Archive for the ‘Skyways’


The Original SoupMan: Minneapolis, MN

This location is now closed.

I have been closely watching a new skyway location at 225 S 6th St called The Original SoupMan which was slated to open today at 11 AM. After being reminded when I got off the bus by a sign outside the restaurant, I asked if Kim wanted to join me for lunch to try out this new place. She agreed and asked that we do it at 1 PM but after a meeting was rescheduled (and later rescheduled again to tomorrow) we ended up there at its busiest time at noon on the dot.

As Kim and I walked up the line was nearly out the door with people, just like us, looking to try out this place. I have a feeling that many were interested in name alone as this store is loosely based on the NYC location that was mentioned in that fucking god awful show Seinfield (the Soup Nazi). They had been renovating the L-shaped space for a long while but had paper over all the openings so you couldn’t see in until today. It was cleanly decorated with some seating and plenty of space to line up. A sign with the Nazi’s likeness was situated by the main entrance and it displayed the soups of the day without any prices listed.

As we were waiting in line we squinted to try and read the menu from afar and were soon offered a small sample of New England Clam Chowder. Knowing that this is at least based on the NYC favorite, I figured that the NE Clam Chowder would have to be somewhat decent. While Kim thought it was good (she said she would not normally eat this type of soup) I thought it fucking sucked. It wasn’t as bad as canned but it certainly wasn’t anything I’d be clamoring to return for and it does absolutely no justice to NYC or the Soup Nazi. I guess that something is lost in translation in the ~1000 miles between NYC and Minneapolis. At this point were were about halfway through the line and could begin to read some of the menu items. I was absolutely shocked at how fucking astronomically expensive this lunchtime restaurant was. Who the fuck are they kidding charging anywhere for $5 to $9 for a cup of soup?!

As we continued our long wait (now stretching over 10 minutes), a man came up and began chatting with one of the staff members dressed in a white coat (those wearing white coats seemed to be management level) and the worker told him that the best soup they had available was the Lobster Bisque. For $8.99 for a cup and $10.99 for a bowl (even more for a pint obviously), that better have been their best soup and it better have been made with live lobster living in a tank in the front, served in a golden chalice and offered to you by someone wearing white gloves and a tuxedo. From what I could tell, no live lobsters and no luck with any of the rest of it either.

As we came to see the menu better, we saw that they were offering soup with a half sandwich for $3 more or $5 more for a whole. I’m not quite sure how they feel that they can compete with any of the other downtown locations such as Eddington’s or even Panera. I assume that they need to have exorbitant rates to cover the “Soup Nazi’s” name and the fact that they are mentioning “as seen on Seinfeld”. Now knowing the prices Kim said to me that this would be our last lunch there. I could only agree.

Their sandwiches are much more reasonably priced starting at $2.39 for a half and going up to $7.49 for their most expensive whole. I really don’t see why you would want to eat here as opposed to any of the 1000 other options nearby unless you were some sort of huge fan of that fucking terrible show and really thought that eating overpriced food would bring you closer to Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi himself.

They have a variety of sandwiches listed and include everything from Grilled Chicken Balsamic to a Mexican Burrito. Several are wraps, some are paninis and the rest are your typical deli-like usuals. The only one that popped out at me was their Egg Salad and Parmesan which I decided on before I saw that they were all pre-wrapped in plastic and sitting upright in a cooler in the front. Their paninis are probably your best bet as they are made to order.

All combos come with soup, sandwich, salad and includes a beverage, baguette, fruit and a piece chocolate. The fruit, for me, was not ripe but one of Kim’s coworkers who ate there this afternoon said that his was over-ripened and he wasn’t quite sure how you could be selling black bananas on your opening day. Kim’s orange was tiny and was just slightly larger than a Clementine. I believe that they also had some tiny apples but I might be remembering incorrectly.

Our original order came to just over $23, quite expensive for a simple lunch like you would see at Panera (and which would be much, much better) but for those that work in the building (just say you do, seriously) you get a 25% off card (no information required as of today at least) and that brought it down $5.25 to a total of $17.37. After paying, Kim found a flavored decaffeinated raspberry tea and I grabbed my pop. They have no caffeine free and sugar free options available and they only have caffeine free root beer. As I was getting my drink, Kim worked her way through the line and found a place to sit along the windows. My chair was half off the tile and half on an unsteady grate. I was a little uneasy sitting on it and tried my best to move the table a bit more forward (into the line) so that I wouldn’t have to sit like that. While I’m sure it’s safe, I didn’t appreciate the precarious nature of my seating arrangement none-the-less.

After some quick photos, I tasted my food. The soup, while meaty, was basically awful. I like goulash just fine but this, this was nasty and had the texture of shit. Kim’s bisque was also quite meaty but I didn’t find anything special with it. It wasn’t nearly as good as other similarly priced bisques that I have had in much nicer restaurants and neither were items I’d ever order again. My wheat baguette was ok and my egg salad sandwich was nothing better than I could have had anywhere else including my own kitchen. Kim’s panini looked pathetic especially when they wrapped it in lame foil with more face time for the Nazi. I didn’t even bother to taste it and I didn’t hear a peep about it from Kim. Kim pretty much refused to drink her raspberry tea and I gave her my root beer. Because it was decaffeinated, I sucked it up and drank the tea which had the distinct flavor of Vicks 44. Nothing like bringing back memories of being sick as a kid! Blech. The best part of my meal? The small square of Dove chocolate that was offered as a desert.

As you can tell, this isn’t looking good for The Original SoupMan in Minneapolis. Soon after eating I posted this to Twitter and it pretty much sums up what you probably already know in 13 words:

The Original SoupMan fucking sucks the cock, stay far the fuck away. Yuck.

Seriously, don’t come here, it’s not worth your time or your money. Eddington’s next door or any Panera kick the living shit out of this place and as Kim mentioned, “no unlimited breadsticks kills them right there.” I’m assuming that something has been lost in translation coming from NYC to Minnesota via a mass produced chain store because there’s absolutely no fucking way that the soups and sandwiches we had today were anything even close to being Zagat rated as the original store is. It’s seriously a scam.

After I finished work today I stopped in the little store across the way to nab a Fresca and some gum before going to get Kim from her office. The friendly cashier inside asked if I had eaten at the place across the hall from him and when I said I had he mentioned that he couldn’t justify spending that kind of money for soup but even so he mentioned that people said the soup was ok but the food was too expensive. I just shrugged and said I didn’t care for the food or the prices and moved along. Did you try The Original SoupMan yet? If so, what did you think?

Address:
The Original SoupMan
225 S 6th S
Minneapolis, MN 55402

See all the pictures from The Original SoupMan in Minneapolis on Flickr here (camera).

The Original SoupMan on Urbanspoon

Eddington’s (US Bank Plaza): Minneapolis, MN

Today Kim and I headed over to a restaurant for lunch that she has visited numerous times before and has even dragged me to while I was at the RightNow Technologies Higher Ed Usergroup Conference back in October. While they offer soups and sandwiches, I was mostly interested in their salad bar and that’s why we headed over there today.

When I asked Kim what time she wanted to meet up she said that noon would be a busy time there and we would end up having to eat our lunch elsewhere. Because she was busy she postponed it out to 12:30 and we walked in to find the place busy but still with plenty of available seating. Kim was in the mood for soup so she waited in line near the door and suggested that I walk to the salad bar to begin loading up.

The salad bar includes your average toppings including meats like chicken and ham, cheese, veggies, etc. They have a variety of dressings and dry seasonings (pepper from the mill, red pepper flakes, etc). You pay by weight so Kim suggests that you put your dressing on the side as the cashiers rarely weigh it in addition to your plate. I forgot about this little suggestion until after I had paid and my total, for just the salad, was $7.06. A bit expensive IMHO but one of the healthier lunch options in the area. Kim got their Wisconsin Cheddar cheese soup and it came with breadsticks which were salty, warm and unlimited. After I snuck one off of her plate, she went back up and grabbed a handful more. They were pretty tasty and were excellent for wiping down my plate of balsamic after I was finished.

While Eddington’s is pretty expensive on the salad bar side, they are currently running a promotion for $3.99 soup bowls so on one of those blustery July days if you’re in the mood for a hot soup to warm you up and get even more sweaty than the hot streets of Minneapolis are making you, stop in!

Anyone have suggestions for other places that have excellent salad bars that might cost less than half my arm and one of my legs? If so, please let me know below!

Address:
Eddington’s
200 S 6th St Suite 296
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone:
612-338-5747

Check out all the pictures from Eddington’s in the US Bank Building on Flickr here (mobile).

Eddington's - South Sixth Street on Urbanspoon

Zen Box Japanese Eatery: Minneapolis, MN

Following , a recommendation by Steve, I headed over to Zen Box Japanese Eatery located in the 6 Quebec Building. I checked out their menu ahead of time and noticed that out of their 20 options (not including sushi or side orders), 10 were fried. Knowing I wouldn’t be eating anything fried I headed over anyway.

I walked up and inside and most of the tables were filled. I walked up to the counter and looked over what they had in plain sight and chose their “Spring/Summer Special” which was some sort of buckwheat salad. According to the picture sign on the glass, which I promptly took a photo of so that I could recall the ingredients for my writeup, this special seemed like it included lettuce, buckwheat pasta, lima beans, carrots, and some sort of sauce. I was looking for something light, thus the desire for sushi in the first place, and this seemed light and crisp. Perfect. The guy reached in the back and grabbed a prepackaged container that was fairly nicely arranged and handed it to me. After snapping the shot of this display, I was oh so rudely informed that I was not to take any photos of their menu. I ignored the guy and just gave him a non-committal response and put the phone back in my pocket (Kim took my camera with her to Ohio this weekend) and moved along to the register with the guy behind the counter staring me down from the corner. Next time ask nicely, I am more than happy to abide by the wishes of an establishment while on their property. To those that operate Zen Box, I suggest retraining your employees on appropriate customer service skills, especially when enforcing your ridiculous ordinance which has worked out so well with other local establishments. I paid for my salad which without a drink came to $4.96. I grabbed some chopsticks and a to go container of hot sauce and exited the restaurant for fear of being told again that I was not permitted to take photos.

When I got back to my office I snapped some shots of the dish and then plated it. It looked quite nice both in the box and on the plate and I was looking forward to eating it. After looking at the blurry forbidden photo I found that the Spring/Summer salad was to include Romaine lettuce, sesame seeds, a sesame dressing, and some other stuff that I couldn’t read because my photo was blurry as can be (corrected following an e-mail from the owners of Zen Box) Buckwheat Soba Noodles served with Edamame (soybeans), julienne carrots, shredded romaine lettuce, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and served with our homemade miso-sesame dressing. The lettuce looked and had the consistency of paper confetti. It literally had no flavor whatsoever. Perhaps I’m too used to eating organic lettuce from my CSA boxes but this shit was terrible. The buckwheat pasta was good and I liked the sesame sauce but found no additional seeds on top (perhaps they don’t want you taking photos of their menus for fear that they might have forgotten something and it makes them look as ridiculous as they really are). I really wished they had more pasta and more flavor to the dish. I’m glad I brought along the hot sauce to at least give it a bit more taste (especially after the pasta ran out) or else this would have been akin to eating wet paper.

I’m sure that their other offerings are better, especially if you’re into fried foods, but unfortunately I will not be back to try their sushi. I know of at least two other places nearby that serve meals packaged nearly the same way and for similar prices and I will have to find out if they are any better or have the same retarded rules about photo taking.

While I won’t be back I would like to hear more about their sushi. If you’ve eaten it, please post below. Maybe someone else that doesn’t take photos of every single little thing they eat (heh) will want to enter this establishment and try it out.

Address:
Zen Box Japanese Eatery
6 Quebec at Skyway Level
601 Marquette Ave, Suite 204
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone:
612.341.3313

Hours:
10:30AM – 2:30PM

See all the pictures from Zen Box Japanese Eatery on Flickr here (mobile).

Zen Box Japanese Eatery on Urbanspoon

Good to Go: Minneapolis, MN

Today, due to a sudden twist of fate, I found myself at Good to Go for lunch. They are owned by Hemisphere Restaurants who are the same people that own Mission American Kitchen and previously owned Kabobi neither of which impressed me. I have passed this location by numerous times before and while I thought it looked ok, I really wasn’t sure what they served and I wasn’t about to duck in without reading up on it first. Unfortunately I didn’t have that opportunity today either and yet I found myself inside and having to make a choice, fast.

I will admit that anything I write below will be influenced by the fact that I have a stuffed up nose. I am functioning well today but yesterday I was totally worthless. I was living on Dayquil, six to be exact, mostly so I could survive the 2.5 hours last night at the Rosemount Community Center and another two writing up about UMore Park’s future development as a strip mine to benefit the University’s failed football program.

Anyway, I walked in the door and knew I needed something that had strong flavors so I could actually taste the food. They were advertising a buffalo chicken salad special so I went with that. There have sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads but I didn’t even look at the menu hanging on the wall. I told the first woman behind the counter what I wanted and she yelled down the line to the next person. The next server asked again what I wanted and then set out to make it so. She dumped fresh lettuce into the bowl in the serving line and then took several scoops out into a mixing bowl. She added a scoop of halved cherry tomatoes, some celery and then some blue cheese. She went to the cooler behind her and nabbed some buffalo chicken and threw it, in two large hunks, into the mixing bowl and then started tossing it all together.

I had some problems with the execution of this part though. First, the mixing bowl had the remnants of someone else’s salad left behind. If you have any allergies to anything, I don’t suggest you eat here or at least ask that they use a fresh bowl. I didn’t have the time to be picky today so I just let it slide but I certainly would never permit them to do this again. I fucking hate black olives and I can taste the tiniest bits in anything and I assume that the Greek salad they made before mine had olives because I could taste that nasty shit with every last bite. My second complaint was that they didn’t slice the buffalo chicken after they removed it from the cooler. They had some plain chicken breast that was sliced perfectly under the glass but the buffalo version came in two huge slabs. I’m all about a lot of chicken and I appreciated it but when I’m paying $7.13 for a salad and then eating it with plastic cutlery in a tiny ass plastic bowl, I at least expect it to be at least in a manageable format so that I don’t end up spilling shit all over myself as I work my way through the meat.

Aside from the black olive flavor that overpowered the dish, it was decent. I probably won’t eat there again just because of their knack for reusing dirty salad bowls as part of their “hand tossed” preparation. $7.13 for a salad with little more than tomatoes, chicken, cheap blue cheese, and celery was a bit much for me, YMMV.

See all the pictures from today’s lunch on Flickr here.

Good To Go on Urbanspoon