Would we go back:
2859 Johnson St NE
• Special Risotto - Bacon, spinach and tomato $11
I have heard many good things about Hazel's, however my experience did not live up to the hype. The risotto I had was mediocre at best. Perhaps I should have went with my gut and had the portobello sandwich or the swedish meatballs, but the special sounded good even though I thought why are they doing a dish with tomatoes in it in the middle of winter, but I thought maybe they were going to use some sundried tomatoes or something. They did not. The bacon and spinach and rice part of the dish were fine nothing inspiring but yet totally edible. The tomatoes were just not up to par. However it was a good value. And they are usually busy when I drive by so clearly I must have just ordered the wrong thing on this evening,
• Special Fish - Seared Tuna and California Roll $16
Hazel's is an interesting dichotomy. Seared tuna and California roll in Northeast Minneapolis? Well, it is 2012, but you still might have several reactions, such as: "You're crazy!" "Why?"or even "Have we finally discovered a parallel universe?" I will leave all of these questions aside and just say that Hazel's is a decent neighborhood restaurant with high aspirations and low prices. I was happy with the price on the tuna special even though it tasted like the tuna was a little past its prime. It was cooked properly, but tasted a little off. I was happy with the California roll especially because it was a bargain, but it was not quite as good as downtown sushi restaurants. I was very impressed that they used a hollowed out cucumber to hold soy sauce (but I could have used a little more wasabi). Service was acceptable, and the space is a classic corner space. You may remember it as Nan's NE Restaurant or Pop! It has received a basic remodel, and the open kitchen is a nice touch. I hope that Hazel's thrives and improves to the next level, but I'm still not sure if I'm in a parallel universe.
February 4, 2012