Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Prairie Tap House – Eden Prairie, MN

A-Wow and I were catching a movie at the Eden Prairie Mall and thought we needed a little happy hour after work. We were seeing a movie that we needed to pre-game for and I thought we should go someplace where we wouldn’t have to drive afterwards to the theater. I hadn’t been to the Prairie Tap House since they opened last year, so this was the best reason I could think of to check it out.

It happened to be snowing (no surprise there, right?) so traffic held up A-Wow a little bit. By the time he got there, I had already received my “Ready For Summer” beer flight – Wasatch Belgian White Ale, Lucette Shining Dawn, Magic Hat #9, and Lift Bridge Farm Girl. A pretty solid showing and with happy hour prices, was $6 total. A-Wow was pleased with the prospect of multiple choice beer imbibing, so he also did a Ready For Summer beer flight.

We thought we should order some happy hour-cheap-ified appetizers and then maybe split the sandwich. After some deliberation, we got the Maple Glazed Pork Belly, and the Thai Dragon Lobster Egg Rolls. Then, when a place is known for its Baltimore Pit-style beef, you get the pit beef – this time, in sandwich form.

And then, since you’re finished with your beer flight too fast, you get a Johnny Jump-up. Cider beer (in this case, Cider Boys’ First Press) with a generous helping of Jameson whiskey in it.

The food came out quickly, which was fantastic – even though we had plenty of time before the movie started. The appetizers were solid.

The Thai Dragon Lobster Egg Rolls were perfectly crispy and you could taste each of the ingredients. Nothing was over powering. The lobster tasted like lobster should – not fishy, and both the peanut dipping sauce and the dragon sauce were quite good. I didn’t even prefer one over the other – they were just different from each other and delicious.

The Maple Glazed Pork Belly was really good. It’s hard to mess up pork belly, to be honest with you. It was covered in a spicy peach marmalade which was fantastic. Though it was a bit heavy handed, so you had to scrape some of it off to have the correct ratio. But that was ok, since the pork belly slices were on a bed of pulled pork, which you could then continue eating with the spicy peach marmalade. It also came with a couple of toasted baguette slices. We tried to make little sandwiches out of them, but then decided the ratios were better if you just ate the bread on its own. Overall, still very good, however.

The Pit Beef Sandwich was probably better than the online reviews give it. The thin-sliced beef has obviously been sitting in its own juices for hours and is seasoned pretty amazingly. The creamy horseradish sauce was a thin layer, so it enhanced, rather than overpowered the sandwich. Incredibly tender meat and they had cut it into two equal pieces so we could both have our own sets of fries. A-Wow thought the fries may have been a tad over-seasoned/salted, but I’m a salt fiend, so I found them about perfect.

And then, of course, I needed another Johnny Jump-up. Hahaha. I probably could have used a few more for the movie we saw that night…

I really liked the Prairie Tap House. The happy hour deals are pretty considerable, and it’s really close to my work. I’d suggest anything you can get with that pit beef and be adventurous with the sides. The folks here are really nice and there’s usually 4 or 5 specials, so ask about those before you decide, or you’ll be in a world of confusion.

Top 5 things about Prairie Tap House
1. Pit Beef Sandwich
2. Happy hour deals
3. Maple Glazed Pork Belly
4. Thai Dragon Lobster Egg Rolls
5. Decent beer list and beer flights (though, I honestly expected more from a Tap House)

Bottom 5 things
1. Spicy Peach Marmalade was too generous
2. Not a ton of “healthy” options on the menu, but that’s not why you’re here, is it?
3. Portion sizes are pretty large here, just as a warning. If that’s your thing, then this shouldn’t be in the bottom 5
4. It isn’t a cheap date night, but if you hit up happy hour (until 7pm – which is generous), it’s quite affordable
5. The website raised an eyebrow from my cubemate at work – it’s standard issue pin-up style, but some work places are a little more conservative

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