C & G’s Smoking Barbecue

C & G's BBQ
Have you ever had ribs at a hole in the wall restaurant in Minneapolis? How about at a huge BBQ chain? Us too, and in our opinion, C & G’s has some of the best ribs in Minneapolis. They’re dry-rub, so no sauce, but still an incredible savory flavor. They don’t slide off the bone, and are extremely tender. Pair a rack of these delicious dry-rub ribs with homemade fries, and house-special BBQ sauce, and you’ll be more than satisfied (new addiction)! Located on the corner of Nicollet and 48th in Minneapolis, this is one hole in the wall you’ll definitely want to check out.

Our Experience

We recommend:

  • Ribs and fries. Oh..it’s worth it!

Prices:
$10-15

Ambiance:
Hole in the wall, casual, authentic, just a few tables (4 max), Food Network on a TV in the corner, awards/articles in old frames on the wall, homemade desserts in a small fridge near the counter. Big smiles, and friendly service.

Service:
Very friendly and authentic. When we went, one of the owners, a Detroit local, was cooking and serving, and he was fantastic. The way he talked to us made us feel like we’d lived next door to him for years. That’s just one of the perks of ordering food at a great hole in the wall restaurant in Minneapolis!

Overall:
Mouth-watering dry-rub ribs, fantastic homemade fries, and authentic Detroit hometown atmosphere. A must try!

Website:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/CGs-Smoking-Barbecue/193930620653456 
(You know it’s good when the website is a Facebook page!)

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Indian Spice House

chicken-tikki-masala-image

Indian Spice House is an authentic (and delicious) Indian restaurant in Eden Prairie. Sometimes you just have to be adventurous when looking for a new restaurant. We had seen this one tucked back in an unassuming strip mall and decided to give it a try. We walked in and there was only one person there. Not a good sign. But she was Indian. Good sign. Right?

As we looked over the menu, realizing neither one of us had spent a great deal of time around Indian food, we decided to ask the waiter for his recommendations. They were phenomenal, and we’ve listed them below. The food is incredibly savory, and prices are reasonable. We’ve been back with friends and family multiple times, and the original items we ordered are still our favorites!

Indian Spice House is the best Indian restaurant we’ve been to so far (the others we’ve visited have been highly awarded within Minneapolis, and this one still stands out as our favorite). To finish the story, by the time we were done with our meal, the restaurant was full and I’m petty sure we were the only non-Indian people there. The restaurant also has an Indian grocery store attached to it, so you can stock up on all sorts of Indian ingredients once you realize you’re addicted to Indian food. Cheers!

Our Experience

We recommend:

  • Malai kofta (we describe the flavoring of this vegetarian curry  dish as more of  a savory butternut squash soup)
  • Chicken tikki masala (a traditional dish with full Indian flavors and just a little heat)
  • Chili naan (a delicious flatbread with butter and jalapenos)

*Note: Many of the dishes come with a side of rice.

Prices:
Family-style, ~$10-15 per person

Ambiance:
Indian decor with simple booths and tables, similar to what we’ve experienced at non-franchised Chinese restaurants

Service:
Fine service, good food recommendations

Overall:
Savory Indian dishes with a little heat when you need it. This is the place (with the above meal recommendations) to try Indian food if you’ve not had it, or experience a new Indian gem if you love it!

Website:
http://indiaspicehouseep.com/

Photo courtesy of: “Can’t Life Without…” food blog

Wok in the Park

Wok in the Park

Wok in the Park. An Asian fusion bistro full of flavor.

When you walk into this little unassuming St. Louis Park restaurant, you’re not quite sure what to expect, but you know it’ll be an experience. From the hand-drawn Asian floral murals, to the Oriental rice paper lanterns, and live music (if you hit it on the right night), you know it’ll be something to remember.

So, what’s been our experience with Wok in the Park? A punch-in-the-face, food-full-of-fresh-flavor kind of  experience! The staff is casual and extremely friendly, and the menu is full of all types of Asian dishes and flavors. You’ll find everything from Thai and Japanese, to Chinese and Vietnamese. And not just the basic dishes. These guys love strategic flavor combinations. Like adding delicious dried cherries to a spicy Thai dish to enhance the flavor. We’ve enjoyed every dish we’ve experienced here.

This is a place you don’t want to miss. With good prices, large portions, and bold flavors, this has definitely become our favorite Asian fusion destination!

Our Experience

We recommend:

  • Lettuce wraps (best we’ve had)
  • Sweet Zen Basil (similar to a pad thai but with pineapples and basil – a savory flavor combination)
  • Wok’s Cherry Own Curry (referenced above – a dish with good heat, tasty chicken, veggies…and dried cherries – a brilliant combination of flavors)
  • Sunrise Stir Fry (a delicious dish with savory cinnamon curry flavoring that’s soothing, yet bold…mixed with the heat, it’s incredible)

*Note: These guys have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, too! And regarding spice level…Chris and I both like it spicy, but on their scale of 1-3 flames, 3 was a little too hot. 2 has a decent amount of kick, and 1 still carries heat…perfect for the next day, too. Yes, you’ll have leftovers with these serving sizes.

Prices:
Starters, 5-11
Entrees, 11-12
Cost: $15-20 per person

Ambiance:
Asian-inspired, chill bistro, with brilliant golden sunlight in the early evenings, and dim lighting with lanterns and candles in the late evenings

Service:
Very friendly and personable, service like you’re a regular; great at describing dishes and recommending favorites

Overall:
Casual bistro with excellent, creative Asian food. A cool hand-crafted atmosphere with extremely friendly and helpful service. Bold and brilliant flavors. A must try!

Website:
http://wokintheparkrestaurant.com/

The Kenwood

The Kenwood

The Kenwood Restaurant offers fine dining in a cosy and non-pretencious atmosphere, located in the beautiful Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis, near the Lake of the Isles. This restaurant opened about six months ago, and I’ve already been here three times!

They combine bold and strategic flavors in dishes they describe as being made with “traditional European techniques…that are international in style but local when it comes to fresh, regional ingredients.” In addition to the fantastic food, The Kenwood has a knowledgable staff of foodies who describe every element of a dish, both when you order and when it’s served – which, by the way, happens in courses, complete with new plates and silverware.

From the personable servers, to the inviting atmosphere you’ll want to spend hours in, this is definitely one of my new favorites! They change dishes out frequently, so make sure to ask about their favorites. Also note, there are no reservations unless you have a party of seven or more – and the place fills up pretty quickly on the weekends after 6:00pm.

Our Experience

We recommend:

  • Grilled heart of romaine (the dressing is a fantastic egg yoke emulsion/garlic sauce, with perfect croutons, and flavorful anchovies)
  • Sweet potato gnocchi (incredible flavor combinations with the addition of an apple sauce – think fresh apple syrup rather than applesauce)
  • Duck offal “cigars” (think savory duck eggrolls with plum sauce and figs – a great flavor combination)
  • And…I can’t forget to mention their incredible flourless chocolate cake (pictured above)

*Note: The Kenwood introduces new dishes seasonally, and I’ve been amazed by each of their seasonal selections – fall, winter, and now spring!

Prices:
Snacks/Soups & salads, 4-10
Small plates/Sandwiches & burgers, 10-15
Entrees, 17-29
Cost: $15-30 per person

Ambiance:
Dimly lit, noble yet casual English countryside

Service:
Personable foodies, casual yet refined

Overall:
Classy and inviting atmosphere, incredibly thoughtful flavors, knowledgeable and refined staff, an overall wonderful experience!

Website:
http://www.thekenwoodrestaurant.com/

Brasa

Food_Brasa

Brasa – a premium rotisserie restaurant – is known for their “wholesome home cooking found throughout North America, the Caribbean and South America.” Located in Northeast and on Grand (St. Paul), we recently checked out the location on Grand. What did we find? Crispy yuka with citrus and garlic, fried plantains, and a fantastic creamy green sauce we’d go back for in a heartbeat!

Our Experience

We recommend:

  • Pineapple and ginger homemade soda
  • Crispy yuka with citrus and garlic, with a fantastic creamy green sauce
  • Homemade chips and guacamole
  • Fried plantains

Prices:
Family-style, ~$5-15 per person

Ambiance:
Casual lighting, wood floors, dark furniture, trendy glass garage doors (as walls), southern style, slightly hipster-style staff, overall trendy and casual

Service:
Good, friendly

Overall:
Bright flavors, casual atmosphere, timely service, fantastic homemade soda!

Website:
http://www.brasa.us/