Archive for August, 2009

Restaurant Max (Apps + Cocktails) – Minneapolis, MN »

The Basics

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Cuisine: American
Ambiance: Modern Chic
Address: 215 4th St S, Minneapolis, MN 55467
Neighborhood: Downtown
Phone: 612.340.0303
Web Site: https://www.therestaurantmax.com
Must Taste (Dinner):

  • Grilled Flatbreads: Garden – $11 – “artichokes, tomatoes, green olives, parmesan, basil, balsamic vinegar.”
  • Appetizers + Small Plates: Mini Crab Cakes – $9 – “preserved lemon, smoked tomato aioli.”
  • Drink: Gatsby’s Daisy – $9 – “charbay green tea vodka, lavender simple syrup, tarragon, cranberries” – great if you like interesting cocktails.

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Best For: Group Outing (with friends or co-workers), Romantic Date
What to Wear: dressy casual (sneakers not recommended) to dressy
Fave Points: Interesting cocktail concoctions. For our particular outing, the extensive bar menu was nice.
My Fave Dish: The Garden Grilled Flatbread was so much more flavorful than expected. I loved everything about it. I sampled a couple other flatbreads and thought they were pretty awesome, too.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

In Minneapolis on business, I went out with some co-workers after a long day to Restaurant Max to enjoy a drink or two and snack on some appetizers.

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Inside, the restaurant was quite large – especially the bar area. We found some comfy half booth / half table seats next to the bar.

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I loved the lights inside the restaurant – they were very unique and vibrant.

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For my drink, I ordered the Gatsby’s Daisy – $9 – (from the menu) “charbay green tea vodka, lavender simple syrup, tarragon, cranberries.”

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I loved the light but interesting flavors of this drink.

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Cute garnish.

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Our group ordered a couple different appetizers. My first selection – the Grilled Flabread in Garden – $11 (was $10 when we went, but the web site now says it’s $11) – “artichokes, tomatoes, green olives, parmesan, basil, balsamic vinegar.”

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I love flatbreads and pizza as much as the next girl, but this one really surprised me.

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I really liked the combination of flavors – all the veggies tasted great with the fresh basil and drizzle of balsamic.

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My second order was for the Mini Crab Cakes – $9 – “preserved lemon, smoked tomato aioli.”

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They were mini indeed. I wouldn’t recommend splitting this app with more than 2 people unless you have really small appetites.

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These mini crab cakes were small but mighty in flavor. The presentation was beautiful, too.

Final Dish

I really enjoyed my group outing to Restaurant Max. I think this place is great for appetizers and cocktails. Personally, I’m a big fan of unique cocktails and there were many on the menu that caught my eye. There is plenty of comfortable seating and the restaurant has a relaxed but fun feel. The bar menu had a great cocktail list and featured eats priced from $4 – 35 (soup to steak) – sure to fit anyone’s bill. Our waitress was friendly and prompt and got our checks to us when we needed (some of our party had to leave before the rest).

Next time I go to Restaurant Max, I’m trying a different cocktail, getting the Garden flatbread again, and possibly checking out one of their apps. Who knows, maybe I’ll even wander to the dining room for a full dinner? Based on the bar experience, I bet it would be awesome.

Basil’s Restaurant (Breakfast) – Minneapolis, MN »

The Basics

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Cuisine: American
Ambiance: Contemporary
Address: 7th & Marquette, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Neighborhood: Downtown
Phone: 612.376.7404
Web Site: http://www.basilsminneapolis.com/
Must Taste (Breakfast):

  • Breakfast: Wild Rice Waffles – when in Rome…check out the Wild Rice Waffles to get a taste of the local cuisine. These waffles taste pretty much like regular ones with a little extra texture.

Best For: Eats for travelers, meal with friends or co-workers
What to Wear: casual to business casual to dress casual
Fave Points: Convenient location for business travelers, nice interior, and fabulous indoor patio.
My Fave Dish: I loved my wild rice waffles. I’ve never heard of such a dish before and thought the flavor of the waffles was really nice and that the rice added some fun texture. The waffle was cooked perfectly – slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

I was in Minneapolis, MN on business and made a quick stop to Basil’s Restaurant for a simple breakfast.

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As the hostess led me inside the restaurant, I caught a glimpse of their indoor patio area and asked to be seated out there. There was a nice water fountain that streamed from the ceiling to a small pool below that created a relaxing moving water background. The view was the inside of a mall-like area.

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The table setup simple simple, but nice and clean.

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I ordered a cup of coffee with cream and sugar to drink.

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I was feeling a standard egg, pancake, and bacon kind of breakfast, but the wild rice waffle captured my attention as soon as I saw the dish listed on the menu. I knew I had to try them.

The waffle came out perfectly golden brown and served with whipped butter, syrup, and a couple pieces of fruit.

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The waffle was just how I like them: slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Yes, there really was wild rice inside!

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I ordered an extra side of fresh fruit – the bowl was really pretty and I liked the variety of fruit and how the medley contained berries – strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

Final Dish

Although Basil’s Restaurant may easily be missed since it’s not street-side and is located inside The Marquette Hotel (on the third floor), the restaurant is worth a visit. I liked the clean, contemporary interior of the restaurant and the indoor patio is definitely worth checking out. My waiter was nice but the service was a little on the slow side. The food more than made up for it. My breakfast was really well prepared and the flavor of the waffles was awesome. I would definitely come back to Basil’s Restaurant, but I will probably try to wake up earlier next time so I can enjoy a slower-paced breakfast, but not because of the service. This restaurant is a nice place to catch up with the newspaper and take your time sipping on coffee and savoring your waffles, especially before starting a long workday.

BANK (Drinks) – Minneapolis, MN »

The Basics

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Cuisine: American
Ambiance: Modern Sophisticate
Address: 88 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Neighborhood: Downtown
Phone: 612.656.3255
Web Site: http://www.bankmpls.com/
Must Taste (Drink):

  • Cocktails: Blueberry Mojito – a mojito amped up with fresh blueberries…yum!
  • Drink: For a more masculine drink, try The Classic – a standard martini served with either gin or vodka and choice of olives or lemon twist

Best For: Group Outing (with friends or co-workers)
What to Wear: casual-dressy to dressy
Fave Points: Quiet, laid back atmosphere and nice cocktail selection. I also liked how the bar was located in an old bank with dining rooms available in what used to be bankers’ offices. Check out the vault which is now a wine cellar.
My Fave Dish: I fell in love with the blueberry mojito. So simple, but so good.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

I was in Minneapolis, MN for work and headed out with a group of co-workers for drinks. I went with the group to BANK and was happy to relax in the sophisticated and relaxed environment.

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I was torn between the blueberry mojito and the Green Grass Tea and as I like to do in these situations, I asked the waiter which one was better.

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He recommended the blueberry mojito, which was an excellent choice.

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The blueberry mojito was delicious – refreshing but with a fruity twist. I loved it and am only sad that I can’t seem to find this drink anywhere else. I suppose it would be easy enough to ask a bar to toss a couple blueberries into my next mojito, so maybe I’ll try that and see how it compares until I can make it back to Minneapolis again.

Final Dish

BANK was an awesome spot for after-work cocktails. There were plenty of seats – spaces for small groups to large groups – standard chairs to cozy couches. I liked their speciality cocktail list – I love being able to select from lists of cocktails rather than trying to make up my own. The service was prompt and our waiter was personable. I especially liked how mod yet relaxed the environment felt – it was nice to be able to relax with my blueberry mojito. I saw a couple dishes going out to some tables while we were there and they looked quite appetizing, so next time, I’m hoping to hit up BANK for both the eats and drinks.