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Reviews of The Freehouse, Chef Shack Ranch, & More

Photo: Katie Cannon/EAMPLS

First up, Heavy Table heads to restaurant/brewery The Freehouse, Blue Plate's new entry into the North Loop dining scene. And things are not good. According to reviewer James Norton, the restaurant "needs a great deal of editing, and quickly."

Norton breaks the review into the good and the bad. In short, the good: the staff (very friendly), the decor, and the beer (the house-brewed beer, that is). The reasonably good: cocktails, bison tartare, Kentucky fried rabbit, and the rotisserie chicken. Next the bad: Jack'd up mussels ("a mess"), Korea-Town Riblets ("overly salty, one-dimensional, firm-to-tough logs of meat"), and the Animal Style Burger ("the first mistake was referring to a classic thin-patty style of In-N-Out burger and then delivering a giant brick of meat"). And then there's the "So Bad They Actually Make a Great Story," or the Lemon Meringue Cake and the Lobster Mac N Cheez.

Over at the Longfellow's newly-opened Sonora Grill (the Midtown Global Market stand's first stand-alone spot), the Heavy Table's Tricia Cornell has some trouble reading the menu, which doesn't distinguish well between apps/small plates and main dishes: "Our only quibble with Sonora Grill is with their graphic designer." A few other small quibbles included the ribs as an "almost overwhelming pile of meat on the plate" and a wish that the chocolate dipping sauce that comes with the churros "was thicker, with more cocoa-y bite." Overall, though, everything is great: "delicious," "rich," "complex," and more.

Next up, City Pages' Emily Weiss heads to Chef Shack Ranch, the new brick n' mortar from the popular food truck. Weiss focuses more on the story of the latest restaurant from owners Carrie Summer and Lisa Carlson, but she also points out a few specific menu highlights: the Big Boy Ranch Plate (which includes beef brisket, pulled pork, house-made pickles, a Fischer Farms bacon beer brat, a baking powder biscuit, and sides of baked beans, potato salad, and red cabbage slaw), the Hangover Hash (broccoli, caramelized cauliflower, braised beef cheeks, and scrambled eggs), Ranch-style poutine, and the tempura wings.

Finally, City Pages' Joy Summers takes a first look at Relevé, the new Champagne bar at the 601 Graves Hotel. Summers says the bar has the largest list of Champagne by the glass that she's ever encountered in the Cities, and range from $8 (can of Sofia) to $22 (glass of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin). The menu is divided into Madison Avenue ("the elegant dishes those would expect to find with fine bubbles") and Hennepin Avenue ("more on par with an upscale casual evening at the bar"), with dishes ranging from a $125 seafood tower to a $13 baked crab dip, and some "thunderously crunchy" house-made potato chips.
· All Week in Reviews [Eater MPLS]

The Freehouse

701 N. Washington Ave. Minneapolis, MN