Would we go back:
509 1st Avenue NE
• Grilled flatbread w/ chorizo, roasted peppers, cheese curds $9 (shared)
• Halibut cheeks $20
• Clafouti $6 (shared)
Red Stag is the hot new restaurant in NE and if you have not heard about it then you are not in the know or have been out of town for good long time. It is the first LEED certified restaurant, which is really cool and makes for a much more interesting bathroom experience. The style of the restaurant is based on a up north supper club, which it really does a great job of accomplishing.
The food is much better than any up north supper club I have been to, which would not necessarily say a lot. But overall I really enjoyed the dining experience...now some of this may have been due to the ultra strong Bees Knees drink I had to start, but that again is really an important part of a up north supper club...strong drinks. I really enjoyed the appetizer I was very leery going into it and hoped that Steve would choose the other option I gave him, but he chose this one and it was great. Nice and spice and well balanced. My halibut cheeks were great, the meat melted in my mouth. The accompanying sauce was a bit on the oily side, but the flavor complimented the fish, without overwhelming it. The dessert was not what I was expecting from the title Clafouti. Granted if I read the description better I may have not suggested it, but for a creme brulee type of dessert it was not too bad.
Overall if you live in the area, and don't have cabin up north or are unable to go to it and you want that feel, this is a great place to go.
• Pork Chop - Farm Cheese Grits, Barbecued Shrimp & Bacon Succotash $19
I can’t say I was wowed or disappointed by Red Stag. We had a good meal, even though it seemed priced above average. The place was very busy – typically reservations are not available for weekends except a week in advance. We also went on Art-a-Whirl weekend, which is a particularly busy time for NE Mpls bars and restaurants. That made already difficult parking even worse, but it also added a buzz that is sometimes missing in Minneapolis-St. Paul restaurants.
The grilled flatbread was delicious. It came with good chorizo and traditional roasted peppers. The cheese curds were not State Fair cheese curds; these were quarter inch cubes of local cheese that were not deep fried into oblivion so you could still taste that it was good quality cheese.
The pork was okay. The cut was nothing special and it was cooked all the way through. Certainly safe, but no added pizzazz to make you want to order it again. The grits were really good. I also liked the bacon and shrimp succotash. When I read the menu, I really wondered how they were going to offer shrimp as part of the dish. Understandably, the side dish includes very little shrimp.
The clafouti was okay, but not anything special. It was almost like a hard crusted top with panna cotta and cherries underneath. It was nothing to stop anyone in their tracks.
Red Stag is a restaurant that meets expectations, but does not create vivid memories.
The upside: Red Stag is one of the few late night dining spots in NE Minneapolis .
The downside: Parking is horrendous.
May 17, 2008