I was there too, with the Mangosteentime clan. We got there at 1 and ended up waiting about 2.5 hours for our food. While waiting we got a teriyaki dog; don't remember what was on it but it hit the spot. We also had a takoyaki "dog" which I thought was a smart way to eat takoyaki (fried octopus), and which had great texture. Full disclosure: the takoyaki came straight out of a freezer bag- but to feed a huge crowd, I'm not surprised. There was also a veggie dog, basically the same toppings as the teriyaki dog. We thought these were very reasonably priced at $3.
About the ramen: We tried 2 kinds. The Ma-Zamen (?sp) was Chef Ng's take on a brothless ramen, with beef brisket, pickled mushrooms, mizuna salad and what I thought was spicy pickled mustard greens. I thought the salad was a little odd, but the rest of it was quite tasty- tender, slightly spicy brisket, chewy noodles with nice heft. The two kinds of pickles made it a little pickle-heavy, but it was good contrast to the other elements. We also had the "Mabo Nasu" which foreverhungry described above. Our group found it too salty, though the toppings were interesting.
We had wanted to try the third ramen available- the "Old School Tokyo" but we didn't get to it because of reasons which may have related to the long, long wait. When we got to the front of the line, a staff member admitted that the "Old School Tokyo" ramen took much longer than the other two to prepare. I was planning to get the other two kinds then wait for the "Old School" but there were at least like, 10 people ahead of me who were waiting just to put in an order for the "Old School," plus at least 15 more who'd placed an order for that particular ramen, and were just waiting for their food. It seems the chef was just taking whatever time it needed to make that particular ramen, and it might have been causing a bottleneck. Made me realize that perhaps proper ramen, done well with quality ingredients, isn't the best food to try to serve to the masses in a setting like that.
Some of our friends had arrived right at 12 and they still had to wait a full hour in line for food. Staff seemed pretty well organized, and given how long the line was it was amazing- I really didn't think people were as cranky as they could have been. We noticed they were somehow keeping a count and specificially did not oversell tickets for ramen, which was considerate/avoided a riot.
It may seem crazy that we stood in line that long, but it was partly because we had already invested money in the tickets for food, plus it was a gorgeous day out and not really that unpleasant. The kids loved the DJ and taiko drumming. If we'd known ahead of time about the lines, we wouldn't have gone, but overall we didn't regret going.
I went on a recent weekend and liked but didn't love it.
We went on a recent weekend and it was really busy, even groups of 2 standing for 30-45 min, bar packed too.
Food was just okay. We were excited that they offered house-made charcuterie and the selection sounded promising, but the results were disappointing. Chicken liver mousse was so sweet it tasted like frosting and everything else was just bland. Entrees: I had a potroast sandwich which was tasty. My dining companion had the chicken salad on tiny biscuits which was super blah; chicken salad was bland and the biscuits were dry and cold.
Overall I thought the vibe was great, drinks were good, and food was hit or miss. If I lived nearby I would go regularly and consider myself lucky to have it as "my neighborhood place." But, it's not a destination spot for me simply because there are similar places closer to me that have better food.
Just wanted to add to the love for this place, which I think it really deserves. We've been there twice now and had rice bowls both times. Their rice bowls are crave worthy. I found that each topping on the rice bowl had excellent flavor, which is hard to do; most pickles/veggies on rice bowls, and even panchan at many Korean places around town, are adequate but one-note. The toppings here are anything but. The meat was delectable. The portion size on the meat has been criticized as being small, which I think is fair, especially to more traditional American palates. However if you look at the way it's presented I think the portion size reflects a different philosophy- this bowl is all about the interplay of all the toppings; the meat is one feature, and it is excellent, just not a predominating portion.
The staff are genuinely nice and super helpful, which for me also is a huge plus for a place.
We'll be back soon. Keep meaning to try other things but the rice bowls just keep calling.
I had to post since I haven't seen it here yet- love it or hate it, Pinkberry has arrived in MN.
There is a Pinkberry stand on the first floor of Macy's at the Mall of America. A worker there said they've been open since after Thanksgiving. Staff were super nice. It's a chain, so not much to say about their offerings- standard crazy buffet of topping choices- but it is worth noting that they don't have cereals for topping, other than fruity cheerios. You'll have to bring your own Cocoa Pebbles. Mochi were freshly chewy and the fruit looked very fresh.
I think the original Pinkberry flavor has a distinctly different, pleasantly tangier flavor than any other froyo chain. In fact, I'd been sampling other places locally in a futile quest to find something similar. Don't know if it's worth a trip just to MOA, but it's a fun snack option while shopping and I'm pleased not to have to keep trying other places!
Very disappointed when we went in the first week of December. I was really excited to go, b/c I had been following the buzz about the WSK truck, and I've really enjoyed and respected their work at Saffron. Unfortunately, the food we had was a letdown for several reasons.
First, the positive: The mango lassi froyo was tasty with inventive toppings (what appeared to be puffed wild rice and an apricot chutney).
My spouse and I each ordered rice bowls, one lamb and one pork belly. We are *not* big eaters but the overall portion size was incredibly small. In a different setting with different food that might be okay, but frankly, rice is cheap and even more of that would have helped. The lamb was intensely salty almost to the point of being inedible. What really killed it was the "sauce" on top of the rice- it appeared to be some mix of cheez whiz and sour cream. Two giant blobs of this on top of a tiny portion of rice rendered most of the rice inedible to me. That point may be just my Asian sensibilities, but even beyond that the other things (small size, over spicing) also tanked the dish. We would have brought it up, but floor staff weren't around until long after we'd given up, and the line to the cashier was long. We cut our losses and went somewhere else and ate a full meal- something I've honestly never had to do before.
Overall, I really wanted to like this place- I like fusion food, I loved their food at Saffron- but the only way I'd come back is if friends really wanted to go or something. If I did I'd try something relatively straightforward like the tacos.