22 May 2010

Lunch and dinner at Kincaid's St. Paul

I'm not sure if it was coincidence or poor planning. But I ended up at Kincaid's in St. Paul for a lunch and a dinner within one week of each other. I reviewed the lunch on Yelp; rated it 3 stars out of 5.
The dinner was the same ... I mean almost literally the same. The specials for dinner on Monday were just larger portions of the same specials that were offered at lunch the previous Friday. In my Yelp review, I already expressed my disappointment that for a place that's supposed to specialize in fish, steaks, and chops, there isn't much meat on the menu, and the meat entrees that are on the menu are pretty ordinary.

For my lunch, I had fish. For dinner, I had the only steak on the list of evening specials. It was good. Just nothing special. What I was really in the mood for was either lamb or veal. I was tempted by the prime rib on the regular menu. However, the server recommended the steak, so that's what I ordered.

Our guest for dinner on Monday commented that his office in DC is close to Kincaid's in that city. He was surprised that we had a Kincaid's because he didn't think it was a chain. What I discovered writing this blog post is that he was mostly correct. The Kincaid's in Washington is not part of a chain. Furthermore, it is pretty much a straight forward fish restaurant. I've eaten there once for lunch several years ago. I took a look at the menu online. It looked very appealing. I think I'll give it another try sometime soon.

The Kincaid's in St. Paul, however, is part of a small chain. There's a second location (actually the first one to open) in Bloomington not far from my house. There are eight or nine other locations, mostly west (California, Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon) and one in Norfolk, VA. I would feel comfortable recommending Kincaid's for a business dinner or for out-of-town visitors. But for me personally, I'd probably make other choices:

Lunch in downtown St. Paul? St. Paul Grill

Steak dinner? Manny's in Minneapolis

Fish or seafood? Sea Change in Minneapolis.

17 May 2010

Dinner at Miramar Bistro, Highwood, IL

April was a busy month, with a lot of travel for work as well as personal. There was one week when I had meetings in DC through noon on Friday and then had to be back in DC the following Monday. So my wife and I made arrangements to meet in Chicago and visit our daughter, son-in-law, and baby grandson.

Our grandson was born on December 31. At the time of our visit, our daughter had just returned to work after her maternity leave. She and her husband requested a special dinner for multiple reasons - to 'celebrate' her return to work, to sooth the emotional distress of returning to work, and this would be the first 'nice' dinner out with the baby. The venue they picked was Miramar Bistro.

For all the years that our daughter has lived in Chicago, most of the restaurants we've been to have been in the city, very few suburban spots. But since they moved to the suburbs about a year ago, we've gradually gotten acquainted with some restaurants north of the city.

With a baby in tow, we made an early reservation. When we arrived, there were only a few other diners in Miramar. I noted that there were a couple of other families with young children dining there. But while Miramar might attract families for early seating, this definitely isn't a compromise restaurant on food quality. The meals we ordered were creative and artfully prepared. And by the time we left, the restaurant was hopping with lots of groups of young adults.

My wife and I miss the restaurants and nightlife we used to enjoy when we stayed downtown. But it's fun getting acquainted with the northern suburbs food scene. Miramar was great.

11 May 2010

Lunch at Bibiana, Washington, DC

I used to go to this place. It actually was one of my favorites. It was called Luigino. I was disappointed when I read that it had closed.

In late April, I wanted to take my co-worker and her assistant out to lunch, in appreciation for their work on a successful project. I wanted someplace special. As I browsed through lists of restaurants not too far from their office, the description of Bibiana caught my eye. I wondered if it could be the new restaurant in the space that Luigino had occupied. Of course, it was.

We had a great lunch. This is the restaurant that I wish D'Amico's Kitchen in Minneapolis had turned out to be. The food was delicous, creatively prepared and nicely presented. The ambiance was comfortable. Our server was knowledgeable, helpful, and attentive. (Some of the other Yelp reviewers complained about slow or inattentive service. But that wasn't our experience.)

I will definitely come back for dinner sometime.

09 May 2010

Oops! What happened to April?

Whew. Six weeks since my last post. You might think, 'Well, nothing much happened.' But you'd be wrong.

Actually, April was very busy with lots of travel, both for work and for fun. And we went to lots of really good restaurants. And I was able to keep my Yelp reviews pretty much up to date. I just neglected to update Kriks Picks. So here goes.

Next up ... a really great visit to Cafe Atlantico in Washington, DC.

Dinner at Cafe Atlantico, Washington, DC

A while back, in Krik's Picks, I commented that I'm a fan of the chef Jose Andres. I said that I planned to visit all of his DC restaurants over the course of my upcoming business trips.

So in mid-April, a co-worker and I were in DC and we decided to go to Cafe Atlantico. We had a fabulous meal. On my Yelp review, I rated it 5-stars, "As good as it gets."

I was particularly excited about this restaurant because minibar, Andres' exclusive and innovative 6-seat tasting experience, is located in the same building. When we were seated, I asked for a table where we could watch the action at minibar. My request was accommodated, but you couldn't really see much. Still, it was fun.

As we finished our meals, I noticed that minibar was between seatings. I recognized one of the chefs and I commented to our server that I remembered him from my meal at minibar. A few minutes later, he stopped over to our table. I introduced him to my co-worker and we chatted about what he was serving this evening.

After he left, we ordered desserts. As we were sitting there, the chef came back with a special surprise. One of the items at minibar was their variation of Ferrero Rocher, except that the gold wrapper was completely edible. Cool!

So, high recommendation for Cafe Atlantico. Give it a try.