For the ten month-a-versary celebration we chose the Northeast Social in Minneapolis. I was a little reluctant about this choice since I’d been reading a lot about the restaurant’s “cold table” — the table near the door where people froze every time patrons entered or exited. By the time we made it to the Northeast Social, however, they’d addressed the problem with a thick velvet curtain around the tiny entryway. We sat in the door’s pathway and, while not exactly toasty, were fine during our meal.
In fact, fine would be the word I’d use to describe the Northeast Social. The space was cute — warmly lit, charming and vintage in a new, clean, shiny way. Small though so if you’re going definitely get reservations because the space is always packed. Next to the tiny entryway in the small restaurant were two guys singing and playing guitars. They were good, but because there was no stage (or designated area) for them to play, they stood practically on top of a table with two diners. I was really happy we were not that table. Everyone looked really uncomfortable. But had we been at that table, it would have been a lot louder than it already was. The duo was competing to have their music heard above the din and the crowd was trying to talk over the music. In that battle, everyone lost.
But on to the food. We shared some calamari as an appetizer and it was fine. Hot, not overly greasy, just enough salt, served with a lemon. Good, but nothing spectacular. It was a cold, cold night so I had the potato gnocchi stroganoff with mushrooms and creme fraiche hoping the combo would satisfy my need for hearty comfort food. It was fine. I have made gnocchi from scratch and you can almost always tell the homemade gnocchi from store-bought, but I couldn’t really tell if these were hand-made. I think so, but can’t confirm. I wanted the sauce to have more sour cream “bite” to it, but it was more like thick, warm cream. I added a lot of salt, but I really like salt so perhaps you shouldn’t read too much into that. The mushrooms were nice in that they were not overdone and soggy, they retained their meatiness, but they were just kind of there. Again, the dish was fine, but felt … thick somehow. K ordered the braised pork shank with Yukon mashed potatoes which he said was, you guessed it, fine.
The big winner of the night was dessert. We shared the rosemary honey panna cotta and I could have easily just savored a few of those on my own. The panna cotta was creamy and perfectly set up. The rosemary gave it an unusual but scrumptious bite and the sweet and syrupy honey married everything together. We liked it so much we recreated it during the big Valentine’s Day dinner.
If I lived in the neighborhood, I’d probably visit the Northeast Social occasionally because it’s close and I’ll definitely give it another chance. Maybe a weekend lunch or something less “special occasion.” The food was fine, the service was really good and the dessert was great. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going out for dessert!