Northeast Social values old-fashioned camaraderie and great dinners

Restaurant is located at one of the city's coolest "new" crossroads

For dessert, I wasn't about to pass up the panna cotta made with rosemary-infused cream and plated in a pool of honey. It was the best panna cotta I've ever had: cloud-like texture, golden sweetness, and an edge of underbrush that gave it a sophistication most of us can only aspire to match.

On subsequent visits, the heady rush of first impressions wore off a bit, and I encountered some of Northeast Social's humdrum aspects and quirks. After sampling each entrée from the brief list, none had nearly the impact of the trout. The only one I'd order again was the sirloin served with chèvre mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus—at $19, it's a great budget steak dinner. The St. Louis-style pork ribs from Fischer Farms were tender and smoky (the sauce is made with smoked Roma tomatoes), but I didn't love the seasoning blend. Ditto the burger: As much as I liked the tempura-fried jalapeños on top, it wasn't going to make anybody's top 10 list.

Many of Hayes's entrées have an Italian influence, and while the gnocchi and risotto were fine, they weren't as good as others I've had locally. Piled on the plate like charcoal briquettes, the gnocchi were a bit dense and gluey, and the crushed red pepper in the sauce masked its tomato-basil flavors. I found the risotto a touch al dente, though I liked the freshness of the asparagus, cherry tomatoes, lemon, and dill. When I paid my bill one night, I noticed the roast chicken was listed as "Airline Chicken," which might be interpreted as describing the cut, or as an inside joke about the kitchen's lack of enthusiasm for an obligatory menu item. While sides of wilted escarole and cannellini beans perked things up, the dish wasn't especially remarkable.

Catch up on the neighborhood gossip at Northeast Social
Jana Freiband
Catch up on the neighborhood gossip at Northeast Social

Location Info

Map

Northeast Social

359 13th Ave. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Northeast Minneapolis

Details

NORTHEAST SOCIAL
359 13th Ave., Minneapolis
612.877.8111; northeastsocial.com
appetizers $7-$10; entrées $15-$20

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My impression of Northeast Social vacillated with each item that arrived at the table. When I tasted the dry, underseasoned lamb sausage or the too-sweet, bland ginger brew, my mood dipped. When I had the lemony olive tapenade and an arugula salad tossed with peas, bacon, red onion, and mint, I swooned. Northeast Social hasn't yet convinced me that it's a dinner destination, but with its boutique wines and worldly beer list, it's definitely a good spot to drink and snack.

For example, one night a friend and I split a 22-ounce Flying Horse lager, chilled tableside in an ice bucket. (They give you cute little juice glasses and you serve each other, as you would with a bottle of wine.) We paired the beer with a plate of roasted Pimiento de Padrón, a bright Spanish pepper with a fickle characteristic: About one in ten are spicy hot. Eating the peppers became a game of Russian roulette—a thrill that engaged my friend and me as well as others at the neighboring tables. Inside, I heard a clanging bell, signaling that it was time for Northeast's version of "cheers" or "salud," a toast they refer to as a "social." I raised my glass and drank a sip of beer. And resisted the impulse to Twitter about it. 

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