On Friday, myself, DH, and my brother ate at Java Restaurant on Nicollet. My brother had insisted that the food was great, but I was skeptical. I had been there 7 or 8 years ago and did not like it. I don't know if it was a just a bad day before, but we had a great meal.
So, every restaurant has three things to consider: food, ambience, and service. I'll start with food.
We split the appetizer plate. We ordered the small which the menu states is for three people. What it doesn't state is that it is for three people not ordering anything else. The thing is huge. It comes with a large spinich pie, hummous, tabulli, baba ganoush, and 4 of the greatest falafils I've ever had.
The falafil was amazing. Little round balls of goodness. Unlike other places, they were not hard as a rock, nor were they even dry. They were sort of moist inside, but not overly so. Topped with seasame seeds, they were the best falafil I've had in the Twin Cities.
Since I was warned about the size, I only ordered the Combo Sandwich. Sandwich is a misnomer since it was so large and overflowing, I could not eat it without a fork. It was filled with lettuce (blah) and super tasty and moist gyro meat and a combo of fried veggies. It was topped with sauce (tahini?). It was excellent. The gyro meat was very good, clearly not the stuff that most gyro places pass off as good. This was actually flavorful and moist.
(On a side note, their meat is Halah)
My brother got the gyro sandwich. It was as large as mine and he loved it.
My husband got the rabbit entree. He ordered it baked (it also comes fried) in some sort of sauce. It was super tender, fall off the bone good. It had a great flavor and the sauce was good too. It came with soup- a veggie soup that was fairly plain, but good. It came with salad- iceburg lettuce with tahini- boring. And rice pilaf and pita. The pita was very good and the rice pilaf was very boring too.
DH and I also ordered some weird herbal drink that was very good. It tasted like an herbal, watered down koolaid. I like koolaid, so I really liked it.
The service was excellent. The woman checked on us many times, but wasn't annoying. The food came out all at the same time (which I realize should always happen, but rarely does on eat street.) She kept our glasses full, answered all our questions, was very pleasant.
Now, the ambience. The sign outside says the restaurant has been open since 1974. When you walk through the doors you are walking straight into 1974. It is crazy. Wood paneling on the walls, original carpet, fake leather booths. My husband states it is just like every family restaurant of his youth. This is not the place to bring your non-ironic hipster friend. But the ironic ones will love it.
Overall, the meal was very good and very inexpensive. I hope to go back soon and try more things on the menu.
(and sorry about the spellings, I know there are many mistakes)
2801 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408