I might've been a little tired to eat, shoot, who am I kidding, I'm never too tired to eat food especially when it's something good to eat. I reached out to friends through social media in hopes that one of them was going to tell my wife and I about a great new place to eat, Lucky for us, we have plenty of friends that like to try new things just like us. In "Nordeast" Minneapolis off Hennepin Ave. sits a quaint little place called Eli's Food & Cocktails. Wouldn't you know it, the first thing I start sing is an Eli Young Band song!
Walking in to Eli's, my senses were already happy because something that was smelling delicious was making it's way from the kitchen. Something else that I tend to do is look for the taps to see what's being served. More and more locally owned restaurants are starting to tap the locally owned brews and that's awesome. I love the local brew scene and Eli's, like many others, is keeping that alive. My wife and I ordered Boom Island Witness and Brimstone, respectfully and they both were yummy.
Our friend told us that it was a must that we ordered the spicy guac app (Spicy Avocado-Feta Salsa). This app had; Avocado, Tomatoes, Giardiniera, Feta Cheese with Pita Chips and for anyone who knows me, I'm not a huge guac fan. Eli's was able to turn me into a huge fan, well that is if you serve me their rendition each and every time! The spiciness of their version is what made this the best quac I'v ever had. Two drinks in, no hurt and definitely not feeling bad, I was ready to order my entree and see what else Eli'shad to offer.
A couple items caught my eye while my wife was digging one of their specials. Since a decision had to be made, I went with the Jerk Marinated Wild Acres Chicken with Black Beans & Rice and Jicama Slaw. My wife decided to order the Eli Pasta Special with Pan Seared Shrimp & Scallops, Slivered Garlic, Shallots, Basil, Crushed Red Pepper, Lemon, Tagliatelle, San Marzano Tomato and Parmesan Cheese. We'll start with my wife's first.
Right away, we both noticed that the scallops had great flavor. When restaurants put scallops in a pasta, they tend to be smaller and often times the quality is also low and they taste fishy. At Eli's, this is the farthest from the truth - these were awesome. While I wouldn't say it goes down hill from here (I may say that again), it also wasn't eye popping magnificent, but it was good and worth trying. The shrimp was like any other shrimp and the sauce needed just a little more something extra added to it. I will say this... It's better than what some of the Italian Restaurants around town are serving up, so that saying something right there.
My meal can be looked at two ways and I'm going to of course share both approaches with you. If you've never been to Jamaica and have no plans to ever go, the Jerk Chicken might just be an eye popper. If you've been to Jamaica and loved the food down there as much as I did, you might be a little disappointed. Lets break it down! The chicken was juicy, not dry and was delicious, however it was more inline with what I would call a blackened or Cajun variation over Jamaican Jerk. I would like to make a minor suggestion that I think would benefit Eli's, order the jerk sauce from PimentoWood.com and smoke or grill your chicken with some of the same spices you used. When it's got the prefect grilled look to it, toss it in the jerk sauce then place on top of the Black Beans & Rice and Jicama. What I ended up doing was cutting the entire chicken breast up and mixed everything together and it made this meal absolutely fantastic. In fact, I didn't leave anything on my plate!
Feeling full and very much happy with this culinary find, it was time to head home. However, once we heard the desert list, we were sticking around and enjoying their version of a Banana Cream Pie. WOW! Who's Baker Square? I'm sure glad we finished the evening with this delicious desert. My wife and I didn't get a little drunk that night, but we sure enjoyed some great food and I'm looking forward to going back to try their Coq Au Vin and Honey Soy Wings.
Eli's Food & Cocktails
Two Great Locations In Minneapolis