Here’s a perk diners don’t find in city restaurants: a golf-cart valet offering parking-lot shuttle service. It’s just one of the ways in which the new Eat Shop aims to upgrade the suburban dining experience.
The former Joe Senser’s sports bar in Plymouth shed its cheesy, generic décor for quirkier, trendier elements, including reclaimed barn wood and chalkboard walls, and branding with a Chino Latino-esque rebellious streak (owner Michael Larson was a longtime partner and VP of culinary operations with the Parasole restaurant group). Is a photo of a toddler holding a beer bottle to his lips funny enough to be worth the risk of offending? Does a headshot of chef Jeff Anderson with a cigarette dangling from his lips evoke “James Dean,” or “ash in my food”? Eat Shop aims to find out.
The menu echoes Anderson’s previous gig helming the kitchen of Parasole’s Uptown Cafeteria, with miniature swordfish tacos anchored in dollops of guacamole and chicken-salad sandwiches with French fries as skinny and blonde as the ladies eating them for lunch. Alongside the expected burgers and steaks are the duck salads and scallops you can’t find at other area restaurants. Eat Shop also incorporates a few critic-pleasing touches (Larson’s wife is local food personality Stephanie March), from stocking the restroom with cloth hand towels to stocking the larder with heritage chickens.
During dinner service, if you’re tucked into one of the luxurious red booths with a big plate of meat or fish, the place starts to feel like Parasole’s suburban steakhouse concept, Pittsburgh Blue. A hefty hunk of halibut on a bed of root vegetables was excellent—as it should be when it costs $30. Eat Shop’s most expensive entrées fit in a price range that many Minnesotans reserve for special occasions. Will they choose to celebrate theirs in a strip mall?