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Joe’s Garage

5 Mar

Joe’s Garage
Visited Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

exterior

Ryan
First, I must say this was our most controversial restaurant visit. Controversial in that we received extremely poor service, left a tiny tip, and later complained to management. However, management’s quick and satisfactory response erased my feelings of hostility. Now to relive the story of our visit to Joe’s Garage on Wednesday night.

This week is Restaurant Week in Minneapolis, where a lot of places give customers the opportunity to eat lunch or dinner from a special menu for flat rates of $15 or $30. Lauren suggested Wednesday night that we take in one of the $15 dinner restaurants, and gave me the list of her five finalists. From that, I selected Joe’s Garage due to its largely American menu, just what I was in the mood for.

We arrived and were seated at 6:55 near the kitchen. Lauren wasn’t thrilled with where we were seated, so I asked the waitress if we could move to a booth. The waitress said that shouldn’t be a problem, at which point Lauren changed her mind and insisted she was fine with where we were. I don’t know if this little exchange somehow rubbed the waitress the wrong way or not, but it’s the only possible reason I can come up with for the events that soon unfolded.

The waitress returned at 7:05 and we placed our drink and dinner orders. There were five selections from each of the three courses: appetizers, main courses, and desserts. At this point, a pair of ladies were seated near us in a booth, and another couple was seated beside us. Lauren and I were chatting and enjoying each others’ company when I noticed the ladies in the corner were receiving their drinks and appetizers. “Ours must be coming soon!” I thought, finding it odd that people who sat down well after us were getting their food and drinks before us.

bread

Time continued to tick off the clock, and we were getting confused and impatient. Now the ladies in the corner were being served their main courses, and the table to our side was getting their appetizers. A third table behind us was seated during this time, and I thought “if these people who sat down at least twenty minutes after us get served first, I definitely have to say something.” A few more minutes went by, and they were served before us.

It was now 7:35. I was getting downright angry. We tried to get the waitress’s attention, but she avoided us and wouldn’t even make eye contact. Now we suspected that the wait was not an oversight, but intentional. But why would she do that? Because of Lauren’s tiny little two-second scene about seating? I told Lauren that if we weren’t given some sort of attention by 7:40, we were walking out. Lo and behold, at 7:37, our wine arrived and the waitress informed us the apps were on the way.

bulgogi tacos

Apps were out soon after, and they were good. We split orders of Korean tacos and wontons. The ladies in the corner were now waiting for their check, and the table to our side was on to dessert. The table behind us was finishing off their main course. We had now been at Joe’s Garage for over an hour and were still waiting on our main courses. Clearly it wasn’t backed up because others were being served in a timely manner, just not us. We couldn’t figure it out! It was 8:15 when our main courses arrived, and the tables near us had all paid and left. I had the jerk chicken and it was decent, had a little kick to it. The fries were not very warm anymore, but Lauren was kind to share her hot fries with me.

jerk chicken

The rest of the night, the service was good. Our dishes were cleared, our water glasses stayed filled, and dessert and the tab were out quickly. Dessert was the highlight of the meal for me. The warm chocolate tart and ice cream was excellent.

chocolate tart

I had such high hopes for Joe’s Garage. The food was fine but it was such an afterthought to me after the worst service we’ve received since last summer’s Moto-i debacle. Clearly the poor service had me forgetting about the rest of the night. The food was decent, prices were great, portions were reasonable. Ambiance wasn’t great in the kitchen area, but not awful.

So anyway, for the first time since a similar experience at a local D’Amico & Sons restaurant a couple years back, I wrote a letter to management and let them know we did not enjoy our experience. Within only hours I had heard back from the owner, who apologized and offered a gift card to make up for the poor service. That made me feel a lot better that management is working hard to ensure customer satisfaction. No ill will towards Joe’s Garage; we’ll try it again with our gift card this spring and hope for a much more pleasant experience!

Lauren
Gah. Well, Ryan has already said plenty about the service we received at Joe’s Garage, so I’ll just add this: We would have left much happier about the whole experience if our waitress would have acknowledged some kind of mistake or made some sort of apology. Any indication that she realized that she had messed up would have gone a long way with us.

When we got to Joe’s we were led to an area that I am a little shocked that they seat people in – was this to accommodate extra MSP Restaurant Week traffic? I don’t know, but I did not much care for being shoved into what seemed like a service area. To my point, this was the scene to my right:

ugly ugly ugly

And that’s why Ryan wanted to ask to move tables, but what I would have really preferred was to move sections and I don’t know how I would ask a server to put me in someone else’s section without coming off like a jerk. Having said all that it was kind of fun to watch the cooks do their thing, since I was directly facing the window where the servers picked up orders. Open kitchens are cool and I was liking watching them but you would think that Joe’s Garage could do something to make this space a little less horrid. I would think that for a relatively small investment they could make this into a much nicer space so that people stuck back there didn’t feel like they were secondary citizens, smashed between a service area and storage.

waited 30 mins for wine

Now that I’m being honest, after waiting 30-plus minutes for house wine I was in such a mood that I really wasn’t going to have anything positive to say about the experience, and the wine backed that plan up. I know house wine is by definition not the best stuff, but this tasted halfway to vinegar.

shrimp wontons

The shrimp wonton appetizer I had was good. Chopped up shrimp that was seasoned with curry and a coleslaw that was dominated by toasted sesame oil flavor. Dipping sauce is what you’d expect, some kind of Ponzu sauce.

lamb sliders

The lamb sliders were surprisingly meaty, although they were done more pink than I would have liked, as I have a natural aversion to underdone ground meats. They had a generous slathering of chevre and roasted red peppers which were both slightly warm, but also ice-cold strips of portobella mushroom which were unpleasant against the warm burgers. My fries, in contrast to Ryan’s, were still hot and I was happy to share them with him — I didn’t want to fill up on them when I had a dessert coming anyway. Priorities, people!

coconut creme caramel

For my dessert selection I went with the coconut crème caramel. I had checked out the menu online for Restaurant Week, which turned out to be abbreviated as online it was Banana Cream Pie, and when we actually got to the restaurant it was listed at Chocolate Banana Cream Pie. Bah!

During our extended wait that evening I saw many of the crème caramel being brought out with lots of lovely blackberries and raspberries, so I was disappointed when mine had mostly sad-looking blueberries. Outside of that, the custard itself was very good and was also the highlight of my meal, but that’s not surprising given my love for pretty much all custard desserts.

Ambiance – Bad. Ryan didn’t hate it but I have never been seated in such a terrible area of a restaurant. I don’t understand how they can justify seating people next to an overflowing storage area.
Service – Well, it was just plain terrible. We were ignored, our order was obviously forgotten but there was no attempt to address the situation or even recognize that the server screwed up. It doesn’t even take 40 seconds to pour a glass of wine, much less 40 minutes. However, Ryan and I both appreciated the response of the manager to our email complaint. He knew where we sat and who our server was and said that he was going to address the situation with her.
Food – It was fine. Considering the three courses were a total of $15 the value was there, but when you’re waiting over an hour for a chicken breast, mini burgers and fries it’s impossible to muster anything but the very faintest of praise.
Overall experience – Very bad. If we had not been offered a gift card by the manager I would not plan on going back, ever. We will give it another shot, perhaps in the summer on their rooftop patio overlooking Loring Park.

The Necessities
Joe’s Garage
1610 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN
612.904.1163

Have you eaten at Joe’s Garage? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below!

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Blue Door Pub

27 Aug

Visited Tuesday, August 24th with Dick and Marcie Glanzer

Ryan
With my parents visiting from South Dakota, we decided to take them out to a restaurant on our “must try” list. Something casual and local was the thought, so we took in St. Paul’s Blue Door Pub, one of the area’s four restaurants claiming to have the best Juicy Lucy type of burger. At Blue Door Pub, their famous burger is known as the Blucy.

Much like competitor Matt’s Bar, the line to get a table stretched outside with a 15-20 minute wait for indoor seating. But there were outdoor tables, and on an unseasonably pleasant August night, we opted to sit outside. The only catch is they don’t serve alcohol outside, and their beer list was supposedly very impressive. That was disappointing, but clearly the outdoor area was a far more pleasant place to sit.

I scoured the menu up and down looking for a burger that didn’t have much cheese, but I was out of luck. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not a big cheese fan, but will certainly eat it in smaller doses if it’s part of an entrée. I could have done a custom build-a-burger, but I was really wanting to try one of their original concoctions. With that in mind, I thought the Bangkok Blucy was my best bet. The mozzarella on the inside of the burger was soaked in coconut oil first. The burger was then prepared with  some Thai-style vegetables on top, and came with a side of spicy curry dipping sauce. I also ordered the fries. Dad opted for the Bacon Blucy, while Mom tried the weekly special Guadalupe Lucy.

Bangkok Blucy

Ryan tried the Bangkok Blucy

Coming from a family that raises its own cows, I have eaten many hamburgers over the years, and always have a freezer stocked full of hamburger, so it takes quite a bit to impress this guy. But I must say the Bangkok was pretty awesome. The first few bites were good, but I wasn’t getting a blast of Thai flavor like I expected, but I had overlooked the dish of curry sauce at first. When dipped in that, the Bangkok really came to life! I believe it was a 1/3 lb. burger, which is a bit smaller than the burgers I usually make for myself, but it was filling. I barely noticed the cheese since it had more of a coconut flavor to it. For me, this was a winning burger.

I don’t have much to grade other than the food for the Blue Door Pub, seeing how we didn’t really get to  see the inside of the restaurant or experience their beer list. The service was good, the menu had lots more options than the other local burger establishments, and the food was very tasty. Between the four of us, our bill was in the $40 range, so it was also affordable. I’d go there again.

Lauren:
I had suggested the Blue Door Pub once before, but we ended up going to Saji Ya instead that night – and thank God! We went with Ryan’s parents on a mild Tuesday night at 8pm and found ourselves in the peanut-sized restaurant, yelling back and forth over the din (and probably ruining the dinner of the table we were practically standing on top of) if we should wait for inside seating or sit on the sidewalk and forgo the BDP’s supposedly awesome beer list. We chose the quieter, beer-less route and sought immediate seating outside. I can’t imagine how busy it must be on a Saturday night!

I think it took me longest of the four of us to decide on what I should order… everything looked so tasty! I was torn between the original Blucy and the Merriam Park, which was just like the original (blue cheese and garlic) with the addition of bacon and red currant jelly. In the end I went the sweet-savory route with the Merriam Park. I also ordered tator tots, which I love but ended up being COMPLETELY unnecessary as I could only finish half of my burger.

Merriam Park Blucy

Lauren went the savoury-meets-sweet route with the Merriam Park Blucy

Unfortunately I think I made the wrong choice as the red currant jelly was more sweet than I was expecting…I had hoped for a savory-sweet-tart experience. I thought Ryan’s Bangkok Blucy was FANTASTIC though! That coconut curry dipping sauce they served with the burger was outstanding and I definitely dipped most of my tots in it. He was definitely on the fence about whether to build his own burger or to get one of the house specialties, but I did my part to badger him a little bit about not re-inventing the wheel, and I think he was pleased with his decision.

On all technical notes I think the Blue Door Pub hit all the right notes. While the M.P. Blucy wasn’t my favorite from a taste standpoint, from a Jucy Lucy standpoint it was prepared very well…toasty bun, melty cheese without having a charred meat exterior…mmmmm. I have attempted my share of home-Jucy Lucy making and I can *never* get it right. I always overcook the meat and the cheese leaks out from the burger.

Service was fine, I don’t think any of us had any complaints. I think the server may have forgotten about us once or twice and didn’t check on us very often (I recall her apologising) but I wasn’t bothered; my water and Diet Coke were both kept reasonably filled.

All in all, the Blue Door is definitely a place I would like to go back to. I would love to try another Blucy and experience this beer list I keep hearing so much about! Someone tell me, though, is there a time when they’re not busy? Early Wednesday morning? Sunday at precisely 4:19 pm?

Ambience – 4.5/5. We sat outside. Although BDP is on somewhat of a main  street, it’s a dead end so there isn’t too much traffic past the front of the restaurant
Service – 3.5/5. No complaints here. Our waitress apologized for not checking in with us more, but I don’t think any of us minded being left alone to eat our burgers.
Food – 3.5/5. I think I would have liked it more with a different burger – but that was my fault for bad ordering.  Next time I will know better! Also, I really wish something could be done so you could sit on the sidewalk AND have a beer!
Overall experience – 4/5. I really liked it! It was small, of course, and had an upscale neighbourhood pub feel…although, to really pull off the neighbourhood pub thing, they would need to have about seating for about 50 more, just MHO. But all of the people waiting outside near our table were very mellow, so to have them standing around was not really a bother. I can say that the Blue Door Pub is a place that I would definitely go again!

Brasa

14 Jul

Visited June 29, 2010

Ryan
Lauren and I met up with an old friend of Lauren’s from high school, Chelsea, for a Tuesday night dinner at Brasa. Brasa is located in northeast Minneapolis and is placed in what looks like a former auto repair shop with its big garage doors. Brasa claims to serve comfort food inspired by the Creole cooking traditions of the Americas and Caribbean. Their rotisserie meats and side dishes are 100% natural, local, and organic, and are made completely from scratch.

The girls and I split a pitcher of Surly for $19—kind of an unusually steep price considering a pint was $5 and the pitcher only filled about three pint glasses with a few drops to spare. But the waitress was attentive and we were drinking beer before long. I admired the ingenuity of the establishment with its wide-open atmosphere. The indoor and outdoor sections blended together perfectly into one general seating area. Seeing how it was a hot, sunny evening, it was nice to sit under the roof on the indoor side but still get the benefit of the breeze.

what Ryan ate

After very little contemplation, I ordered a 2-meat/2-side combo, choosing the rotisserie chicken and pulled pork, with sides of yellow rice & beans and yams & Andouille sausage, costing me $15. The food was delivered in about twenty minutes and I dug right in. I expected a heaping mound of meats, but the portions were merely adequate. The meats were amazingly delicious—very juicy with some interesting seasonings. There was no heat, however. The jar of homemade hot sauce on the table barely sufficed, but I guess not all dishes need to be hot and spicy… just my personal preference. Much like the Caribbean joint in Stillwater (Smalley’s BBQ) the sides were great compliments to the main course. The sausage in the yams was a little strange (I tend to find thinly sliced round meats visually unappealing) but all was good.

As you can see in Ryan’s Rankings at the top tab on the page, the highlight of Brasa was the food. The staff was fine, the atmosphere was unusual but nice, the value was reasonable, but the portions were a little small in my opinion. Overall it received 41 points, good for only 10th of 17 restaurant experiences so far, which is kind of misleading as I really enjoyed it.

Lauren

Chelsea and I go way back to the early days of high school, so far back that if I posted a picture from our 15-year-old selves from Eden Prairie she would probably never speak to me again. And I would deserve it – we were both such choir geeks.

As both of our busy schedules would have it, she and I sadly don’t get a chance to catch up that often. Before we met up in late June, the last time I had seen her was before Ryan’s and my wedding in October! So I was thrilled when she had a Tuesday evening available for dinner – even if she did have to run back to work after we ate.

Ryan and I arrived at Brasa precisely at the agreed-upon time, and were seated immediately in a half-booth inside. The patio looked really lovely, but was full, as was most of the restaurant. I was somewhat surprised at how busy it was, but given Chef Alex Roberts’ deserved fame I shouldn’t have been. As Ryan mentioned, we still had a good feeling of being outdoors with the large garage-style front opened up to the summer air. Chelsea arrived as well and we chatted while quickly deciding on a pitcher to share. On further reflection, the pitcher was a rather poor idea. I think that the single pints of Surly are $5.50, while the pitcher is $19, and we got slightly more than three glasses from the pitcher, so I think in effect we paid more for the pitcher than we would have, had we ordered three individual beers.

I also decided on a two-meat platter, figuring that either Ryan would finish his meal and still be hungry (he was, and picked off of mine while I finished) or I would take a bit of food home. I also chose the pulled chicken, and the braised beef. I was disappointed to hear that they were out of the plantains for the day, because that was an item that had caught my eye on the online menu, but decided to go with the yams and a side salad.

what Lauren ate at Brasa

The side salad was great, with a light tangy vinaigrette, chunks of fresh mozzarella and shaved radish. I have never much cared for radishes, but I am trying to get on board with them as we get quite a few in our CSA box. I liked this application of them, probably because they were shaved which allowed them to play nicely with the mozzarella. I also really enjoyed the yams with the Andouille sausage, though it was possibly a side dish that is best saved for colder months.

The meat was naturally quite good, although I didn’t enjoy the chicken terribly. It came in some kind of cream gravy, which is listed on the menu but I don’t think I noticed before I made my order. I think I would have been happier trying the rotisserie chicken, as Ryan encouraged me to do. Still, the chicken that I did eat was quite tasty. As I alluded to before, I ate my dinner rather slowly while Chelsea and I chatted so Ryan had cleaned his plate when I had barely finished my salad! After deciding that the chicken wasn’t my cup of tea, I passed it to Ryan who happily polished it off.

The beef was quite outstanding and I had to trouble myself to offer some for Ryan to try (he must have enjoyed his pork too much to offer me a bite! ;))

My constant fear ordering meat in a restaurant is that it will be greasy or somehow unpalatable by me. I was a vegetarian for many years so a lot of times certain meat entrees look or sound too “icky” for me to try. I have improved a lot in the past few years (I now eat bratwurst, which I wouldn’t have touched a few years ago) and I am constantly challenging myself to step outside my comfort zone. But the braised beef at Brasa was perfect. If I were to have a complaint, it would be that the barbecue sauce served on top was too sweet for my taste.

The service was also quite good. It was a hot night and I emptied my water glass several times, but I never had to wait more than a few minutes to have it refilled, despite the busy dining room. And even more impressively, after the three of us had finished our meals, declined dessert and paid our bill, my water glass was still being filled while we chatted another 15 minutes.

In short, Brasa is a place that I desperately wish I lived near. We will be back soon!

Northeast Social

15 Mar

Here’s another restaurant I should have reviewed right away but didn’t, and now I have to try to remember it.

Northeast Social Club

I rarely use texting lingo but OMG!

Oh, yeah, now I remember!  This place was amazing.  Located in northeast Minneapolis, the Northeast Social was an impromptu mid-week dinner selection for a double date with the Walshichettis.  One interesting thing about this restaurant is its ever-changing menu.  When we were there, it was the girls that both opted for the Black Angus sirloin, cooked rare, while Walsh and I tried some “lighter” options.  I can’t recall what Walsh tried, but I opted for the braised pork shank (above).  It was one of the single most delicious meals I’ve eaten in a restaurant… ever.  The meat just fell off the bone and was served with sweet potato fries and asparagus.  I ate every last bit of meat, leaving only a clean bone behind.  Really, my meal was that good.

The downfall was the price (about $20 per entree), but I can honestly say it was worth the money.  If I went back there and that pork was still on the menu, I would definitely have it again before trying something new.  I think Walsh and I had beers while the girls split a bottle of wine.  I can’t recall if we had dessert or not.

The atmosphere was nice too.  It was pretty dark with candles lighting the tables.  The tables are kinda squeezed in pretty tight to each other though.  The wait staff was courteous and attentive, and earned themselves a fine tip.

So the next time you’re feeling like splurging a little, call ahead and make reservations for Northeast Social.  It gets Ryan Glanzer’s seal of approval, 5/5 Noms, and the top overall spot in the rankings.

Lutsen Resort

13 Oct

For our honeymoon, Mrs. Glanzer and I went up north to the Lutsen Resort on the shore of Lake Superior.  While there, we had the chance to dine at the fancy lodge, which had surprisingly excellent fine dining!

Course 3 of 4 at Lutsen Resort, the Mahi Mahi

Course 3 of 4 at Lutsen Resort, the Mahi Mahi

I ordered the Prix Fixe, which I guess means the chef’s special hand-picked four-course meal.  Each portion of the meal was quite delicious.

Appetizer – For an appetizer, I received an artichoke dip with bread.  This is one of those things I never really find very appealing, but it was as good as I’ve had.  Lauren also got an appetizer with her meal—a set of beef kabobs, which I thought were outstanding.

Salad – My next portion was the house salad, a tossed salad with walnuts and a blueberry dressing.  Our waitress assured us most patrons say this is the best salad they’ve ever eaten.  While I wouldn’t make that claim, it was pretty good.  Salads with fruit-based dressings always set well with me.

Entree – The main course for the night was the mahi mahi, served with steamed greens and pureed Jerusalem artichoke… though I thought it was mashed potatoes until Lauren told me otherwise.  The mahi mahi was very tasty—a lighter option but bursting with savory goodness.  The artichoke and greens were nice complements.

Dessert – For dessert, I had little choice but to order the loganberry cheesecake after seeing someone else order it earlier.  It was everything I hoped for!  With a little help from Lauren, I polished it off rather quickly and left my four-course meal comfortably full.

Overall, the Lutsen Resort provided us with some outstanding service and great first-class dining.  I’m not sure about the price, as we cashed in an $80 meal voucher and paid the balance, but it seemed reasonable enough!

Lauren:

I decided against the Prix Fixe, as I knew that Ryan would let me steal nibbles from his dessert. Instead, I ordered a la carte, with some delicious beef kabobs, and an even more delicious ribeye steak. Beef with a steak chaser? I’m in! As pictured above, it came with sautéed squash and one prawn on top. Complemented by a rich, warm zinfandel, it was a delicious dinner in a perfect honeymoon.

Ryan: I’d give Lutsen 4/5 Noms.

Lauren: I agree! 4/5 Noms.

Liffey’s Pub

2 Aug

Today, Lauren and I visited St. Paul to tour the Titanic exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum (I touched part of the Titanic), but before that, we stopped for a late lunch at Liffey’s Pub in St. Paul, right down near the XCel Energy Center.

I ordered the Shepherd’s Pie and a pint of Boddington’s.  The food was excellent.  I am all about thick gravy, meat, and vegetables, so this was right up my proverbial alley.  And of course the Boddington’s is always a favorite.  As my good friend Patrick once described it, “it kind of tastes like air.”

I ordered the Shepherd's Pie, which came with a side salad.

I ordered the Shepherd's Pie, which came with a side salad.

Lauren opted for the bison burger, which she enjoyed but wondered if it was as lean as it could have been.  She also sampled four half-pint glasses of Guinness beers, including the original, the 250 special lager, Harp, and Smithwick’s.

Lauren opted for the bison burger.

Lauren opted for the bison burger.

Lauren also slammed back sample-sized Guinness brews.

Lauren also slammed back sample-sized Guinness brews.

The real fun was dessert.  The waitress talked me into ordering a 3-dessert sampler, supposedly small portions of their three desserts.  I anticipated little shooters or something, but I was shocked to receive full-sized portions of chocolate cake, apple crisp with ice cream, and a carmel apple cheesecake.  This was definitely the highlight of my meal, and all for only $6.99!  I made certain to hit the gym extra hard that night to work off what had to have been a couple thousand calories.

This 3-course dessert could have fed a family, but I did it proud myself.

This 3-course dessert could have fed a family, but I did it proud myself.

Aside from the food, I enjoyed the quiet, empty atmosphere of the 2:40 Sunday crowd, and the attentiveness of our vocal waitress, who did an excellent job with recommendations.  We tipped her well for her efforts.

Lauren:

It’s impossible to dislike the Liffey. I love it when I get the option to order a salad with a burger, and out of the kitchen comes a pile of mixed baby greens. But the burger itself was, unfortunately, very forgettable. For supposedly being a bison burger, it was incredibly greasy! I didn’t quite understand how that happened, unless it had been marinated in butter. Blech.

The real highlight of our visit to the Liffey for me, was the four teeny Guinness beers on a tray. Guinness 250 has just come out, so as a long-time fan of the dark Irish stout I had to try it. My verdict? I prefer the original Guinness. The anniversary brew had too much sweetness for me. I had tried Harp and Smithwick’s before, of course, but I enjoyed drinking out of the teeny little glasses.

When we go out to restaurants, it tends to be Ryan who wants to order desserts. I am actually not a very big fan of most restaurant desserts. I’m not a huge fan of dense, fudgy chocolate concoctions, and most cheesecakes you will find in an average restaurant are grainy and worth neither the calories consumed nor the money spent.

However, I can rarely resist a tasty fruit-based dessert. Don’t be fooled that I am trying to be “healthy” if I ever order a fruit dessert in front of you – I simply prefer desserts that are centered around seasonal fruit! So it was with gusto that I tucked into the apple-pear cobbler portion (middle) of the ridiculous dessert trio that Ryan was convinced into ordering. Nothing speaks of the approaching fall (and our approaching wedding!) like a spicy, fragrant apple crisp. Mmmm.

Ryan: Overall, I’d recommend Liffey’s for food and drink before or after your next Wild game.  4.4/5 Noms + bonus points for atmosphere and staff friendliness.

Lauren: Our waitress was very friendly and attentive, talking to me about the new Guinness 250, but the restaurant was also empty but for us. I didn’t care for my burger, to be honest, but the Liffey is still a great place to grab a beer and an appetizer before a Wild game. 3.5/5 Noms.

Town Hall

20 Jun

Ryan

After attending the Twins/Astros game on the evening of Saturday, June 20, Lauren and I met up with friends Christian and Jaime at one of our favorite local restaurants/breweries, Town Hall.  Located at Seven Corners in Minneapolis on Washington Ave, Town Hall has long been Lauren’s standby for excellent food and drink.

A couple of Town Hall's craft brews went down smooth on a muggy summer night.

A couple of Town Hall's craft brews went down smooth on a muggy summer night.

In my experiences there, I’ve found their home brews exceptional.  On this night, I tried the Oatmeal Stout and was once again very satisfied!  This isn’t the kind of place you should go to get drunk.  I think Town Hall is better for occasions when you’re going to just sip on a beer or two and savor the flavor.

I didn't think to get a picture until I was halfway done.  But, better late than never.

I didn't think to get a picture until I was halfway done. But, better late than never.

I had no choice but to order the Seven Corners Burger, the best burger I’ve tried so far in the Twin Cities.  Of course I’m biased because I don’t like cheese, so I can’t consider most people’s favorites like the Juicy Lucy.  The Seven Corners burger is a 1/2 lb. burger topped with smoked bacon and Oatmeal Stout BBQ sauce, served with a lettuce, tomato, and pickle.  I’m not sure what it is that makes it so good.  Maybe it’s the BBQ sauce or even the bun, but whatever it is, it blows me away!

Lauren

It’s true, reviewing Town Hall Brewery, for me, is like interviewing someone I’ve known for years. I took many a date there for dinner before Ryan convinced me to settle down. I particularly love the sidewalk patio.

Like Ryan, my typical go-to choice of entree at Town Hall is the Seven Corners Burger.  But this night in particular, I decided to deviate from the beaten path for something just a bit lighter.

Lauren raved about her Raspberry Chicken Salad.

Lauren raved about her Raspberry Chicken Salad

Don’t let the salad fool you — I stole at least a few fries off of Ryan’s plate. I loved this salad, though! The bright pink dressing was a bit heavy for my taste, as I usually prefer to order my dressings on the side and drizzle them on lightly. But the red onions had a little bit of bite, the blue cheese was tangy and the chicken tasty.

I think the Seven Corners burger will always be my favorite menu item at Town Hall, but for a lighter option I was very pleased with this salad.

Ratings:
Ryan: 5/5 Noms!  The food and drink were delicious, the atmosphere was great, and the prices were very reasonable.

Lauren: I agree with Ryan! I love this place. Reasonable food prices, delicious beer and a friendly, casual atmosphere.