It was Laura's birthday last week, and she was nice enough to pick a restaurant on our list to go to for her birthday dinner - Buster's on 28th. This seemed to be a great crowd pleasing restaurant that wasn't too expensive (although if we had known Kevin was paying before going, we might have made a different choice ;). Everyone seemed to really enjoy this bar! None of us live in the area, so it was kind of a long haul to go to a neighborhood bar, but I thought it was worth it to try someplace new. Buster's no longer takes reservations, so if you have a large party, try to get there a little early to get a table - they do not have many large tables either so you might just be out of luck.
The decor of Buster's is very nice - booths on one side, tables in the middle, and a bar on the other side. It is a very small place, and since it was Saturday night, it was pretty crowded. One thing we all noticed was the HEAT - it was HOT in there! We were in the front, sort of close to the grill so that could have been why. We all had to peel off our layers because it was probably about 80 degrees in there.
The menu is a little different than most bar/grills - there seemed to be more pasta dishes and fancier pizzas. A few in the group got the Butternut Squash Risotto and didn't really like it - they both thought it was too bland. I heard positive remarks about the Pesto ShrimpFettuccini Alfredo and the Red Funghi Pizza.
I ordered the Bison Burger and it was MMMMMMM MMMMMM GOOD. Props to Buster's for not overcooking the burger - I asked for it to be done medium, and it was perfect. The Chipotle Cream Cheese that came on the burger was the perfect topping. I love me some cream cheese, and it had a good amount of spice to add a kick to the burger. I really liked the fries - they were clearly made there and the chef had made extra so we got an extra basket for the table for no cost - that was an awesome touch. Ben didn't like them, but he is very particular about his french fries, and not in a good way.
I had heard that they got their desserts from A Baker's Wife's Pastry Shop, which is next door. They did have 2 pies on the menu from there, but the bread pudding and Chocolate Layer cake are made in house. We had the chocolate cake to split (it was a birthday after all!) and it was great - perfectly moist and topped with some Heath bar tasting crumbles, and all in a caramel sauce.
Oh, yeah, I guess this place is known for their beer list. Blah, blah, whatever. As those who are involved with Brew 52 know, I would always prefer a light beer, usually Miller Lite, to any of the "good" beers. However, I also like beer on tap. Since they don't have any type of typical light beer (Bud, Miller, Mich Golden, etc) on tap, I had a Murphy's Red, and it was fine. To read more about the new wave of beer-snobbery, check out this recent Star Tribune article about Buster's.
As for the service, I thought it was pretty good considering how busy it was. There were a few times it took our server awhile to get back to us, but nothing awful. One thing Buster's could work on is having their menu ON their website, not as some stupid pdf that you have to open separately and download. Clearly they are pretty web-savvy because their website is all flashy, so I don't think it would be too much to ask for them to create separate pages within the site for each menu.
We got to Buster's around 7 on Saturday. Our friends Laura, Kevin, Becky, and Rett were already there, which was a good thing because we wouldn't have gotten a table if they hadn't gotten there a little early.
I was excited to go to Buster's because of the variety of beers they have on tap (they have a pdf of the beer menu online). I had a Rush River Bubble Jack pale ale first, while we waited for Mindy and Josh to become un-lost on their way to meet the rest of us.
Buster's doesn't have a huge menu, but they have something for everyone. I opted for a cheeseburger with cheddar cheese with french fries. I was considering the buffalo burger, but Erin got that so I knew I could try a bite.
The burger was great, and they actually cooked it medium, like I ordered. Most places ask you how you want it done, and you get a hockey puck regardless. It was medium and thick, and wonderful. The fries were not so great. I think they were homemade fries or something, the kind that still have the potato skin on the ends of the fries, and they were a little soggy from the oil.
My second beer was a Tyranena Dirty Old Man, which I would have ordered based on its name alone, but it was also a great beer. Some of our friends got a beer called Kwak that came in a tall glass, but was served with a wooden handle that the glass sat in. Erin has a picture, hopefully she includes one in our review :)
(And here it is, as modeled by Kevin)
One thing I didn't try that I wish I had was the root beer, it sounds almost as good as some of the beers on tap:
"Made in small batches from the proven formula of a percolation of various barks, herbs, and berries as well as premium vanilla, caramel color and sweeteners."
The ratings for Buster's on 28th:
- Service: Our server seemed a little pissy when we got there, but I got food and beer in a timely manner so I can't complain.
- Food: Excellent cheeseburger and buffalo burger. Fries were not good, I don't know if they had a coleslaw option, but I would take that next time.
- Drinks: Great beer selection, although a little heavy on the Belgians. I'm not much of a Belgian fan, especially when it's $8 for a tulip glass of beer. More of an IPA fan myself.
- Ambiance: Buster's is a friendly, neighborhood bar and grill, I bet it raises the value of the homes in the area. I would pay more to live near them :)
- Price: I think our tab would have been about $40 - $50. Laura's fiancee Kevin picked up the tab for everyone for her birthday, thanks Kevin!
- Convenience: Buster's is off of Hiawatha and 42nd st. It's not really easy to get to because it's not off of a highway.
Buster's on 28th
4204 28th Ave
Highly recommended for the food, great beer list, and atmosphere