I went to see a friend who has picked up a night or two working at the restaurant. She was there and appeared happy and looked great.
I also ran into several friends from another restaurant I frequent. They also appeared happy and looked great. I hadn’t seen them in many weeks. A nice meeting.
The restaurant was crowded and active and I waited quite a while for a place at the bar. And here is where I can give my first tip. Pack a pocket full of gravel before going to the bar. You’ll need it so you can toss a stone and get a bartender’s attention. And even after you get a bartender’s attention, there’s no guarantee you’ll see a drink anytime soon. Patience — or a discreetly sequestered flask — are necessary at the Eat Street Social bar.
That’s unfortunate. The bar staff is pleasant, just not very efficient. They seem to be busy keeping bar stuff organized and don’t always notice the guests at the bar. The list of drinks might be overwhelming, too. With one exception, the bartenders don’t appear very seasoned. Nevertheless, they manage to keep everything cheerful and upbeat.
Overall the patrons were pleasant and — I might point out — very attractive. But there was one grumpy couple that must have felt I was standing too close to them. They turned glaring at me and the gentleman snapped at me. I apologized and explained that I thought he might have been a client of mine once. He thought about it for a moment then asked what I did. I told him I was a defense attorney. He gave that some thought, then realized he might be at the bad end of a good joke, and gruffly turned back to the bar. For my part, I wonder who his defense attorney really is.
And across the bar I saw a couple. Two women. In fact there seemed to be a lot of women together at the restaurant last night. But these two were together together. One of them looked like a woman I dated 10 years ago and the other looked like an ex-girlfriend who, for the record, might very well be on a date with another woman. But when I put my glasses on I saw that I was wrong on both counts. The two were happily together without anything to do with me…like most people.
I finally got a spot at the bar and reset my patience. I mentioned it once and feel compelled to mention it again: The bar is staffed by friendly, but somewhat incompetent bartenders. One gentleman with a fuzzy red goatee was competent enough, but one guy doesn’t make a busy bar work and he was busy promoting his bitters.
Now that I had a seat at the bar, perhaps I would see my fortunes change. Sadly, I spent most of the night looking at an empty wine glass…
But there is more to a restaurant than its bar, right?
Appetizers came out quickly…almost too quickly. I’m not sure why I tried calamari. You cannot get good calamari in Minneapolis. It doesn’t exist here. I sampled a mussel or two, however, and these were quite good. Bread was fresh and spongy and very good, too. Excellent butter.
I was a bit disappointed in the short dinner menu. Nothing really captured my attention. Perhaps I just wasn’t hungry after the appetizers. The lunch menu looked more enticing, but unavailable, so I ordered an Eat Street hamburger as a kind of compromise.
Regardless of what people will say about the Eat Street burger being the best, it is simply a solid example of an excellent bar burger. In the end it is a burger that tries too hard to live up to its exaggerated reputation. In place of the salad greens and preserved tomato, for example, a simple topping of lettuce and a sliced beefsteak tomato would work better. The accompanying fries were ok, but I am not a big French fry guy and most of mine went untouched.
A dinner menu with another sandwich or two might not be a bad fit for this place. It does have that bar I keep mentioning plopped in the middle of everything. A little more to choose from for the single casual diner would be a welcomed addition.
I have to say though, as a single diner I felt comfortable. I was offered a table multiple times, but that would be awkward at this place, I think. Nothing worse than being the lone diner at a table surrounded by groups and couples. Plus I don’t like to take a table away from a server who stands to get more from a couple or a group. The bar is just fine, but needs a menu tweak or two.
And that bar service…
I stared at an empty wine glass for most of my dinner and finally got one after tackling a bartender just as I was finishing my burger. Unfortunate. I thought about a dessert to round out my dinner, but opted to enjoy the wine instead. A steady flow of fashionable and attractive patrons satisfied my people-watching instincts, so I stayed.
All in all this place looks great. It is busy and keeping the lights low would make it feel much more cozy and romantic, but perhaps that isn’t the atmosphere they want at Eat Street Social. Either way, it is a very comfortable space and sized just right. Even if the place were not full, it would not feel empty.
I regret not opting for an entrée. The plates being served in the dining room looked outstanding and trailed delicious aromas as they were brought to the tables. Roast chicken, pork tenderloin, and strip steak. It all looked perfect to me! So I’ll need to go back and give this place a proper once over. I will be back to see my friend and bring friends. And maybe bring along that flask, too.