TL; DR Anyone else been to the Red Stag lately for dinner? My husband and I went there for a weeknight dinner and had some poor service and some inconsistent food. I have had consistently decent food there at lunch.
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Temporarily working on-site near the Red Stag in Minneapolis, which has led to convenient lunches with other clients and prospects there. The lunch service is notable: the offerings are varied and consistently well-prepared. I am a repeat customer of the grilled cheese with extras. And the wait staff is more attentive than you'll find anywhere downtown (because busy) and most places in NE/north loop (because not busy enough). The menu doesn't offer much in the way of freshness/seasonality....some might argue that it lacks originality. It's a safe menu, and none of my dining companions has left unsatiated.
My husband and I stopped in last week for a 7 o'clock dinner after work. The place was just over half full when we were seated. And then the waiting began. Slow to get water. Slow for drinks. By then we had decided to skip apps because of a concern about aging. I feel deprived of cheddar cheese curds, but they can be had elsewhere.
Husband ordered a ribeye (the beef special) and I ordered a shrimp risotto with spring peas. The steak was served with fork-smashed fingerlings and ratatouille. The steak was perfectly medium with a beautiful sear. It needed to be rested a minute or two before it was brought out to the table....the raw colored juices kind of ruin a plate's appeal. Had my husband waited for a steak knife to be brought to the table, he might have had the full experience as intended by the lords of the beef. We honestly gave up on trying to flag down our server after a while, and he took to the thing with the table knife. It was somewhat savage, so I did finally manage to get someone's attention. We wives, we do what we can. The spuds were lukewarm by then and the ratatouille just cold. The later was tucked between the spuds and the steak -- where I would plate them to preserve their heat -- so my guess is they weren't heated through before plating.
The risotto was one of the most appealing plates I have seen all summer! A not-too-big pool of bright green pea puree that curved into the creamy risotto studded with green peas and the bright pink tails of shrimp. The pea puree was nicely seasoned. But the rice was chewy and hard and the shrimp had been cooked into tight little fists.
I got the feeling that people don't usually send plates back at the Red Stag. I don't make a habit of doing it anywhere. (Once a month for the last few in Minneapolis -- what gives?) But I'm hungry and the entre is inedible. Back she goes. Normally the waitstaff will do their best to make amends. This guy just sort of gave me the evil eye. Half an hour later the scallop special came. I ordered it because it would be fast. Hubby can only draw out a steak for so long. I had eaten half of it, of course.
The scallops were beautifully crusted on both sides and served on a spicy tomato salad. I could eat _that_ dish every night. It's not the most filling of plates because the starch component is a few large fried wonton chips - but it is delicious. I am a sucker for simple, good food, and this fit the bill.
The server seemed relieved that we didn't want desert. No one would. The least summery menu is offered. Bread pudding in August? I think not. Maybe that's just me. "Ice cream" on a menu wants for some sort of description. Is it Kemp's? Please at least tell me it is not Kemp's. Even that one bit of information make the one line of "ice cream" more intriguing.
Total meal time: 2 hours