Northeast Social — July 30, 2010

2 08 2010

Northeast Social
359 13th Avenue NE
Minneapolis
www.northeastsocial.com

Scallops Starter

The rave reviews we’d gotten from friends about the Northeast Social prompted us to save our visit for a special occasion. So when Jim’s birthday arrived, we had no trouble deciding where to celebrate. As we pulled up to the restaurant, it was evident that 13th avenue NE was the place to be on a Friday night. Neighboring bars and a local art gallery had people spilling onto the sidewalks to enjoy the perfect summer evening.

Northeast Social is a place that would likely have a comfortable ambiance any time of the year. A small vase of fresh flowers sat on every wooden table, and small lights dangling from the ornate ceiling lit the space. A variety of artwork adorned the walls, and bottles of wines highlighted the bar. Large windows along the front opened wide to let the July heat filter in and bring a bit of outdoor seating inside.

Featured Entrée: Lavender & Sage Pork Chop

Our waitress was helpful and friendly, and placed our drink order quickly. Jim opted for Pinot, while I put the place to the test right away. I ordered the only $4 glass of red wine on the menu, figuring we’d quickly learn the standards of the restaurant by trying the menu item with the least potential. Deemed by the waitress as “not bad for the price,” the glass was quite enjoyable and eventually became a second pour for both of us.

We split the scallops starter plate to begin. Sweet corn kernels, bacon pieces and green onion bites were piled underneath two large scallops, all lightly drizzled with limoncello. The scallops were average, but the hearty relish beneath it combining salt citrus took the dish from good to great. Thanks to a kitchen mix-up, we had our scallops literally seconds after we ordered, something we – including our waitress – laughed about, though she vowed to let us enjoy the rest of our meal at a more relaxed pace.

Jim had the evening’s special – lavender and sage pork chop with potatoes and green beans. Perfectly subtle lavender notes and a hint of berry highlighted each tender bite of pork. Creative preparation and noticeable flavors made the potatoes and beans a focus on their own instead of typical plate fillers.  I ordered an arugula salad consisting of peas, red onion, mint and bacon, and topped with lemon, oil and feathery shredded cheese.  It was beautifully presented, included ample quantities of each part, and perfectly combined fresh and gourmet to create an ideal entrée salad. Alongside it, I requested a cup of the evening’s balsamic gazpacho.  Not as thick as an authentic gazpacho, it did have thin shreds of cucumber floating throughout for texture. And while the flavor was dark and sultry, different from the bright and tangy I’d expected, it paired well with the soft salad and warm weather.

Arugula Salad and Gazpacho

Full enough to forego dessert and too late in the evening to find a post-dinner drink stop, we took our glasses of wine to a table near the windows to finish the night next to the summer breeze. A man near the hostess stand played well-known tunes on his accordion, and customers slowly cleared the room and headed home.  From mid-evening energy to late-night calm, we enjoyed the two moods of Northeast Social. If not for the sophisticated vibe yet neighborhood feel, we’ll be back for the regularly changing menu and unique execution of fresh ingredients in surprising combinations. And, not least of all, for the accordion serenade.

RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Ambiance/Environment: ♠♠♠♠
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠1/2
Service: ♠♠♠♠

Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠♠
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠♠

Total bill, including tip: $92

Northeast Social on Urbanspoon

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One response

6 08 2010
liz

UMM. That looks amazing. All I have to say is, yummm.

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