Spoonriver Cafe

Twin Cities, Minnesota

Reviews

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rating star

Spoonriver is a sufficiently swanky spot to get a drink or meal before a show at the Guthrie. If you're on a date I recommend it for its convenience.

Food-wise, however, Spoonriver falls short, mostly because of some ingredient errors and also because of a lack of value for your money. While the menu has about three vegan or veganizable dishes, and two vegan appetizers, nothing really stood out as being "must-have" or highly innovative. And given the high prices at Spoonriver the food and portion sizes really do not live up to their cost.

We shared the veg. special of the night, an eggplant-squash-chickpea "stew" over couscous ($17), as well as an udon mock duck salad with peanut dressing ($15). The eggplant chickpea stew was tasty, but could have been served hotter (in terms of temperature). It was basically an Indian curry, though in a small portion. The eggplant wasn't properly integrated into the dish and felt tacked-on and out-of-place; I think the dish would have been better if they dropped the eggplant and added tofu or mock duck/seitan to the curry itself.

The udon salad was also relatively tasty, but I think they used the wrong types of vegetables (why lettuce and radish, when bell peppers, carrots or Chinese broccoli would have been more appropriate?). The peanut sauce had good, subdued flavor and the mock duck was unusually fresh and "meaty," but for $15 this dish did not fulfill my expectations. At Noodles & Company you can get an extremely similar peanut sauce noodle dish, which is just as tasty, but one-and-a-half times the portion size, for $8.

The service was friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.

Also, the drinks were pretty good, too. I had a ginger cosmo ($10) which was an excellent, smooth mixture of cranberry nectar and vodka. While the cocktails are expensive the quality of ingredients and the unusual flavors justify the price.

In conclusion, Spoonriver has the outlines of a a great place, but the content of a mediocre one. If they dropped their prices by 20-30% and looked up some more sophisticated vegan offerings (take a gander at what Blossom, Horizons or Candle 79 offer) I'd come back.


rating star

I've been here twice and had a great experience both times. The food is delicious although fairly small portions. Sitting outside was wonderful on a summer evening!


rating star

This place was so-so. The menu was pretty limited in selection - fewer vegetarian options than I expected. The dishes were a bit pricey and portions were small. Don't expect to get full! I recommend going during off-hours for the extra privacy between yourselves and the next table, and improved service.


rating star

The food itself was fine, but there were hardly any vegan options. Only two entrees were vegan and two apetizers could be made vegan. The service was slow, and it was very loud. I wouldn't bother going back.


rating star

First off, let me say that Spoon River is much, much better than its sister restaurant Cafe Brenda. My wife and I haven't been to Brenda in years, but we've been to Spoon River three times in the last two months. Let me run down what was good and what still needs work.

1) Food -- appetizers: We both highly recommend the Tomato, Watermelon Salad Dressed in a Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette (Vegan) as an appetizer. It is like nothing you've ever had before. Highly tasty blend of different tomatoes and watermelons along with a fantastic dressing. And wait until you see the presentation -- fantastic! We've ordered it all three times we've went. There is a very good selection of vegan and vegetarian appetizers.

2) Food -- Dinner: The dinner menu contains a bit too much meat (just like Brenda's). But, we both were impressed with our vegan dinner entrees. I've had the Asian Barbeque Mock Duck over Brown Rice, Thai Basil Salad with Pineapple and Peanuts. My wife had the Sloppy Jane - Joe's Healthy Saucier Sister made with Savory Mock Duck Jicama Salad. Both are vegan and tasty. Presentation was nice but the servings were a bit on the small side.

3) Drinks (alcoholic): The alcoholic drinks on the drink menus all sound good but the ones we've had (4 different ones total) are light on the liquor and high on the price. Disappointing overall.

4) Desserts: Nothing vegan all three times we've went -- not even sorbet! This was disappointing b/c our waitress said that they have vegan desserts at Brenda's.

5) Service: Still working out some kinks. Don't sit at the bar -- the guy we had at the bar our first time there was not good. The other two times we sat in the restaurant and were happier.

6) Space: The space is a bit cramped and you're VERY close to the other customers. This doesn't really bother us, but it might not be for you if you don't like sitting right next to the other patrons.

7) Cost: A bit pricey although not overly so (with the exception of the drinks).

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