Sunday, March 10, 2013

3 Squares – Maple Grove, MN

DRough and I were up in the northwest suburbs for some random reason and needed to grab some dinner. It was restaurant week and we knew 3 Squares was a place that had a special menu for the week – sort of a fixe prix menu for the week. After a quick look online to see what was actually on the menu, we popped in and got a table. For the record, 3 Squares is owned by the Blue Plate Restaurant Group – the same folks that own Edina Grill, Longfellow Grill, Groveland Tap and a few other tasty places we’ve been to multiple times.

We ordered a couple of pre-dinner drinks – I got a Ginger Peach Cosmo (I’m comfortable drinking that in public) and DRough got some drink with bourbon and orange bitters in it. My drink was pretty delicious, although I didn’t eat the large ringlet of candied ginger that came with the drink. It was a little too bite-y for me. DRough and I ended up switching drinks since hers was a bit harsh for her palate. I can power through most drinks, so I wasn’t really out anything. It just had a LOT of bitters in it.

For dinner, we could pick an appetizer each, an entrée each, and then a dessert for each of us. To start, we got a caprese salad and a pair of crab cakes. Our entrees were lobster lasagna and a ribeye steak. For dessert, something called a pint-o-cake and some chocolate cake.

When we had walked into the restaurant, I ran into a former co-worker of mine who made a few recommendations for us for the special menu, so we felt pretty good about our orders. The caprese salad was pretty good. Some greens with 6 or 7 mozzarella balls, a few cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic. It was a pretty standard salad, as salads go.

The crab cakes were surprisingly good. They had the perfect crisp on them and there was not an overwhelming fishy flavor in with them. Paired with the lemony dressing on the salad that came with the appetizer, it was pretty darn good. I’d recommend these pretty highly and they ended up being the best thing we ate that evening.

The entrees arrived and looked delicious. The lobster lasagna came with a long buttered and grilled piece of bread and had a lot of cream sauce in it. I expected to see a tomato-based sauce, to be honest. The first bite I had didn’t thrill me. The lasagna noodle was really long and rubbery. It even took me a few tries to cut it down to an actual portion I could eat. The sauce was also pretty salty – and this is coming from a guy who likes salt. It was salty enough D.Rough couldn’t eat all of hers. Pretty disappointing.

I thought I’d check out the garlic mashed potatoes before I went after the steak. The potatoes were pretty delicious – plenty of garlic and not pasty like some places that overcook them. I dug into my large ribeye. I had to scrape off the onions and mushrooms to get to the steak itself. The steak had a decent flavor, which I was happy about. What I wasn’t happy about was the amount of gristle and fat in the steak. I was actually surprised how much I left on my plate by the time I was done. I didn’t finish the steak because it was frustrating and I got sick of trying to power through the gristle. This is why you don’t order a steak at a non-steak restaurant. Disappointing.

The chocolate cake D.Rough got was a little sub-par. A multi-layered cake with some decoration and nice presentation. It was a tad dry, but when dipped in the extra chocolate syrup, it was much better. Not an incredible cake, but I’ve for sure had worse.

The pint-o-cake was a cake in a pint glass. It was actually much better than I expected. It had a lemon mascarpone whipped cream on it that appeared to be handmade – it was quite delicious. It was a little difficult to eat since the strawberries and cake had settled to the bottom and you had to dig deep to get all the ingredients. But I will give them props for presenting it in a different way. I actually enjoyed the cake in a glass a lot.

Overall, I’m not a fan of 3 Squares. The meal was disappointing, especially for Restaurant Week. I’ve enjoyed the other Blue Plate Group restaurants much more than here, so I won’t feel bad about not going back anytime soon.

Top 5 things about 3 Squares
1. Crab cakes
2. Pint-O-Cake
3. Ginger Peach Cosmo
4. The staff were all really nice and friendly

Bottom 5 things
1. Lobster Lasagna
2. Ribeye
3. Chocolate cake
4. Bourbon-y bitters-y cocktail
5. Caprese Salad

1 comment:

Ruby James Vita said...

Very surprising, and interesting!