Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blackbird Cafe

Visited on Saturday, September 12th with Janelle and Scott

Outside Blackbird

Ben's Review
A couple weeks ago we went to brunch with our friends Janelle and Scott. I was not involved with setting up the event, so I'm not sure how the locale was selected, but we ended up at Blackbird Cafe, located right next to the Malt Shop on 50th St in Minneapolis. The presentation of the restaurant is very well done. Inside and out are decorated elegantly without being pretentious. Scott and Janelle were there when we arrived so we joined them at a table near the front window. Blackbird is a smaller place, but the tables go all the way back on the right side so that they can actually fit a decent number of people at once. There is also seating at the small counter on the left side.

Inside Blackbird

I quickly ordered coffee as I hadn't had any yet that morning and checked out the menu. The Huevos Rancheros were speaking to me, especially after the good experience at Good Day Cafe, but I eventually settled on the breakfast burrito. The breakfast menu is not huge by any means, I see twelve items on the online menu for breakfast, but they seem to have all the bases covered. Our server also mentioned that there were no special items yet as they had just changed menus and wanted to get their new menu fleshed out before offering daily specials.

Coffee

As an aside, we really didn't care for our server at all. She wasn't pleasant or polite and every question we had seemed to annoy her. She dropped a fork and I picked it up for her and she didn't say "thank you", which seems like an obvious thing to say. She wasn't mean, but little things like that definitely have an impact.

Our food came out and the burrito was a perfect portion. It wasn't a huge Chipotle sized burrito, but it left me full. My meal also came with a small side salad with vinaigrette dressing. The burrito itself was delicious especially with the side of salsa on top, inside was gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, cilantro, and guacamole which are all top notch ingredients in my book.

Burrito

The coffee at Blackbird was pretty good and even though our server was a bit rude, she certainly kept the coffee cup full. They serve their cream fresh from little cups at the table, always a nice upgrade from the creamer packets at some places. With this message on their website "our menu items are prepared from scratch in our tiny kitchen, by actual humans" I wonder if the cream is handmade as well :)

I also noticed behind the counter that they have a single beer on tap, I can't recall now but I believe it was a Rush River beer, and the website says they rotate it regularly. They also have a good selection of wines and a shockingly extensive list of beers in bottles/cans. Here's the current list in the "Fancy beer" list:

Summit EPA + Summit Seasonal + Amstel Light + Stella Artois + Bell's Two Hearted + Guinness + Paulaner Hefe-Weizen + Paulaner Thomasbrau + Ace Pear Cider + Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale + Left Hand Blackjack Porter + Furthermore "Knotstock" + Old Rasputin Imperial Russian Stout + North Coast's Red Seal Ale + Furthermore "Fattyboombalatty" + Eel River's organic California Blonde

And they even have an "Extra fancy beer" list:

Hitachino Nest Ale + Hitachino Ginger Beer + Hitachino XH + Hennepin Ommegang + Saison du Pont

Clearly whoever runs Blackbird Cafe is a beer lover. I don't know if I've ever seen a beer list at a cafe that comes close to the variety they have, its great. I would go back for a dinner meal so I could take advantage.
  • Service: Not so good. Our server was rude and didn't seem to want to be helpful at all.
  • Food: Excellent food and its all prepared from scratch.
  • Drinks: Good coffee and a fantastic selection of beers.
  • Ambiance: Blackbird has a great neighborhood cafe feel that makes you feel comfortable and welcome.
  • Price: Prices are average. Breakfast meals range from $7-$10, dinners are about $12-$20.
  • Convenience: We had no problem parking on 50th St, but this area might be hit or miss. Blackbird is close enough to 35W so that its not bad to get to.
Erin's Review
Janelle and I have been wanting to schedule a visit to Blackbird for a long time - it is one of her favorite restaurants, and she wanted to make a We Got Served visit with us :) Her and Scott also wanted to take us out to celebrate our upcoming parenthood, so we finally set it up!

Blackbird Menu

Blackbird is super duper cute - I really liked the ambiance. It was great for a brunch, but I'd love to go back to see how the vibe changes in the evening. I enjoyed sitting by the window to view the passerby, but I think sitting in the back area would be better at night.

Inside Blackbird

As Ben mentioned, they had a new menu that weekend, so there were no specials offered. I can never seem to finish a whole entree, so I chose to get one pancake and a fruit cup, which was the perfect amount of food for me. The pancake was very good, but not the best I've ever had (I still think that title may go to Parkview Cafe, RIP). The fruit cup was a cup of fruit, and was just dandy :)

One Pancake and Fruit Cup

I won't reiterate what a snot our server was, but that definitely put a sour note on the experience. I'd still go back because I'm sure that isn't indicative of all servers there, but still... it wasn't good.

Deets
Blackbird Cafe
815 W 50th St.
Minneapolis

5 comments:

Doniree said...

So excited to see this reviewed! This is near my house and certainly a place I drive by all the time. I just recently noticed it and started wondering how it was - excited to check it out!

HungryinSW said...

One of my favorite neighborhood spots. I always enjoy my meal there and I second the beer list enthusiasm. I doubt I've ever had your server in multiple trips there because I've always had a good experience. Sounds like you were still able to enjoy the meal. Love the blog.

Angie said...

Totally agree with HungryinSW - I loved Blackbird and had good service when I went there. Hopefully, the service you received was just a one-time fluke. I also loved the unique decor. I'll have to visit for breakfast now...that burrito looks delicious :)

junita said...

I know this is a food blog, but I can't help but throw out a congratulations on your pending parenthood! :)

LoveFeast Table said...

My husband and I popped our heads in Blackbird one evening this past summer. It turned out they had closed early due to a slow night...but, they graciously let us come in and have a glass of wine while we waited for our reservation next door at Heidi's. That act of hospitality will definitely bring us back. We thought the evening vibe was cozy, comforting and romantic. We are looking forward to making it back. -Chris Ann