something has gone a bit "wonky" in the works here. Perhaps the chef changed: I don't know. I was particularly disappointed with their artisan cheese which was supposed to be a selection of three, but was actually two, including a not very interesting Muenster-style, likely non artisan in pedigree. If I compare a very enthusiastic earlier report with how I feel now I was either much more easily pleased on my first visit, or something has gone awry. They are still doing fairly swift business. .

          1. b
            bishopsbitter Sep 20, 2012 04:29 PM

            Sojourn continues. Owing to a demise at my regular Guinness establishments attempted a visit to "Stout's" (violating my own rule about never darkening the doorway of places ending in apostrophe s - except McSorley's and Brown's of course).

            Well, not that great. Nice enough barkeep (youngster) but very generic. I thought pickled herring on the appetizer list was a plus . . . until I tasted it. Tasted like the sort of pickled herring that gives pickled herring only a limited audience. The chips and salsa were poor. Salsa was blah to the nth, and the chips soggy or underdone.

            There was a nice smell coming from the wood-fired pizza oven which would be pleasant when the weather turns cold. But the appetizers were so poor a desire to test out their pizza was cancelled.

            Apparently replaced the Chianti Grill but same owners.

            The Guinness was in reasonable form, but only in 16oz mini glasses. Shame the food was so poor otherwise I might have contemplated a return visit.

            bb

            http://www.stoutspub.com/contact.cfm

            9 Replies
            1. re: bishopsbitter
              d
              dalewest Sep 20, 2012 07:46 PM

              BB,

              A Pints a Pound (16 oz) the World Around. What was wrong with their glasses for Guinness?

              1. re: dalewest
                b
                bishopsbitter Sep 21, 2012 03:48 AM

                Er, so long as the World Around does not include England or Ireland (Scotland etc.etc.) I fear where a Pint's a PINT (20oz).

                16oz has the same effect on one's weight, balance and drinking equilibrium as might a "Three Sixteenth Pounder with Cheese with largish fries" might have on the McDonald's diner. :-)

                The Guinness itself was in good condition, however.

                1. re: bishopsbitter
                  m
                  mull0263 Sep 21, 2012 05:45 AM

                  The English pint isn't something you're going to see around these parts too often as I'm sure you've become pretty aware. The only place I recall at the moment that serves Guinness in a proper 20 oz. pint is O'donovan's in downtown Mpls.

                  1. re: mull0263
                    b
                    bishopsbitter Sep 21, 2012 07:53 AM

                    No it's not that bad. Many places serve 20oz. (Dubliner, Mayslack's, Merlyn's . . .the list goes on.) For Guinness especially it is a better measure as the head quotient is in perfect sync with body. IN the 16oz Guinness tends to be too much head not enough body.

                    1. re: bishopsbitter
                      m
                      mull0263 Sep 21, 2012 07:56 AM

                      Thanks for the heads-up. Most places I end up ordering a Guinness usually aren't Irish pubs so I guess I was just cynical on the TC's ability to pour a proper pint.

                    2. re: mull0263
                      s
                      soupkitten Sep 22, 2012 08:46 AM

                      wow that is wrong. even in dive bars i worked 15 yrs ago, a guinness was served in a 20 oz imperial pint glass. in "these parts." and for the cynics out there, i will add that the beer distributors were/are quite keen on equipping any bar w the specialized guinness tap system and proper glassware, to serve the beer correctly. it's all part of the image/marketing of the brand-- which let's face it, is indubitably macro.

                    3. re: bishopsbitter
                      d
                      dalewest Sep 21, 2012 07:24 PM

                      Oh well. Just another one my immutable beliefs smashed into bits. I am off to the bar for 1/2 litre of beer to console myself.

                  2. re: bishopsbitter
                    s
                    semanticantics Sep 21, 2012 06:52 AM

                    When I think of a "pub", I of course think of Guinness, chips and salsa, and pizza. Oy.

                    1. re: semanticantics
                      b
                      bishopsbitter Sep 21, 2012 07:55 AM

                      They do do "crypto" Irish Pubbe stuff also. Sausage & Mash, Lamb Stew. etc. But anywhere that can't execute chips and salsa probably I can't see making headway on advanced topics.

                  3. b
                    bishopsbitter Aug 11, 2012 08:03 AM

                    Sherlock's Home RIP

                     
                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bishopsbitter
                      ibew292 Aug 11, 2012 03:34 PM

                      SH closed for a reason, it wasn't that good. Get over it....

                    2. b
                      bishopsbitter Aug 11, 2012 08:02 AM

                      A return visit to Tilia has a common thread (as with Finnish Bistro) [reminding us that initial reactions need really to be refined by repeat visits]: namely, "what was overlookable on first visit, grates (more than) a little on the second.
                      The potted meat was underseasoned (still) and limp toast with cured fish and roe is not the ticket either. Also, suppose you don't want the cheesey spread on the toast? Too bad, it's already on there! And a pint of Bengal Lancer (English beer) was definitely both flat and "off" and the Ed. Fitzgereald preceding it wasn't so sharp either. (Cost of former was refunded as I hardly touched it.) A dipping sauce for French Fries made one wonder: "why???!!!" The worl'd most bog-standard generic ketchup would have been 100% times more toothsome. (Or vinegar, or mayo . . . but definitely not whatever they concocted.)
                      so after visit number two this goes from a "wow" to a "you know, nice and all . . . but." An object lesson in letting initial reactions (good OR BAD) run amok. The Michelin "Inspectors" I think had to have 5 or more meals at places with top ranking. "Just to be sure."

                      This seems a good chance to post a bit of memorabilia for a place which never disappointed (that i can remember) in over 100 visits. Sherlock's Home. R.I.P.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                        mitch cumstein Aug 11, 2012 10:51 AM

                        I always wondered that about the fry sauce, it almost makes the fry, with sauce flavor neutral. It is kinda incredible the adoration for that place I think.
                        Why do something different for the sake of being different if you aren't improving on the standard?

                        1. re: bishopsbitter
                          s
                          Seige Aug 13, 2012 01:51 PM

                          Yep - this has been my experience at Tilia. I do think consistency is an issue despite really, really wanting to love it all the time.

                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                            s
                            sandylc Aug 13, 2012 02:23 PM

                            Consistency is the key to success in the food industry. Maybe that's why chains are so successful; people always know exactly what they will get, regardless of quality.

                            1. re: sandylc
                              b
                              bishopsbitter Aug 13, 2012 04:30 PM

                              One almost wants to kill one's self, but I think you have a most valid point. Witness today, I find an early start to commute up here from TX makes me hungry when I arrive, and I am not too proud to order a 1/4 Pounder Meal @ McD's. It never elates, but never disappoints (or breaks the bank). I do always ask for extra salt as I think if we all do that eventually the insidious and loathsome Salt Police will be vanquished as McD's Franchise Owners note escalation in salt sachet dispenses and tell the spotty youths with Simpson's breaking voices to lay on more at the correct time (fresh out of fryer).

                          2. b
                            bishopsbitter Aug 7, 2012 03:52 PM

                            A new source for cask ale in the Twin Cities.
                            At 7pm TONIGHT an IPA cask will be tapped at the Village Pub.
                            I was just in there but can't attend at 7. I will check in tomorrow in case there's some left(!)
                            The gravity-dispensed cask is on the bar and just in the same manner as certain country pubs in England. I suspect the beer won't quite live up to that model, but it's a gesture in the right direction.
                            FYI
                            http://www.stanthonyvillagepub.com/

                            http://www.stanthonyvillagepub.com/

                            16 Replies
                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                              b
                              bishopsbitter Aug 11, 2012 12:57 PM

                              I did check in the following evening. Although the cask had been removed I was informed it was in the cellar and there was still "some left" and the bartender was kind enough to go get me about 2/3rds of a 16oz glass (for free!).

                              Appearance: not terrible although unsurprisingly cloudy as hoyk'ed off the bar a few hours before. Huge Cascade hops but some malt tempering. Also it was HUGELY alcoholic (9%-10%). Just too much hops, too much alcohol. but it wasn't an entirely unpleasant sipping beer. I then won the meat raffle (thinking it was a cash prize game) so staying in an hotel it was not a brilliant plan to take home 10lbs of pork chops so Ireraffled for my stake back.

                              1. re: bishopsbitter
                                k
                                karykat Aug 11, 2012 01:21 PM

                                Is cascade hops floral? I feel like I'm seeing it in lots of things now.

                                1. re: karykat
                                  b
                                  bishopsbitter Aug 11, 2012 03:11 PM

                                  Yes, basically "American / US" hops. Very floral. British hops keep all that fragrance in check and just provide the wanted bittering effect. (Although I think Cascade is essentially a hybrid of English hops (Fuggles). One of the delights of Sherlock's Home was that the only beer ingredient that WASN'T from England : the water! And even that is why they were in Minnetonka as water type is vital for good beer and research (from the founder of Sherlock's, Bill Burdick), not chance, led them to Minnetonka whose public supply "tested well." I believe there is another brewery there likely because of a similarly picky Brewmaster (it would be nice to think). .

                                  1. re: bishopsbitter
                                    k
                                    karykat Aug 11, 2012 03:49 PM

                                    One of our local brewers - Summit - has a new beer out that is an IPA with some different very floral tropical hops. Called Saga. It's lighter than I usually like but the different hops make it seem really refreshing. But if you like the more bitter English hops I'm not sure you'd like it.

                                    I've been trying some other things that are supposed to have these more floral hops but haven't found anything I have liked as well.

                                    1. re: karykat
                                      b
                                      bishopsbitter Aug 12, 2012 08:19 AM

                                      I think the costs likely mean US grown hops will always win out in most US brew pubs. For me it's like the "nose" gets in the way of a beer being "quenching": I can't glug it down as fast as i would like. While a slightly macho thing, it's not uncommon for an English pub patron to down his (and a few women hockey players too!) first pint in a single 15-second sup. This would be hard with all that olfactory assault. And also that's 3% beer usually or at least not vastly alcoholic. I quite like that low alc beer as it takes us back to when beer (ale) was quaffed almost like water when water supplies were otherwise suspect. "Session beers" are under-represented in most US brewpubs. I don't know for sure but I would "suspect" that's because they are a little harder to make well as the alcohol isn't there to mask possible defects in taste & balance.

                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                        k
                                        karykat Aug 12, 2012 11:35 AM

                                        The Saga brew I was mentioning does not have Cascade in it. Maybe why that seems different to me. I'm not remembering which ones right now, but about three kinds of hops that are all tropical and floral. They are probably American.

                                        What would be British about the British hops? Just less strong?

                                        1. re: karykat
                                          ibew292 Aug 12, 2012 12:05 PM

                                          It has Centennial, Amarillo, Citra, Hops

                                          1. re: ibew292
                                            k
                                            karykat Aug 13, 2012 10:51 AM

                                            Thanks for this. I think this combination is giving the Saga a different spin than we are used to from other IPAs.

                                          2. re: karykat
                                            b
                                            bishopsbitter Aug 12, 2012 12:58 PM

                                            The quote below seems to sum it up for me. "blends in and complements the malt flavors." That's the style I personally prefer, and what I find American hops DON'T do. If you typically smell a pint of English cask ale you don't get the impression of putting your schnozz into a perfume bottle, which is how I find an IPA brewed with American hops. There is typically not a big "nose" to it. Also the bitterering linger factor. The brewmaster at Sherlock's Home said he wanted you to still taste the bitterness in Bishop's Bitter an hour after. He definitely succeeded: so much so that when one finished a meal there with their signature sherry trifle there was a distinct bitterness vs. sweet effect going on in your mouth (even if you'd stopped drinking bitter and were onto the coffee.)

                                            So it's not "less strong" so much as very strong in the bittering, and less so in the overt aroma. As the Goldings para says: "Impossible to add too much" hence the abiltiy to bitter it up grandly without the perfume effect.

                                            From: http://www.ibrew.com.sg/Hops.asp

                                            Universally the first choice for an aroma hop in English Ales. Very mild with pleasant, flowery overtones. Most hops stand out against the malt. This unusual hop actually blends in and complements the malt flavors. You truly cannot add too much at the end of a boil as an aroma/flavor hop. Often referred to as Kent Goldings, British Kent Goldings, BKG, or East Kent Goldings.

                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                              k
                                              karykat Aug 13, 2012 10:50 AM

                                              Very clear explanation. This all makes sense. thanks.

                                              And now I understand your chowhound "name."

                                              1. re: karykat
                                                The Dairy Queen Aug 13, 2012 11:54 AM

                                                A lingering bitter taste for an hour? Sounds intense.

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                  b
                                                  bishopsbitter Aug 13, 2012 12:49 PM

                                                  BIshop's Bitter was a truly lovely beer. The next best to King and Barnes' "Sussex" Bitter. Both low (3%) alcohol and very high bitterness quotient. And both with the most delightful orange-brown clarity. (A fact lost on many US would-be "Cask ale" purveyors is that the live yeast needs time to settle out. It is meant to be clear as a "Bud", not like a water sample from the Minnesota River Bottoms.

                                  2. re: bishopsbitter
                                    r
                                    Rowdy Aug 11, 2012 03:25 PM

                                    So, BB, did you ever make it back to check out the old Tandoor location? I did supply a specific address,as you requested.

                                    1. re: Rowdy
                                      b
                                      bishopsbitter Aug 12, 2012 08:21 AM

                                      Thanks for mentioning. I somehow missed your response on that. I think you are right re the equation although why I don't recall the sausage place opposite i am not sure. Was Hennepin two-way in those days? I think that's where my slight failure to latch onto the old location comes from if so. Next time I am down there I will have a look for sure. bb

                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                        r
                                        Rowdy Aug 12, 2012 01:38 PM

                                        I think it was undoubtedly two-way back then. To tell the truth, I couldn't say whether it's one or two way now. LOL. The ways I go it makes no difference.

                                        And I think Kramarczuk's was much less eye-catching then--looked just more like an old butcher shop.

                                        1. re: Rowdy
                                          b
                                          bishopsbitter Aug 12, 2012 03:21 PM

                                          Because I cannot cook when working in MN did not get to try their wares. I poked in the other week and it seemed just a tad less "old world" than I had been expecting. Although the kraut looked tempting. jsut they didn't sell anything cooked to go with it.

                                2. b
                                  bishopsbitter Jul 24, 2012 03:50 AM

                                  I feel this may need a preface (WARNING: geezer alert!@) but had a really nice meal at Colette Bistro (the Chez Colette that was) at the Sofitel last evening.
                                  Why the alert? Well this place is proudly “retro” and they seem to attract a crowd of 40+ types who appreciate such things as jumbo shrimp that are JUMBO, French Onion Soup, fish soup, pates, beef bourguignon . . . the only thing missing is Maurice the Maitre D’. (I wonder if GK conceived the Café Boeuf here?)
                                  But look, the bottom line is that they put on a very enjoyable (albeit just a tad pricey) meal, and for a gin and tonic drinker the icing on the cake was an individual mixer of tonic such that one can fine tune the strength one’s self! – European style).
                                  The crowd, as mentioned was not exactly youthful. A lady from Nebraska, a group from Chicago, a businessman from NJ. Also a couple from down on the farm who delved a little too deeply into the martinis (again, you get your own shaker to play with) and retired hurt.
                                  The only downside was the bar service. Perfectly OK but with a feeling that waiting on aged customers (for these youthful persons) may occasionally get . . . “old.” I did spot a waiter my age, much world-wearied, whom I would like to try to wait on me at a table later this week. Looked like a character.
                                  Unlike the limp and sorry shrimp at J D Hoyt’s these were real shrimp cocktail jumbo shrimp worthy of the name. Firm, and so huge one woman could not finish the six “I wanted to leave room for something other than shrimp.” But most will not have that problem. Bread, was good, although not as good as 30 years ago.
                                  The escargots ditto, were spoiled by lack of salt. But otherwise very tasty. The 5 cheese plate (once it was requested to “hold all the non-cheese [fruit, whatever] guff” was very nice although a new-agey cheese like English cheddar RUINED with horseradish, I could have lived without.
                                  But you know, compared to the BLG and the 112 experience, although not “chef driven” (the chef remains anonymous) this to me brought me closest to bistro / European dining experience in recent memory.
                                  As for the 20-something crowd, if you are one and read this, consider giving Colette a try as I think they/you might like it better than you’d expect. Completely untrendy, is the new trendy: perhaps.

                                  A good start to my Bloomington relocation this week. So good, I may be tempted to return although these $100+ tabs may require a remedial Chinese takeout or KFC to balance out spending.

                                  Thanks, as always, for reading.
                                  bb

                                  17 Replies
                                  1. re: bishopsbitter
                                    drew13000 Jul 24, 2012 08:58 AM

                                    If you're looking for a bistro/European dining experience close to Bloomington, maybe you should try Patrick's in Edina. It's in a boring strip mall off Xerxes and 66th, but I think the French pastries and breads are as close to authentic as I've seen in Mpls.

                                    1. re: drew13000
                                      b
                                      bishopsbitter Jul 24, 2012 02:01 PM

                                      Somewhere herein I had an abortive mission to find his branch in the Garden Center (a mistake on his Web site led to confusion). I still think of Napoleon's Bakery on St Clair from many years ago. Their bread and pastries: beautiful. If Patrick's anywhere near that I will seek it out.

                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                        ibew292 Jul 24, 2012 02:39 PM

                                        Patrick used to own Napoleon's Bakery. He sold it and it went downhill. I have never tried his "new" place. His place in Wayzata, years ago, before it closed was good.

                                        1. re: ibew292
                                          b
                                          bishopsbitter Jul 24, 2012 03:05 PM

                                          Really? Would he have been the owner back in 1982? I seem to remember their bread being really good back then. And their pastries pretty good. I can't recall if with REAL real cream or not. Talking of bread, I soon after moved to Detroit and Hamtramck's Polish bakeries redefined "heft" in bread and great cream cakes.

                                    2. re: bishopsbitter
                                      s
                                      sandylc Jul 24, 2012 09:38 AM

                                      My husband and I had many wonderful dates at Chez Colette 20-30 years ago. We equally loved their other (long gone) restaurant, La Terrasse. We drifted away, the Sofitel went through some difficult times/changes, and now we have visited their lobby a few times when out-of-town guests have stayed there and seen that Colette seems to be renewed.

                                      I am happy to hear that the old Colette might be back, but sad to hear about the (inevitable) high prices.

                                      I heard a rumor that they no longer bake in-house; I heard that the baked goods are now brought in from Patrick's (the poster above has referred you to them). I don't know the veracity of this, but it makes sense as I believe Patrick has some prior connection to the Sofitel.

                                      As for Patrick's in Edina, it has been simply OK for me. and I wouldn't rush there. The case of pastries in pretty enough, but lacking in flavor. The bread is just not up to snuff, either. The baguette has no taste and is too light., as though the process is being rushed. Does this sound like your bread last night at Colette?

                                      Speaking of bread, we do have a bakery in town that has been rated in the top ten in the country; I speak of Rustica on the northwest side of Lake Calhoun. They do serve one or two choices of thoughtfully-made sandwiches during the day if you are so inclined, and their breads have good heft, beautiful crusts, and complex flavors.

                                      1. re: sandylc
                                        b
                                        bishopsbitter Jul 24, 2012 02:10 PM

                                        The baguette has no taste and is too light., as though the process is being rushed. Does this sound like your bread last night at Colette?

                                        That sounds EXACTLY like it. You know your bread. I too value "heft" in bread. It's missing in 99.999% of US bakeries sadly. Rustica sounds like it might be worth a visit but as hoteling a loaf of bread is not that practical. But I'm glad to hear of it.
                                        This thread, which started modestly enough, is quite a treasure trove of stuff for me to refer to. I really appreciate. Shame not more posts on CH these days. Have many defected to some other site? Anyway, I also remember La Terrasse (athough for some reason I thought it was called Louis XV or some such: my memory is wonky). Very formal. Lift the silver salvers in sync "et voila! bon appetit." Again, my pet theory that Garrison Keillor may have gotten inspiration for "hoity toity" French restaurants there, although La Terrasse was NOT (as I recall) at all stuffy in terms of service. Quite friendly and but very discrete and dignified. Oh to go back to days when they did not try to whisk your plate away the very SECOND you put the last mouthful in your mouth. Argh!

                                        1. re: bishopsbitter
                                          s
                                          sandylc Jul 24, 2012 02:53 PM

                                          I think you're remembering the most expensive restaurant that was there at one time...Le Cafe Royale, I think??????? We never ate there....La Terrasse was the more casual restaurant. They had things like Trout Almondine, Moules Frites, Eggs Benedict, etc. They were open late and were always packed at silly times like eleven pm. Basically a more casual place than Colette.

                                          1. re: sandylc
                                            b
                                            bishopsbitter Jul 24, 2012 03:02 PM

                                            You are right. I forgot there were three levels then. It was Le Cafe Royale I was thinking of. I remember some excellent game (moose I think, not all that "French" :-) certainly elk) there at some stage one winter. Don't think we ever tried La Terrasse. But my wife and I too both enjoyed Chez Colette Lord 30 years ago!!

                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                              s
                                              sandylc Jul 24, 2012 03:26 PM

                                              Ha - maybe we saw you there! You are the same age as my hubby, BTW.

                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                b
                                                bishopsbitter Jul 25, 2012 03:35 AM

                                                An amazing thought, but definitely possible. A return visit last evening confirmed good jumbo shrimp. There was a complete change of bar and wait staff, but same slightly weary attitude (but it was slow: note to hospitality staff: when business is slow, TRY to put a brave face on it for the sake of those punters who DO show up!) A completely disastrous croque monsieur: some bright spark had thought it might be a good idea to cover the bread on the OUTSIDE with molten cheese. Oh dear.A perfectly nice ham & cheese sandwich otherwise, but ruined. A basket of french fries were good. Just a "snack" last night owing $$$ control.
                                                bb

                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                  b
                                                  bishopsbitter Jul 25, 2012 03:47 AM

                                                  Incidentally, funny how the place seems to attract the Eurocentric (with regard to food). A group of Brit's last night. More east coast businessmen. A lady who HAD to be French (just the way her clothes looked tres chic and the ultra discrete perfume).

                                                  So the "French Connection" (Accor Group) seems to lure a certain kind of punter away from the Marriotts etc. even though the Sofitel is a bit creaking at the edges.(It may also be that they are discounted on Hotwire and that French Lady spent all her Francs on clothes!)

                                                  My current room is fine but I recall connecting rooms have noise issues. I'll have to venture some place else tonight for dinner: or order in.

                                        2. re: sandylc
                                          t
                                          tyrus Jul 26, 2012 08:39 AM

                                          Although I think Rustica has a very good baguette, I feel that Patisserie 46 (46th and Grand) is better. I spent 2 months in Paris a couple of summers ago, before moving to Mpls from Chicago and I think I had at least one baguette every day while there. My stop was Eric Kayser on Rue Monge in the 6th and it was a great baguette. Patisserie 46 is the best I've had here in the TC. I feel that Rustica's is a bit light, not enough "heft" and just a bit too airy.

                                          Btw, I've found this thread incredibly entertaining. I've experienced many of these hits and misses in my two years here, trying to sample the local scene.

                                          Bishopsbitter - if you want to sample Tilia again for lunch, let me know. I'm a couple of blocks away and could meet you up there for a pint and plate (or several). I agree that it's nice to sample a few things off the menu.

                                          Also, if you want another "outsider's" view of the dining scene in the TC, I would highly recommend LTHForum out of Chicago. Here's the local link - http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?...

                                          Cheers...

                                          1. re: tyrus
                                            s
                                            sandylc Jul 26, 2012 11:25 AM

                                            Thanks for the link...

                                            I honestly don't buy the baguette at Rustica very often, although I do like it. Their other breads and pastries attract me more.

                                            I have issues with Patisserie 46; their pastries look great, but don't come through on taste. It takes great talent to produce something that looks so much like chocolate, but has absolutely zero chocolate flavor, I guess.

                                            1. re: sandylc
                                              mitch cumstein Jul 26, 2012 12:45 PM

                                              wow sandylc, never had anything but excellent product from them. They don't use a lot of milk chocolate, usually belgian dark, which always less sweet, more bitter and subtle...

                                              1. re: mitch cumstein
                                                s
                                                sandylc Jul 26, 2012 01:23 PM

                                                My chocolate preference ranges between 60 and 80 percent. If it is of good quality, I will even occasionally enjoy a bit of completely unsweetened chocolate. The "chocolate" plank on top of my last eclair from there was dark-colored, but had no chocolate taste - I'm still not sure how they did that! Other visits there have been similarly disappointing; am I choosing the wrong items? What are your favorites?

                                            2. re: tyrus
                                              b
                                              bishopsbitter Jul 26, 2012 03:48 PM

                                              Even Paris . . . and France in general, isn't quite what it was. I still love it. I still recall a place in Hyeres (near Toulon) with I think 1 Mich star: a local doctor (or lawyer etc.) was dining alone, he must have spent almost 3 hours at lunch as he was there when we arrived, and still doing dessert (not even cheese as yet) when we left 2 hours later. He was constantly attended to by about 5 "private" waiters who picked up on his every want or need: and one could surmise . . . he dined here daily M-F.
                                              These days one can have some fairly blah stuff in France although even on a bad day, most places blow similar attempts here to smithereens.

                                              I would love that although not sure when it will fit both our schedules. I (in retrospect) really enjoyed the pint there the most. A surprise (that it was so complex: the beer). Or perhaps just supremely well kept. (Perhaps the broken glass guy works the cellar, in which case he is a genius at it like the one at my favorite Northumberland real ale pub The Three Horseshoes (much recommended for anyone going to the N UK.),. Pristine cellar operation. Don't assume you don't like British cask ale until you've tried a Best Bitter here. :-) http://www.threehorseshoes-horton.co....

                                              1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                t
                                                tyrus Jul 27, 2012 07:02 AM

                                                Thanks for the link. It'll be forwarded to some friends in the UK and bookmarked for my use on a later date.

                                                About Tilia. I work from home and live 4 blocks from there. If you think you'll make it over, just let me know and I'll see if I can meet you - no big deal. Enjoy...

                                        3. b
                                          bishopsbitter Jul 23, 2012 10:08 AM

                                          This week am staying at the Sofitel. I was wondering if anyone might be kind enough to suggest (or RE-suggest) places located in that particular part of the metroplex (which, because of traffic logistics, I have otherwise rarely visited during my time here).

                                          I will naturally try the Chez Colette (as was, and was good in the day 30 years ago) at the Sofitel but neighborhood places and Indian and Chinese in the vicinity (especially that deliver) would be good to hear about.

                                          I'm back in Roseville next week so this is a chance to sample some highlights of the 494 corridor. Really thankful for all these splendid recommendations which this thread has expanded into.

                                          bb

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                            l
                                            lizpeck Jul 23, 2012 01:18 PM

                                            Not directly in the neighborhood, but we thought the fare at India Spice House in Eden Prairie was quite good.

                                            http://www.indiaspicehouseep.com/

                                            1. re: lizpeck
                                              m
                                              mdg Jul 25, 2012 07:39 PM

                                              For Indian, traveling a bit west to Biryani in Edina (www.biryanicuisine.com) or India Spice House in Eden Prairie is a very good idea. At Biryani the dish to get is the green masala - a Bangladeshi specialty that I can't get at home in California. At India Spice House, the biryanis and goat curry have been particular favorites. There's no alcohol served at India Spice House. I don't think either of these places deliver though.

                                              Michael

                                            2. re: bishopsbitter
                                              drew13000 Jul 23, 2012 01:51 PM

                                              I don't think either of these deliver, but both are worth a visit: Grand Szechuan at France and 106th and Ciao Bella near France and 494.

                                            3. b
                                              bishopsbitter Jul 23, 2012 04:19 AM

                                              A busy weekend of chowhounding came to an end with a dinner (an early dinner) at Bar La Grassa last evening. You would not know it was there apart form a “B L G” sign outside an anonymous nondescript gray building. (The valet service had not ramped up.)
                                              I sat at a zinc bar which was comfortable and pleasant in outlook. The hot weather still persisted, closing off their outdoor patio as the sun was beating down out there mercilessly. When it’s not, that is likely a pleasant option.
                                              I had a customary g&t and before I had really sat down a little bean and herb vinaigrette salad with toothpick arrived. Shortly thereafter some breads.
                                              I ordered the Berkshire prosciutto, the white anchovies and avocado bruschetta, and the fusilli with lamb meatballs.
                                              The prosciutto and anchovies arrived together (which was fine). One thing you almost always find with anything prosciutto in restaurants is parsimonious portioning/rationing. Well, not here! If anything there was almost too much of the stuff (for one). But I’m not complaining as I love cured meats. The white anchovies WERE parsimonious, unfortunately counterbalanced by far too much avocado. The balance there was not good.
                                              As always I tried to pick up the vibe of the staff. This seemed generally a place people quite liked to work, but perhaps not so much on the early Sunday evening shift when things are relatively quiet and the tip jar not filling up as rapidly as normal.
                                              No real complaints, service-wise, except perhaps unwillingness to engage in a little conversation with a solo diner with no-one to talk to.
                                              As I ate the place started to fill up. I noticed a lot of European kiss-greetings suggesting well-heeled/well-travelled or actually foreign-originally clientele. The food so far was sort of “fine” but it wasn’t transporting me. The sort of Italian food I can pull off pretty much OK at home.
                                              The fusilli and meatballs came with a caddy of Parmesan. The meatballs again were no more tasty than I could push together myself and rather fat-deprived being the reason. And (in retrospect) fusilli was probably not my personal best choice for pasta.
                                              I had a salty-caramel dessert (OK) with a very good grappa (Una Viva) and espresso. The total tab was $90 and change plus a tip it was quite pricey, especially as I did not make it into the wine list.

                                              As I review the weekend if I have to name my favorite place in terms of food, quality of service, and value for money, the clear winner (by a large margin) is: Tilia (apart from the noise level). What I experienced at BLG, Hoyt’s and 112 Eatery was fine but only Tilia is a place I am actively contemplating a return visit to.

                                              And of course the Bulldog has seen the last of me, and I of them.

                                              bb

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                s
                                                Seige Jul 24, 2012 09:57 AM

                                                Just an "ok" for the salted caramel crispelle?!? I could do shots of that salted caramel and if I wasn't better mannered, licking the plate would not be far behind. ;) I love BLG, but there are admittedly some things that are better than others... and I don't think anchovy anything is it. The only pasta dish I've not liked at BLG was an anchovy saffron one. Seriously, don't completely write the place off. I'd strongly suggest the smoked trout wrapped in prosciutto if that's still on the menu and the mushroom agnolloti is divine. Oh, and my discovery the last time we were there the shrimp with penne and vin santo. I'm salivating just thinking about it!

                                                All that said, I do think an early Sunday is the time to go. The one major pitfall of BLG is the noise level. I suspect you didn't hit that since you didn't mention it, but it can be deafening and annoying, but it's not so annoying that I stop eating there because I love the food too much.

                                                And while I do like Tilia, I have had some so-so meals there too. Not horrible, but not rockstar either. So it sounds like you hit a good day but I don't think it's always as consistent as it could be.

                                                And please go to Harbor View Cafe! ;) Consistent rock star dining in the most unassuming place you'll probably ever go.

                                                1. re: Seige
                                                  b
                                                  bishopsbitter Jul 24, 2012 01:57 PM

                                                  Shrimp with penne and vin santo was something that caught my eye. I wish I had taken the plunge.

                                                  I think the problem with the crispelle was NOT ENOUGH SALTY CARAMEL :-) Otherwise I too might have been snarfing it up with my tongue.

                                                  I will also admit to a touch (maybe more than a touch) of being adversely impressed by places where the staff seem to exude "this is the place to be, and be seen" airs. I always prefer totally unpretentious. (As I mentioned, the Euro-smooch "Hellos" were a bit silly.)

                                                  Good warning on the noise, but if the staff are petulant owing slow business it's a Catch 22. And yes next time in Pepin I am looking forward to it. In fact, I just used the word "unpretentious!" so "unassuming" is good.

                                                  1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                    s
                                                    Seige Aug 1, 2012 02:22 PM

                                                    The Chicago Tribune just gave Harbor View Cafe some lovin' too - http://articles.chicagotribune.com/20...

                                                    1. re: Seige
                                                      b
                                                      bishopsbitter Aug 2, 2012 05:28 AM

                                                      Nice review! This sounds like a really special place all in all. Must get there. Maybe this weekend!

                                                      "When in doubt, add more garlic." Words to steer one's life by.

                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                        s
                                                        Seige Aug 2, 2012 12:33 PM

                                                        If nothing else, it keeps the vampires away. :)

                                              2. b
                                                bishopsbitter Jul 22, 2012 12:28 PM

                                                After doubling my money on the slots in an early session at Mystic Lake I was in quite a good mood today. What could possibly go wrong? . . .
                                                Decided to try the Anchor Fish and Chips for the full Irish Breakfast. The place was doing business even at 1015 including three fellow Brit’s at the counter. In true British fashion we identified each other as Brit’s then ignored fastidiously the other’s presence.
                                                OK, so Anchor. Was it as I expected?: no. Did I enjoy it, no. Part of the reason was it looked like they had been shafted by one of their cooks not showing up. It looked like the “junior” of the two was left to cope, and I could see (even before confirmed) that he was under time and ticket pressure and guessed (correctly) that the end product would suffer.
                                                The breakfast came, with one egg yolk broken (clearly when it had been put into the pan) and therefore not appetizing. The eggs generally (no surprise) undercooked. Cold yolk (the one that WASN'T broken), runny unset whites. The black pudding and white pudding might require microscopic analysis to find it: tiny portion of each. The bacon was not interesting and the potato bread is not (to my mind) what you want with bacon & egg.
                                                I think the thing that REALLY disheartened me though was that throughout my breakfast they were blanching what appeared to be an entire day’s supply of chips. 6 Fry-O-Laters full at a go, this was repeated about 6 times. So 36 baskets (and six vast trays of par-fried chips were whisked away to mysterious “holding pens.”) This is not the way a traditional “chippie” does it. Yes chips are cooked and kept warm until sold, but they are not lightly blanched in the fryer and then held for hours at a time. The end result will not be the same as a “fresh cooked” fry. Not to say (with the popularity of the place) it is necessarily bad. But what I thought was this seemed more a sign of laziness and convenience (for THEM) versus anything really necessary. I mean 6 large fryolaters should be able to handle cooking a few chips.
                                                The breakfast though was a real disappointment: I’ll also say this: more and more places have people with bare arms and such covered with Tattoos serving and cooking. I don’t like tattoos and I don’t want to see them. To me there is something off-putting about them. I have abandoned a couple of other places for the same reason.
                                                So I don’t think I will be headed back. The Irish lady (owner I am sure) was very nice and comped my coffee for the egg snafu. I mean, what do I know? But to me, this wasn’t quite what I expected, especially given the mammoth popularity.
                                                So that wasn’t very successful. I then headed over to Bulldog NE because some of their smoked fish had caught my eye when there the first time. But after parking and walking a couple of hot sweaty blocks I get there to have some young person behind the bar ask for my ID (I am 55). Why is that? I need to check it. Well you can check it but if you do I won’t give you the business I was going to give you. Big argy-bargee and I left. I feel one has to stand up against this (for the same reason I will not show ID to restaurants in the MSP airport: there’s no alcoholic drink in the world that would make me kow-tow to pimply youths, or even people my age getting into my business when not wearing a uniform at least.
                                                So I say don’t let ‘em get away with this. I went and had a perfectly nice beer at the place (Whitey’s) across the street instead, and left a deliberately extra large tip which could have been passed along to the Bulldog’s staff if not so obnoxious. I also pointed out I had been in there once already and had not had to show ID and instead of saying, well that’s OK they STILL gave me attitude. So I gave THEM attitude by walking out as fast as I could never to come back EVER even if all other bars in Minneapolis are bulldozed or struck by unexpected nuclear attack. Unlike 007 Never “means” never.
                                                Anyway, sorry for the bad feeling about Anchor. It was those 150lbs of par-cooked fries (possibly to be kept warm until this evening!) being stockpiled which really put me off everything. Also the British/Irish breakfast was no good. I liked the Irish lady though.
                                                Anyway, better luck next time, as they say.
                                                Thanks, as always, for the read.

                                                bb

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                  s
                                                  sandylc Jul 22, 2012 01:12 PM

                                                  I'm sorry you had a rough time. The carding thing is inconsistent and silly to me, also.

                                                  Regarding the fries, a properly made french fry MUST be cooked twice at two different temperatures. That was the first low-temp fry.

                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                    b
                                                    bishopsbitter Jul 22, 2012 03:11 PM

                                                    That's OK. It's entirely their loss. But thanks for the support. I appreciate it. We have to fight back against such encroachments. (I wish more did.) Yes, on the fries, I understand that concept (even if not practiced in British chippies: no slouch with the chips) but I never like to see "mass quantities" of anything stockpiled like that. Perhaps watched too much Ramsay Kitchen Nightmares where huge bulk menu items are in trays in fetid condition. Not suggesting that here but . . . .well, you know what I mean. I had actually expected they would have the true Anglo chippie range (they must be pricey to import) where vast baths of oils (at different temp's) can be accommodated and a big inventory of chips can be stockpiled temporarily (only enough to balance the turnover) so not kept for long.
                                                    One other thing: their Guinness appeared in good condition. The other Brit's were not observing the "before noon" rule :-) as I was.

                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                      ibew292 Jul 22, 2012 04:16 PM

                                                      They card everyone so they don't make a mistake. Not their loss, it is yours.....

                                                      1. re: ibew292
                                                        d
                                                        docfood Jul 22, 2012 07:50 PM

                                                        You are so right ibew292.

                                                        1. re: ibew292
                                                          t
                                                          type2runner Jul 22, 2012 07:54 PM

                                                          "the Bulldog. It has made me unusually annoyed for some reason (I think because I was singled out for some reason: I saw no signs on my previous visit of people of mature years being harassed. " seems BB wasn't carded in a previous visit....so it was their management 'mistake' in consistency. Point: their loss.

                                                          1. re: type2runner
                                                            LiaM Jul 22, 2012 07:58 PM

                                                            The law dictates that servers card people ordering alcohol, even if those people look old enough to drink. They might not be entirely consistent, but I find it a little unreasonable to become offended and totally dismiss a bar or restaurant for following the law. Is it that hard to show an ID?

                                                            1. re: LiaM
                                                              s
                                                              sandylc Jul 22, 2012 08:19 PM

                                                              "The law dictates that servers card people ordering alcohol..."

                                                              Really? I am rarely carded. Does this mean that the majority of the establishments that I visit are breaking the law?

                                                              1. re: LiaM
                                                                b
                                                                bishopsbitter Jul 23, 2012 04:31 AM

                                                                Yes, it is. There's quite enough people wanting to get into one's business. All it would take is a very small percentage of people making a big fuss as I did for all of this encroachment into our personal business go away. After all they did not volunteer to show me their credentials to cook food, or whether they've preciously been shut down for health code violations, or carry fire insurance, or . . .
                                                                If you don't fight back you'll find these people wanting to inconvenience you even more and then more again!
                                                                In this very long thread (and the one that preceded it), drinking alcohol every place (and fueling the TC's economy to a reasonable degree single-handledly :-) ) I have never had this experience. And if I had, my response would have been the same.

                                                                1. re: LiaM
                                                                  bob s Jul 23, 2012 10:22 AM

                                                                  I don't believe that there are laws requiring IDs from every person (although I'm perfectly happy to be corrected). There are recommended policies from licensing authorities and they may suggest that establishments choose to card everyone - but it's not a requirement. For instance, here's the City of Minneapolis's list of alcohol service policy considerations: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/licen...

                                                                  In fact, I don't believe that it's a legal requirement to card anyone, but the fact that (a) the penalties for serving an underage person are severe and (b) there is a defense to being charged with serving an underage person if you reasonably rely upon authorized ID cause businesses to card. (Again, I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.)

                                                                  1. re: bob s
                                                                    m
                                                                    magz0r Jul 24, 2012 12:48 PM

                                                                    Yep, the penalties and fines are pretty harsh for serving minors, and if enough are racked up the restaurant/liquor store/etc. can lose their liquor license.

                                                                    While I agree it's a bit ridiculous to card a 55 year old, some places do literally have a "card everyone" policy. I remember my dad being a bit miffed at being carded by our waitress at the old Pizzeria Uno in Edina in the early 90's (he was in his 50s as well at the time), but the waitress explained that she had just carded a 70 year old due to their policy and was apologetic about the whole thing.

                                                                    That being said, I can't think of the last time I went to the NE Bulldog and didn't have a bartender or waitress that didn't have a surly attitude. I tend to avoid the place if possible simply because of that. The NE Bulldog is not owned & operated by the same owner as the Uptown and Lowertown Bulldog, and the Bullfrog in MPLS...it is a separate entity that seems to capitalize on the name.

                                                      2. b
                                                        bishopsbitter Jul 22, 2012 03:13 AM

                                                        Visited 112 Eatery last evening. I sat at the small bar downstairs. (A little cramped, but congenial.) After a good stiff gin & tonic perused the menu. A bit like Tilia on Friday the pricing and all suggested a small plates sharing scenario. This is OK if you have 2+ but with VERY limited bar real estate more than one plate would have been a struggle. Also, the bartender, while nice enough, seemed to be having a bad day with a bandaid that would not stay on and near misses dropping glasses. I ordered the blue prawns and they came hot and with a very crisp light batter. The first prawn sent me to heaven, but the next one was limp and disappointing. Was it just the extra cooking time, or a mixture of prawn quality? I don’t know the answer, but possibly the former as none of the other prawns (4 total) impressed so much although all tasted fresh. So mentally (re: the small plates) I decided to try another place for dinner: J D Hoyt’s. The 112 just did not quite “grab” me when it had the chance. I think more than anything it was the thought that at some stage the bartender’s band-aid would end up in the ice bucket etc. Not that I am squeamish about such things.
                                                        So . . . JD Hoyt. I liked the cool a/c as I walked in and the bar was congenial for eating (not too crowded). Clearly a “regulars” venue where it was clear that walk-ins are slightly lower-class beings, but that’s not the end of the world. I ordered their shrimp cocktail and then one of their legendary pork chops. The shrimp this time WAS disappointing: limp, and with a slight “tired” odor. Nothing really to rave about and I think they knew it as no-one asked, how are the shrimp?
                                                        The pork chop was fine. Actually too much seasoning for my taste, but this was spelled out in the menu. The service was OK but rather choppy. When I switched to red wine I asked for something freshly opened and was promptly served the dregs from a previously-opened bottle.
                                                        Left feeling just somewhat “blah” although nothing (apart from the shrimp) was awful. Am staying d/t Minneapolis again tonight so maybe better luck: but “where to go.” ? Not sure. I may try Anchor’s Full Irish Breakfast later this morning if the timings work out.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                          l
                                                          lizpeck Jul 22, 2012 09:24 AM

                                                          BB,

                                                          So glad you liked Tilia! I loved your description of the clairvoyant custodian and the tip-top nick beer lines.
                                                          Downtown, have you tried Saffron (high quality Mid East/Med) or Bar La Grassa (chef-driven bistro?)

                                                          http://saffronmpls.com/
                                                          http://barlagrassa.com/

                                                          1. re: lizpeck
                                                            b
                                                            bishopsbitter Jul 22, 2012 12:51 PM

                                                            Bar La Grassa may be in my future tonight. Thank you. If I recover from my earlier escapades with the Bulldog. It has made me unusually annoyed for some reason (I think because I was singled out for some reason: I saw no signs on my previous visit of people of mature years being harassed. Their menu looks nice (Bar La Grassa.)the place I am staying at's hotel has a restaurant that reminds me of the one in The Shining! So I won't be going there. Possibly the worst even by hotel restaurant standards ever witnessed.

                                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                              s
                                                              sandylc Jul 23, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                              Bar La Grassa and 112 Eatery are the same people - FYI.

                                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                                b
                                                                bishopsbitter Jul 23, 2012 09:59 AM

                                                                Well blow me down!! Because they "felt" like that subliminally to me.
                                                                Part of the reason I felt it a "flat" experience at BLG last evening was it felt similar in overall (slightly negative) vibe to the 112 place I had just not quite taken to the night before! Thanks for letting me know. Had I known I would have given a bit of breathing room between trying the two.

                                                        2. b
                                                          bishopsbitter Jul 20, 2012 02:47 PM

                                                          I tried Tilia for lunch today.
                                                          I was most impressed in almost all regards.
                                                          I nearly gave up without going owing to parking but in fact just up the hill over the stop sign (at 44th) to the south it was quite easy to park on the street and not far at all to walk back down the hill. Other parking seemed . . . a bit scarce.
                                                          Nice low-key exterior and I went in and saw one could dine at the bar, which I did. (I later discovered that there are ‘bar’ seats facing directly into the kitchen also! Watch the chefs at work. Have your plate delivered to you by the chef!
                                                          I wanted to try the craft beer and was given a sample of the Edmund Fitzgerald (Cleveland) and Obsidian Stout (Oregon). I chose the latter, though both were tasty. Both were also quite strong and I was surprised to find 20oz glasses being the preferred medium. A couple 20oz pints of 7% beer gives one a pretty good buzz.
                                                          The menu was a bit strange, clearly designed for NOT the solo diner. In short it would have been better to be able to share with 2-3-4 others and sample a “grazing” lunch. A group at the bar next to me did this and thus tried all of the flavors like calamari, and potted meat, and meatballs.
                                                          A daily “potted meat” I found intriguing. Today it was duck rillettes. Not quite what I expected (finely ground versus coarse bits of duck) but with a good layer of duck fat to spread on excellent toasted bread . . . no complaints. The house salad I found just a bit underwhelming. The beer was in excellent condition. Very enjoyable, as was the final price. Rillettes, plus salad, plus 2 20oz craft beers in tip-top nick: $32, plus tip.
                                                          I noticed that this is an enterprise where it’s like a family at all levels (even if maybe not all related, or even related at all!). I was greeted and seated by Mr. Brown and noted Chef Miller in the kitchen hard at it. The girl behind the bar was very good and what I thought was really funny was that when she dropped a glass a hitherto unseen man with a cleanup kit appeared as if by magic. He was very much in the Custodian (a Mediterranean version of Groundskeeper Willie) mold and extremely hirsute and I just thought it funny how he “appeared” at the sound of fracturing glass as though waiting in some (probably subterranean) closed-off room with an ear trumpet to be summoned and galvanized into action to protect all from glass shards. He was never seen again once cleanup had been achieved and had shuffled off with his dustpan and brush.
                                                          I noted the things you notice and top marks for cleanliness, beer cellarage, and customer-centric attitude.
                                                          The one HUGE minus: the NOISE level. For me, the gabbling frenzy of human voices at high levels was enough to spoil an otherwise charming lunch. That, and the fact they could not offer me a cheese course for dessert. The noise reminds me of another place I used to like for the food, but could not handle for the noise: Ristorante Luce ? Luci ? in St. Paul (Cleveland Ave I think). There has to be sound-deadening materials. Don’t get me wrong I like the sound of a prosperous restaurant full of people enjoying themselves, but when it assails my ears (even when alone, heaven forbid if trying to chat with someone) it is a big minus for me.

                                                          Thanks for the tip on this place!
                                                          bb
                                                          http://www.tiliampls.com/

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                            c
                                                            ChillyDog Jul 20, 2012 03:36 PM

                                                            Ristorante Luci is correct.

                                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                              k
                                                              karykat Jul 22, 2012 09:49 AM

                                                              First time I've seen "hirsute" used in a chowhound post!

                                                              How would you characterize the Obsidian Stout? I just noticed it in bottles at my neighborhood liquor store.

                                                              1. re: karykat
                                                                l
                                                                lizpeck Jul 22, 2012 10:12 AM

                                                                While I look forward to BB's ever thoughful review, here is a great resource for finding out about craft beer

                                                                http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/deschute...

                                                                1. re: karykat
                                                                  b
                                                                  bishopsbitter Jul 22, 2012 12:36 PM

                                                                  One can somehow tell when beer is kept properly and the lines are in tip-top condition. It is a nice sipping beer (said strong 7%) which I enjoyed and it had enough subtlety to not become cloying or uninteresting with food (as most beer does). Not too much west-coast hops (which I don't like). Just: "good stuff." I would go back here for the beer alone.

                                                                  1. re: karykat
                                                                    b
                                                                    bishopsbitter Jul 22, 2012 12:39 PM

                                                                    "Antebrachium" may be another, and that is really where I could not help noticing an abundantly healthy growth :-)

                                                                    Maybe it's axilla . . . .(to quote Bertram Wooster) "is the word I want."

                                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                      k
                                                                      karykat Jul 22, 2012 10:27 PM

                                                                      Ahhh. So maybe it's not hairy generally but in the forearm or underarm area in particular?

                                                                      As to tattoos. It seems like everyone under a certain age has one someplace or another.

                                                                      Today I saw a young woman with a low cut top revealing a tattoo there. I would have been embarrassed just exposing that area to someone much less being tattooed there. So apparently things have changed.

                                                                      Will be checking out that Obsidian Stout at my first opportunity, either in bottles or on tap.

                                                                      1. re: karykat
                                                                        b
                                                                        bishopsbitter Jul 23, 2012 04:36 AM

                                                                        No I am sure his was an all-over abundance. :-) That wonderful type of Mediterranean fecundity that makes one think of hair transplant concept as some sort of a joke.

                                                                  2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                    b
                                                                    bishopsbitter Aug 2, 2012 05:31 AM

                                                                    I only caught it at the judgment phase but last night Adam Richman on his "Best Sandwich in America" quest (series) had a contender from Tilia. Their "fish sandwich" (I forget the exact name) of some description. In the end it lost to a chicken sandwich from Detroit (I think it was) in the regional heat. Shame I missed his visit to the restaurant. Did anyone else catch it?

                                                                    Aha!
                                                                    http://www.travelchannel.com/video/the-fish-taco-torta

                                                                    http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows...

                                                                  3. b
                                                                    bishopsbitter Jul 19, 2012 04:59 PM

                                                                    A first visit and overall favorable impression of Legends.
                                                                    First off (FINALLY) an a/c system in a bar that can handle the heat wave!! Blissfully cool in here. I have been put off from my local and many other places lately because they are too hot inside.
                                                                    Secondly this is clearly a place that simply does what it does without fuss. Good drinks (cheap and long 25oz Guinness at $6, perhaps on HH) and good food. I enjoyed the beef skewer appetizer (half price HH) which was a lot of tasty meat for the cost. Definitely Atkins friendly. I got a Gyros plate to go and that is a little less successful owing lack of enough "gyro."

                                                                    But a good bartender, a good atmosphere, an older gentleman in a ridiculously oversize straw hat, and you have yourself a bar. I liked it. Anyone know the lineage or ownership info ? Am always curious if owners "have another place" etc.

                                                                    http://www.legendsbarandgrill.com/

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                      m
                                                                      mull0263 Jul 23, 2012 07:04 AM

                                                                      Don't think the owners of Legends have any other sort of outposts in or around the Cities. If you get a chance, grab a Bloody Mary there some time - fantastic (and huge).

                                                                      1. re: mull0263
                                                                        b
                                                                        bishopsbitter Jul 23, 2012 09:57 AM

                                                                        They look good. But vodka is my Kyptonite (even though gin is my mother's milk).

                                                                    2. b
                                                                      bishopsbitter Jul 12, 2012 04:45 PM

                                                                      A few random things. Jewel of India (7 corners) seems to have gotten a new or better chef. The food I have ordered from there recently has been excellent. They have even taken to heart my plea to deep fry (versus toast) their papadums.

                                                                      Tried Bulldog NE . They had a cask ale on(!) "Dirty Old Engine Oil" being the name of the brew. It really wasn't horrible. Their food menu looked quite good and extremely eclectic. I was quite tempted to try the Venezuelan Dog (key ingredient crushed potato chips!).

                                                                      I tried Whitey's across the street. when I noticed the vast heeled and stockinged wench over the bar a certain deja vu: as it has to be a unique (in the Universe) feature. I must have been there at least once before but cannot recall when. Both the Bulldog & Whitey's had good bartenders: excellent. The Guinness here though was poor with line stink and I could not be bothered to "clean them" for them by supping several. Their menu (Whitey's) also quite interesting with things like smoked salmon you don't expect at what appears by and large a burger style place.

                                                                      Anyway, not much to report: but a report nevertheless.

                                                                      19 Replies
                                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                        l
                                                                        lizpeck Jul 13, 2012 09:56 AM

                                                                        Faugh - nothing worse than tainted beer lines! The Bulldogs usually do a good job of line hygiene, as well as matching beer styles with the proper glassware.

                                                                        Regarding Indian food, around the corner from the Bulldog NE is Gorkha Palace (23 4th St. NE,) a very nice Nepali/Indian/Tibetan restaurant. They have a small lunch buffet and serve dinner until 9pm (closed from 2pm - 5pm.) They often have unusual things like jackfruit and yak meat in some of their curries and the atmosphere is charming.

                                                                        1. re: lizpeck
                                                                          m
                                                                          magz0r Jul 13, 2012 02:20 PM

                                                                          Also, Brasa is about a block down the street from the NE Bulldog. I highly recommend going bishopsbitter if you haven't already been.

                                                                          1. re: magz0r
                                                                            b
                                                                            bishopsbitter Jul 14, 2012 07:31 AM

                                                                            I know their repuration is good. But it does look you are dining in an 20-minute oil-changevenue. That, for whatever reason, puts me off. Also someone said they do not ahve a (physical) bar.

                                                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                              k
                                                                              karykat Jul 14, 2012 10:51 AM

                                                                              I went to the NE Mpls location a few times when it first opened and had that fast-paced feeling.

                                                                              But I have had very leisurely late lunches at the St. Paul Brasa. No rushing and wonderful food. So I think it depends on when and where you go.

                                                                              I know you like bars. But I think you could be comfy in a booth in St. Paul, maybe near the front where the action is. They have some craft brews on tap and the selection changes.

                                                                              1. re: karykat
                                                                                b
                                                                                bishopsbitter Jul 14, 2012 01:19 PM

                                                                                You must have known I am either early or late guy. Thanks, I do love fine roast meats (the area around Haro Rioja Spain for example is heaven for their roasts) and will try to make it happen in the STP loc. I bumped into a girl on the plane coming home last night who was a native of the TC's (primarily White Bear Lake) and she recommended Terra in Stillwater and The Blue Heron in Hugo (I think it was) and that famous Italian place in White Bear Lake beginning with D (I think). So the recommendations keep stacking up: I need to "get busy" as Moe would say. I do appreciate the recommendations!

                                                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
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                                                                                  BigE Jul 16, 2012 07:30 AM

                                                                                  A few notes on the plane mate recommendations:

                                                                                  1) I assume she was talking about Phil's Tara Hideaway in Stillwater. I think you would definitely enjoy the vibe there. http://tarahideaway.com/

                                                                                  2) I've been to The Blue Heron dozens of times, and it's not much more than your run of the mill sports bar, as far as I'm concerned. Certainly not worth the drive from wherever you are staying.

                                                                                  3) I work in White Bear Lake and I'm completely blanking on that famous Italian place...unless she is talking about Donatelli's. The food there is pretty good, not outstanding though. Very family oriented, no bar to speak of. If you want great (arguably best in the state) Italian food in WBL, try Acqua instead. http://www.acquawbl.com/

                                                                                  1. re: BigE
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                                                                                    bishopsbitter Jul 17, 2012 05:10 AM

                                                                                    Yes, Donatelli's.

                                                                          2. re: lizpeck
                                                                            b
                                                                            bishopsbitter Jul 14, 2012 07:29 AM

                                                                            Thanks. I noticed the place driving away from the Bulldog making a 3 left-turns to get back on Hennepin to Roseville. It did look kind of charming. Also the TC's very first Indian opened a block away (Tandoor: now in Bloomington, but still owned by the same couple) around 1982. So "good karma" in that area for curry. I think the Sri Lanka was already there before that but obviously that's Sri Lankan. (There may have been some other hole-in-the-wall place we didn't know about: there was a significant Indian presence in the TC's back then so there must ahve been.) Tandoor seemed (to us) to be the first main street mainstream incarnation we saw however.

                                                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                              l
                                                                              lizpeck Jul 14, 2012 04:08 PM

                                                                              I'm very interested to hear that the Tandoor was a pioneer in bringing culinary diversity to the Lutherans. I have heard great things about the current incarnation, but did not realize its history,
                                                                              Re Brasa, I'm of the not-sure-what-the-raves-are-about camp. I find it kind of meh, compared to some of the amazing grilled meat extravaganzas I have enjoyed in warmer climes. I vastly prefer the chef's other venture, Alma, albeit rather more pricy.

                                                                              1. re: lizpeck
                                                                                k
                                                                                karykat Jul 14, 2012 09:15 PM

                                                                                Brasa involves organic stuff with the vagaries that can involve.

                                                                                I've been there a good number of times and truly enjoyed it. We had them cater a work event that involved about three of their meats and many side dishes and it was all spectacular. (I was a heroine.)

                                                                                One time I went with a work prospect, though, and rather than getting a plate with a variety of things, we got this small plate and that small plate. Which seemed a little disjointed. And which was just fine if that's what you were expecting.

                                                                                So I think it depends on how you order and whether small plates are ok.

                                                                                Some of the side dishes are really different and unique . . . and good.

                                                                                1. re: lizpeck
                                                                                  b
                                                                                  bishopsbitter Jul 15, 2012 08:46 AM

                                                                                  Yes, definitely a pioneer. I can't say exactly where it was located but I believe it was on the street that points towards the bridge to downtown just a block NW from, and parallel to, Hennepin. The crossover where Whitey's and the Bulldog now are is where one would do a U-turn to get to it if you were on Hennepin. It was then on your left in a row of shopfronts. In my mind's eye it was where the Indian place is now but it was in a street setting. Perhaps that street got demolished to build those apartments at some stage. You can talk to the owners in Bloomington about where it actually was (I'd be interested actually). It's funny how I immediately recognized the lady owner (wife) from her body language and personality even though I had last seen her as a youthful woman in 1982! On the food in the new location, not so sure. When it was the only rest. in town . . . and I went there recently and experienced very bad service (and was with a regular customer!). But the "history" perspective is beyond doubt.

                                                                                  p.s. I think in those dim days the owner (male) was the cook. But I may be transposing a memory from a place in Detroit a couple of years later. I don't remember any other staff, oh yes, there was a young woman (non Indian) so that may confirm. The food was good (although diffierent from what one was used to in Indian places in the UK: not so spicy, condiment variations etc. etc. )

                                                                                  1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                    r
                                                                                    Rowdy Jul 15, 2012 01:05 PM

                                                                                    I remember Tandoor well. We used to go there regularly, as I love Indian food and Tandoor was the only game in town. It was in the space next to what was Bobino's for a while (though not Bobino's while Tandoor was there). I don't know what's there now, but that block of buildings still stands.

                                                                                    1. re: Rowdy
                                                                                      b
                                                                                      bishopsbitter Jul 15, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                                                      So is that the block farther away from d/t from the crossover I alluded to? I was rethinking that and thought maybe we used to go NE on Hennepin then do the crossover to 1st Ave at Central, so maybe it is a bit farther NE on 1st Ave. Is it on 1st Avenue in your recollection or am I getting it mixed up?

                                                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                        r
                                                                                        Rowdy Jul 15, 2012 03:40 PM

                                                                                        I could drive there, but can't be sure of the streets without going physically. My recollection is that it was on Hennepin (and it seems that was your recollection too a year ago: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/795326 LOL ;)). There's a dead link for Tandoor India House--a placeholder--that shows up if you google Tandoor and shows a location right next to where Bobino's used to be. So I'm pretty sure that's it.

                                                                                        1. re: Rowdy
                                                                                          b
                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jul 15, 2012 05:44 PM

                                                                                          OK. I'd sort of recognize it if I could triangulate in on it. I thought Hennepin too, until I remembered we always had to do a sort of U-turn. I don't recall if Hennepin was one-way in those days. If it wasn't then perhaps that is another scenario. If you ever get a chance I'd be indebted to know what the address was. Hennepin or 1st Ave or . . .

                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                            r
                                                                                            Rowdy Jul 22, 2012 07:33 PM

                                                                                            I finally had a chance today to drive by the old Tandoor neighborhood. I'm certain the restaurant was located at 210 Hennepin, where Punch Pizza is now. I remember that it was almost directly across from Kramarczuk's, but a couple of doors further down. Rachel's is in the next group of buildings, and not next door to where Tandoor was.

                                                                                  2. re: lizpeck
                                                                                    b
                                                                                    bishopsbitter Jul 15, 2012 01:31 PM

                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/795326
                                                                                    A separate thread: which may be of interest on Tandoor: incidentally the glowing rec for Gandhi Mahal is withdrawn. They either lost their cook, or their desire to serve vibrant food. No longer a recommendation from me.

                                                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter
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                                                                                      lizpeck Jul 16, 2012 03:16 PM

                                                                                      I'm sorry to hear that. I have yet to try the place, and had been eager to after hearing raves. Now, I guess I'll cross it off the list. I'd be curious to hear your take on Gorkha Palace, if you get the inclination to give it a try.

                                                                              2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                b
                                                                                bishopsbitter Jul 18, 2012 08:01 AM

                                                                                Jewel Of India must have gotten a PART TIME chef. The stuff I got from there last evening was revolting. Disgusting. Virtually inedible.

                                                                                Good restaurants can be summed up in three simple words: consistency, consistency, consistency. So bloody difficult to find these days. One feels on a roller coaster at places and embarrassed to have recommended places which can impress one night and then possibly be a disaster for someone following your recommendation.

                                                                                Argh.

                                                                              3. mtullius Jul 7, 2012 06:04 PM

                                                                                BB-- have you been to Great Waters lately? They have a fairly new brewer, and we gave them a try a few days back. I've never been a huge fan of any of their beer, but they do have the most extensive cask program in the TCs, and this last time I thought the beer was better than I remembered in past visits. The food is nothing to write home about, unfortunately..... But the House Ale and the Mild on cask were both pleasant, and English-feeling....

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: mtullius
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                                                                                  bishopsbitter Jul 9, 2012 05:02 PM

                                                                                  No they really alienated me when I went in there as sole customer and struggled to get served not once but multiple times. One customer: and all the staff were watching TV and ignoring him. So while I don't hold terminal grudges, that one is still in effect for a good while yet (that was three years ago!). even if the cask program is always a siren song of doom.

                                                                                2. s
                                                                                  sandylc Jul 5, 2012 02:33 PM

                                                                                  Or, of course, the Anchor Fish & Chips.

                                                                                  http://www.theanchorfishandchips.com/

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
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                                                                                    bishopsbitter Jul 5, 2012 04:11 PM

                                                                                    This looks great (and smells great even inside a car driving past for a 2 block radius) but appears perpetually mobbed.

                                                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                      s
                                                                                      sandylc Jul 5, 2012 04:19 PM

                                                                                      Yes.....when we want to get in without a wait we go pretty early....but we have enjoyed drinking beer and talking to people while waiting on other occasions.

                                                                                  2. s
                                                                                    sandylc Jul 5, 2012 02:31 PM

                                                                                    I would recommend Republic for good beer and casual fare.

                                                                                    http://republicmn.com/index.html

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
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                                                                                      bishopsbitter Jul 5, 2012 04:14 PM

                                                                                      SO is the Republic a new venture? I stayed at the Holiday Inn a lot in the past 3 years (until about 9 months ago) and never heard of it. Has it replaced one of the other 7 Corners places (none of which--Town Hall included --- hit the spot for me.)

                                                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                        s
                                                                                        sandylc Jul 5, 2012 04:18 PM

                                                                                        I think it replaced Sgt. Preston's - ?

                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
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                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jul 5, 2012 06:36 PM

                                                                                          Well no loss there. May be worth a visit. Thanks!

                                                                                        2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                          l
                                                                                          lizpeck Jul 6, 2012 10:00 AM

                                                                                          Relatively new, and replaced Sgt Prestons. If you are at the Holiday Inn I would (again) recommend strolling a few blocks down Cedar to the Acadia Cafe (and Keefer Court.)
                                                                                          329 Cedar Avenue
                                                                                          Minneapolis, MN 55454

                                                                                          1. re: lizpeck
                                                                                            b
                                                                                            bishopsbitter Jul 6, 2012 04:35 PM

                                                                                            I recall the original recommendation but have had to relocate from the HI when their rates got a bit too high.

                                                                                      2. l
                                                                                        lizpeck Jul 5, 2012 02:13 PM

                                                                                        Bishops - if you are looking for places that take a serious approach to beer then there are many other great choices in town. My favorite is the Blue Nile Restaurant and Lounge, both for the incongruity of finding serious artisinal brews in a somewhat shabby Ethiopian restaurant, and for the wonderful atmosphere - great beer and music (mix of serious jazz and "world" music curated by the Twin City's best beer bartender, Al,) diverse crowd, very good Ethiopian food and two happy hours. Another good choice is the Acadia Cafe, who's moto is NO CRAP ON TAP. They also have a nice casual atmosphere and good music. The food is bar fare, but the quality is very good. Plus there is a nice little Chinese bakery and restaurant, Keefer Court, across the street. Republic has a great beer selection, but the atmosphere is a bit too yuppy for me. The two locations of Grumpy's Bar often have casks or other interesting offerings. Check out the MNBeer website for special beer events.

                                                                                        29 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: lizpeck
                                                                                          b
                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jul 5, 2012 04:12 PM

                                                                                          Is the Blue Nile the place on Grand? It was there when I was first in the TC's (30 years ago) if so.

                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                            The Dairy Queen Jul 5, 2012 05:42 PM

                                                                                            No, it's on Franklin in Minneapolis.

                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                              l
                                                                                              lizpeck Jul 6, 2012 09:58 AM

                                                                                              from their site:
                                                                                              The Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant opened in 1989 near the corner of Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, and was the first Ethiopian restaurant in the Twin Cities. Today, we are the longest running African restaurant in Minnesota and the only one to represent the Oromo people...

                                                                                              We moved to our current location in the Seward neighborhood in 1996 to become the Blue Nile Restaurant & Lounge...

                                                                                              2027 Franklin Ave. E.
                                                                                              Minneapolis, MN 55404

                                                                                              1. re: lizpeck
                                                                                                b
                                                                                                bishopsbitter Jul 6, 2012 04:33 PM

                                                                                                I wonder what the one (Ethiopian) is I am thinking of on Grand Ave St.P (or close by) circa 1982-3. I can visualize it yet. It was quite in vogue at that time.

                                                                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                  lizpeck Jul 7, 2012 09:49 AM

                                                                                                  That was before my time in the TC's. Perhaps another Hound remembers?

                                                                                            2. re: lizpeck
                                                                                              l
                                                                                              lizpeck Jul 7, 2012 09:55 AM

                                                                                              Another fine choice for great food and a great beer selection is Tilia, a charming "chef-driven" bistro in the LInden Hills neighborhood of S. Mpls. It tends to be crowded all the time, but a single diner can often find a place at the bar after a fairly short wait. One of the best restaurants in the TC's IMHO.

                                                                                              1. re: lizpeck
                                                                                                b
                                                                                                bishopsbitter Jul 7, 2012 05:45 PM

                                                                                                Looking at their web site: yes, looks most promising. Much more focused beer selection. And since I never met an escargot with garlic butter I didn't like, their cover photo got my positive attention.

                                                                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                  lizpeck Jul 8, 2012 11:41 AM

                                                                                                  Yes, their food is great. We have enjoyed every meal we have had their, and they are not shy with the butter!

                                                                                              2. re: lizpeck
                                                                                                b
                                                                                                bishopsbitter Jul 7, 2012 12:23 PM

                                                                                                I tried Republic, but probably not a good take on it as it was very empty. All draft (which was a bit disappointing as I think a good bottle can often outperform) and a bamboozling selection of taps none of which I particularly took a shine to. I asked about German dark lagers but they were not able to accommodate. An oatmeal stout from Iowa was ~OK~ but not something I could settle down to drinking a session of. They have a beer engine and "swear" on Wednesday they sell something worth drinking from it that's not a make-believe cask-conditioned. I have a personal rule now that I will fire a a nail gun into my own head before I believe a cask ale will be worth drinking (it's a cheaper and less painful option than attempting to drink the stuff purveyed generally) so I'm not sure I'll be giving it a try any Wed soon. I had a pleasant chat with the bartender (girl) but the moose and stained glass saying "Sgt Preston" etc. make me think this is a rather cheap makeover of the previous premises. also with so many drafts it's hard to have confidence in the throughput factor of all, especially those less pronounceable or without popular traits. I do prefer a small focused selection of drafts and a broader swath in bottles personally.

                                                                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                  sandylc Jul 7, 2012 12:41 PM

                                                                                                  I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it! I thought perhaps you were looking for something casual with a wide beer selection...and thought it might fit the bill....

                                                                                                  Ah, well, c'est la vie!

                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                    bishopsbitter Jul 7, 2012 04:12 PM

                                                                                                    Well, any place that's empty is hard to gauge properly. I'd give them a couple of hints though: a) make it look a bit more different from Sgt Preston's Lonely Moose Clubbe Band 2) get some bottles and 3) invest in some nice glasses. one of the things which has most stuck in my mind about Buster's on 28th is that they mate beer with glass, a very nice touch; to wit: if the beers are worth drinking at Republic . . . they'd be even more worth drinking out of something other than those generic "jam jar" [my dad would have called them] 16oz glasses. Perhaps they are a bit cash poor although the bartender girl said business was good and they had "upmarketed" the 7 Corners by offering a non-student (read $6.50 a go) experience. But the "jam jars" are better to purvey the $1 Bud's than anything exotic or special, particularly Weiss or cask. It's not that I didn't enjoy it, just that it didn't feel like much of a different establishment from what was there previously to me. Thanks for all suggestions gratefully received, always! bb

                                                                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                      k
                                                                                                      karykat Jul 7, 2012 07:18 PM

                                                                                                      Your words are making me realize I have to get to Busters to try their beers.

                                                                                                      On my to do list now.

                                                                                                2. re: lizpeck
                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                  bishopsbitter Jul 8, 2012 01:58 PM

                                                                                                  Tried Acadia today. I am afraid it wasn't my cuppa tea primarily because of the uncongenial nature of the bar (it hosts the vast tap rail and the rest of it is cash registers and wait stations: there's no place you can sit with a good unencumbered view and drink). Secondarily because of the self-absorbed staff. Thirdly because half the things on their menu were "off." I was one of two customers who wanted Chilli. "We don't have it: it's been too hot." Excuse me? Last time I checked Texas was pretty hot climate and chilli is a perfect hydrating and cooling potion to it. The experience was sub par. even down to my noticing "This way to validated parking" sign and followed it only to find they only validate "uncovered" parking. How is one to know this??
                                                                                                  I think here is a case where a good motto doth not a good PLACE make. I had a Murphy's (fine, if unexceptional) and a dark Jamaica stout (!) which I had to try because so unusual but which turned out thin and alcoholic and with a strange mouth feel and aftertaste. I think it would be good for cooking. Appreciate the tip but this place (compared to Republic) made me think I was back in student land for one thing, particularly for the lackluster (daytime) service atmosphere. The absolute destructive thing was the layout of the bar itself. No drinker-at-the-bar worth his-her salt would approve of it in any way.

                                                                                                  1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                    soupkitten Jul 8, 2012 03:16 PM

                                                                                                    forgive me if you've already visited mac's industrial across the river in near NE (don't remember if you did on your previous visit/s)-- but if you haven't, it seems like a place that might be up your alley. the unprepossessing facade and "big game hunter" video game just inside the entrance belies a hospitality-worker owned establishment with an unexpectedly serious beer program; erm.. well-seasoned bar staff; and a menu of unpretentious, better-than average american bar foods. easy to strike up a conversation w a bartender or a regular at the L-shaped island bar, or watch traffic on 3rd ave/university, as it suits you. if you hate the place, you can always salvage your evening at mayslacks or another nearby NE tavern... best of luck.

                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                      bishopsbitter Jul 8, 2012 04:49 PM

                                                                                                      You may have recommended it in the earlier thread I am thinking that someone did. "Unexpectedly serious" are two words that go together well. I notice they have homemade chili (or chilli in the OED spelling :-) and I think the extra 'l' makes a bowl more unctuous, if that's the word I want) which I bet is not discontinued in hot weather :-) What I read into the Acadia's comment was "It's hard work cutting up all those onions and stuff" so any excuse to scive off . . . we will take it. I can't visualize Mac's even though I've cruised up and down Central Ave much (it's a curious thoroughfare in that regard: I never spotted the Ideal diner either.)

                                                                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                        l
                                                                                                        lizpeck Jul 9, 2012 12:37 PM

                                                                                                        Mac's is another good recommendation. It is a bit hard to spot, since it is on the bottom floor of large Bank/Union Centre building.

                                                                                                    2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                      l
                                                                                                      lizpeck Jul 9, 2012 12:34 PM

                                                                                                      Ah, I believe I may have led you a bit astray with this recommendation. As an aficionado of Belgian Trappist Ales/west coast mid-west IPAs, I find that the excellent selection of taps and the exceptional hygiene on their tap lines allow me to overlook the Acadia's lack of ambiance and somewhat hipster-than-thou service. Also, when live music is on, one faces the stage from one's barseat, and thus is not bothered by the rear view. Too, I prefer the somewhat arty, bohemian collegiate vibe of the Acadia over the somewhat frat-boy collegiate vibe of the Republic.
                                                                                                      Have you tried the Bulldogs (NE, Uptown, Lowertown?) They have more of that congenial Pub atmosphere, and always a great beer selection, although perhaps a bit too heavy on the Belgians for your taste?
                                                                                                      Also, the new restaurant Butcher and the Boar has a good beer selection, exceptional food and a lovely outdoor seating area.
                                                                                                      Sorry about the bum rec.!

                                                                                                      1. re: lizpeck
                                                                                                        b
                                                                                                        bishopsbitter Jul 9, 2012 05:00 PM

                                                                                                        Not at all: I always appreciate a recommendation. I have thought of trying Bulldog's and also Rachel's wine Bar. Tonight I stepped into Mac;s Industrial. As a dark beer drinker unfortunately they had only one "Left Handed Milk Stout" available. It wasn't horrible but more of a sipping beer than a quaffing one. (7%). I ordered some food to go and will report once I've eaten it :-)
                                                                                                        Mac's I think it could be OK but as I said for dark beer drinkers they lack even Guinness which they deliberately took off so slim pickin's. Their food menu looks eclectic and I will report if their food I like or no, as much as "to go" versions can indicate.
                                                                                                        I don't know if any of you have been to the Village Pub at Industrial Blvd and St. Anthony Parkway. I actually quite like it. It again is "unexpectedly" good for a strip mall boozer. The quest continues . . . . .maybe Bulldog next.

                                                                                                        1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jul 9, 2012 05:38 PM

                                                                                                          Mac's food was very good. A top-notch Reuben and some tasty onion strings, and a good cucumber salad. No complaints, and not going to break the bank. Shame about the lack of dark beers. so it goes . . . .

                                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                            lizpeck Jul 10, 2012 10:03 AM

                                                                                                            I see the Bulldogs are pouring Young's Double Chocolate Stout and Guiness ...

                                                                                                            1. re: lizpeck
                                                                                                              k
                                                                                                              karykat Jul 10, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                                                              Love the Young's. Not sweet. Mostly relies on chocolate hops, I think. To get it on tap is a treat.

                                                                                                              (Is Bulldog's in St. Paul loud and crazy? Or can you go in for a nice stout and have a good conversation?)

                                                                                                              1. re: karykat
                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                mull0263 Jul 10, 2012 11:44 AM

                                                                                                                Depends when you go and can be a bit of a roll of the dice - more often than not it's going to be pretty busy for happy hour and evenings, and the music and banter is usually fairly loud by then. That said, you can still generally carry a conversation without yelling, but certainly not a quiet atmosphere.

                                                                                                                1. re: mull0263
                                                                                                                  k
                                                                                                                  karykat Jul 10, 2012 10:46 PM

                                                                                                                  I've been to the Mpls one and found it fine. But for some reason have this image of the St. Paul Bulldog's as really loud. Maybe press coverage from a while ago about bar/downtown residents conflict? So I guess I've stayed away from the St. Paul one. Even tho closer as a St. Paulite.

                                                                                                                  Maybe I need to give it a chance. Or is there a diff between the Mpls and St. Paul ones?

                                                                                                                  1. re: karykat
                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                    mull0263 Jul 11, 2012 07:29 AM

                                                                                                                    I've usually only been to the Uptown and Nordeast locations later in the night and would say they're about on par with the Lowertown location as far as noise, though the Nordeast one usually gets the busiest of all of them on the weekends.

                                                                                                                    That said, during the daytime and to a lesser extent early evenings it's generally not too bad at the Lowertown location. I have stopped in many a weekend during the day for a pint and nibble and it's been pretty tranquil.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mull0263
                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                      St3ve Jul 11, 2012 11:48 AM

                                                                                                                      I agree. The St Paul Lowertown Bulldog is waaay too loud. I can hardly hear people talk at the same table at times.
                                                                                                                      However, I do recommend the Northeast Bulldog and their Togarashi or Chimary Burger!

                                                                                                                      The Republic near 7 corners is great also. Excellent beer selection. Daily happy hour 4-6. I loved their brie wine reduction burger last time. The Republic's fish tacos were good too.

                                                                                                                      1. re: St3ve
                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                        mull0263 Jul 11, 2012 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                        The food at the Nordeast Bulldog is much better than the other two locations (it also has a separate owner).

                                                                                                                    2. re: karykat
                                                                                                                      The Dairy Queen Jul 13, 2012 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                      I can confirm: the St. Paul location is really loud, but I've always gone in the evening. I don't remember the Minneapolis (Nordeast) location being as loud, but I've always gone there in the middle of the day.

                                                                                                                      Until I read mull's comment above, I did not know Nordeast had a different owner!

                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                              2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                l
                                                                                                                lizpeck Jul 11, 2012 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                Another place that comes to mind is Stub and Herb's (227 Oak St SE, Mpls.) There again you might find it to have too much of a collegiate vibe, but according to the draft list on their site they are pouring a Bitter by our acclaimed local brewery Surly, as well as Summit's Oatmeal Stout and a Flat Earth Porter.

                                                                                                                1. re: lizpeck
                                                                                                                  k
                                                                                                                  karykat Jul 13, 2012 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                  All good to know. I didn't know there were separate owners either.

                                                                                                                  It sounds like feedback on the Lowertown one is mixed. Maybe earlier in the evening. (A SO with hearing problems so we try to avoid loud places so he can hear my scintillating conversation.)

                                                                                                        2. b
                                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jul 3, 2012 04:59 PM

                                                                                                          Any suggestions for the Fourth lunch? (Not brunch.) As per a thread here I dislike eating out on Holidays as all the staff are mostly in a bummed mood, especially if business is slow. Maybe I'll try Colette (Chez Colette that was) at the Sofitel if no other better suggestions. Or the 112 Eatery (if open).

                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                            The Dairy Queen Jul 3, 2012 08:05 PM

                                                                                                            112 Eatery is never open for lunch, sorry to say. How about giving Meritage another shot?

                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                              l
                                                                                                              LauraB Jul 3, 2012 08:40 PM

                                                                                                              Meritage is closed until Friday July 6th at 5pm for a holiday break. :-(

                                                                                                              1. re: LauraB
                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                bishopsbitter Jul 4, 2012 03:35 AM

                                                                                                                Yeah, it's maybe better to buy a pack of hot dogs and a bag of charcoal today . . . .:-)

                                                                                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                  The Dairy Queen Jul 4, 2012 06:24 AM

                                                                                                                  Bummer about Meritage, but thanks for the info!

                                                                                                                  Sea Salt's usually open, if you can deal with the heat...

                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                            2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                              bishopsbitter Jul 4, 2012 02:33 PM

                                                                                                              A series of places were closed. I ended up at Runyon's (even if the only person there for a while!) since its sign made it clear it WAS open prior to schlepping from car to its doorway. I guess a sort of Sardi's transplanted to Washington Ave. The little sayings on the wall may get wittier with more booze, let's hope so. Now I tried their two signature things, chilli and wings. I have to say their chilli was NOT the most horrible chilli I have ever had. While I like (nay LOVE!) spicy food my only complaint was actually their use of habanero: a pepper I find too intrusive in taste (not heat). Without it this would have been an excellent bowl of "red" albeit with far too many (kidney ~AND~ white) beans. I ordered "lots" of onions, and GOT LOTS of onions. A first. Thank you God! Onions in chilli make the thing. The wings (half order of 6) were very good. The blue cheese dipping sauce was just right and not in the least ersatz in taste. I enjoyed these two (modest though they be) dishes quite a lot. I also noticed the Runyons' kitchen is pristine & immaculate, which is always nice to see. The stouts and porters sampled not quite so good, but the personable young Chinese-American bartender vouchsafed Mandarin Kitchen as a good dim sum and roast duck Chinese spot. I may well try it this weekend.
                                                                                                              Overall not a terrible experience, especially once a few others showed up and the place was not empty barring myself. There should be a plaque "Almost any saying, no matter how profound, when put in a neat frame over a bar with 10001 others, automatically becomes tedious [including this one]. ---Me"
                                                                                                              bb

                                                                                                              1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                kevin47 Jul 7, 2012 05:20 PM

                                                                                                                Runyons has the only buffalo wings in this city worth eating, IMO, and the chili is better than you would expect.

                                                                                                                1. re: kevin47
                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                  bishopsbitter Jul 7, 2012 05:34 PM

                                                                                                                  Exactly so. wings are not my thing, but I quite enjoyed them.

                                                                                                                  And, while not exactly a chilli LBJ would espouse, on its own terms, a nice bowl. especially with myriad onions. also it was served pleasantly "hot" (temperature wise) which often with chilli is not the case and lukewarm chilli is one of the few foods where I much prefer a "piping hot" incarnation. I'm not generally a "warmed plates" "must be piping hot" guy: but a bowl of chilli (and menudo) are excepted.

                                                                                                            3. b
                                                                                                              bishopsbitter Jun 30, 2012 07:49 AM

                                                                                                              Lunch yesterday at Vincent, A Restaurant. Had it at the bar. The place was quite quiet (not sure why: the horrendous Brit's next door continues to entice punters implausibly) but a pleasant young bartender with whom fell into easy conversation about food, France, and world foody-isms.

                                                                                                              Had a duck pate followed by moules frites. The pate was undersalted for my taste, I would hate to think as a pandering motion to the Sodium Police. Cold forcemeat needs salt, in the old days for preservation, but also . . . well everyone and his wife knows cold food needs more seasoning. So that wasn't so hot. However the hot mustard with it was a nice combination. I was unmoved by the tamarind (or some other fruit-dark-molasses-color accompaniment that resembled a fruity turd (sorry but that was the impression: not a great plate concept).
                                                                                                              The moules I first reacted to badly with a hint of cheese in the sauce (I didn't ask if it was so, or just my fevered imagination, but I think so) but the mussels were so small and sweet that I was able to get beyond it. And the sauce (cheese, question-mark, and all) eventually got slurped and mopped up.

                                                                                                              Cahors house wine accompanied. Mr Vincent is from Cahors and it always seems a good bet. Upon asking, a new bottle was opened versus the heinous "Last dregs" + "new pour" m.o. which should have a penalty of the order of hung drawn and quartered but is so pandemic as to make you wonder that "if no-one else cares" . . . why should I? But I do.

                                                                                                              Cheese selection was a bit limited and the Morbier served was over-chilled and not "open". I was hoping for a stiff "digestif" but they did not seem to do those. I was grateful to both bartenders for a number of "this is where the waiters go" recommendations. Some place "1 2 3" and Grand Cafe a couple that stick in the mind.

                                                                                                              The tab (with generous tip for "insider information" on TC restaurants) was about $100. Not a cheap lunch. It "mounts up" even though the menu prices are quite benign.

                                                                                                              Overall, a good experience. A few more moules would not have hurt, and a better French cheese selection, ditto.

                                                                                                              Bread was good with nice crust bite. Not apparently made in-house but par cooked and finished in house. It was served correctly: cold. Thanks for reading.

                                                                                                              bb

                                                                                                              http://www.vincentarestaurant.com/

                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                sandylc Jun 30, 2012 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                Might the "1 2 3" have been 112 Eatery?

                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                  bishopsbitter Jun 30, 2012 01:11 PM

                                                                                                                  I thought it 1.2.3 but looking at their (112) menu it looks like a "where the waiters go" type of offering. Ditto Grand Cafe. I must be getting senile. Both were mentioned in the context of good service (in addition to good food) which make me want to give them a go. Maybe some distant memory of a Cafe 1,2,3 (Un Deux Trois?) in Minneapolis resurfaced? No, I think senility.

                                                                                                                  1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Jun 30, 2012 02:53 PM

                                                                                                                    112 Eatery has long had the reputation as a place where industry insiders like to dine. See the last sentence of the first paragraph here, for instance: http://www.112eatery.com/chef.htm

                                                                                                                    There's also Cafe 28, the 5-8 Club, 3 Squares, and 128 Cafe, but I'm guessing it wasn't any of those...

                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                      bishopsbitter Jul 1, 2012 06:17 AM

                                                                                                                      And the very last sentence is also telling, for The Odeon made a pivotal impression on me also, as a diner.The link below suggests my senility is not as severe as thought. I was certain I had heard of a Cafe 1,l2,3. It must have somehow been an ancient memory crossed with the recent rec .

                                                                                                                      http://www.gayot.com/restaurants/cafe...

                                                                                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                        The Dairy Queen Jul 1, 2012 07:45 AM

                                                                                                                        Strange that they'd refer you to a place that is closed. (More on the closing: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/...) Maybe it just came up in conversation about the Chef's history?

                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jul 1, 2012 08:00 AM

                                                                                                                          No I'm just saying they said 1 1 2 and my own dim memory of the Late 1 2 3 must ahve transposed onto it.

                                                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                            MSPD Jul 1, 2012 09:31 PM

                                                                                                                            Cafe Un Deux Trois closed a few years ago (Minneapolis in the Foshay Tower). It was the kitchen where Andrew Zimmern became widely known.

                                                                                                                            1. re: MSPD
                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                              bishopsbitter Jul 2, 2012 03:46 PM

                                                                                                                              I didn't know that. Thanks. A long-ago tome by Jeremy Iggers (I think it was) called Twin cities Restaurants (or Restaurant Guide) is where I think I heard about it. that was the tome that alerted me to Sherlock's Home, for which I am eternally in Mr Iggers' debt. Is he still writing about food and restaurants in the area or elsewhere?

                                                                                                                              1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                steve_in_stpaul Jul 2, 2012 07:41 PM

                                                                                                                                Iggers still writes at The Daily Planet (no, really!):

                                                                                                                                http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/blog/jer...

                                                                                                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                  MSPD Jul 3, 2012 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                  Yeah. One of the unintended positives of social media destroying the "traditional media" enterprise is that no matter how many times these food critics/writers get fired or move, you can almost always find them doing the exact same thing somewhere else...just look them up on Twitter. @JeremyIggers in this case.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MSPD
                                                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Jul 3, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                                                                                                    It's just a dizzying game of musical chairs among the local food critics these days. I just keep checking in on all the chairs occasionally to see who is sitting there. Of course, I get a little caught off guard when someone slides a new chair into the game, as happened when Iggers went to the Daily Planet. I miss reading him in the Strib, though.

                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                  2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                    Brad Ballinger Jun 30, 2012 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                    Love smaller mussels!

                                                                                                                  3. b
                                                                                                                    bishopsbitter Jun 22, 2012 05:20 PM

                                                                                                                    Absolute rave for Mayslack's signature beef sandwich today. That said it did have an effect on me similar to being put under deep sedation, but darned tasty!

                                                                                                                    A huge amount of beef, and that beef is perfect for the British taste. It is very similar to pub lunch roast beef of the non-carved variety. It's a taste I grew up with (in england in my day "roast" beef was essentially "boiled" beef . . . British mothers used to value "lots of gravy" uber alles).

                                                                                                                    The topping of raws onion (lots of) and pepper spirals was perfect, as was the au jus (not the ersatz out of a can stuff I was dreading) and horseradish. a very adult sarnie. Lovely! This was a New York sandwich, inexplicably lost in the Midwest !! That, I consider, the ultimate accolade.

                                                                                                                    Throw in magnificent $2,50 Happy hour 20oz!!!!!!!!! pints of Guinness and "Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a WINNER."

                                                                                                                    The bar across the street had Guinness (160z) for twice the price and a most UNcongenial atmosphere. Their name was a pun as in Dew Drop Inn except not that. Not a place I will return to that. Mayslack's however, impressed. I wish i had seen it in the day of the original many- consonanted Polish owner.

                                                                                                                    1. b
                                                                                                                      bishopsbitter Jun 19, 2012 05:54 AM

                                                                                                                      Cooper Irish pub in St Louis Park did not impress. "Too bright" in the daytime, for a boozer. Also uncomfortable bar chairs. Guinness was cheap on Happy Hour however. The Reuben Rolls (egg rolls, Rueben style) were (predictably) HORRIBLE.

                                                                                                                      But then I vamoosed to Jimmy's in NE Minneapolis. Who would have thunk they'd have a really good $3 "Las Vegas" shrimp cocktail hiding away in this little bar. And their ham and cheese roll was (humble though it be) better than average too. Really nice little drinking spot.

                                                                                                                      Jimmy's Bar & Lounge
                                                                                                                      (612) 788-1383
                                                                                                                      Northeast Minneapolis
                                                                                                                      1828 4th St. NE Map.99d2929
                                                                                                                      Minneapolis, MN 55418

                                                                                                                      1. b
                                                                                                                        bishopsbitter Jun 10, 2012 06:03 PM

                                                                                                                        Against all rec's tried Salut Bar Americain. Pretty unrewarding. Oysters, nice, but expensive. Hanger steak cut up into child-like slices again. For a very rare steak this is a horrible idea. I am so unable to process this as a likely concept to inflict on a steak I am purchasing without my approval thatI can never remember to even be on the lookout for it! The waitress-bartender Jamie seemed like a nice girl, as did her colleague who followed on, Mike. As I said to Jamie I was more annoyed at myself, having been burnt on kiddified hanger at Meritage as well than anything else. As people here said: this is a "make believe" French style place. It was also quite pricey. again, a salient point that seems lost in the translation (ditto Meritage) is that brasseries are not meant to be price-gougey places. That's for the Michelin rosette places. Jamie is an exceptional bartender as she remembered me from a visit on a cold Sunday night in 2010. A visit, I myself had TOTALLY FORGOTTEN. She should get paid extra for that sort of customer recognition skills. All in all, a pretty blah experience, but I knew that going in was the likely outcome. bb

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jun 10, 2012 06:11 PM

                                                                                                                          . . . for some reason on that first visit I was offput from putting on the dog there. It may have been overuse of Piaf, much as I love Edith in general.

                                                                                                                        2. b
                                                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jun 10, 2012 02:24 AM

                                                                                                                          Breakfast yesterday, I first tried Al's in Dinkytown early, hoping for a "no waiting" spot, but no luck. Although I'd like to try their food, I neither like loitering near others trying to eat, nor having others loiter near me when I am trying to eat, so it just may not be in the cards to happen. I then tried the C C Club on Lyndale but I was too early for them. So, third choice I fell back on Mickey's in St Paul - Open 24/7/365.

                                                                                                                          I had largely given up on Mickey's having been accosted there one time too many by an eccentric, presumably street, lady who liked to claim to be Darla from "The Little Rascals" --- calendar / age mismatch vagaries notwithstanding. It wasn't so much her I objected to, as Mickey's allowing her carte blanche to hassle their customers trying to eat breakfast.

                                                                                                                          Anyway, this time the experience was blessedly Darla free, and I quite enjoyed sitting at the counter (far left end of) and watching the ballet and choreography that is Mickey's at its best. Schtick and out-of-town banter (an Iowan lets rip on "you Gophers" . . .) and what I particularly noticed was the de facto boss (lady) keeping an eye on the short-order cook's egg cooking.

                                                                                                                          In these Chowhound annals I have gone on about how these days "over easy" "over medium" are not being rigorously followed to order. Here I (this was uplifting) heard the boss-lady saying "no, that's not over easy: start another). So clearly she has customers who don't want their eggs approximated in any way. That was a good sign.

                                                                                                                          I had two pork chops with hash browns, eggs over easy, and biscuits and gravy. No toast. when the b&g arrived the biscuit was swimming within the gravy!!! So I ordered toast as a followup to dip in the eggs. The boss-lady instantly picked up on this and the cook had to explain "he didn't know they'd be swimmin' in the gravy."

                                                                                                                          The only minus was that I was caught in the crosshairs of the early rising sun in the far left seat, which broiled me, more than slightly as Mickey's is essentially a parked greenhouse with all that glass. The pork chops were very flavorful, and the eggs were "almost" done to a T. Real close. The eggs are cooked in small pans and he'd flipped and the yolk had slightly broken.

                                                                                                                          So long as the "now grown" 95 year-old except actually 55 year-old Darla stays away, I will return to Mickey's. It was an almost New York experience in terms of linear food dispensation and again the essential "mania" came from the lady in charge with glasses driving the cook crazy by micromanaging his eggs.

                                                                                                                          Thanks for reading.
                                                                                                                          bb

                                                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                            mtullius Jun 10, 2012 03:59 PM

                                                                                                                            Glad you liked Mickey's. It's a great place, and its food is in my opinion underrated by Chowhounds (not that it's gourmet, but it's also not dreck-- solid, largely house-made, greasy-spoon diner food).

                                                                                                                            I'm wondering if the "lady in charge" was actually the estimable Mary, the waitress who has ruled that place since I've been going.... She's tough on the outside, but a complete sweetheart if you break through the rough exterior.... I would expect her to be hard on the cooks, as well as the customers, up to and including the President of the U.S. if he happened in....

                                                                                                                            1. re: mtullius
                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                              bishopsbitter Jun 10, 2012 04:12 PM

                                                                                                                              "up to and including the President of the U.S. if he happened in...."

                                                                                                                              Yep, that would be the lady alright! Makes "Iron Fist" third world dictators look like milquetoasts. But as you said, likely with a heart of gold, especially if she cares whether her customers get their eggs "just so." (Plus, of course, that's good business."
                                                                                                                              "

                                                                                                                            2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                              MSPD Jun 11, 2012 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                              Yes, if you don't like people in your physical space while you eat, Al's is not for you at all. It's VERY rare that you can eat there without someone brushing into your back at some point.

                                                                                                                              I don't think I've been at Mickey's during the day. Late at night, you can deal with this guy:

                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              1. re: MSPD
                                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                                bishopsbitter Jun 11, 2012 05:45 PM

                                                                                                                                Shades of Hannibal Lector

                                                                                                                              2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                sandylc Jun 19, 2012 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                                "when the b&g arrived the biscuit was swimming within the gravy!!"

                                                                                                                                bb, what do you mean by this comment? Was a whole biscuit floating in a vat of gravy, as if it fell in? Typically, it's served with the biscuit split open and the gravy spooned over it generously. I'm curious as to your meaning.....

                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                  bishopsbitter Jun 19, 2012 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                  Sandy, in other words, at first glance it looked like a bowl of gravy. Only by prodding within was it clear there was a submerged object/biscuit. So clearly one cannot then pick it (the biscuit) up which is what you usually can bank on. hence need for urgent toast order.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                    sandylc Jun 19, 2012 02:24 PM

                                                                                                                                    My mom's family is from the south, and none of them would ever imagine wanting to pick up their biscuit out of their gravy! If you can pick up your biscuit with your fingers, you don't have nearly enough gravy on it! :-)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                                      bishopsbitter Jun 19, 2012 04:31 PM

                                                                                                                                      I think in England we call that a rusk. But it's an interesting point you observe, but having said that in much travels in the South I never recall seeing people eating biscuits in gravy with a knife & fork or spoon (is there another way?) Howver in an upcoming trip to Montgomery I will pay more attention to Southern Biscuit Lore.

                                                                                                                                      And incidentally i am sure you know of what you speak. I was recently talking to someone about Anchor Irish Breakfast and he said the only thing he didn't like was that the fried tomato had not had its green stem/core removed, and it was hard and undercooked. I said that was 100% authentic. No British or Irish chef can be arsed to cut it out either :-)

                                                                                                                                      bb

                                                                                                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                                        sandylc Jun 19, 2012 05:04 PM

                                                                                                                                        "eating biscuits in gravy with a knife & fork or spoon "

                                                                                                                                        That's exactly how it's done!! Delicious, too, if a bit filling....

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jun 20, 2012 05:16 AM

                                                                                                                                          To quote JC "I did not not know that." But filed away!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                                                            sandylc Jun 20, 2012 09:22 AM

                                                                                                                                            So tell me all about your rusks and we'll be even!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                                              bishopsbitter Jun 20, 2012 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                                              Well, kind of like what Abe Simpson would eat (sans teeth). A diet for old people and invalids (and babies sometimes) based on bready-things soaked in warm or cold milk (not gravy).

                                                                                                                                              1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                                sandylc Jun 20, 2012 11:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                Ha! I had to look up your Abe Simpson reference! I see it is a Simpsons character - I didn't allow that kind of silly TV in our house when the son was growing up!

                                                                                                                                                Anyway, yeah, biscuits and gravy is pretty bland and comfort food-y, but it is a dish beloved to many. I like to make the sausage from scratch with a little extra kick to upgrade it. We don't eat it often because it is a heavy dish (a "gut-bomb", so to speak!)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                                  bishopsbitter Jun 20, 2012 02:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Similar to another British staple, mince & dumplings, or better yet, steak and kidney PUDDING!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                    sandylc Jun 20, 2012 02:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                    My kid loved that sort of thing when he was living on that side of the pond.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                                                      bishopsbitter Jun 20, 2012 04:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Even with gigantic strides made with gastropubs and whatnot, it's still true that eating well in England is guaranteed by eating breakfasts, meat pies or puddings, and Sunday roast "Dinners" and of course the odd curry and ploughman's.

                                                                                                                              3. b
                                                                                                                                bishopsbitter Jun 8, 2012 05:12 PM

                                                                                                                                Maybe it’s a case of “infamy!, infamy! They’ve all got it in for me.!!” Of late, when a restaurant makes me think “Hey now! This is looking like quite the spot.” They turn around and drub my nose in my own optimism. Such was the case tonight at Stella’s Oyster place on Lake near Hennepin in Uptown.

                                                                                                                                The place looks like a faux Gulf Coast or Down East clam or bivalve roadhouse, and no problem there. I liked the space. Sort of unique and multifaceted. So the Friday 69 cent oysters draw in the bivalve punters here. I ordered a dozen (which is was stated are shuckers’ choice) and I also asked “are these shucked to my order, or preshucked?” Answer: Sometimes pre, but he’s working on yours right now. I was pleased and the oysters which showed up were beautifully briny, full of salty liquor, and uniquely shaped like razor clams (very thin, very long) but very tasty.

                                                                                                                                OK: I decide to go up-market and order some call varieties. This is where it starts to go tits up (an apposite English term for going “not well”). The call oysters, not 69 cents but $2.50 apiece, appear from my left (the kitchen) and not from the shuckers up front on the right (I am sitting at the bar) from whence had come the first, pristine, DELICIOUS dozen. Why would a place do that to you (have you pay 4 * the price for a fourth the quality??).

                                                                                                                                OK, perhaps it was my own stupid fault for looking the gift 69 centers in the mouth. A third dozen of those are ordered. These now come from a large tray of preshucked oysters with all of the liquor lost in transit from the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                We (a nice fellow I met, Eric, was also a man who loves his oysters) had a brief checkup with the waiter/waitress about this and clearly they thought we were troublemaking malcontents, but not really. If you are served one of the best dozens in quite some time, then order another, you expect similar (at least) levels of pleasure. Here it was like being downgraded to almost “fryer oyster” levels.

                                                                                                                                And later I saw others’ whose dozens looked poorly and malshucked (hacked around to resemble fishing bait) which was even worse.

                                                                                                                                So now I am in a horrible situation: the first dozen were good enough to risk a return visit, but the last two were poor enough to make that an exercise in futility, make that, insanity.

                                                                                                                                OK, I know it’s a cheap oyster happy hour. Ironically, had the entire three dozen sucked (except there would not have been a sale of three dozen if so . . . ) it would have been a “happier” experience.

                                                                                                                                I seem to be on a mantra that it’s repeatable and reliable levels of standard in food and service that are the only things that any diner who is not insane would base his behavior on. These days restaurants do not seem to care and seem to be able to get away with it.

                                                                                                                                Thanks for reading. BB

                                                                                                                                p.s. in town this weekend, hoping to pad out my restaurant activities with some new discoveries.

                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                  steve_in_stpaul Jun 11, 2012 05:01 AM

                                                                                                                                  Not to be curmudgeonly, but the waitperson did indicate that preshucked is the typical order of the day for the 69-centers. You may just have lucked out in getting a fresh batch. That said, my sole visit to Stella's didn't exactly impress, either. It wasn't a disaster, but nothing would prompt me to return. Not a place I would ever consider for sushi, for the reasons you indicated.

                                                                                                                                  bb> Although I'd like to try [Al's Breakfast] food, I neither like loitering near others trying to eat,
                                                                                                                                  bb> nor having others loiter near me when I am trying to eat, so it just may not be in the cards
                                                                                                                                  bb> to happen.

                                                                                                                                  A friend of mine raves about the place and takes all her friends there. But she hasn't taken me because I don't want to go. You have absolutely pegged the reason why. Just doesn't sound like a situation in which I would enjoy eating, no matter how good the food is.

                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the notes. I've largely lurked in this thread, but I've enjoyed the read all the same.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                    SarahInMinneapolis Jun 11, 2012 07:08 AM

                                                                                                                                    Agreed on inconsistency. Last time I was there I was presented with a dozen perfectly shucked oysters. I asked the bartender why. He told me that one of the regular evening guys was filling in for weekend dayshift guy. What a huge difference.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: SarahInMinneapolis
                                                                                                                                      ibew292 Jun 11, 2012 07:56 AM

                                                                                                                                      One can't expect much when they're offering 69 cent oysters. I never go there on Fridays. What a zoo. During the week for HH they shuck to order. That's when I go, I don't understand anyone going there on Fridays to save 31 cents.....

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ibew292
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                                                                                                                                        bishopsbitter Jun 11, 2012 05:44 PM

                                                                                                                                        31 cents? They were charging 2.50 2.95 or some such for oysters if you called the variety.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                          ibew292 Jun 11, 2012 07:48 PM

                                                                                                                                          They are a dollar at HH during the week. Shucked to order. Go and try and save money and you get what you pay for . Follow the crowds and you are a follower,....31 cents more if your not there on Friday with the crowds. Please stay away during the week so I can enjoy them in peace.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ibew292
                                                                                                                                            b
                                                                                                                                            bishopsbitter Jun 12, 2012 03:49 AM

                                                                                                                                            Aha, that was not clear. I am still not clear how come they ccharged me the $2.xx during Friday HH tho'... Oh I suppose because I requested particular type, not chef's choice. OK I might give them a retry during the week and see what their other stuff is like too. as I said, the shucked-to-order dozen were AOK.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                              ibew292 Jun 12, 2012 05:11 AM

                                                                                                                                              The Oysters in general this time of the year are declining in quality. The water temp is getting warm. Although the producers try to keep quality up by not including any females in the mix, quality is lower than colder times of the year. Enjoy them if you can.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ibew292
                                                                                                                                                The Dairy Queen Jun 12, 2012 06:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                Does this mean I should opt for something other than the oyster po-boy at Sea Salt from May through August?

                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                  ibew292 Jun 12, 2012 07:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Deep fried oysters quality is not "as" important. Good Oysters are a must, great not so much. It doesn't stop me from eating Oysters in the Summer it just means I'm not quite as picky due to the spawn.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                      k
                                                                                                                                      keg Jun 12, 2012 06:26 AM

                                                                                                                                      Whatever happened to the "R" month rule on oysters? Any month with an "r" in it is also a cold water cycle month. This might be a wive's tale, but it was the way I learned about oyster seasonality. Warmer water months are spawning months and the quality if far more variable. A "spawny" oyster is not a tasty oyster.

                                                                                                                                      Oyster shucking is often a hack job, so a primer on how to shuck shouid be sought out from a qualified fishmonger. Whoever supplies them should contact the chef and set up a tutorial with some beer involved in compensation. I have no inside knowledge of who this might be...

                                                                                                                                    3. b
                                                                                                                                      bishopsbitter Jun 1, 2012 04:04 PM

                                                                                                                                      Paid a return visit to Buster's on 28th. I have to say I like the place's serious approach to beer, in terms of choice, condition they keep it in (which seem well above average) and the overall feeling of this being a slightly different venue, perhaps attributable to the owner's particular vision. The food is not half bad. The salt and vinegar chips were a bit iffy (where was the vinegar??) but the bison burger was pretty solid. I kind of wish I'd had the artisan cheese plate again, simply because it works so well with beer (cheese: there's areason ploughman's lunches are still a staple in the UK). And the location (if you sit outside) is pleasant and extremely quiet & peaceful barring a few airplanes. The young bartender is personable and I like the assortment of glasses closely melded to each beer. The right glass for the right beer, style. I detect (again I think this is a vital streak for any successful place) that streak of mania behind and driving the enterprise. The beer descriptions are also almost scientifically accurate: so often tasting notes seem to be referring to some other liquid altogether., I give this place quite a big check mark. I know I will return, and very few places these days earn that from me.

                                                                                                                                      http://busterson28th.com/

                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                        d
                                                                                                                                        dalewest Jun 1, 2012 06:05 PM

                                                                                                                                        I live a couple of miles from Buster's and agree it is a great reliable spot for an interesting beer list and pretty good food, especially tasty burgers and nice crispy fries. The waitstaff knows the beer list pretty well and can always tell you what is new on tap The beer list tells the rest. Service is normally pretty speedy too.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jun 2, 2012 10:51 AM

                                                                                                                                          1hen I was there I picked up (overhearing a distant conversation) that a prominent local food critic (I assume) had been in recently and given a favorable write-up to the place. If anyone knows of that perhaps they can post a link to his write-up.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                            The Dairy Queen Jun 3, 2012 04:48 AM

                                                                                                                                            City Pages best neighborhood pub? http://www.citypages.com/bestof/2012/...

                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                                              bishopsbitter Jun 3, 2012 12:50 PM

                                                                                                                                              Maybe. I got the impression it was a particular "piece" (probably quite recent) about the place in terms of "I go here to enjoy beer in ths TC's" sort of thing. But it was just an overheard thing.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                                                keithinmpls Jun 4, 2012 07:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                Mayor Rybak recently listed it as a favorite spot for a beer.

                                                                                                                                                http://www.startribune.com/entertainm...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: keithinmpls
                                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                                  bishopsbitter Jun 5, 2012 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, I didn't know the name, but that was it. Good to have a mayor who's not PCwimpy about imbibing the odd beer.

                                                                                                                                        2. b
                                                                                                                                          bishopsbitter May 29, 2012 05:22 PM

                                                                                                                                          Nye's Polonaise room tonight for some drinks, herring and ribs. Very nice and unique space. the bartender (Dan, I think, although I am not good remembering names) was definitely in the mold. The Polish beer beginning with "OK" was excellent, and the herring was good, if not exceptional. The ribs and sauerkraut I took home were OK, maybe needed a gravy or beet juice or something to moisten it up. I would not rave about them although the potato was very nicely done. The decor and ambience was lovely though.

                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                            b
                                                                                                                                            Brad Ballinger Jun 2, 2012 11:22 AM

                                                                                                                                            Polish beer beginning with "OK" = Okocim.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Brad Ballinger
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                                                                                                                                              bishopsbitter Jun 3, 2012 04:37 AM

                                                                                                                                              I asked if they had Zywiec "Porter" a marvellous bottle I sampled against the bartender's advice "you won't like it!" in Warsaw last year. I DID like it, I liked it VERY much. If you ever spot this stuff, buy some! (But I suspect they don't export it.) Nye's had the regular Zywiec lager but not this boy. Hmmm, delightful porter 'twas. A bit like cask ale, perhaps the only solution is to return to Old Warsaw.

                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                              1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                                                Brad Ballinger Jun 4, 2012 04:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                I've had both Okocim and Zywiec in Krakow (1992). But not the porter you speak of. One thing about drinking it there. 25 cents. Two things. 16 ounce bottles.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Brad Ballinger
                                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                                  bishopsbitter Jun 5, 2012 05:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I am a dark beer fan, and it was quite special. One could almost imagine forsaking Guinness for it: . . . . not something one finds one's self saying very often.

                                                                                                                                          2. ibew292 May 29, 2012 05:29 AM

                                                                                                                                            Have you been to Great Waters Since the Head Brewer left? Their cask program looks interesting but I have been burned to many times going there to try it again. I'm looking for a review of their beers? I think you should give them a try and report back. Hope you find great things while you are here.

                                                                                                                                            1. b
                                                                                                                                              bishopsbitter May 28, 2012 05:18 PM

                                                                                                                                              A couple of new reports.

                                                                                                                                              Breakfast at the New Uptown Diner. About 4 State Troppers parked there augered well, and indeed the place felt urban in a good way. Breakfast and service were both fine. Sourdough toast was actually NOT limp and Viagra-deprived. A plus. The eggs still were problematic in terms of the delicate balance between yolks that are runny and warm, and those which (along with adjacent white) are cold and embryonic.

                                                                                                                                              Stopped in at the Monte Carlo. The only customer in the ballgame lull. A lovely bar of course with some very nice looking bourbons and other stuff (port appeared a strong suit as well).

                                                                                                                                              I don't really like eating out on holidays: the staff are almost always in a foul mood, and it somehow yields immediate bad karma. Here they :"almost" managed to put on a game face, but not quite. I had a shrimp cocktail. Nothing special, but quite OK. One has to remember the shrimp boats dock quite a ways downriver. It was fine. Obviously a lot of drop-ins, and an equal number of regulars. The regulars look like they have their drinks purveyed "just so" which is nice to see. I had planned to segue on to Nye's (first visit) but they were closed in deference to the Holiday, unfortunately.

                                                                                                                                              So I am back at the hotel with "New Hong Kong Wok's" finest delivery. I should mention this place. their deliver is excellent. They seem to use good ingredients. Things arrive hot, and clean, and fresh. For you basic "chinese takeout:" in Roseville, you can't go too far wrong. It's not in any way special, but it has rarely disappointed in any significant way. 2216 H West County Road D Roseville 55112 651 633 6727.

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                                                kevin47 May 28, 2012 09:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                If you are getting Chinese delivery in Roseville, please consider Szechuan. Their boiled beef and cumin lamb are very good, as are their soups.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin47
                                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                                  bishopsbitter Jun 5, 2012 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I have used them many times. They are good, but not quite good enough over NHKW to justify the price differential. Yes, more unusual, but also delivery (normally good) is not always swift, I like this place too.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                  LiaM May 29, 2012 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                  How are you ordering your eggs? I also hate underdone whites. At some point I switched to ordering over-easy and the problem has become far more rare.

                                                                                                                                                3. k
                                                                                                                                                  kevin47 May 27, 2012 07:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Pretty sure Colossal's eggs are that way on purpose, and I love them for it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. b
                                                                                                                                                    bishopsbitter May 26, 2012 03:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I was just curious if anyone might suggest a chowhound destination [restaurant or food stand] for tomorrow (Mem Weekend Sunday) within about 200 to 250 mile radius of TC's. I fancy a day excursion tomorrow with food as a focus. I thought of smoked fish in Grand Marais already (done that) fancy something a bit different.

                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                      St3ve May 26, 2012 07:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I'd recommend the New Scenic Cafe just outside of Duluth. It's been a few years since I've been there, but I really liked it. http://www.sceniccafe.com/

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                        b
                                                                                                                                                        Brad Ballinger May 26, 2012 07:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                        If you want to head south, I'd recommend Nosh in Lake City, MN, or Harbor View Cafe in Pepin, WI. If you cross over into Wisconsin, the Eau Galle Cheese Factory isn't far.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Brad Ballinger
                                                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                                                          Seige May 26, 2012 11:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                          +1 for Harbor View Cafe. LOVE that place! Be warned - they only take cash or checks. No credit cards.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                                                          bishopsbitter May 27, 2012 04:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks I will flip a coin "N or S) and try one of the suggestions. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                            b
                                                                                                                                                            bishopsbitter May 27, 2012 01:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Made it to Pepin, but the Harbor View had not opened when I was there (open 1145: I was there @ 1015 ). Pretty spot. Unfortunately they did not have a posted menu so not sure what specialty I missed. I suspect some sort of fish obviously. Very relaxing little town. It's been decades (literally) since I was there: ditto Red Wing which has hugely increased in size since my last visit.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                                                              Seige May 27, 2012 02:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Oh bummer. Yeah, their menu changes daily and is on chalkboards inside. Never had a bad meal there, but the portions are gianormous. And they have homemade bread just like my grandma would make. So, so good! Definitely try it again sometime. You won't be disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Seige
                                                                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                                                                bishopsbitter May 27, 2012 04:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Sounds like bummer is the mot juste. Doggone. Plan was to score an early lunch there and call it a late breakfast. The Pickle place across the tracks did not look so enticing so just headed back to the cities. At the Village Pub on St Anthony scored a half decent poutine (!) so not a total loss. The Village Pub does steady trade suggesting something / someone at the helm knows what they are doing. Their menu is more expansive and interesting (witness poutine) than average. Seem to purvey strong drinks, in mass quantities, to old-school clientele. (i.e. old guys shifting the Martinis long before the sun even sniffs a yard arm) http://www.stanthonyvillagepub.com/ Had the poutine been made with brown (rather thanturkey- cream) gravy, this might have been even more noteworthy.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                  Seige Jun 4, 2012 02:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  We ate at Harbor View on Saturday for my birthday. All I can say is go back, go back, go back! Seriously. Make a point to go there; you will not be sorry. I had an amazing halibut with black butter caper sauce, but the real star of the night was the beef tenderloin my husband ordered Oliver Hardy style - smothered in mushrooms. Mine was good, but I would have cut him for another bite of that tenderloin and mushrooms if I didn't love him so much. :)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Seige
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                                                                                                                                                                    bishopsbitter Jun 5, 2012 05:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    ****! I sensed (you can tell from how places keep their trash cans organized out back and how staff showing up look) good things here. Doggone!.

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                                                                                                                                                          bishopsbitter May 23, 2012 04:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                          A brief visit tonight to Barley John;s in New Brighton for their "cask [ale] Wednesday."
                                                                                                                                                          Holy slop Batman, just awful, Like a 1960's battered wife I keep going back for more brewpub experiences, expecting a different result. Yes it is brown, yes it will get you drunk (if you don't get sick first, which seems more likely) but other than that it's not beer, just awful tasting wort that's been allowed to ferment. Argh. Sherlock's Home is missed all the more poignantly. Brewing is an art and a science, but most brewpubs practise it as a pastime, or, more precisely, a junior high school chemistry experiment.
                                                                                                                                                          .

                                                                                                                                                          1. b
                                                                                                                                                            bishopsbitter May 22, 2012 01:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                            A subsequent visit to the Finnish Bistro was a disappointment. The Finnish Classic Breakfast was thrown onto the plate like a proverbial dog's dinner and tasted stale and nowhere near as good. (I was there right at opening time and got the impression they weren't ready.) In the hospitality industry consistency is the key. I think these days it's lack of that that is the rule rather than the exception. "OK and consistent" is, to me, 1,000,000's better than brilliant one day, awful the next.

                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                                                              shannikitty Jul 30, 2012 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                              I'm so glad to hear someone else mention this. I have a huge issue with consistency and it seems many restaurants don't even know how to respond to such complaints. I can name at least 15 restaurants in the TC where I could order a repeat dish, yet never know if I'm going to love it or hate it because the consistency and quality is a total crapshoot. When I give you my money for an item I've already ordered in the past, I expect to enjoy it just as much now as I did then, and I really don't think that's too much to ask :-)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shannikitty
                                                                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                                                                bishopsbitter Jul 30, 2012 05:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                As I think of the restaurants I have loved the most in my life, it is the places which [almost, as in once per 20 years] "never disappoint" which shine. It's analogous to an airline which advertizes "may get you up and down without an accident 60% of the time" - no-one would fly such an airline but many are willing to patronize a restaurant with similar odds of a good meal on any given night. While recognizing the difficulties of running a restaurant, "giving the benefit of the doubt" ['it's probably because the chef was sick'] when things are sub par, is a false kindness I think.
                                                                                                                                                                That said, when was the last time some waitress asked "how is it tasting?" who really wanted you to answer truthfully? So why do they ask?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Jul 30, 2012 07:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I agree. We have been eating at Lucia's for....27 years now. I would say that 97%, at least, of ours meals there have been wonderful. These odds I like; I find 3% to be pretty forgivable.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                                                                    bishopsbitter Jul 31, 2012 10:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    I went to Lucia's in the early years. I still remember it being a most "happy experience" even though the details have totally fogged in the past 20 years (except it was a very nice space and the wine glasses were pleasant).

                                                                                                                                                                    I must revisit it. I must say I am a parking-hassle-phobic so its location is what puts me off. That said, I'd like to do it based on what you say.

                                                                                                                                                                    The other problem is that places like Lucia's are all too easy to take for granted will still be there while one constantly "tries the new place"(s) almost all of which are inferior.

                                                                                                                                                                    One little nugget I got from the staff at Vincent the other day is that they have a guy who eats there every day (winter and summer) for lunch. Clearly he has found something that makes him happy. I tend to be like that. Brown's in Oxford (totally unpretentious) made me happy.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                                      The Dairy Queen Jul 31, 2012 11:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      You didn't ask what the dish was that is so worth having day in and day out?!?!

                                                                                                                                                                      I have to know!

                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                        b
                                                                                                                                                                        bishopsbitter Jul 31, 2012 01:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't ask if he had the same THING every day :-) If I could afford it fine caviar and fine champagne I think I could "do [pretty much] daily." (Some hopes of that!)
                                                                                                                                                                        If he does, then yes I want some of that too!

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                                        bob s Jul 31, 2012 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        I live in the neighborhood, so I understand that parking for Lucia's can seem daunting. However, you may want to note a couple of things.

                                                                                                                                                                        1) Lucia's has free valet parking for its lot next door.
                                                                                                                                                                        2) The Calhoun Square ramp is a half block away and you can always find parking there.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bob s
                                                                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                                                                          bishopsbitter Jul 31, 2012 01:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm going to make it happen. As I wrote about ignoring excellent places while constantly trying (and by and large hating) new places I realized I am guilty as charged myself. Witness Lucia's was really good and never returned in all these years. (Mind you, Sherlock's Home before it closed had my constant attention in some of those years.)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bishopsbitter
                                                                                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                                                                                            ChillyDog Aug 1, 2012 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            The Uptown Art Fair is this weekend, so be warned. The traffic and parking is insane.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChillyDog
                                                                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                                                                              bishopsbitter Aug 1, 2012 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks! Will "table" Lucia's for a calmer time. Appreciate the warning.

                                                                                                                                                              2. ibew292 May 15, 2012 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Others may not agree but the one meal I had at http://www.chezdaniel.com/ was good.

                                                                                                                                                                1. l
                                                                                                                                                                  Lincster May 14, 2012 08:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks Bishops! We always appreciate the traveler's perspective. Very kind of you to write up your opinions.

                                                                                                                                                                  Matt's I agree is a love it or leave it (no one can really "hate" Matt's) place. I've been there twice in my 40 years of living here, and I'm on your side of the argument. But, what a great and unique argument to have! I like it to a coney war in Detroit.

                                                                                                                                                                  I've never been to Busters, but I'm going to go!

                                                                                                                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lincster
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                                                                                                                                                                    bishopsbitter May 15, 2012 03:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks. I passed the 5-8 by the airport so probably have to make the comparison with their rendition at some stage. I also spotted a brasserie place just south of 50th and France which (I am a sucker for brasserie style going back to Chez Collette @ the Sofitel 30 years ago!) "looked" authentic. "Oysters and shellfish" are a weakness. (On France ave after all :-) )

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter
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                                                                                                                                                                      keithinmpls May 15, 2012 05:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      That would be Salut. It's sort of a playful caricature of a French brasserie, but definitely NOT authentic. I'm not trying to knock the place - the food is mostly good and the atmosphere is fun - just don't expect authentic.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter
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                                                                                                                                                                        Brad Ballinger May 15, 2012 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with Keith re: Salut. It's more style over substance. And menu items like "Le Cheezeburger" just make the place too self-aware for me.

                                                                                                                                                                        The closest thing the Twin Cities has to an authentic brasserie is Meritage in downtown St. Paul, which I highly recommend.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Brad Ballinger
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                                                                                                                                                                          bishopsbitter May 15, 2012 08:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Someone told me (since I posted originally) it was owned by the same people as Manny's. I thought as much when I heard that. just as Manny;s impersonates a Chicago or NYC steakhouse so, I thought (and seem to have confirmed) "Salut" may be fairly inauthentic. I wonder what Chez Colette (still there I think at the sofitel) is like these days. It was really good all those years ago, when I could compare it to the real France from very recent experience. They also had a No-Holds-Barred white glove Louis XV (I think it was) high-end French place in those days (1982-3).

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                                                                                                                                                                            tapdance Oct 14, 2012 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            I have to agree with BBallinger. I just ate at Meritage last week. Very nice, good fries. I would have liked the mussels in a big iron pot with more broth though. It would have been more authentic Belgian.

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                                                                                                                                                                              bishopsbitter Oct 14, 2012 03:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              The place may have matured. It was definitely better last time, than the time before. I would love, though, for some enterprising soul to create a place such as I have dined in across France, but most lately in Cagnes-sur-Mer (Nice). It's kind of like Meritage but without the fervent hope that you realize how privileged you are to be dining there. I want a place like that where I can present myself, and (without further ado, other than paying l'addition) enjoy a wonderful meal. That sort of effortless "you are in good hands" meal, is bollixed up by waiters/waitresses who leave you alone when you want more sauce, but intrude you when you are about to score a touchdown with Your Lady. I may check out Meritage again. If it is evolving, it may be getting closer to what I just said. wonderful, if so.

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                                                                                                                                                                                foreverhungry Oct 14, 2012 06:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                As much as I'd like your vision to come true, it's just not going to happen in Minnesota. First off, French food (whatever that means, given the dizzying variety of cuisines found in France) is rare in Minnesota. A Nice-style eatery would be great, but the lack of decent seafood (without taking out a second mortgage) is a death blow. That, and most Minnesotan's idea of great seafood begins and ends with the blandest of the bland - walleye.

                                                                                                                                                                                In the end, French cooking relies on a few characteristics. One is use of all parts of the animal, which most Americans are very squeamish with. While tripe, pate, and kidney are typical on any French menu, they are rare here. Another is the use of high quality ingredients, which can be had a decent price in France (locally sourced from a nearby farm), but quality here comes at premium price. Another is technique, which can range from the wildly complicated and needs sophisticated training, to the simple. A simple dish like roasted chicken can be an inspirational meal, yet a high quality roasted chicken dish is a rare find.

                                                                                                                                                                                Meritage is what it is. For Minnesota, it's a great French restaurant. Unfortunately, it's always going to need that qualifier - for Minnesota. But hey, going to St. Paul is a lot cheaper than a trip to Cagnes-sur-mer, or St. Jorioz (where family lives).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foreverhungry
                                                                                                                                                                                  EricShawnSmith Jan 15, 2013 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I think you not only underestimate a good portion of Mn eaters but you also manage to come off a bit misinformed and ill-advised when spouting off your "knowledge" of not only French Cuisine in general, but also the availability of quality food and ingredients here. Most of what you are saying just isn't true. NYC we are not, but you make it sound like Mn is some sort of culinary wasteland, which is a fallacy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    foreverhungry Jan 15, 2013 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm sorry if that's how it was interpreted. That's certainly not what I intended. I've said many times that I think the Twin Cities are blessed with top quality restaurants. To have to choose from Meritage, Heartland, Piccolo, BLG, La Belle Vie, Travail, Blackbird, and Tillia (for starters) is amazing. A very solid ethnic scene. Several quality sushi places. It's a fantastic food scene.

                                                                                                                                                                                    There is also a good availability of fresh ingredients (for retail). But our location is what it is, and with that, there are limitations. Seafood is limited and somewhat expensive. Availability and cost simply does not compare with the coasts. Walleye is the favorite fish here, and for a reason - it's easily available from most lakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                    There are many things that the Minnesota food scene does spectacularly well, and others that it does less well. That's all.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: tapdance
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                                                                                                                                                                                foreverhungry Oct 14, 2012 05:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Meritage isn't Belgian, but French. Chef Klein trained under Jacques Pepin and worked in France before going to NYC.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  bishopsbitter Oct 15, 2012 11:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Excellent points, but I think your final one is the most mystifying, how can a chef who's worked in France and understands all these concepts either not simply move to France to work, or take up dry-walling? As you said, something as simple as a good roast chicken (or bread) should not require an 8h plane ride. Then there's the entire "experience." It's not all about the food and wine and service, but somehow how all those things all marry and contrive to persuade you that you have moved to a slightly better place in the universe through your expenditure of time and money when you stagger our post prandially. Even in NY you can't find the Cagnes-Sur experience. In recent memory it was only in Las Vegas (of all places) where a waiter was savvy enough to instantly understand my world view of dining and give me precisely what I wanted. (Despite the Maitre'd's best efforts!) I suspect he gave a totally different "ride" to others whom he perceived wanted the glowing descriptions of what was done in the kitchen to wilt the arugula in mountainside heather-scented hazelnut oil from the NE slopes of the Matterhorn.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Sort of like I have concluded about cask-conditioned ale, the solution is blindingly simple: a reservation to Nice Cote d'Azur Airport (surely one of the nicest approaches to any landing there) or the UK (for the cc ale.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Brad Ballinger
                                                                                                                                                                                splatgirl Jan 14, 2013 03:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Cave Vin in Edina is excellent in this category.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Lincster
                                                                                                                                                                              MSPD May 15, 2012 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              FWIW, I hate Matt's.

                                                                                                                                                                              I also love fish for breakfast. A frequent stop for me is Common Roots Cafe on Lyndale in South Minneapolis - plain bagel, lox, cream cheese and capers. They have other good stuff there, but that's my mainstay (if you're so inclined).

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the photos. Always nice to see.

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