Sandcastle on Nokomis
Wife and I paid a visit
First of all, really nice view, so long as you aren't having alcohol (we weren't). The beer garden is a bit more secluded. This is a great place for families.
The food was hit and miss. Really enjoyed the sweet pea falafel wrap and the Nokomis dog. Both had abundant, fresh, summery flavors.
The cheese curds were a bit cold (timing with the other food items might have been an issue). Certainly competent, but the dipping sauce (caesar in our case) did nothing to elevate it.
The ceviche struck me as possibly the gazpacho recipe with the addition of seafood. At any rate, the seafood was rubbery across the board. Not a good dish.
The fry bread with bison was a strong idea. The bread was absolutely delicious, but the buffalo was under-seasoned and oddly greasy. There is potential there, though, I think.
I should note that the food is dirt cheap and the portions generous. By my lights, this place is already delivering at a higher level than the other newfound, waterside establishments, and the venue couldn't be better.
I liked the Gazpacho. My cheese curds came out ahead of the rest of the food and were hot. The sriracha dipping sauce was better than the caesar.
I enjoyed the fry-bread with bison, but I shared it with 2 others. I can see getting tired of it if I tried to eat the whole thing.
I had a couple of bites of the hotdog with Kimchi and an Egg. I'd skip the egg, but Kimchi on a hot dog is a good idea.
I didn't try the ceviche.
I'd like Sandcastle a lot more if I could drink a beer while sitting under a tree with a good view of the water. I understand why they've limited beer drinking to a contained area in the park. I just wish the contained area had a view and natural shade.
Comparing it to Sea Salt, the food is as good, maybe better in some cases, and there weren't long lines. Sea Salt wins on seating. I think Sandcastle is also better than the Lake Harriet food shack.
We went last night with a group. We weren't very hungry so Mrs. Gutgrease and I split the fish tacos and an order of cheese curds. The tacos were decent, nothing to get excited about but priced right. The cheese curds were great. There were big and fried right. They put a little kosher (or sea) salt on the outside which didn't hurt, but I'm not sure that it really added much. Definitely worth getting the curds again. We tried the hushpuppies, which on their own were fair but the molasses butter really added something.
Others raved about the Dog Flicker. The American Indian Fry Bread was supposedly good as well, but could have used more sauce.
The atmosphere is perfect. We watched swimmers, fishermen, and several families of ducks and ducklings waddling around. We will go back for sure.
Oh, and don't forget Surly!
I liked the hush puppies a lot. Agreed that the molasses butter is a fantastic condiment.
The fry bread with bison meat is a bit bland, as others have said, but they have a bottle of sriracha, which is the perfect finishing touch.
My wife tried the watermelon salad with pickled radishes and goat cheese. She really liked it.
I went last Sunday. I had the dog Flicker, which was very tasty, great flavor combination. Fiancee had the fish tacos, which she liked a lot. The tacos looked like they fell apart a bit, but I'm not sure if that was due to the taco's construction, the materials, or if she was just eating them a mit messy.
The curds, I thought, were excellent - piping hot and sizeable, very tasty on their own. We got the sriracha dipping sauce, which was OK, but agree with K47, did nothing to elevate the curds, and I actually prefered the curds naked.
The service was very nice, but a bit slow for the food to come out. On the one hand, I realize that much of it is cooked to order, and some of the assemblies, like the dog Flicker, can maybe be a bit futsy. On the other hand, it was early on Sunday, there was no one ordering before we got there, and by the time we got our act together (8 year old and puppy with us), there were two couple in front of us, and then a few behind us. Given our wait for fish tacos, a dog flicker, a plain dog, and curds, if there's a crush on a hot weekend day, the wait times could be rough.
Overall, great addition to the area, great location, tasty food, and cheap. The may need to work a few kinks out, but I'll definitely be back.
Sounds like a lot of potential, here. Thanks for sharing your insights.
The menu looks perfectly quirky - not too 'out there,' but different enough to make me interested in making my way over there. That's saying something... I can't remember the last time I felt a need to try a new place in the Twin Cities.
I'd also like to extol the virtues of their website. It has the information I need without trying to figure out how to get at it. And, when was the last time you saw a mission statement on the home page of a website?