The neighborhood we live in has a neighborhood association. It’s primarily a social group. Activities include parties, a gourmet club, community festivals … things like that.
There also is a magazine for the members of the association. One of the things that the publisher of the magazine does is arrange dinners for us at different restaurants. Most of them are in Edina or nearby suburbs. In exchange for putting on the dinner, the participants will rate the restaurant and the magazine will run a photo spread of the event. The restaurant gets some publicity. We get a meal and an evening of socializing.
Most of the restaurants that we’ve gone to as part of this group have been pretty casual. The food has been good, but nothing noteworthy. Of course, the restaurant is motivated to make sure we have a good experience because they know that a review is going to be published.
The most recent restaurant that my wife and I went to as part of the group (Parkwood Knolls Association) was Rare Steak & Sushi in downtown Minneapolis. It was, without question, the best restaurant we’ve been to as part of this group. Like I said, I’m sure they gave us exceptional service because of the review. But in this case, it was really over-the-top in terms of quality of food, friendly hospitality, and enjoyable experience.
So I’ve included an image of the menu. It gives you a pretty good idea of the range of items that’s available at Rare. I can honestly say that everything on the menu was very good. The mixed sushi and nigiri plate was particularly noteworthy. A few either had never had sushi before, or hadn’t enjoyed it when they had had it. This plate really made them rethink their previous aversion to sushi. Rare really should put this plate on its happy hour menu. It would have been great for a couple of people to share with drinks.
The tuna ‘tataki’ and the beef ‘tataki’ were two preparations that I had never tasted before. They both were good. I preferred the tuna between the two of them. But these weren’t my favorite items of the evening.
Then we got to the entrée samples. In a word – yum! They served two steaks, a hanger steak and a filet. Personally I thought the hanger steak with fries was better, but both were excellent. There also were two fish preparations – sea bass and salmon. I preferred the sea bass with an orange sake reduction. But the salmon also was good, served with a drizzle of lemon caper butter sauce.
By the time we got to the dessert offering – apple and pecan bread pudding – we all were too full to really do it justice. I thought it was good, but I’m not normally a bread pudding fan. So I probably would order something different on a return visit.
My wife and I agreed that this is a restaurant that we would eagerly come back to and enthusiastically recommend to others. I also think this would be a fun happy hour locale.
We should only be so lucky to have another experience like this at the next Parkwood Knolls dinner.