We are a tasting group of women who have been dining out together since 1998. We dine in restaurants all over the Twin Cities and we choose restaurants that either are new or long established ones with good reputations. Because we are a tasting group we do not all order an individual appetizer, entrée or dessert. As a group we come to a consensus before ordering. We share each course and give our opinions on taste, presentation and service.
We first went to Nicollet Island Inn in 2004 and liked it
so well we gave it a "5 Plate Licker" designation.If this needs an explanation, we did not leave a
bit of sauce or crumb on our plates.By
consensus, we rarely return to a restaurant, preferring to choose from the wide
variety of wonderful eateries in the Twin Cities.This is the only restaurant we have returned
to a number of times.In the summer, we
sit outside; in the spring we have enjoyed brunch overlooking the river.
The restaurant was decorated beautifully for the
holidays.Immediately the scent of
freshly-cut greens filled the air upon stepping through the doors.Tiny, twinkling lights sparkled throughout
the dining room.
After visiting several restaurants with high ceilings and
poor acoustics, we appreciated Nicollet Island Inn and the calm atmosphere
enabling us to enjoy a glass of wine while catching up with one another.
We chose two appetizers - the Beef Tartare and a Beet
Beet Salad - wonderful!This included roasted and pickled beets with a variety ofspring greens .The salad dressing drew many compliments.The golden beets were pickled, the red beets
roasted providing an odd contrast.Beets
are a favorite with most of us but we would have preferred either roasted or
pickled, not both in the salad.
Steak Tartare - this wasn't up to their normal high
standards.We found the beef to be a
little chunky, similar to the texture of ground beef and agreed that it needed
more seasoning.The grilled bread served
with it was wonderful with a black pepper twist.
We chose 3 main courses.
Mushroom Gnocchi - we wouldn't change a thing; it was
very good.This dish featured wild and
cultivated mushrooms that tasted almost caramelized and potato gnocchi with
taleggio cream, truffle oil and pecorino cheese.
Lamb Duo -this
was a Rack of Lamb and braised Lamb Shank combination.The lamb was done perfectly, medium rare as
ordered; the braised Lamb Shank was tender and seasoned with cumin.The Rack of Lamb could have used more
seasoning to compete with the cumin but was beautifully served and very
tender.The dish was served with root
vegetables and was enjoyed by all.
Scallops - served with acorn squash risotto.The scallops were pan-fried, perfectly
cooked, the risotto creamy and rich.Most of us loved this dish.
Dessert, typically the highlight of our meal, was
disappointing.We chose Salted Crème
Brule and Gingerbread cake.We all
agreed both desserts were quite average.
Our waiter was very attentive and gracious about
assisting us in making menu selections that are easily shared.
It may have been the atmosphere or because it was the
Holiday Season but as we left, we decided to make this restaurant our annual