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Manny’s Steakhouse

October 14, 2014

In planning for our long, holiday weekend trip to Minnesota, we knew, from past experience that we had to avoid making the 3 hour drive from my husband’s childhood home back to the Twin Cities to catch our flight home on the actual holiday as traffic is so bad, and road construction is constantly ongoing during non-winter months that 3 hours could easily become 6 hours which could mean missing a flight.  So, instead of driving back on the day of the holiday, we booked our flight home for early, early morning on the holiday which would force us to make the drive back the evening before.  My sister-in-law and her husband were nice enough to offer to drive us back to the Twin Cities, since that’s where they live, on the day before the holiday and spend the rest of the afternoon/evening with us so we could spend time together, just the four of us.  When we arrived into Minneapolis, we all decided to head out to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden together, a place which none of the 4 of us had ever been to before, to see one of the city’s, if not the state’s, most well-known landmarks, the Spoonbridge and Cherry fountain erected in 1988.  After that, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice evening meal at one of the best restaurants, if not the best restaurant in Minnesota, as well as being one of the best steakhouses in the country, Manny’s Steakhouse.

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Manny’s Steakhouse, attached to the history Foshay Building, turned into the W Hotel, in Downtown Minneapolis, is a Minnesota staple for meat lovers of all kinds.  The restaurant is known as being a favorite for all sorts of local, and national sports athletes, as autographed photos which adorn the walls as you walk in the front door of the restaurant can attest to.  The other thing you see featured prominently as you walk in the front door is a large painting of a big bull proudly displayed – this place is for serious red meat lovers, a place where only the finest, highest quality cuts of meat are served at your table.  This place, yeah, it has my name written all over it.  Tonight, myself and my husband, along with my sister-in-law and her husband who have agreed to come with us, are going to dine like kings.  Let’s see if Manny’s Steakhouse lives up to its reputation as one of the best steakhouses in the country.

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We start off the night with some cocktails.  After perusing through the cocktail menu, my husband chose a cocktail called “batteries included.”  Created with Cuervo 1800 reposado tequila, red bull, agave nectar, sour and mint, this was serious drink, one which my husband very much enjoyed.  What drew my husband to ordering this drink was the red bull, which is a favorite of his.  As he tells me, red bull and tequila together is a combination that you can’t go wrong with.  Add in a little mint, and this drink has his name written all over it.  He said that he could definitely taste the red bull in the drink, which is what he was going for, and he knew that there was alcohol in it as well because he got the tingly feeling of alcohol on his tongue, but the drink itself wasn’t that strong.

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After ordering our drinks, we had a tray of pumpernickel raisin and rye bread brought to the table to start off our meal.  Bread and butter, of which the pumpernickel was a hit at our table, is a great start to the meal.  Though, you have to be careful not to fill yourself up too much before the food arrives.

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At Manny’s your food options, particular the various cuts of beef, are presented to you at the table by your server before you’re given an actual menu.  The server wheels over a cart loaded down with the various beef and seafood options on the menu, presents each cut to you verbally and visually so that you can see exactly what you’ll be getting and so that you can compare all of the different cuts next to each other.  You’re also presented with the various vegetables that comprise the made-to-share side dishes, and it’s all done in an entertaining and informative manner.  So that you’re not completely overwhelmed with the 10 different cuts of steak and various seafood options just presented to you, you’re eventually given a menu and some time so that you can decide what you want to order.

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Believe me, I had been looking forward to going to Manny’s for awhile after my husband had mentioned it as an option not too long after we booked our tickets to Minnesota, that I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to order for dinner.  I convinced my husband to share and appetizer of the tenderloin carpaccio.  Thank goodness we shared the appetizer because the plate was large, but oh was it good.  Paper-thin shaved tenderloin topped with parmigiano reggiano and briny capers and all served with a couple of wedges of lemon, and a lightly dressed arugula salad with a side of perfectly grilled crostini combined to make one of the best plates of carpaccio I’ve ever had.  The tenderloin was so flavorful, and so tender and the saltiness from the cheese and the capers, along with the citrus and peppery bite of the arugula and lemon were so amazing.  Put that all atop a slightly charred, grilled over the flames carpaccio and you have the recipe for a mind-blowing carpaccio.  For anyone who says that they don’t like, and can’t eat raw meat, you’ve got to try this carpaccio.  You don’t know what you’re missing.

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My brother-in-law opted to order the Portobello fries as an appetizer for the table.  I think all of our eyes bugged out of our heads when we saw the plate of Portobello fries being delivered to the table.  These cuts of Portobello mushrooms were huge, it was like having huge steak fries.  The mushrooms were cut lengthwise, from caps that must have been the size of someone’s head, lightly battered, and perfectly fried to a golden-brown.  As I’m not a mushroom fan, I didn’t try any of the fries, but I’m told by everyone else at the table that they were amazing, tender, flavorful, and perfect.  We had no idea that the appetizer would come with 12 pieces of these huge fries, so needless to say, even though everyone at the table was starving, we knew this was just the appetizer and we didn’t want to spoil ourselves from enjoying our dinner, that the fries didn’t quite get finished at the table.

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Alright, time to get to the good stuff, the meat.  That is, after all, what we all came to Manny’s for!  Having looked over the menu, and taking a look at the huge hunks of meat on the cart brought over and presented to us by our waiter, we all placed and order for various cuts of meat cooked in various degrees of doneness.  I chose to order the 24 0z porterhouse steak cooked medium rare.  It’s funny that years ago, because that’s how my parents liked it, I always ordered meat cooked well done.  It wasn’t until I really met my husband and started to appreciate well cooked meat that I realized, you have to eat it medium rare, or some very similar temperature, to really get the full taste and appreciation for the cow you’re about to devour.  Now, I pretty much order all meat medium rare because, there really is no other way to eat it.  What was brought to the table was such a thing of beauty.  What’s great about a porterhouse is that it’s a bit of the best of all of the meat cuts.  You get a bone-in T-bone steak.  The bone gives you the amazing flavor.  On one side of the bone you get a nice strip steak, and on the other side, you get a tenderloin.  It’s just a question of, can you actually eat all this meat?  The porterhouse was cooked to a perfect medium rare, still pink and juicy on the inside and the meat was so tender.  In the end, because we hadn’t really eaten anything all day, and we were all looking forward to Manny’s, I pretty much finished off my whole steak.

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However, if I thought trying to finish 24 oz was ridiculous, my brother-in-law ordered the double porterhouse steak, which was 48 oz of meat.  You’ll see that his steak is a bit more charred on the outside than mine was because you ordered his steak well done.  That baby was huge, so big, I don’t even know how it fit on the plate.  But my brother-in-law attacked his steak like it was a small little filet.  He at through every ounce of meat on the steak, and completely devoured it before I even finished 3/4 of my steak that was half his size.  I’m going to assume that because he ate his steak with such gusto that he quite enjoyed it.

I’m so proud of my sister-in-law, because although she’s not a big meat eater at all, she actually decided that if she’s going to dine at one of the best steakhouses in the country, than she was going to eat a steak.  The thing is, she’s never ever ordered a steak before in her life.  Like I said, she’s not a big meat eater at all.  To me, that’s crazy, but I could literally eat a steak at every meal.  But, for her, this was a big deal ordering a steak.  After looking at the cuts of meat, and the various options and discussing it with us, we recommended that she order the small filet mignon as that would be a good starter steak with really tender meat, and the cut was small enough that she wouldn’t be overwhelmed by it.  Also, since she’s not one to be eating meat, let alone raw meat, we decided that well done would be a good temperature for her.  In the end, though she was nervous about it, I think she surprised herself as she really liked her filet.  Maybe we have a convert?

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My husband decided to order a 24 oz steak, like myself, but he went with the bone-in ribeye instead of the porterhouse.  For him, the ribeye is his most favorite cut of meat because he thinks its the most flavorful.  Like my brother-in-law, my husband dove in and devoured his steak in a matter of minutes.  Somehow, his 24 oz bone-in ribeye looked bigger than my porterhouse, but it’s all good because that piece of meat looks to be too much for me!  I think my husband described his steak as the best piece of meat he’s ever eaten.  He walked away from Manny’s agreeing with the sentiment that this was the best steak house in the country and he could definitely see why it has the reputation it does.

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To go along with our meal, we as a table, decided that we’d order the 26 Nova Scotia lobster tail for the table for everyone to share.  The cooked tail is wheeled out to the table on a cart, and the assistant waiter then removes the tail and proceeds to cut up the lobster tail for us into bite-sized pieces.  The lobster is then served with a wedge of lemon, and of course, a side of delicious clarified butter.  When our waiter saw our lobster tail, he wasn’t happy with the size of it and felt that we had been served a lobster tail not to the restaurant’s standard size, so he ordered the kitchen to immediately prepare a second lobster tail for our table compliments of the restaurant.  We thought that was incredibly generous of the waiter to offer to do that for us.  And after having one bite of the lobster tail that we were served to start with, none of us was about to refuse the offer of a complimentary second lobster tail.  While I like lobster, I don’t love it, and I certainly don’t go out of my way to generally order it.  But, if every lobster tail was prepared and cooked the way it was at Manny’s, I think lobster could become my next favorite food.  The lobster tail was so buttery, and tender and juicy and so incredibly flavorful.  It was cooked to absolute perfection, and the hint of lemon juice and the yummy butter only helped to enhance the amazing flavors of the lobster.  We all agreed that the it was fantastic.

Like most high-end steakhouses, Manny’s serves you just the meat when you order just the meat.  If you want side dishes to enjoy with your meal, you need to order them separately.  However, Manny’s does tell you that most of their side dishes are large and are big enough for 2-4 people to share.  With this in mind, we opted to share 2 different side dishes for the table.  After some discussion, we chose side dishes that all 4 of us could enjoy.

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We started with the broccoli with hollandaise sauce.  Honestly, I think if we had all known how big and filling the steaks were going to be, and how full we would feel after steaks and appetizers, we may have cut one of our side dishes, and this probably would have been it.  I think the agreement to order broccoli as a side dish was more to appease myself and my sister-in-law, and in the end, we were the only 2 people to eat the broccoli.  I didn’t try any of the hollandaise sauce, and I’m not sure that my sister-in-law did either, but personally, I liked the broccoli.  I’m not sure it needed the hollandaise sauce.  Steamed perfectly so that it was tender and cooked, but yet still had a bit of crunch and color, it was perfect.  But then again, I’m a big fan of broccoli.

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Our second side dish, one that I think all four of us tried and enjoyed, was the macaroni and cheese.  Mind you, my husband comes from a cheese-loving family, so he and his sister really enjoyed this.  I’m a huge fan of places that make their macaroni and cheese, and then add cheese to the top and put the dish under the salamander so that the cheese is all melted and perhaps even a bit burnt on the top layer right before they serve it, and Manny’s certainly delivered in serving their macaroni and cheese in this manner.  This is probably a standard macaroni and cheese that any fine dining establishment serves and there’s nothing about this particular macaroni and cheese that makes it completely stand out from all others, other than the fact that it was good quality macaroni and cheese that we all enjoyed with our meals.

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When it came time to look at the dessert menu, we knew we were all full.  But again, we’re a desert-loving family, and to walk out of the restaurant without at least having dessert is a bit blasphemous.  Since we are all family, we decided we’d just go ahead and split a dessert between the four of us.  Little did we know that the dessert we were about to order was basically large enough to feed 4-6 people, and probably could have satisfied a table of 8 after all the food we’d already eaten.  We ordered the house specialty desert of Manny’s brownie with strawberries.  When the dessert was delivered to the table, I think everyone’s jaw dropped at the masterpiece put in front of us!  Essentially, the dessert consisted of a huge, and I mean HUGE, chunk of chocolate brownie at the bottom of the plate, topped with at least 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, then topped with a large dollop of homemade whipped cream, then large, really probably extra large, whole strawberries, were placed on the plate around the brownie.  Stuck right in the center of the whole contraption was a Manny’s steak knife jutting out of the brownie, ice cream, whipped cream.  The plate was then delivered to the table with two small containers, one containing hot fudge and the other one containing caramel sauce.  The waiter then proceeded to take the two containers of sauce, and drizzle them together right over the center of the dessert so that the hot fudge and the caramel sauce mixed together and covered the entire dish, so much so that the sauce started dripping off of the plate and onto our table.  This dessert was serious business.  We started by taking the steak knife and cutting a little chunk of the brownie and ice cream and strawberries onto each person’s individual plate.  By the end of the dessert though, we were all just digging into the brownie plate with our forks just to try to put a dent in the dessert.  Ultimately, we ate all the strawberries and all the ice cream, and most of the brownie.  I was pretty proud of us!

Manny’s was such an amazing experience for all four of us that night.  We walked away stuffed to our gills with great food that put us all in happy mood.  The service at the restaurant was an experience in and of itself, the presentation of the food was amazing, and the food itself was outstanding.  We all agreed that Manny’s is probably a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience and we were all glad to be able to share in that experience with one another.  This was a terrific ending to a great long-weekend getaway for my husband and I to Minnesota to spend time with his family.  Sharing in good food, laughs, and good company with those you love is what enjoying a nice meal out on the town is all about in my book.

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