Monday, August 3, 2009

Pairings Food and Wine – Minnetonka, MN

I originally intended to go to another restaurant, only to find out it’s been closed. However, I drove past this place called Pairings, and it looked interesting, so I drove back to it. It’s part wine shop, part, fancy cheese and deli market, and part restaurant – all upscale-style.

I hopped in line to look at the menu boards and looked around at the people. The queue to order food was a bit confusing as there was a line for salads and a line for entrees. And to boot, people would cut in line in the salad line if they too good to wait in line. I saw this twice in the time I was standing in line waiting to order my food. And I waited in line over 10 minutes. I’m no flow management person, but I think this place needs some redesigning.

The menu looked to be pretty comprehensive, with some really unique offerings. Lots of pasta, pizza, soups, and hot and cold sandwiches. And of course, a separate line for salads (build your own or made to order).

I decided on the Coconut Curry with Chicken – broccoli, baby spinach, orange and red bell peppers, basil, flat rice noodles, curry sauce, and a piece of flat bread. I also was enamored with the white bean, bacon, and sun dried tomato soup, so I got a cup of that as well. It was a tad pricey for lunch, but judging by the quality and appearance of the dishes I saw people around me eating, I thought it would be worth it.

I grabbed a table out on the patio since the inside was full. I didn’t get an umbrella or anything, so I sat outside and worked on my sun burn. The waiter brought my two items out and said the curry coconut dish was his favorite and I chose wisely.

He was totally right, the pasta dish was amazing. Really fresh ingredients and really good curry sauce. No complaints at all. It was one of the best curry dishes I’ve had. Almost borderline salad-ish with all of the greens in there. I’d highly recommend this to anyone. The bean soup was also really amazing. The bacon flavor came through (it’s really difficult to overdose me on bacon), and the sun dried tomatoes were a really good addition to the dish. Very very good.

I would consider this an upscale lunch place. It’s not super spendy, but you do get quality food. I’m not sure how much stuff they sell out of the deli case – I didn’t see anyone looking at that (mostly because it totally ruins the flow and you’d never actually get in line) – but the wine shop had a good flow of people in and out of it. I’m bummed that I didn’t actually get to try any of the “pairings”, but my work frowns upon coming in all loaded. Lame.

The clientele is also a bit upscale with some uppity snooty people and a lot of khaki-wearing d-bags. The wait staff seemed super helpful, though I did see a waiter kick the handicap door button to open it when he had his hands full with dishes. Not sure how sanitary that is, but I don’t work for OSHA or anything.

Just go to this place. And if you have a lunch meeting, it’s a pretty nice place to take a client (if you don’t mind waiting in line for a short stint).

Top 5 things about Pairings
1. Curry Coconut with Chicken
2. White Bean, bacon, and sun dried tomato soup
3. Super friendly staff
4. Really diverse menu
5. Might have to take some time in the wine shop – bonus!

Bottom 5 things
1. Bad flow, confusing and had to wait in line forever
2. Unsure of the purpose behind the market portion (maybe it’s better served NOT during lunch hours)
3. D-bag clientele
4. Had to sit outside and redden my fair Viking complexion
5. The waiter who kicked the handicap button to open the door

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