Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Burch Steak

We visited Burch Steak recently for our anniversary. We were there on a Sunday night and it was much busier than I expected it to be. The room is very nice with wood floors and brick walls and soft pendant lighting.
 We started with a couple drinks. I had a dark and stormy.
 John had a spicy margarita.
We started with the cinnamon smoked barramundi with cauliflower and bacon aioli from the raw section of the menu. The fish was very mild with a light citrusy sauce underneath and the topping added some nice crunch to the dish. I think it is interesting that some of the best raw fish items I’ve had lately are from steakhouses.

Next we had the veal and pork kinkhali, with butter and chili thread. The outside of the dumpling was perfect, not too soft. I did not get a lot of flavor from the chili thread, if I was supposed to. The pork and veal was and excellent combination. There are definitely some unusual for a steakhouse menu selections here. And I like it. The dumplings section of the menu intrigues me. We need to try a few more items form that section next time we visit.

Four the steak course, we shared the 16 oz prime beef ribeye. We decided to share again so that we could try more side items. I’m sure servers hate this, but we don’t need to eat our own steak as it is far too much food anyway. The steak was cooked perfectly and seasoned well. I liked that the menu had so many options for steak, They sell 100% Grass fed beef, Prime beef, domestic Wagyu and certified Japanese A5 Wagyu with a variety of cuts within the types.

I really liked the fact that the steak came with their house made steak sauce, béarnaise sauce and pickled mushrooms.
 For sides we ordered the triple cooked chips with ketchup and mayo. They were very crispy on the outside and light and fluffy inside and really delicious overall.

 We also tried the roasted cauliflower with anchovies and burrata. It was a little salty, but quite good overall with a bit of a smoky flavor.

We finished the meal with the flourless chocolate torte, which was very rich and dense but the ice cream on the side helped keep the chocolate from being too overpowering.

For once, I think we did  a good job of not over-ordering on food. We had a little bit of cauliflower left to bring home and that was all, which was fine with us.

Our server was very good, we did not ask for any recommendations, but she did go over the sections of the menu in detail and she checked back often. I thought the service was excellent overall.

Another thing to note, they have valet parking available for $7. This is very handy in this area as there is nowhere to park other than on street parking.

Burch Steak
1933 Colfax Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 843-1515

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bar Louie Minnetonka

The Applebee’s at Ridgedale has been replaced by a somewhat more interesting option, a place called Bar Louie. It opened around the holidays I think. We stopped in on a Friday night awhile ago to check it out, but decided against it due to the long wait of an hour or more. We went back again last week and the wait was a bit shorter, around 30 minutes so we decided to stay this time. The wait time was pretty accurately quoted, and we managed to get a seat at the bar while we waited, so it went pretty quickly. They send you a text message to your phone when your table is ready.

John had the blackened fish taco platter. He was in a tropical mood. It included four tacos with fish, onion, cilantro, avocado, queso fresco and salsa. Black beans and rice were included on the side. He really liked the black beans as they had excellent consistency and flavor.

I had the short rib sliders with asiago and Swiss cheese, spinach, and balsamic onions with French fries. The fries were average at best. Crispy, but probably frozen. The sliders were pretty good as the meat was very tender. However, the menu said there was a smoky horseradish sauce on them and I saw a white sauce, but did not taste any horseradish at all. They were ok, but don’ think I would order this item again.

The server was good and kept our beverages filled throughout the entire visit. The room is a bit loud. I think this is due to the cement flooring mainly.

Overall, this is a better option than the previous tenant, but I don’t know that we will be rushing back. There are plenty of similar options nearby and nothing here stood out to me as all that unique.

Deals and discounts: The happy hour is pretty good and it runs Monday- Friday 4PM-7PM and Monday-Sunday 11PM-Close with $3.50 Draft Beers, $5 Wines and $7 Martinis.

Bar Louie
12653 Wayzata Blvd
Minnetonka, MN
(952) 545-2425

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Loring Pasta Bar

Since our anniversary was coming up and we wanted to try someplace a little different, we decided to go to the Loring Pasta Bar in Dinkytown last week for dinner. Our wedding reception was held at the Varsity theater, which is owned by the same people that own Loring Pasta Bar, so they do all of the catering for the Varsity. The food was one of the many reasons I chose the Varsity for our venue.

It looked like they had rearranged some of the seating areas and added more balcony seating, but otherwise the Loring was pretty much unchanged from six years ago. (Has it been that long since we’ve been back? I guess so!) Anyway, we made a reservation, but it was probably not needed, as the restaurant was not that full and they have lots of seating. Though our table was very tiny, hardly enough room for our plates and drinks and it was in the walkway so John kept having people bump into his chair. For ambiance they had a band playing downstairs, and the sound levels were perfect. It was loud enough you could hear the music, but not so loud that you had to yell to converse.

I had the chicken ravioli napolitana, which had mozzarella and chevre cheeses, tomatoes, roasted garlic and olive oil on top. I really liked this dish. The pasta was cooked perfectly and it had rich flavors in every bite.
 John had the spaghetti with meatballs. Make that meatball. A gigantic meatball. The spaghetti was cooked to a perfect al dente.   The meatball had a nice spice to it too.

We ordered the crème brulee for dessert. It sounded so good, I could not pass it up. And it was excellent.

The service was good, though the server was a bit slow to refill the water glasses on a couple occasions.

By the way, we learned the hard way that the Loring pasta Bar offers valet parking for just $3. We did not see that until we were walking up to the door and have driven around the area and parked in a ramp for far more money.

Deals and Discounts: 20% off for students excluding Fridays and Saturdays 5-close.

Loring Pasta Bar
327 14th Ave SE,
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 378-4849

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Eat Shop - Living Social four course dinner

We visited Eat Shop again recently because I had purchased a Living Social deal back in November or December for a four course meal with beer or wine flights for $49. Even though we normally would not order that much food, it sounded like a good deal and a way to try their dinner menu at a discount.

First, we had our beer flights. The beer selection is pretty good for a restaurant in the suburbs and they change things up seasonally from the local suppliers. I think I had Fulton Sweet child o’ vine, Big Island blonde and Lucid foto IPA. John had Summit EPA, Surly furious and Lucid foot IPA.

We started with the crab cake appetizer and it was quite good. I enjoyed the lemon ricotta sauce on the side as it added a bit of acidity. It was a decent crab cake with quite a bit of crab inside, and I liked how crisp the exterior was, but as John pointed out after having the crab cakes at Oceanaire all others pale in comparison as they are packed with crab. This is probably an excellent representation of a standard crab cake.

Next, we had the BLT salad with butter lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, garlic croutons and buttermilk chive dressing. The dressing was excellent and I should have asked for more of it on the side as there was not a lot of it on the salad. The bacon was very crisp and delicious. (It made me think we should try them for brunch sometime.) I did not detect much garlic flavor in the croutons, but they tasted good anyway.

John had the hanger steak with fries and it was cooked as ordered. The meat had good flavor too. The fries were very good.

I had the scallops with green beans, fingerling potatoes and fennel in orange butter. The scallops were only seared well on the top, so they were a bit underdone in the center and the larger ones were a bit gummy. Though they were not over-salted, which was nice as a lot of places I’ve had scallops lately seem to salt the heck out of them. The green beans were really good and tasted very fresh.

We ordered the butterscotch custard for dessert. I was thinking it would be more like pudding or ice cream, but it had an almost cake-like consistency and no butterscotch flavor at all. We should’ve tried another dessert instead.

Overall, we enjoyed the dinner, and felt it was a good value. I think we saved about $30 over regular menu prices and that is not counting the cost of the beer flights.

We’ve enjoyed Eat Shop for happy hour and casual dinners and we will certainly go back, but I think I will stick to appetizers and sandwiches form now on.

Deals & Discounts: Eat Shop had a very good happy hour with both food and drink specials. I'd suggest checking their website for the most up to date information, but right now they have food specials, most of which we sampled on this visit as well as $4 house wines and $3 select beers as well as $1 off all other tap beers.

Eat Shop Kitchen and Bar
16605 County Road 24 (Hwy 55)
Plymouth, MN 55447