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MSP trip report--thanks for the recs

shellymck | Mar 31, 200506:36 PM

Thanks to all those MSP chowhounds, especially MSPD, who responded to my post down below about places to eat downtown and near the West Bank campus of UMN. We had a good trip though we ended up eating in a lot of areas we hadn’t expected. Here’s the promised report:

Oceanaire—Hubby’s pick on the day we came in and hadn’t eaten all day. We were lucky to get seats at the bar around 5. Had yummy clam chowder and lobster bisque (I recommend only a cup as a bowl is just too rich), oysters, and the wonderful spicy calamari appetizer. I ordered a house salad for the green goddess dressing, which was tasty, but resembled in now way my favorite dressing as a child. Apparently they don’t use anchovies. Service was amazingly professional—the bartender was incredibly busy but we were never neglected or rushed. Yes, I know it’s a chain, we have one in DC, but it was a great dining experience.

Hell’s Kitchen—Thanks to the chowhound rec we waltzed in with reservations and were promptly seated while the masses milled at the door. I had the breakfast special (the two eggs, meat, rosti deal) and hubby had the bison steak benedict. My dish was far better than his. The rosti was good though actually more like hash browns as rosti is usually served in a pancake shape and browned. The bison sausage mine came with also great. Hubby found his steak chewy and the jalapeno orange hollandaise a bit strange and too sweet. Loved the peanut butter, jams and bloody Marys made with beer, which I don’t normally drink since I don’t like vodka.

Kincaids in St. Paul--
We ended up here after visiting the history center. We each ordered a salad, pea in my case, which was deliciously fresh and crunchy, and the blue/walnut in his. We also got the three tier tower of apps which did not impress me at all. Shrimp was overcooked and dry, beef was okay, creamy dip was okay but ordinary. Best thing about the meal was the sour cherry-apple cobbler. The fruit was really tart, the pastry sweet, almost reminded me of cookie dough and the vanilla ice cream creamy and ice cold. Served piping hot and more than enough for two this was one of the two best things I ate on the trip. Service was friendly but very ditzy, there were a lot of financial gymnastics because of mistakes with the bill, server mistakenly closed out our check early and I was charged more than the listed price for dessert which I protested on principle.

Redstone in Eden Prairie
Had a business dinner here and really liked the place. We got one of their deluxe appetizer platters. Everything on it was really good but the standout was the buffalo shrimp—tender, sweet and spicy, moist and chewy. I wish I had gotten a whole plate of these just for me. Luckily I ordered well for the entrée—the rosemary-lemon chicken special. It was half a chicken with some red potatoes and an olive tomato sauce. The chicken was so delicious—smoky, flavorful, moist—all the reasons why sometimes it’s a good idea to order chicken in a restaurant—the other best thing I ate in Minneapolis. Man, I can still taste it now. Really liked this place.

Found ourselves in uptown when I remembered that Minneapolis had a Penzey’s. Rushed there one day after work and had just enough time to do a bit of shopping before it closed. We were both happy we made the trip—loved the funky neighborhood and played a couple of games of pool at the place with 70 taps before moving on to Barbette which I picked by doing a geographical search in the Minneapolis St. Paul magazine. Dinner started out well—hubby got oysters which he deemed tasty, I had the beet and goat cheese salad, which was fresh and clearly an ingredients-driven dish. I wish however our server had been more on the ball because when my entrée came—a fines herbes crepe stuffed with veggies—65% of the plate was actually green salad—I would have ordered the app differently had I been warned. The crepe was a nice alternative to the usual pasta dish but it was tiny—and I am not a person who needs a huge dish. Hubby’s hangar steak and fries were tasty but par for the course for French restaurants in DC. After the entrees, service declined noticeably. It took forever to order dessert, which ended up being comped, because it took forever to get the check. This ended up being a good thing though as I didn’t care for it—the molten chocolate cake was nearly devoid of sugar. I love bittersweet chocolate but this bordered on savory—frankly, what’s the point of dessert if it’s not sweet, unless of course, it’s cheese?

Thanks for the advice. We ate well in MSP.

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