A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting a friend out for dinner at the recently opened Kings Restaurant on the corner of 46th St. and Grand in south Minneapolis. We arrived on a Friday night at 7:00pm without a reservation. We were a little worried because the place seemed packed and there were lots of people waiting by the front door. We got our name on the waiting list and were told the wait would be about 45 minutes. We decided to wait it out and sip and chat while we waited. The restaurant is not overly spacious. They do have a very small bar sitting area (maybe three small tables) which was all filled, so we got our drinks and basically just hovered near the bar and cash register and kitchen door. We were in the way of the employees coming and going from the bar/kitchen, but there was really no where else for us to go. Luckily, we did not have to wait a full 45 minutes and were shown to our table at the back of the restaurant near the wall of wine.
I’d describe the atmosphere of the restaurant as dark, noisy, and busy. They seemed to be doing a good Friday night business, and thankfully the noisiness factor wasn’t so noisy as to disturb conversations (because said friend and I had LOTS to talk about!) It took us awhile to decide what to order in between our chatting and discussing the merits of different food combinations on the menu. Kings has a nice sized small-bites section on their menu, in addition to some other light fare and more hearty meals for the main course. We ordered two appetizers: the goat cheese fritter and the tater tots. (My husband basically made me swear to him before I left the house that I’d order the homemade tater tots. And bring some home to him.) The goat cheese fritter was really yummy- I think we both enjoyed that. The tater tots were huge, and yes, homemade. I thought they were okay- nothing special though. They were pretty dense and not that flavorful. BUT…I did bring the leftovers home to the husband and he loved them, so I guess this means I’m just not a tater tot maniac like he is.
Dinner…I ordered the winter BLT with the green side salad. My companion Jen. ordered the roasted beet salad and the french onion soup. I was concerned when ordering the BLT (which comes with a fried egg inside) that the egg would be runny and nasty and would ruin my sandwich. The waiter told me that *I* would ruin the sandwich by not ordering the fried egg inside, and he assured me the egg yolk would be hard. He was correct, and the egg was a nice addition to the BLT. I liked the sandwich, but again felt it was nothing to write home about. I thought the tomato preserve spread was a little odd-tasting with the sandwich, but that could just be a pregnancy fluke because tomatoes in general have not sounded appealing to me. What I didn’t like about my meal was the side salad. I couldn’t put a finger on whether it was old-tasting greens or something in the dressing that I didn’t like, but I couldn’t manage to eat more than two bites of that thing. Jen seemed to enjoy her beet salad, but she had a few not-so-good things to say about her french onion soup, one of which was “it tastes like lasagna.” Jen said she’d comment with a few other details about her dining experience.
Another word on where we were seated… Like I mentioned above, our table was right next to a wall stacked floor to ceiling with bottles of wine. Initially I was really excited to sit right there and felt like we had scored a great table. As I sat down though, my purse accidentally clanked up against some wine bottles and almost knocked a few over. We also didn’t know that this wall o wine is where the servers retrieve the wine all night long when customers order a bottle of wine. So numerous times throughout the evening we had a server gazing over our shoulders looking for a wine, and then reaching over us to retrieve it. Equally distracting was the fact that we were also seated directly next to the bathrooms, so there were people coming and going all night.
Overall, I’d rate the food as okay. I certainly wouldn’t be running back to Kings solely based on the food. The ambience was fun, and the location is convenient for me, so I’d probably go back if friends were meeting there for drinks or whatnot. We were pleased with our bill- if you order right you can get a decent-sized meal for a very economy-friendly price.