Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Eats Sheet: The Monte Carlo, Mpls

Not to be confused with any place in Vegas, the Monte Carlo is probably the oldest eating establishment in the Minneapolis warehouse district still going. A century and a year old, the menu sports a solid American selection with an emphasis on traditional meat-based dishes. Steak and Salmon abound. Big, gravy-smothered open faced sandwiches are also a strength. When I get off the bus, especially during the winter, I am always tempted by the scents wafting out from the Monte Carlo's grill.

My first visit to the Monte Carlo, I had the Salmon Caesar Salad. Salad might be a bit misleading. In reality, it was more like a full grilled Salmon steak served on a bed of romaine with some dressing. Very simple, unadorned just a well-blended mix of a few flavors. The next time I had the cajun pork chops: three thin chops dusted with parika, pepper and rosemary served with fries. The spice was great, the meat was juicy (not always easy with pork). It lacked a veggie, though. It was good, but seemed a bit incomplete.

The restaurant itself is a bit like a midwest version of Monks cafe, but bigger. Waitresses were in classic black and white cafe uniform dresses. The main room opens up onto a huge copper-topped bar while booths extend toward the back. The ceiling is tin, and the lighting is low. You can almost picture a turn of the century lumber executive sitting in a cloud of cigar smoke in one of the back booths. But if you're eating during the day, it's a little too dim. Feels kind of unnatural. Outdoor dining is also available. Service is good, but not overly quick.

Overall, the Monte Carlo is a good place to eat, but at the price, it isn't a place where you'd want to go every night. Meals $10-$20.

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