1610 Harmon Place
There is no better adieu to a bitter winter and a damp spring than waving goodbye from a rooftop patio while inhaling the warm air from a cloudless sky. And after an exciting Twins victory charged our batteries, we climbed the stairs at Joe’s Garage enthusiastically – it was time to welcome the summer sun back to the Midwest.
The hostess led us to a round table with a large umbrella atop the restaurant, a request they noted from our Open Table reservation (in which, I admit, we did a little begging to be placed up top). The patio had more seats than we expected and was full of activity on a hot summer evening.
Fresh out of the oyster appetizer we were anxious to try, our party opted to patiently wait for our entrees than choose from some of the more typical starter options. Instead, we ordered a drink and took in the sights. Joe’s long list of beer is impressive, though the domestic offerings are slight, and the house margarita is fantastic – a treat not listed on the menu, but worth requesting.
Jim opted for a summertime staple – Joe’s classic burger topped with cheese and caramelized onions and served with chips. The onions were a bit messy, but the hamburger’s juicy flavor made the simple burger a solid above-average pick. And I welcome the opportunity to continue raving about my Southwestern Veggie: a black bean, corn and falafel patty with asiago, avocado and pico de gallo wrapped in a flour tortilla. Just half of the enormous tortilla would have sufficed, but the fillings it held were outstanding. The spices and heat were enough that the side of chipotle ranch sauce stayed on my plate as a chip dip (also delicious, I must add) instead of masking the sandwich flavor.
Also at our table were the Jambalaya Risotto (which wasn’t spicy, as the menu noted), the Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops (served fire-spicy, which was not mentioned on the menu), and the Breakfast Burger – black forest ham, cheese and a fried egg on top of an Angus patty (sounds like a meat coma, but was apparently delicious). We didn’t try the highly praised mashed potato bar – there were other things more appealing than hot spuds on a summer night – but it’d be a great reason to stop back. Service was slow though friendly, and in such a relaxing setting it was hard to care for much more.
With no room for dessert, we cleared our palates with a rooftop drink as we watched the sun set on the city and the dusk fall across Loring Park. Situated on the corner marking Minneapolis’ Downtown Zone, Joe’s Garage has not only the perfect view of the city, but the best place to take it all in … with plenty good eats, to boot. We also hear there’s a great brunch menu … sunrise reservations, perhaps?
RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠♠
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠♠
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠♠
Total bill: someone else’s treat!