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 with a laid-back atmosphere and good food. We'll find the most interesting hang-outs in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Casual attire required. A sip of beer or wine doesn't hurt either.
Hold on to your hats, oh lovers of dives. This one is a doozy. So much to say in so little time I must break it up into two parts. Let's talk about Welsch's Big Ten Tavern.
What's better than "Steak Steak?"
Ray couldn't resist grabbing the uber udder on the cow in front of the Big Ten
Welsch's is right on Highway 10, a sore spot for me but a busy location nonetheless. Apparently they've been in business since 1904 and I'm guessing back then they probably served very fine food. Like so many places the Big Ten has been reduced to a sports bar filled with blue collars who love their happy hour. But hey, we're doing dives, so nothing wrong with any of that.
I think they're going for the Bellagio look, but are falling very short
Today I'm just going to talk about the food we ordered. The Big Ten has a varied menu but I think they pride themselves on their beef. Remember, this is a sports bar.
We started out with drinks, wine for the ladies and beer for the guys. I don't know what Ruthie thinks, but I have a sneaking suspicion the wine was watered down.
For appetizers we ordered walleye cakes and a pizza roll. The walleye cakes were served with what seemed to be plain tartar sauce. They were a little dry and not very flavorful, but I'm spoiled by the walleye cakes that Giggles makes. The pizza roll, on the other hand, was absolutely wonderful. It was like they took an entire pizza, rolled it up, and cut it into slices. It was spicy, meaty (pepperoni) and cheesy and very delicious.
I had a little cup of clam chowder, which was very good too.
The waffle fries shown behind the soup were pretty tasty, and you can get seasoned sour cream to dip them in if you ask for it.
Entrees were of the sandwich variety all around. I can't remember the burger Ruthie had and of course the picture will tell you nothing. Ray ordered the prime rib melt. I actually considered ordering the prime rib melt too, until I saw it came with American cheese. American cheese on prime rib is like eating steamed Maine lobster with ketchup. When I saw it was served on toast? Plain old toast? Well, it was just wrong and bad. Ray said it was tasty though, so maybe I have warped preconceived notions of how prime rib should be served.
Husby had a walleye sandwich and said it was quite good. It was huge, as a walleye sandwich should be.
I thought I'd try something completely different, something I'd never had before. The bacon bleu cheese burger. The burger was good, but I found I don't really care for that much bleu cheese on something that isn't a salad. If you love that kind of thing, this burger would be right up your alley.
As I mentioned before, the waffle fries were pretty dang good, and it was reported that the onion rings were hot and crispy and plenty of them ~ made from real onions and not onion bits. A positive report on the rings from those who had them.
Here's something interesting: I just checked out the menu on Welsch's Big Ten Tavern website and it bears a resemblance to the one we read at the tavern but there are differences.
For the most part the food was good at the Big Ten. So why is it I'll never go back there again? Stay tuned. Part two of this most exciting Dive Night will be posted on Thursday. Be sure to join me!