October 18, 2018

Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold

The attractive external appearance of something is not a reliable indication of its true nature. And, when it comes to food, that can definitely be the case. That was absolutely the truth with our most recent visit to a place called the Citizen which is located inside the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown St. Paul.

Restaurant Week was in full swing and my wife and I always enjoy trying new things. After having a pretty mediocre experience at this year’s Burger Battle with Citizen’s creation, they were hoping I would make a trip to their restaurant to see if they could redeem themselves. This was the perfect time to see if they could do, just that!

For $20, Restaurant Week patrons could choose from 3 courses; starter, entree and a dessert. As to better provide us with a wide range of dishes, my wife and I picked different items from each list so we could have a broader sampling of Citizen’s dishes. Just one problem to start this lunch date…. Super slow service especially with only about 7 or 8 tables sat…. And, it goes downhill from here and they were unable to redeem themselves.

For our starters, we went with their Tomato Bisque and Deviled Eggs. Entrees were the Citizen Burger and Walleye Tacos and our dessert was a Carrot Cake Verrine and an Apple Buckwheat Cake. All sounds delicious, does it not? Yeah, we thought so too, but that whole glitter is not gold thing presented itself quickly…

Out came our apps, about 20 minutes or so from placing our order and my wife and I looked at each other with grins. While my wife enjoyed her bisque, I thought about the tomato bisque my my mom makes and craving that instead. As for those deviled eggs, that great aunt on your moms side that you only see once a year at Christmas, yeah, she can make them better! Seriously, it looked like a high school student in home-ec. class was in the kitchen preparing dishes. Not something I would order again - ever!
Now the service starts to get exceptional (insert sarcasm). Before we could even finish our apps, like literally just minutes later, our entrees were arriving to our table. My wife wasn’t even half way through her bisque! My wife took a bite of her burger and says, “I already know what you’ll say about the burger.” That’s not a good thing… I took a bite of my tacos first though. While they were certainly edible, they were just another fish taco. Nothing special! Nothing to brag about! As for that burger - although it was too well done, it wasn’t dried out. But, ZERO flavor! I looked at my wife and said, “Well, I know why they didn’t win the Burger Battle!” Then I said, “Be honest, my burger is better?” She again chuckles and agrees.
So, now my wife has an appetizer and an entree in front of her and oh look, here comes dessert! It’s like they were trying to rush us out of there - because it was so packed! Seriously, let us finish one course at a time… What my wife was hoping was an actual carrot cake was not so much. This was the best thing I consumed the whole time. Definitely unique to say the least, but super delicious. I kind of felt like it had subtle hints of rice pudding meeting carrot cake ingredients meeting a mousse. As for that apple thing we got, I sure am glad they put that nice gold flake on my dessert, but the title speaks volumes. Make it look as nice as you want, if it’s not good, it has no value.

No, the Citizen definitely did not redeem themselves and no, I wouldn’t recommend this place nor return again. I have to agree with my wife when she said, “I am not satisfied!” and as we’re walking to our vehicles and walking by a Subway, “Should have just gotten a sub!” HAHAHAHA! 

The Citizen
11 Kellogg Blvd East
St. Paul, MN 55101

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