Minnesota Restaurant Reviews

Don't feel like cooking tonight? Find your next meal at one of these Minnesota eateries.

A Review of Barley and Vine – Lakeville’s Newest Eatery

If you live anywhere in the Lakeville/Farmington/Apple Valley region, you can finally exhale. The newest eatery in Lakeville — Barley and Vine (formerly known as Copper River, formerly known as Molly Cool’s, and so on, and so forth) — has arrived. And spoiler alert: So far, it’s everything you wanted it to be. Let’s do a quick postmortem so we can get some closure. For the past 6 years, the big space with the awesome patio rotated owners and names, but not much else. Even at its best, we simply didn’t need another steak and chop house in our neighborhood. We needed a place with St. Paul-Minneapolis restaurant level flavor (at a better price) that was a close enough option for date night so we could try out our inexperienced fifteen year old neighbor as a babysitter. And though we mid-class-south-metro-suburbanites could shell out $12 for a glass of wine or $16 for a salad, let’s make it very clear: we don’t want to. That’s why we live in the ‘burbs. Our taxes suck, and we want the best of both worlds. So on day two of their much anticipated opening, my good friend Marsh and I ventured out 3 minutes west (see why we want this to succeed so badly? It’s literally next door.) to see if we were finally getting what we’ve been asking for. It was busy. Not too busy that we wanted to walk out, but a nice, balanced buzz of conversation hung in the air and a bustling service team weaved seamlessly between tables and the bar. We got excited. We were seated at...

MaK and Cheese at the NFL’s Taste of the Vikings

When you’re a former U of M fullback and your wife is a food blogger, and you get a chance to combine your respective loves of food and football, you jump on that date night opportunity, stat. The NFL’s Taste of the Vikings 2015 was held at the Depot in Minneapolis on October 12th. (Not to be mistake for October 10th… because we totally did that and showed up Saturday night due to a calendar snafu. I guess God thought we needed two dates in three days. But I digress.) The goal of the event is to fight hunger, and this year all proceeds went to Second Harvest Heartland, a wonderful local organization helping to provide meals to local children in need. Of course, the draw for me was all the fantastic Minneapolis-St.Paul area restaurants featuring signature dishes, all competing to be named “Top Restaurant” of Taste of the Vikings 2015. There were twenty restaurants total, and we tried just about everything, so we drove home borderline uncomfortable, but it was well worth it.   So without further adieu, here are my thoughts and critiques on some of the notable things we tried: Lobster Mac and Cheese – Bloomington Chophouse Again, let’s set the precedent here that our family just returned from at trip to Maine, so anything with lobster is going to be highly scrutinized. Mr. MaK’s not a seafood fan, but this was one of his favorites. I thought their cheddar was nice, not too sharp, not too salty, and they had some nice sized lobster chunks. But the thing about any mac and cheese is that it’s hard to...

A Very Sweet “Sour” Experience – A Sour Beer and Wine Dinner by Salt Cellar and Schell’s Brewery

A Sour Beer and Wine Dinner by Salt Cellar and Schell’s Brewery Ever have that friend that just “gets” you? For me that’s my friend Marsh. Marsh is good friends with Jace Marti of Schell’s Brewery. Proud of her college buddy’s success, she follows the brewery’s happenings and supports it wherever she can, so when she heard about this dinner through social media she knew she wanted to attend — and that she had a very eligible dinner companion in Yours Truly. So on a cool autumn Thursday, we shuffled into the back room of the   St. Paul restaurant, the Salt Cellar, to meet a wonderful group of new people and experience a plethora of amazing new flavors. Speaking of those people, I have to say what a pleasure it was to meet not only Jace, but some other notable names on the Twin Cities food and drink scene, such as Certified Cicerone Micheal Agnew of the Perfect Pint, Leslee Miller of Amusee Wine, and David of Midnight Rosewater. To manage expectations on this post – I love beer. And I love wine. And I’m pretty courageous, so I had no qualms about pairing wine and sour beers with some delicious culinary counterparts. But you might be new here, so this is my disclaimer to any craft beer hounds or wine-o’s out who may happen to be reading: I’m all about the food. Between all six food items and the two sour beer and wine pairing for each, we’d have a lot of ground to cover, so I’m going to give you my highlights of the evening. Fried Oyster...

Oh, Sole Mio Woodbury – An Italian Restaurant Review

Sole Mio Restaurant Review Last weekend, we stumbled on a suburban gem. And I’m still excited about it. After spending a couple of hours on Lake Calhoun with some good friends, we decided we’d continue our quest of car shopping for Mr. MaK. (His vehicle went belly-up about three weeks ago, and we’ve still been borrowing spare cars from family members and ride sharing. Oy.) We wound up in the car dealership district of White Bear Lake and decided to head for home as we had no real luck, and it was past the Bug’s bedtime. Then it hit is. We were starving. Any normal, logical young couple dressed in scrubby beach clothes would have realized their fate and simply crossed their fingers that they would breeze through a Golden Arches drive-thru before their tired 9-month-old turned into a pumpkin. Not us. We had a real hunger…that could only be satisfied with real food. (And let’s get real, we were car shopping with an infant. We needed a drink.) I began fervently searching on my phone and mentioned the Italian place that popped up as we were about to go through Woodbury. It didn’t look too fancy, but this was no Sbarro either, so we immediately became self conscious of our swim suits covered in t-shirts and cutoff shorts. Oh, and our footie-pajama’d baby. Did I mention she was already in her pajamas? We were greeted as if we were dressed in business-casual and promptly granted our request to be seated on the patio. Our server, Cynthia, recommended a $6 glass of Italian white wine, which was actually pretty...

Spoon and Stable Review

After a lovely 6 week wait for our reservation to finally arrive, we made it. (Not bad for my first Minneapolis restaurant review, right?) Here it is, the MaK and Cheese Spoon and Stable review. Let me start out by saying that I had a couple of the best dinner dates a gal could ask for when it comes to both beauty and great company, so a big shout out to Tina and Marsh for joining me on this adventure. We were fortunate enough to be seated right next to their notable glass wine case/tower/castle. I mean really, it’s like someone took the library from Beauty and the Beast, shrunk it down a bit and replaced the books with wine. (And that’s my kind of library.) Alright, so let’s get right to the Spoon and Stable experience. Being one of the “hottest new Minneapolis restaurants,” blah blah blah — it was still crazy busy for a Thursday night at 9PM. (Which yes, happens to be WAY past my bedtime.)   Pre-Dinner: We started with the Madai Snapper Crudo with tomato confit, pickled cucumber, olives, and greek yogurt. And can I first say how beautiful this damn raw fish is? It looks like tropical Christmas on a plate. The snapper was super fresh, and the sweet-to-acidic ratio in the pickles combined with the creamy yogurt was a perfect balance. I wanted to order about three more plates. Oh, and their bread. As healthy as I try eat, I will nearly always give in and pick white bread over wheat. (In fact, I’d typically choose no bread over wheat.) But the Spoon...