Monday, October 11, 2010

Restaurant Review: Bradstreet Crafthouse

This week was restaurant week in the Twin Cities--so we decided to mark the occassion with a trip to the Bradstreet Crafthouse.  What is significant about Bradstreet, is they are not exactly known for their food, but their 19th Century Cocktails.

Food:  The menu designed specifically for restaurant week was $15 a person.  For an appetizer we had a choice of hummus with house bread or edamame.  We went with both--and neither was particularly special.  We also ordered polenta fries, which we could not resist.  They were excellant and came with a red pepper puree and an herb mixture for dipping. Our dining companions ordered ceviche and the flavor was nothing short of awesome with the combination of ginger and citrus.

For a main course, we shared a BLT and calamari.  The BLT was probably the best I have eaten--it was a large piece of pork belly, served on a crostini with a spinach mixture, tomato jam and a fried egg.  I would definitely go back for that BLT.  The calamari was also great--served unbreaded with cherry tomatoes, capers and shitake mushrooms, with a citrus/olive oil sauce.  

Dessert was probably my favorite course, which is pretty rare.  Dessert was served in a large shot glass, and consisted of moscato jelly on the bottom, a scope of vanilla ice cream, fresh raspberries, topped with real lime soda.  It was refreshing and very flavorful.  

Service:  Our waiter was knowledgable and helpful. Really--most of our questions were about the cocktail menu.  I was a little overwhelmed by it, and when I asked him what he thought of my potential choice, and he said it was a "must try" it made my decision much easier.  He also supplied our table with a couple of rounds of drinks on the house, which was a really nice touch and made me want to go back.  One drawback was one entree took forever to come, which was frustrating, but did not take away from the experience too much.

Prices:  The restaurant week menu was a great price and I have no complains there.  Looking at the rest of the menu-choices ranged between $6-$15 for a small plate, which really is not that bad.  Cocktails were $10 a piece, which may seem pricey, but when you look at the kind of alcohol they are serving (its not phillips or smirnoff), the ingredients in them, and presentation--it is not a bad price at all. 

Atmosphere:  I loved the atmopshere!  Low lighting, comfy booths, tasteful decor that was not over the top--It makes me want to go back for another date night. It felt effortlessly stylish, yet cozy at the same time. 

Cocktails:  I don't feel like I can adequately comment on the cocktails.  I had a Juliet & Romeo, which consisted of plymouth gin, mint, cucumber, lime and rose water.  It was refreshing and I would easily order one again, although it felt a little summery.  We had a small sample of a Southside, which is a mojito made with gin rather than rum.  I really liked that as well, and will look forward to making them next summer.  The reason I can't comment much on the cocktails is a lot of their best ones, are made with dark alcohol which I do not enjoy.  I will say that everyone definitely enjoyed the drinks.

So would I go back?  Probably not for dinner, although the food was awesome.  What I would go back for is a night cap and late night snack.  Bradstreet's focus is on the cocktails--and going there for dinner took away from that a bit.  I think the best way to enjoy Bradstreet is for a before dinner appetizer or an after dinner snack.

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