Monday, August 02, 2010

Dive Night - Dean's Tavern

Dive Night is a once monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of "dive." Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot hiding under the radar. Casual atmosphere and good food. We're out to find the best food in the Minneapolis/St Paul area without having to pay a fortune or dress up. A sip of beer or wine doesn't hurt either.  See a list and links to the previous dive night posts here.

Husby and I had the choice of dives this month.  Dean's Tavern has a history (established in 1909 I believe) and I heard rumors the food was pretty darn good.  So we dragged Ruthie and Ray over to Rice Street to check it out.

Let me just say from the get-go, the rumors were only that.  At least that was our experience.  Our waitress came to take our drink orders, and silly me asked if they had any pinot grigio.  Her response was, "what's that?"  I should know better than to ask for something like pinot in a bar like this.  White zinfandel was the best they could do, and I've never seen a wine glass filled to the brim like that one was.  Tasted like juice.

Dean's is know for their coney dogs, but none of us ordered one.  We probably should have.  But I'm jumping ahead of myself.  Usually each couple orders an appetizer, but this time Ray and Husby wanted jalepeno poppers, which was just too much for Ruthie and me.  So the guys got their peppers and Ruthie and I ordered Tater Tot Nachos, just because it sounded interesting. 

Interestingly, our soup and salad were served before the appetizers.  When asked if our appetizers were forgotten the waitress responded, "the appetizers take longer to cook, so I brought these out first."  I guess we must have looked really hungry.

Finally our appetizers came.  The poppers were reported by the men to be fine.  The Tater Tot Nachos consisted of tater tots, taco-seasoned hamburger, "spicy" cheese sauce, and a dollop of sour cream.  Unremarkable.

We must have been feeling pretty fancy when we ordered because none of us got bar food.  Husby, Ruthie, and Ray all ordered a steak of some kind.  I ordered the meatloaf.  Husby ordered his steak medium well, Ray medium rare, and Ruthie rare.  They all came as medium well.  Despite the cook's inability to cook a steak to order they were not chewy and tasted fine.  My meatloaf was actually quite good and there was lots of it smothered in gravy.  We all got corn (canned, of course) with our meals, which was luke-warm to cold, depending on whose plate it was.

So there you have it.  Mediocre at best.  As for the ambiance, well, it's a dive.  Here's what I found in the lady's room...

And there was a poorly-worded, very ambiguous notice for an activity in which you could participate.

What's a 6-pound monster?  Rosemary's baby?  *Shutter*

To top the night off we were all invited to spend some time at another dive, The Easy Street Bar.  We shot some pool and took our chances drinking out of glasses without straws.  We were fortunate to be in attendance as it is now closed forever.  You can just imagine how the regulars were partying.

Dean's Tavern was a little disappointing and if I ever find myself there again I'll certainly order something more bar-like, like a hamburger or coney dog.  The Easy Street Bar?  Well, let's just say it made me feel like I was twenty-two again ~ and grateful I can afford to spend my leisure time at more civilized places if I so choose.  Boy, don't I sound like the perfect snob? 

Fun night with Ruthie and Ray, as always.  These adventures wouldn't be as much fun without them.

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