Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Lexington

Visited on Sunday, October 2nd

Outside the Lexington

Ben's Review
I was out of town on the day of our actual anniversary, so we went out last Sunday for a belated anniversary dinner. I gave Erin a few options of places to go and she waited until Sunday to decide on The Lexington so she could determine what kind of food she was in the mood for.

My sister Becca came over around 5:30 to hang out with Annie for the night and we headed out. Sunday was the start of a gorgeous week in the twin cities and it was a great night to be outside. The Lexington is a short drive from our house and we got a parking spot on Grand Ave, right in front. Grand was surprisingly dead for a nice weekend evening, as was The Lexington. Erin had made reservations earlier in the day, but they were not needed at all. We opted to sit in the bar area, as I liked the decor and the lighting better, but there were plenty of tables in the dining room as well.

bar in The Lexington

bar at The Lexington

I perused the drink menu after we had been seated and was immediately drawn to the sazerac cocktail, made with bourbon, bitters, and a bit of absinthe. I had thought that this would be served up by default, but mine came in a small glass on the rocks. Not sure what the “right” way is here, but it was still a good cocktail. We were also served a basket of bread with butter, which is always a hit with us, and this was no exception.

sazerac at The Lexington

Bread basket

I briefly considered steak or seafood, but the prices turned me off - they seemed higher than some steakhouses in town and I doubted it would be as good. The chicken breast stuff with crab and asparagus sounded delicious and it came with Bearnaise sauce and a side of herbed risotto.

Stuffed chicken oscar

Our food came out and it looked great. I started with the chicken and it did indeed have asparagus inside, but I couldn’t really discern any crab meat and the Bearnaise sauce was just OK, it was overly salty and richer than I thought it ought to be. The risotto was good, but I prefer Erin’s home cooked risotto better (I don’t have the patience to make it well :). Overall I was a little disappointed in my meal. I was expecting a great meal from a restaurant that has been around for as long, and with as great a reputation, as The Lexington.

Being that it was a nice night out we had planned to walk down to Cafe Latte for dessert (for Erin), but our server surprised us with a free dessert for our anniversary. The dessert was some sort of pastry with a chocolately, marshmallowy mess inside, but it was pretty damn good. We picked at it a bit, but kind of had our heart set on going to Cafe Latte, so we still went over there and Erin enjoyed an amazing lemon cream torte that I snagged a few bites of.

free dessert

Overall I had a great evening out, but I chalk that up to my company and the weather. Sadly, I can’t recommend going to The Lexington, with plenty of other places to spend a special night out.

Service: The service was the bright spot at The Lexington. The hosts were incredibly friendly, as was the server. The free dessert helped :)

Food: The food was fine, but I was expecting more.

Drinks: Full bar with a good menu of specialty cocktails. The drink menu on the web site must be out of date because I don’t see the sazerac that I ordered.

Ambiance: I was glad we sat in the bar instead of the dining room, it looked a little stuffy in there and the bar area was plenty nice for me, plus they have a very nice bar to look at, which is better to me than any sort of wall decorations any day.

Convenience: Lexington and Grand can be an annoying intersection, but it was no problem for us on a Sunday night.

Erin's Review
Ben gave me a few options from the list to choose from for our anniversary. After looking at the menus, The Lexington stood out purely for their "signature" mac and cheese. Yes, kind of lame, but that's what I wanted that night. After announcing that we were going on twitter, someone recommended sitting in the bar. When we got there for our 6pm reservation, which was in the dining room, I did elect to have us sit in the bar since the vibe just seemed a little less formal in there.

We sat for awhile before ordering, Ben got his drink and I ordered a kiddie cocktail. Places that have actual good non-alcoholic cocktails are becoming amazing to me lately. It seems pretty rare. We then order and get our bread. We both changed from "The Lex" salad to a house salad because of neither of us likes olives.

Shirley Temple at The Lexington

Salads come out shortly after, and they are pretty bad - overdressed, and the tomatoes taste like they were refrigerated and from the middle of January. Pretty sad, considering they could have just, you know, gone outside and plucked some fresh ones, but oh well.

House salad

My macaroni and cheese with lobster was realllllllly good, by far the best part about the experience. I could only eat about 7 bites before I was completely full, but it was good for lunch the next day too. This was a great meal - you can choose 2 different things to go in your mac and cheese (a few meats and some veggies) but I just wanted the lobster. It's definitely rich!

Lobster mac and cheese

We were then informed that we were getting a free dessert, which I figured we'd take even though we also planned to walk to Cafe Latte for dessert. It was chocolate and marshmallow in a pastry, and I also got decaf coffee. The dessert was also very rich, and I wanted to save SOME of my appetite for my 2nd dessert as well so we didn't eat it all.

Coffee

free dessert

I did like the ambiance of The Lexington, and some of the food was good. I can't say I'd go back since there are about a zillion other fancy places in the cities that are far better, but I'm glad we finally tried it after driving by for years.

Outside the Lexington

Deets
1096 Grand Ave
St. Paul

3 comments:

Angie said...

I'm sad to hear you didn't love (or at least really like) The Lex. I haven't been in years, but my friends and I were treated to a fancy night there right after college. We were pretty much in heaven and felt quite spoiled. I still remember my stroganoff fondly. Not to mention the character and charm. The mac and cheese looks quite delightful :)

Anonymous said...

I've heard that the food has been going downhill ever since the ownership changed a year or so ago. Sad to see the deterioration of an old standby in St. Paul!

BreAnne said...

If you liked this mac and cheese, you would totally love the mac and cheese with crab at Haute Dish. It's honestly one of the best dishes I've had with my own dining group!