On Friday night we had to make a trip out to Shakopee and we originally planned on stopping at reader Sornie’s favorite BBQ joint, Mr. Pig. Unfortunately Mr. Pig is only open during lunch (11 AM – 3 PM) and we needed to find alternate dining arrangements. On our way down, while avoiding the ridiculous amount of traffic on MN-13 on the Savage/Burnsville border, I was reminded that the location which has held various biker bars over the years (Renegade’s) has recently changed hands twice in short order (spending a very short time as “The Edge”) and now sits as Burnsville Ale House.
The Burnsville Ale House is a large and spacious bar/restaurant with plenty of booth and table seating as well as games and a decent sized bar. With happy hour specials on the weekdays from 3 PM – 7 PM and 11 AM – 7 PM on Saturdays, this seems like it will be a popular hangout for those in the South Metro looking to get some food and drink.
My first impression of the Burnsville Ale House was not a good one. For a bar to name itself an “ale house” I expected a wide variety of beers to be available, while they were, but in 2012 and in Minnesota I expect more than the very typical beer fare available everywhere else. No, Fat Tire and 312 are not impressive anymore. The only standout I saw was Tallgrass’ Buffalo Sweat. Time to swap out those pedestrian beers and get something decent on tap.
In addition to the very boring beer list was a very random menu which really had no cohesion. Edamame, clam strips, and nachos don’t really seem to fit a South Metro bar and certainly not all on the same restaurant’s menu. However, happy hour prices allow for half-price appetizers and with a pound of meaty wings (10 in our case) only setting you back less than $4.50, this is a hell of a deal.
We ordered a pound of Buffalo wings with both ranch and bleu cheese and placed orders for two sandwiches: a Philly Cheesesteak and The Bomber. We opted to add waffle fries to one and sweet potato fries to another for $1.50 more.
The wings were out first. They were surprisingly meaty. The waitress noted that these weren’t your typical tiny wings found elsewhere and she was right. While not the standard Buffalo, these wings were big but not as flavorful as I would have liked. There was a little bit of seasoning on them and while they tasted good, especially as cheap as they were during happy hour, I really think they could do more on the sauce. While the wings were good enough, the dressings were not at all. In fact, The Wife and I could not discern between the ranch and bleu cheese by taste alone and only the tiny flakes of bleu cheese in one. Attention restaurant owners and chefs: take the time to make some decent dressings/dips and stop using watery and flavorless ones instead.
Our sandwiches were out soon after. The Wife’s Philly Cheesesteak came with a paltry 6 previously frozen waffle fries. Yes, that’s S, I, X waffle fries for $1.50 more. I don’t know about you but that seems quite ridiculous to us. Described on the menu as, “Roast beef, sautéed onions, mushrooms, red peppers & Swiss stuffed in a hoagie bun,” ($9.95) this sandwich fit the bill, aside from the fact that based on quantity, I hardly believe anything was “stuffed” in there. The sandwich was good and after asking for mayo, The Wife was pleased with it. The meat was flavorful and the toppings nicely done while retaining their individual flavors. The biggest surprise were the thick-cut homemade pickle rounds accompanying the sandwich. They were tart but sweet and had an excellent crunch. I later asked the waitress how they could be pushing out homemade pickles but serving such crappy dressings. She assured me the dressings were homemade as well and after talking to the chef she promised that on our next visit the dressings would be redone to better meet the expectations set by the good sandwich and killer homemade pickles.
The Bomber, pictured at the top of the post, is described on the menu as, “Roast beef, ham, pepperoni, Swiss, Pepper Jack & giardiniera with shredded lettuce & spicy mayo” ($10.95). The waitress noted that this was not on the menu previously but the regulars knew to ask for it and often did. After changing names from The Edge, they added it to the menu and let everyone else in on the secret. I am definitely glad they did. The dagwood style sandwich is coupled with creamy cheese and the crunch, spice and sour from the giardiniera really makes this an experience I will not soon forget. In fact, as I ate it I knew I’d be back soon for another–even if I have plans to make it for myself at home. My sandwich also came with upgraded fries, this time sweet potato fries which were accompanied by a cinnamon sour cream dipping sauce which was quite good. While my meal came with more than six fries, I still felt like I was ripped off when the fries were simply your typical previously frozen kind. I mean, if you’re taking the time to make pickles and dressings, take the time to make the fries from scratch too. You clearly have the time and the skill, let’s go the entire way, ok?
Overall we thought there were some really great things going on at Burnsville Ale House. The sandwiches, while expensive and coupled with frozen and overpriced fries, had some real promise and good ingredients. They were adorned with some killer housemade pickles and there were plans to fix the boring and indistinguishable dressings which sat next to some really meaty and inexpensive (happy hour priced) wings. There is some real promise here and it’s clear they’re willing to work out the kinks and get things up and running well. We’re going to come back in a few weeks and try some other items as well as the wings. In the mean time I suggest you all get over to Burnsville Ale House and try it for yourselves. I’m guessing if the desire to grow and make changes continues, this could become a real destination for cheap and decent eats.
Burnsville Ale House
3809 Highway 13 W
Burnsville, MN 55378