restaurant review: spoonriver

10 Jul

The better half and I celebrated 9 years of marital bliss this last Wednesday, and at 9:30pm the night before, we decided we’d dine at Spoonriver the next night to mark the occasion. Neither of us had ever been, but we had heard good things from others who had eaten there, and as far as I could tell, this restaurant comes replete with a good reputation. So, given this was our anniversary, and I can’t quite remember the last time we dined out just the two of us, we had some high expectations for the night. Here’s how things went…

We had a choice of sitting inside or out, and we chose outside because it was a nice evening (albeit a bit breezy). We were seated along the side of the restaurant (facing the Guthrie) and that part was in the shade. Due to the wind and lack of sunshine where we were, I was freezing within about five minutes. Alas, this was not the restaurant’s fault in any way, shape, or form- we chose to sit outside. Now let’s talk about the service. It was a tad slow. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t want to be rushed into ordering, rushed into the next course, etc. but this was even more slow than your average ‘let’s give the patrons a little time and space’ service.

We sipped our beverages and received some tasty bread and butter (and then husband says: why do they bring THREE pieces of bread when there are TWO people dining? He doesn’t like to fight me for the third piece of bread apparently), and then we each ordered an appetizer.


Mine: organic greens salad with mustard tarragon vinaigrette


His:  Soup du Jour-  cup of pinto bean soup (which came accompanied by a sweet husband quote a la Dumb and Dumber)


We both really liked our appetizers- very delish.

Next came the main course. Pat ordered the Minnesota Lamb & Vegetables, with cous-cous pilaf and minted yogurt sauce. When he placed his order, the waiter said, “oh, you mean the lamb stew, right?” No mention of it being stew-like on the menu though. I ordered the Flank Steak with market vegetable and potato du jour. (Dinner menu can be viewed here.)





My take on my meal: the steak was flavorful. It was a bit chewy and grizzly for my taste, so overall I was not that pleased with the steak. The potato du jour was very good- some type of a room-temp potato/vegetables salad thing…it was very summery and tasty. The market vegetable I could have done without. It was a grilled chunk of red cabbage. Quite dry; hard to cut and chew. I think I only had one bite of it. (On second thought, maybe that wasn’t red cabbage. Some other type of garden green perhaps? Jen?)

Pat’s take on his meal: I think all I need to tell you here is that at one point this is what I heard from across the table: this dish is my worst nightmare. Yes, it seems the menu-writers failed to mention that two of the three most repulsive foods on the planet (in my husband’s opinion) make an appearance in their Minnesota Lamb and cous-cous dish. They tell you about the minted yougurt sauce, which Pat imagined might be served on the side. What they failed to mention, however, were the steamed raisins AND olives that were part of the lamb dish. No, those are just black peppercorns I say, to reassure him the dish is safe. No, these are RAISINS!! And yup, he was right, they were raisins. Black peppercorn-sized mini-raisins, in addition to golden raisins. In sum, he said the cous-cous was “flavorful”, but he just didn’t like the flavor. And the lamb meat was just so-so. And the yogurt/raisins/olives combo was his worst nightmare all wrapped up in a bowl.

We decided not to stick around for dessert. (The place we chose for dessert deserves a post in and of itself.)

What are we taking away from this meal? Pat concedes the dislike of his meal was poor ordering on his part. We both concede the uncomfortable cold, wind-blown atmosphere was poor seating choice on our part. Pat: I don’t think I’ll go back. Anne: Hm, I think I’d go back- for drinks. Or lunch or brunch. I’ll give them another chance.

I’m interested…have you and yours dined at Spoonriver? What did you think?


4 Responses to “restaurant review: spoonriver”

  1. Anonymous July 13, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    Swimming against the mighty current. You are brave.

    We have had better meals (locally sourced) at other restaurants with less hype.

  2. bearing July 13, 2009 at 2:10 pm #

    I bet those are currants, not raisins.

    • anne July 13, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

      I’m sure you are correct. Also, the stuff I called ‘red cabbage’ Jen is calling radicchio (sp.); and the stuff the husband called rhubarb growing in pots around Spoonriver Jen is calling swiss chard. Ya learn something new everyday!


  1. July 13 Morning Roundup Part II « The Heavy Table - July 13, 2009

    […] ponders coconut violence at Holy Land, She said.She said gives Spoonriver a lukewarm review, The Twin Cities Breakfast Club praises The Strip Club, Scate lucks into warm pastries at A […]

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