Each month, in our “Restaurant Rumble” conversation, MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers review two restaurants and pick a winner.
Jason: Herbie’s on the Park has so much going for it: beautiful bones from the 1929 Minnesota Club, awesome location next to the Xcel Energy Center, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Rice Park.
Joy: While the classically elegant room celebrates “Miracle on Ice” hockey coach Herb Brooks, there’s nothing off-putting for those of us who don’t know a slap shot from a tequila shot.
Jason: But all that beauty can be deceiving: Herbie’s looks better than it performs.
Joy: And just like that, the gloves are off.
Jason: As a stop before a concert or Wild game, Herbie’s is a better-than-average sports bar. I liked the garlicky, not-too-spicy Buffalo wings.
Joy: Ditto the black vinegar wings: sticky, tacky, salty-sweet, and satisfying.
Pepper Crusted New York Strip Steak
Photos by TJ Turner
Jason: But some of starters feel very dated: roasted pear on toast with a balsamic drizzle? Dull. The lake trout toast with avocado spread and citrus drizzle was much better.
Joy: The walleye cakes were primarily bread, but not bad.
Jason: Execution errors marred our entire meal: The Herbie burger was ordered medium yet delivered torched, the beef dry and flavorless.
Joy: The misnamed cauliflower salad contained very few florets, but our crew still enjoyed it.
Jason: Mine, too. But not as much as the stunning pork shank—a juicy, flavorful, enormous piece of meat!
Joy: Yes, that meat was impressive!
Herbie’s on the Park dining room
Jason: But the bed of grits was so over-salted I could barely eat it. The meat would have been better balanced by a nutty, toothsome farro.
Joy: Herbie’s isn’t nearly as legendary as its namesake. It’s nothing I’ll ever drive downtown for specifically, but the drinks and wings will have me popping by when I’m in the neighborhood.
Jason: In hockey language, Herbie’s earns one point. It’s not a loss, but it’s not a win either.
Braised Duroc Pork Shank
Herbie’s on the Park Quick Tips:
Order: The wings. And a mule: tequila, bourbon, or vodka paired with ginger beer.
Watch the game: Plenty of TVs
Parking: The valet is a mega timesaver
This month’s “Restaurant Rumble” pitted Stewart’s neighborhood global cuisine against Herbie’s on the Park’s posh sports bar fare. Find out which restaurant Jason and Joy chose as the winner in the January 2017 issue of MnMo.
317 Washington St., St. Paul, 651-726-1700, herbiesonthepark.com