DeRusha Eats: The Depot Tavern

When First Avenue decided to open a restaurant next to the 7th Street Entry, you didn’t expect it to be a culinary masterpiece, did you? Good. It’s not.

But it’s good. Well, it’s good at what it’s trying to be good at.

The Depot Tavern is reasonably priced, perfectly good bar food. I went to an open house for The Depot last night (which means I didn’t pay for my food or drink) and it was decent. Not great. But decent.

The bands playing First Avenue and the Entry are going to love this. They typically get a stipend for food, and they’ll be able to go next door and eat. You’ll love it if you’re going to see a show.

I only got to try part of the menu, but the Diamond Dog was the highlight. A 1/4 pound, all-beef hot dog, wrapped with nice, crisp pepper bacon, deep-fried, and served on a pretzel bun, it was wonderful. The dog was juicy, the bacon was flavorful, and the bun was nice. For $7.50 with chips, you could stop here on the way to a Twins game.

We really enjoyed the baked Mac & 4 Cheese—cheddar, provolone, baby swiss, and havarti on top of Cavatappi Pasta. For $7.50, you get a delicious, big serving.

The green pork chili had potential, but fell short. It promised poblano chile, cilantro, and queso fresco along with tomatillos. I got a hinto of queso fresco, but not nearly enough poblano chile. This should have tasted cheesy or smokey or something, but it was, well, OK ($7.95).

The Monte Cristo was better than decent but less than great. The blackberry preserves elevated the fried egg, ham, turkey, baby swiss sandwich.

The deep-fried cayenne cheese curds ($5.95) made a trip around the room before we got them, so they were a little cold, and hard to totally analyze, but there’s potential there.

Great beer list: on tap you’ve got Surly Furious and Bitter Brewer, Bells Two Hearted and Oberon, and Rogue Dead Guy Ale. There’s tons of bottles and cans too.

In the rock world, you don’t want the sideshow to distract from the main event. The Depot Tavern doesn’t come close to overshadowing First Avenue. But for an opening act: not bad. Not bad at all.

The Depot Tavern