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La Belle Vie - Tasting Menu Gluten Free?

They were actually totally accommodating to my allergies as well as to my dining partner's tastes. They basically deilvered 2 outstanding tasting menus that loosely mirrored the courses on the menu, but worked with my allergy and her tastes. It was wonderful.

My menu:
-sunchoke panna cotta with osteria caviar and compressed celery
-yellowtail jack crudo with dried shallots, chorizo, chive oil and citrus essence
-turbot, artichoke, cagna lauda foam, olives, celery and flowers
-pan roasted poussin with pork belly, arugula, cuttlefish 'noodles' in a porcini broth
-rib eye with roquefort butter and braised beef cheeks with oyster mushroomsa
-coconut, kumquat and orange sorbets

companion:
-sunchoke panna cotta with crispy artichokes and compressed celery
-apple and endive salad with duck prosciutto, roquefort, apple and foie gras butter
-pan seared foie gras with caramelized quince and foie gras cheesecake with graham crackers and sherry gelee
-pan roasted poussin with smoked bacon, braised endive, medjool date, granola, Ras el Hanout
-rib eye with roquefort butter and braised beef cheeks with oyster mushrooms
-caramel crémeux and olive oil cake and citrus sorbet

Great experience all around.

Feb 17, 2012
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

La Belle Vie - Tasting Menu Gluten Free?

Headed to La Belle Vie for a special occassion dinner and haven't been able to get ahold of anyone at LBV that can assist with letting me know if the current 5 course tasting menu is GF-friendly. Any experience either with the current tasting menu or past tasting menus and Gluten Free restrictions? Or with LBV and GF restrictions in general? Thanks in advance.

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La Belle Vie
510 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405

Feb 15, 2012
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Spring 2011 Restaurant Week in the Twin Cities

RGT - I didn't mean any harm with the capitalization, I was just trying to emphasize what my perception is of an appetizer/starter/etc - in that it's enough to whet your tastebuds and appetite but not sate your hunger. Mea culpa on the caps.

That aside, I am truly sorry to hear that your evening there wasn't on par with the evening we had there. And sadly, it sounds like they could've made your experience nearly as enjoyable as ours with a few minor tweaks in delivery/timing/service in general. I think that lends itself to a bigger conversation that has been ongoing on the MSP chow boards as well as loosely to the Woodman/Russo discussion - that is, for Minneapolis restaurants to truly be on the same level as world class establishments in larger markets there is still room for improvement(s) in regards to service/timing/etc. And as much I believe in and love and support MSP restaurants, to an extent I concur - albeit in this particular case my experience with Meritage was excellent but can say that I've had sub-par experiences at other establishments in our fair cities. But I digress, like I said this is a topic that continues to come up again and again in Minneapolis/St Paul restaurant culture.

But back to Meritage. The Sazerac was very tasty. I believe - although not 100% certain - that they use Peychaud's Bitters. And the absinthe I can honestly say I don't recall which they used. The bourbon I'm pretty positive was Rebel Reserve - and normally I'm not big on Rebel Yell or Rebel Reserve but it tasted awfully nice, especially with some of Meritage's pommes frites with bernaise.

Again, sorry for the misunderstanding on the capitalization and sorry to hear your experience was lackluster. But at least know that folks like myself can attest to having outstanding experiences there, I guess that counts for something right?

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Meritage
410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

Mar 09, 2011
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Spring 2011 Restaurant Week in the Twin Cities

Also dined at Meritage during RW this time around. Didn't encounter anything remotely similar to the experience RGT describes. And as an aside, we went on Friday evening, the last night of RW and were ready to deal with less than enthusiastic service if forced to. In fact it was entirely the opposite. From the front of housers to our dedicated server, to the watering crew, service was top-notch and GASP! on par with 'high end restaurants' people may frequent. Chef Klein even made his way through the dining room table by table to check in with the masses.

We were seated early, which was fine. Ordered Pommes Frites and Sazeracs while we discussed the RW menu. Both of us chose the Sausage/Lentils starter. Both of us really enjoyed it. Neither of us were insulted by the portion, which was.....a portion size I would expect for a STARTER.

I did the Pork/Polenta/Kale/Carrots and really enjoyed it. The chop was inch or inch and quarter thickness, again, unsure what the complaint was about the sizing of the pork chop as I found it to be of average or better than average cut. Kale and carrots were both perfectly done and polenta was nice subtle addition to the dish as a whole. My dining companion had the Veal/Spaetzle/Broccoli and loved it. The meat was absolutely fork tender and of correct portioning. The spaetzle was fine and did the job for absorbing the flavorful Veal Demi type sauce that accompied the dish. I should note at this point, we both noted that we were stuffed. Now, don't get me wrong, we split an order of pommes frites 30 minutes before we started the meal but if the portions were so meager I would doubt we would've been sated at this point.

For dessert I opted for the Tapioca with citrus segments and my partner the beignets. Both were well executed and timely.

Overall, we both agreed it was our best RW dining experience to date and was a truly overall excellent dining experience. Made our dinner the night before at Barbette seem kind of like Arby's.

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Meritage
410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

Mar 07, 2011
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Gluten-Free Dining?

Sen Yai Sen Lek, Brasa and Pizza Luce all have GF specific menus.
The guys at Travail have been ridiculously accommodating to GF requests as well.

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Sen Yai Sen Lek
2422 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

Dec 14, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Nick & Eddie: WORST restaurant in Minneapolis

Different strokes for different folks...

NEVER had a negative experience at N&E and I've dined and drank there many times.
Sure the service isn't on the same level as La Belle Vie but neither is the price point...
It's hard to deny how accessible their price point is. The food in my experience has always been on point. Plus they provide an outlet for some of the most progressive musical artists in the area (See their standing Wednesday night M.D.S. sets). So if you're not into a relaxed atmosphere, creative and affordable food, cheap cocktails and arguably the best organic musical happenings then by all means 'NEVER go to this restaurant.'

Sorry your experience(s) haven't panned out, but I feel your advice to openly disuade diners from checking out N&E is a little brash.

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La Belle Vie
510 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405

Dec 06, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Looking for a Good Indian Buffet

Any other details re: Raja's Mahal? I live nearby but have never had the heart to pass up going to Gandhi Mahal when I'm hungry for Indian, thus I've never tried Raja's Mahal...

I saw some pictures of the interior online and to be honest I kind of thought it looked like the basement of a MN Lutheran Church, is it still so? Were there any highlights from the buffet?

Thanks for mentioning it as I always mean to ask about it but inevitably forget...

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Gandhi Mahal
3009 27th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

Aug 12, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Restaurant Week - August 1-6

We did Meritage on Wed, Saffron on Thurs.

Meritage - we both started with the Tomato Panzenella Salad (mine sans the bread) and it was bona-fide summer on a plate. Big chunks of Cukes, Peppers, Tomatos, Feta and Olive Oil soaked bread. My main was the Shrimp and Crab Risotto with grilled corn and zucchini balls. Pretty solid flavors, but could have used more of the grilled corn, which was a nice textural contrast as well as sweet balance. S/O had the Steak Frites w/Bernaise. Hanger steak seasoned perfectly and cooked to a legitimate medium with fries that were some of the best we've had. For dessert I did the chocolate mousse, which was fine, but nothing memorable and she did the Blueberry Clafoutis, which was good but could have used the standard light dusting of sugar. Service was efficient but not necessarily warm. Cocktails were good, but pricey, obviously. Pleasant experience overall, it being our first time at Meritage and both have agreed it bumps itself near the top of our list for STP.

Saffron - Also our first time dining here. Greeted warmly by Sameh's brother and seated promptly. Good way to start. Started off with the cold corn soup. Insanely good. Velvet-y, sweet, light-yet-rich. Loved it. S/O had the heirloom tomato salad w/marinated feta and pita strips. She enjoyed it but not as much as I enjoyed the soup. Mains - I did the Salmon w/dill and giant beans. Another winner. The salmon was not overdone or underdone, the beans were tasty and creamy and the addition of fresh dill enhanced both pieces of the dish. S/O had the gnocchi with summer vegetables and tallegio. She loved it. Nice mix of fresh veg with perfectly cooked parisian gnocchi and the extremely creamy and delicious tallegio. Finished with the goat cheesecake w/fruit and the chocolate ganache w/turkish coffee. The cheesecake especially was a perfect end to a great dinner and great experience.

It was surprisingly busier than Meritage was at around the same time the previous night, but the service was top-notch. Everyone from the hostess, to the Wadi's to our server were warm and friendly. Cocktails were delicious as well. Great experience. A fine example of Restaurant Week success story for us as we will gladly head back there soon for another experience.

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Meritage
410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

Aug 06, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Indian in Minneapolis

Gandhi Mahal. Hand's down. Have been for dinner many times and finally made it for the lunch buffet and it was note-worthy as well.
Didn't try a single dish that didn't warrant another helping.
And it was $10.
And it goes until 3pm.
Gandhi Mahal wins.

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Gandhi Mahal
3009 27th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

Jul 01, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Minneapolis - Quang - couple of questions

The weekend special, Sea Bass Pho. It is narcoticly good.

The Bun w/eggroll or the Beef/Shrimp skewer Bun are also staples.

Jul 01, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

One Night in Louisville - Dinner spot and cocktails - May 2010

Well our one night came and passed. After a bit of a hangup traveling through Chicago we were a little frazzled once we got into town, so we decided to go pretty low-key. We were staying in Old Louisville near Central Park so we decided to venture over to Buck's Restaurant in the Mayflower Apartments. It ended up being a very nice meal, nothing too crazy or exciting or anything, but really well executed meals and cocktails.

We started with a Kentucky Bibb salad which had some fresh chevre, raspberries, blueberries, black pepper. I had an enormous bone-in pork chop, with some really fresh asparagus, polenta and a light, buttery mushroom reduction. My dining partner had a bone-in Ribeye with bourbon butter, asparagus and Yukon Gold potato pancakes. Bourbon butter = crack, almost criminal how delicious it was. For dessert we split a piece of flourless chocolate cake with some more berries. Very warm and rich. They did a nice job with it. Being it was a drizzly/overcast Thursday night the dining room was pretty sparse, which worked to our advantage as we were able to chat with our server and eventually with the piano player located near the bar. A couple of well crafted Woodford Reserve Old-Fashioneds only made the experience that much more pleasant.

When we go back we will for surely be heading to the Mayan Cafe for a meal, probably the Third Ave Cafe for a meal, 732 Social and Proof on Main for cocktails and back to Ear X-stacy to dive for more Funk and Soul Vinyl.

Buck's Restaurant
425 West Ormsby Avenue
Louisville, KY 40203-3086
(502) 637-5284
www.bucksrestaurantandbar.com

May 27, 2010
mplsean in Kentucky & Tennessee

MSP Cocktails

Strip Club - Danny is an outstanding bartender. And a great conversationalist. Sit at the bar and chat him up a bit, he can craft any tastes you might have a hankering for. As an aside, he was just voted Best Bartender by City Pages paper.

The Strip Club
378 Maria Ave
St Paul, MN 55106

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The Strip Club
378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

May 07, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Cheap (but good) places for college kids in the Roseville area?

I second the Black Sea. So good. So cheap. The owner and his wife are arguably the most gracious restaurant owners in MSP.

I guess Abu Naber is relatively in the vicinity of Roseville. They do a mean falafel sandwich that is rather inexpensive. They're also technically a market/deli so Hummus and Tabouli to go is perfect for the warmer weather.

Abu Nader - 2095 Como Avenue St Paul - Just past the fairgrounds and the U of M St Paul Campus off of Cleveland Ave.

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Black Sea Restaurant
737 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

Apr 09, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Grilling Time - Fresh Brats?

For my money the meat counter at Seward Co-op is the best. At any given point they have at least 5 or 6 different varieties of brats and sausages that are all house made by their meat department. Our personal favorites are the Wild-Rice Brat (great texture and consistency), Vietnamese Sausage (with cilantro/garlic/fish sauce), and the Cheddar Brat (stuffed with Eichten's cheese curds). We even tried the individual Haggis and they were excellent as well...

Seward Co-op - 2823 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55406

Apr 05, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Restaurants everyone loves--except you

The whole Parasole family (Chino Latino, Salut, et al) although have yet to check out Il Gatto. But in general, Parasole's food leaves me underwhelmed and over spent.

Mar 11, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Indian restaurant in the Twin Cities

I've got to agree with Gandhi Mahal. They currently have some special Winter specials right now and had a Broccoli/Spinach/Eggplant Curry that was out of this world....

Feb 15, 2010
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

One Night in Louisville - Dinner spot and cocktails - May 2010

Regional, locally-sourced seasonal menus sounds right up our alley. Although all of these ethnic choices will also need some web-site perusal/Yelp-ing. Thanks for the feedback!

Jan 11, 2010
mplsean in Kentucky & Tennessee

One Night in Louisville - Dinner spot and cocktails - May 2010

We'll be venturing out of the cofines of Minneapolis and passing through Louisville on our way to a wedding in May. Haven't finalized itinerary yet but hoping to be able to make an evening out of it. Looking for any/all recs for a place to grab a bite to eat and more importantly (ha!) looking for some recs for great places to get a drink and relax. These definitely do not need to be the same place as we should have a car and will be able to be mobile if necessary. Don't worry about price, type of cuisine, etc - we are looking for honest suggestions and open to any/all!

Thanks in advance from snowy Minneapolis!

Jan 07, 2010
mplsean in Kentucky & Tennessee

Chai's Thai recs? BYOB? [MSP]

I've never been but will be at a show at the Cedar coming up and figured it would be a good excuse to check it out. Any recs? None of the Urbanspoon reviews did much for me...

Also - I've read that they had a BYOB wine and beer policy. Does anyone know if this is still true and if so is there a corkage fee?

Cheers,
mplsean

Dec 14, 2009
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Minneapolis - Lunch Buffets

If you are DT Mpls and enjoy Indian food then I'd opt for Bombay Bistro. Pretty sure it's under $10 and every time I've been it's been such a wide variety of excellent dishes....

http://www.bombaybistromn.com/

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Bombay Bistro
820 Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Nov 18, 2009
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP: Best Reuben Sandwich

I would highly recommend the Reuben at Victory 44 on the Northside of Minneapolis in the Victory Neighborhood. I would say it beats the pants off pretty much all other Reuben's in the city, with the exception of Be'wiched if they're doing their version...

www.victory-44.com

Nov 05, 2009
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP: looking for magic hat beer

Big Top Liquors in the MIdway has the #9 in the big bottle.... Northeast Social does too if you get hungry want to eat something with your #9

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Northeast Social
359 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

Oct 30, 2009
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Tanpopo Noodle Shop [msp]

They've been on the menu for as long as I can remember (which is about 2 years...) I would highly recommend giving them a shot next time.

Oct 19, 2009
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Tanpopo Noodle Shop [msp]

The Soy Ginger Chicken Wings are incredible as well...

Oct 19, 2009
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Thai in MSP?

IMO True Thai off Franklin in Minneapolis is always worth looking into, especially since they've expanded their dining room recently. I've never had a bad meal there and have celebrated some good times there...

www.truethairestaurant.com

Jun 12, 2009
mplsean in General Midwest Archive

ISO Swedish restaurant in St. Paul

Other than a little sightseeing and some decent antiquing Lindstrom doesn't really have much to offer food wise, especially Scandanavian food-wise...

Contrary to it's name Swedish Inn is not so Swedish. It's typical MN greasy-spoon fare. Nothing to write home about. Same can be said for the Gallery and the Dinnerbell. Both of which change management every few months or so.

I'd say stick to Ingebretsen's or venture over to the Finnish Bistro in St Anthony Park, which isn't strictly Swedish/Scandinavian... http://finnishbistro.com/

Good luck

Jun 08, 2009
mplsean in Minneapolis-St. Paul