Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Red Stag Supper Club – Minneapolis, MN

D.Rough was having some people over to the house and it was a girls-only event. I was on my own. I thought of about 5 places I could have gone on my own for dinner, however, each of those places would have angered D.Rough had I gone without her. I finally decided on Red Stag since she told me about this awesome mac and cheese dish they were supposed to have. I was down for it, especially since I needed to do some Xmas shopping and wine shopping near there anyway.

I sidled up to the bar since I was flying solo. I didn’t have a great seat and had to sit right behind the beer taps – completely blocking my view of the bartender who was helping me (made it seem like some sort of drunken Catholic confessional deal). But I didn’t mind all that much. I got a great view of the kitchen and all the goings-on back there, which is always exciting to me.

For those of you who haven’t been to the Red Stag, it’s a pretty swanky place. It’s dimly lit (and everything seems to have a red tint to it – but that could just be my mind suggesting that to my eyes due to the name of the place) and has a super high quality menu with tons of wine. It’s an excellent place, even for groups of people. I’ve only been here a couple of times, but it’s always been memorable. It’s also the first LEED-CI registered restaurant in Minneapolis, so they’re environmentally aware, if that’s your thing.

I will warn you, however: The serving and bus staff there appear to have some sort of competition going to see who can show up to work with the most f*$%-ed up and disheveled head of hair. Not styled or anything, but seriously what looks like bed-head. I laughed out loud at couple of times. I’m sure it’s fashionable, but from a sasquatch perspective like my own, I just don’t get it. Thankfully, I’m not above pointing and laughing when I see it – I’d hate for that kind of thing to be bottled up inside me for too long.

Ole the bartender came over and chatted me up a bit. This guy was fantastic. He made flying solo for dinner a treat and made sure I was well taken care of. I started with a Redbreast whiskey – it’s basically Scotch, but it’s from Ireland, so they aren’t allowed to call it scotch. Whatever, it’s delicious. I got a menu for the dinner portion and perused it while sipping my Redbreast. It was fish fry Friday, so they had an auxiliary menu with all kinds of delicious sounding seafood on it.

I asked Ole about the crab cake and he gave me a hilarious description of the size of the thing. It sounded like a good appetizer, so I got that and the aforementioned mac and cheese D.Rough had told me about. I didn’t remember it being Lobster Mac and Cheese, but it was. Ole told me it was delicious and baked in its own crock and I couldn’t go wrong with it. I also needed a glass of wine. Ole suggested a nice sweet Sauvignon Blanc to go with both lighter items and I had him hook me up.

The crab cake came out first and looked fantastic. Healthy portion of crab cake on a swirl of what I think was pea puree and some clover as a garnish. (I have no doubt I’m butchering everything about this, but bear with me). The more crab cakes I have the better I think they are. Seriously, this is one of the best I’ve ever had. Not a hint of fishy-ness and no bits of shell or anything in here. Perfectly pan fried on the outside and very smooth and texturally awesome on the inside. I’d get this again anytime.

As I was finishing the crab cake, the Lobster Mac and Cheese came out. Ole assured me this was the best Mac and Cheese in the Twin Cities (except for the secret one he told me about, which I have just discovered the location of – I’ll be trying that soon). Nice golden crust on the top from it being baked and not too small or large for a dinner-portion. I dug in. and was pleasantly surprised. I’m not a huge lobster fan, so I think I’m biased. The dish was good, but didn’t kick me in the face or anything. I could taste a lot of the lobster, and was frankly missing the cheesy-ness I thought would be there. It’s a béchamel sauce, so it isn’t like a super rich cheese goo that I’m used to. The dish wasn’t dry or anything, but I expect to at least see some cheese in there. The grilled leeks added some crunch to the dish and some texture that isn’t usually there, but that actually helped out in this case. Also, there were pieces of something – I’m assuming they were lobster – that absolutely reminded me of scrambled eggs. I honestly don’t say that in a bad way – in fact, it was awesome. I’m actually going to try working scrambled eggs into my next batch of homemade mac and cheese. Even if that wasn’t what it was, it sounds delicious to try to recreate. Again, I’m not a huge lobster fan, so that probably tainted my description a bit (as did the pieces of shell I crunched on and picked out of my mouth – tactfully).

Both dishes were presented extremely well and were of appropriate proportions. I got perfectly full and had some delicious beverages. Frankly, I’m not a mac and cheese connoisseur or anything, but I still like the mac and cheese at Seven that has the truffle oil in it. That’s what I’m talking about when I talk about fancy mac and cheese.

Overall, I really love the Red Stag. Generally, I would go for a nice steak (and pay a lot for it), but flying solo, I got to try some things I wouldn’t normally. This is a fantastic restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis, and I look forward to going again. And seriously, if you sit at the bar and are lucky enough to get Ole as a bartender, you’ll be treated well.

Top 5 things about Red Stag Supper Club
1. Crab cake
2. Ole the bartender
3. Fantastic menu – and it changes, so keep an eye on it
4. Ambience of the restaurant
5. The kitchen is pretty wide open so you can see everything that goes on

Bottom 5 things
1. It’s fairly pricey – not an every night kind of place (at least for someone like me)
2. Parking, especially in a snowstorm, isn’t the easiest
3. Unless you’re eating at the bar (and there’s a spot open), you’re going to have to wait – it’s worth it though
4. Lobster Mac and Cheese didn’t amaze me – keep in mind, I’m not a lobster guy – unless I’ve been out in the sun too long
5. There are always 15 other things on the menu I want to try when I go here. The menu is awesome (technically should not be in the bottom 5, I know)

1 comment:

David said...

I've been a big fan of Redbreast for a number of years now...ever since I made the mistake of asking for a scotch at The Local...

I've got a bottle at home, so stop on by anytime you're in the mood to imbibe my redbreast!