I eat at Cafe Ena in my neighborhood quite a bit but for some reason I hadn't tried Rincon until this past week. I thought it was fantastic. I'm not a huge fan of small plates because for the most part, I feel like you end up paying as much as you would for a traditional dining experience but you're always a little hungry afterwards. That wasn't the case here- we split a bottle of wine and 6 dishes, which was at least one too much. The standouts for me were the pulpo and the mero, but everything we had was delicious. My only caution would be that as you order, pay attention to the saucing because some of them are very similar. I'm looking forward going again and trying more of the dishes (but not as many this time, haha).
Also, I would love to see a section dedicated to all those restaurants over there on 1st Ave (w of Hennepin) all the way from 1st St to, say, 9th. Is there such a thing here or does someone want to start such? A lot of those places were very good in the past but they keep coming and going and we should have something recent!
I like to initiate "Theme" food-runs. Like one summer we did all "Eat Street" (Nicollet Ave). Right now we're considering ALL MEXICAN for a month or so and then ALL BURGERS aimed at the best burger joints (which I did see a thread for!).
I hope to, if/when I get familiar with how to begin a thread start such THEME threads for TC area pretty soon. I've looked at all the Mpls/St Paul threads and I don't think I've missed anything. We need more posters, more locals! (The ones I've read are great)
Thankyou so much KTFoley, Chillydog, et al for the excellent clarification. I was a bit foggy on my memories of those corners Got it now. I had tried and enjoyed most of these places but not Cafe Ena. Is there a review of Cafe Ena at Chowhound (or can I get a quick thumbs-up or down here)?
I thought Rincon was on the SE corner. "East" being toward St Paul, "west" being the same side Victor's is on. Isn't Ena across the street from Victor's, south? And Rincon across the street from Victors kittycorner? And the Vietnamese Restaurant (now gone) even further east past Rincon?
BTW, I'm new again to Chowhound and don't know how to navigate yet. I used to have an account here 6 or more years ago. While I do see a way to reply to the first originatoal poster I don't see a similar way to "reply" to subsequent posts. I see a "reply" button but it doesn't do anything. So I go to the 1st poster's msg and reply there. There muyst be a more correct way?
Also if I wanted to serach for posts about, say, Victor's Cubano, is there a way? I should add I'm 99>5% blind.
When you place your cursor over the post itself, the icons to Recommend, Link, Flag or Reply will display just below the post's text. Click that icon and the text box will display. On my slow connection, it takes a second or two for the cursor in the text box to be active & allow typing. When you have drafted your message, click the blue Reply button to the right of the text box to post it.
At the intersection of 38th and Grand are Victors (NW corner), Rincon 38 (SE corner), Grand Cafe (a few doors down from the SW corner), Sugar Sugar (a few doors down from the SE corner).
At the intersection of 46th and Grand are Cafe Ena (SE corner), King's Wine Bar (NE corner), Patisserie 46 (NW corner).
So, Cafe Ena is on the SW corner? Has a rather smallish menu but sort of gourmet? I was there a few times but years ago. It had a 'bright' trebly atmosphere, not enough sound dampeners on the walls. Clean and upscale. But echo-y when people are chatting. Very good food as I recall.
If I remember correctly (this is a good food corner) right down 46th street to the east was a Vietnamese restaurant. Great lemon grass dishes. My friends and I were there for his last closing night. The owner/operator was generally taciturn but we got him to talk a little bit. I was on that corner about 2 or 3 weeks ago and tried to see what took place of that Vietnamese restaurant.
MelJohn, thanks for that review! I've been on that corner several times lately and I keep trying to talk my friends into trying Rincon but they don't seem interested. I want to. I remember a "Rincon" in Sedonna too, really upscale, very good. No connection I'm sure. Isn't Rincon 38 on the same corner as Victor's? We haver been going to Victor's (Cuban) for years. Also, can you tell me where Cafe Ena is? That's not the one across from Rincon is it?
A couple weeks ago we went to El Paraiso at 35th and Nicollet, liked it a lot, lovely waitress who accepted my Spanish cheerfully. "Ponme la cerveza, por favor!"
Agree about inconsistency of the pulpo. Two visits for me. First one, great pulpo. Second one, too rubbery. The stuffed pasilla peppers have a playful texture and a more understated flavor than one might think. One of my favorites.
Theme theme is Mediterranean, borrowing from France, Spain, and Italy. The wine list (probaby Erin's doing--Erin from Ena) is carefully selected, and is geared to be food friendly.
I think the salt cod fritters and the mushroom flan are pretty killer. I've probably had the pulpo 4 different times and I would say I loved it the first time, and its super inconsistent, and have liked it less and less each time, due to slight ingredient changes and execution. Portions are pretty solid, I agree, and reasonable pricing.