Saturday, January 7, 2012

SmashBurger (Woodbury)

Hit this place after the movies tonight, looking for some quick food.

Wife went for the create-your-own burger with just sharp cheddar, pickle, tomato, mayo, and regular plain old fries.  Our order was delayed because they had to remake this.  That doesn't seem like a complicated order, but there you go.

I had a variety.  I went with the veggie "frites" (fries) (Flash-fried asparagus spears, carrot sticks and green beans), which (I suspect was because of the delay) were warm edging on cold. The regular fries were still warm and well-salted. The veggie fries were also heavy on the asparagus, and light on the beans (which was actually ok, because I like asparagus).  Because they were not hot, I suspect they were also not 'fried' correctly, because they were pretty limp (or maybe I don't understand the concept of flash-frying).  If you want to try this, be warned - there's nothing like limp asparagus to.start your meal!

I also had the Tailgate Brat - a Johnsonville Beer Bratwurst, garlic onions, spicy brown mustard and melted cheddar "bar cheese", which was some kind of cheese sauce.  Too many onions made the sandwich messy.  They could have put about half as much and been ok.  The brat itself was cooked well; the casing gave the traditional snap, it wasn't dry as a twig, and had enough spices to tell you were eating a brat and not a hot dog.  The poppy seed bun also helped :)

Last thing I tried was the "Twin Cities burger" - melted cheddar "bar cheese" again, Swiss cheese and garlic grilled onions with lettuce, tomato and mayo on an onion bun.  Tomatoes were sliced thin, which was ok for this burger, because with the onions, cheese and "cheese", it tended to slide a bit.  A larger slice size would have made it worse.  The burger was still hot by the time I got to it, and was seasonsed well enough (although under all the onions, it was hard to tell!).  This time, there weren't too many onions, although I have to say that this is an onion lover's burger, thanks to the grilled onions and the onion bun.  Do Twin Cities-ians like onions that much?

The restaurant was clean, well-lit (a plus in my book), not crowded, although the ambient music was too loud for the amount of customers in the place.  I don't know if it's adjustable, but if so, they might want to consider turning it down when there's not so many people.  One thing to note about their burgers:  they're all cooked well, and you don't get the option, and aren't even asked, for a different done-ness.  They have two sizes for the specialty burgers, 'smash' and 'big smash', and a 'small smash' for the create-your-own.  We both got the regular sized burgers, and they were pretty filling (of course, I had a brat too).

Friday, January 6, 2012

Stir Crazy (MOA)

Okay, granted this is a chain restaurant, but it IS in Minnesota, so it does count.  Right?

Went to the MOA location tonight.  For an appetizer, I had the Potsticker trio (chicken, pork, and lobster).  They weren't...awful.  Typical potstickers (although it's really hard to go wrong with a potsticker), and the lobster dipping sauce was the best in my opinion - a Thai red curry sauce.  Used it on Tee's Crab Rangoons :)

For dinner, I had the Sweet and Spicy Chicken.  It wasn't all that spicy, so anyone who doesn't like spicy foods would probably like it.  Don't get me wrong, it did have some bite to it, and it was cooked well.  The fried rice (a $2 upcharge for that!) was meh.  The spring roll that came with it was pretty good, not greasy like some I've had.

The restauarant itself was not crowded, which was a plus.  We were there on a Friday at 3 in the afternoon, so that might explain that.  However, a couple of minuses. First, the lighting was low.  We like to read while we eat, and it was hard enough to see the menu, let alone read a book.  Second, service was rather slow.  Not so bad that we would walk out, but... you know those places that refill your water glass after you take every drink? This isn't one of those places.  It took a while to get noticed for refills on both the water and the iced tea, and since I drink a lot of water, my glass was nearly always empty.

Overall, the food was good.  I'm not convinced it's good enough to justify the prices. Maybe if we'd eaten at the all-you-can-eat-stir-fry-bar, we might have gotten our money's worth.  As it is, ordering the entrees off the menu should be treated as a special occasion, rather than a normal night out.