My sister, Sarah, is getting married this Fall and I can’t wait! The showers, parties and planning, all in anticipation for the big day! Weddings are a lot of work, but it’s all worth it, right?!
Sarah is still in the thick of the “planning phase” which is my favorite because all of the work gets done over lunch, happy hour, or brunch. Tonight was a joint planning session since my husband will be leading the music for their ceremony. Why not make it a double date?
We ventured over to St. Paul and landed on West 7th, what I imagine to be the sure outcome of Uptown and Edina procreating during an election year.
The organized bride made a reservation for 7:30 at the Downtowner. We were surprisingly right on time thanks to their customer parking across the street (+). We began to second guess our choice when there was only one other party at the restaurant. Our waitress explained that they tend to get very busy if it’s raining or 100 degrees, otherwise summer is a slow season at a place with no patio. Shoot, no outdoor seating? I guess a beer will do.
The menu has quite a spread of options with some great woodfire dishes. I heard that they have good fish and seafood so I ordered the walleye filet ($12). My husband went for the linguine with clams ($15) and the Bride and Groom shared a ceaser salad ($8.25) and the lamb kabob entree ($22).
As we waited for our food we snacked on homemade flatbread with hummus — pretty stellar starter.
Planning was discussed, food was eaten….
My response? Order the filet, ditch the bun. The ciabatta overpowered the walleye in size and flavor. The walleye was well cooked and the remoulade added excitement to the dish, but the bread has to go.
My table mates had good things to say, too. Chike loved the lamb — a nice woodfire taste that you don’t get with your everyday falafel. Alex, who always finds himself saying “I could have made this at home” after eating Italian food, said that his pasta was the best linguine he’d ever had.
Overall, we had a good time. But the planning wasn’t done and at 9 pm on a Saturday, neither were we. Sarah and Chike agreed to show us around a little on their home turf of St. Paul.
Chike almost fell over in shock when he found out I’d never been to the West 7th landmark, Cossetta’s. “Looks great, but we’ll have to come back sometime, I’m stuffed.” Not on Chike’s watch. He quickly ran in and ordered some gelato for the group to share. Note to readers: never turn down free gelato. They were all out of chocolate so he brought us some amaretto to share. Mmmm, it was bold and powerful on the tongue, but softened to a warm almond flavor that melts in your mouth. Definitely worth the drive to St. Paul!!
We kept walking until we hit The Liffey. Again, the place was empty on this MN summer night. We grabbed some beers at the bar (I went for an Irish classic, Harps) and walked through the restaurant up the stairs to the outside patio. I’d have to say, it was the perfect mix of “going out” and “at home comfort” that I was looking for. The place was packed, but not full of 20 year olds looking to get smashed. Someone reading on their own, a group of guys enjoying their cherished cigars, and a group of ladies ordering another bottle of wine to share. Our double date/wedding planning party fit right in.
The ride back to Minneapolis was long (about 30 minutes), but definitely worth the trip.
A little disappointed there was no outdoor seating for dinner, but give it a month or two and that won’t be relevant. Cossetta’s was fun, true to its Italian roots. And great rooftop patio for casual drinks.
Particularly great service at The Downtowner, both at the bar and at our table.
Don’t those clams look inviting? Yum.
The Cosetta’s gelato was memorable, kind of stole the show.
Value for Dollars
Average prices. No good deals, but c’mon, it was Saturday night.
Find out for yourself…