Would we go back:
3753 Nicollet Avenue
• Fish and Chips $20
Nighthawks was a challenge for me. Everything about it was really great except for the price and the fact they don't take reservations. Now we arrived early on a Friday and had no problem getting a seat, but not too long after we arrived well before 6 there was a wait to be seated. This is a very kid friendly place, they welcomed us with our children very warmly and sat us in argueably some of the best seats in the house, but if we had arrived later and had wait with our two kids the kid friendliness quotient would have plummetted.
Also the prices were really downtown prices. Now the food they served was excellent with out a doubt. Everything I tasted was well above average, but $20 for fish and chips, even during lent, maybe especially during lent is crazy. They were as good as Anchor, but at Anchor I can get them for much less.
• Tuna Melt $15
Nighthawks simultaneously meets expectations and exceeds expectations. Although I really enjoyed the meal that we had at Haute Dish years ago, I really didn’t know what to expect from Nighthawks. I expected very good takes on simple dishes, but I didn’t know if they could pull it off at the south end of Eat Street in South Minneapolis. They pulled off very good food in a hopping neighborhood atmosphere.
The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, which is good and bad. It’s bad because it’s not likely that Renee and I would go there on a date night because we prefer some certainty when we have a babysitter planned. Not having reservations turned out to be good for Nighthawks because we could go early with a reasonable chance of getting a table. Luckily, we arrived early enough for a table at about 5:30 on a Friday night.
Nighthawks turned out to be much more kid friendly than I expected. Since Nighthawks has a kids’ menu, we weren’t too worried that we would be scorned for bringing them to a diner and bar. From there, it got better. I noticed a couple of high chairs in the corner, and the kid’s menus doubled as placemats and coloring sheets - always a plus. Finally, the service was very quick; the food was ready not long after the kids polished off their coloring.
One caveat with kid friendliness. With the kids, we tend to go early and depart quickly so the serious dinner crowd can enjoy a meal in peace. Waiting for a table with the kids in tow isn’t always pleasant because they get irritable at dinner time. When we wait for a table, it is painful for anyone within earshot.
The food was very good. I really liked the tuna melt, which was heaping with albacore tuna on a firm, flavorful slice of sourdough. It was served open-faced, with a mild, not overpowering cheddar cheese. The coleslaw was a little above average, but I finished it thinking that they can do better if they put more effort into it. I was impressed with the sample of Renee’s fish and chips, especially the quality and generous portion size of fries. Prices were relatively high for simple dishes, but the larger portion size and quality somewhat offset the higher cost.
For parking, there was ample two hour street parking within a block on the night we went. Service was very good - timely and friendly. I was also impressed with the local beer list, and the happy hour pricing was a real plus. I recommend trying out Nighthawks if you’re in the neighborhood or nearby, but it’s a bit of a gamble on wait time since they don’t take reservations.
March 18, 2016