I first heard of Giuseppe’s on cityofeagan.org and added it to the list of local places that we had to get around to. After arriving at home tonight and really not feeling like cooking (my allergies are killing me) especially with the gloomy and chilly weather outside, we headed over to Giuseppe’s for some dinner. I brought my camera but left my SD card in the reader at home so you’ll have to deal with the hiptop photos.
We walked in before 6 PM tonight and found only one other couple in the restaurant. We were seated along the wall overlooking the entire place. We were given the simple two page menu, with all of its misspellings, and began to look it over. They have four appetizers and two soups along with some salads. Their appetizers calarmari, gamberetti, cappicola, and a Mediterranean pita are priced between $5.95 and $6.95. The rest of the menu is pasta only and the prices are fairly reasonable ranging in price from $7.95 to 10.95 and have items like cheese ravioli and shrimp napoli.
Kim asked if I wanted an appetizer and while I was certainly in agreement, I didn’t feel like choosing. We asked for the waiter’s recommendation between the calamari and the cappicola. He smiled and said the calamari so we went with that. It comes sauteed in olive oil, garlic pesto and lemon sauce for $6.95. Our waiter delivered some warm bread right off and took our appetizer order while I looked over the menu some more. I was offered some spicy olive oil to eat with the salt and spice crusted bread it was a nice treat. Our calamari was out in short order alongside another serving of bread. Even though there was only one other couple inside this small restaurant, I was fairly impressed with the attentiveness of our waiter. When he wasn’t busy doting on his two tables he was working in the back with the cook wiping down plates or prepping other table items.
When I was finally finished with my menu perusing, we placed our orders. Overall, the menu was very limited, which is fine but Kim said, “they better do what they have here very well.” Their offerings reminded me very much of what I available for lunch specials at Donatelli Bros in White Bear Lake but a few dollars more expensive. When it was all said and done, Kim went with the Capellini Pomodoro which is angel hair pasta with fresh tomato, mushroom, pine nuts, parsley and in garlic olive oil topped with feta for $7.95. I went with the Chicken Artichoke which was described as sauteed chicken breast, artichoke, pearl onion, sun dried tomato tossed with bowtie pasta and garlic cream sauce for $8.95.
While we were waiting for our meals I spent some time looking carefully at the eclectic items on display in the restaurant. The decor is something straight out of a secondhand store’s $1 rack or a 1971 garage sale. There are two Egyptian paintings near the front door, a gold mirror, a sailboat painting, and then a red propeller with silver squiggly lines hanging on the wall right before you enter the bathroom hallway bordello complete with red fluorescent lighting. On our side of the restaurant, another mirror and two more paintings which were possibly paint by number. There were several Romanesque items on a railing in the middle of the restaurant including busts, vases and an unrelated set of brass dolphins. The walls were painted a dark burgundy with careless gold sponge marks. The back walls were layered with fake brick bordered at the top with black and white tiles. A simple red and white checkered tablecloth hangs over a small window sized opening and counter covers a spot that would have offered a peek into the kitchen. The ceiling tiles are bordered in brass and glow brazenly down at you while loud Italian music plays out of three speakers overhead.
We thought that this place really needed a pizza or two on the menu as, at least for me, it made me think a lot of Piccolo’s Pizza in Eagan. When I asked the chef (owner?) if he planned on adding any, he said that if you are going to serve pizza you should do it right and only serve good pizza made from scratch. He was adamant that you shouldn’t use frozen dough. I couldn’t disagree with his logic that’s for sure but I still think that it would be a nice addition and one we would return for — especially if he made it up to the standards he obviously believes in so heavily.
Our entrees came out and Kim’s looked like any simple pasta dish I would make at home when I had a bunch of leftover veggies, cheese and pasta. Mine looked like a saucy, cheese soaked mess — perfect Italian food! The portion sizes were absolutely fucking huge. We both knew we’d be taking some of it home but Kim later admitted that she ate far more than she thought she would at first glance. My dish had an ample amount of chicken that was flavorful under all that mess of extras but was a bit on the dry side. The artichokes were flavorful but obviously canned. I enjoyed mine enough to box it up for lunch tomorrow. I’d eat it again but there are some other options on the menu I’d try first.
Overall this place is a ton of fun but it’s not a place to be celebrating an anniversary or 50th birthday. It’s the kind of place you go for takeout (one person picked up while we were here and another came in for a menu for later use) or when you are looking for simple dishes made with buttery and heavy sauces when you don’t feeling like cooking. The service and the decor were awesome — it reminded me of something out of a movie and I felt oddly at home here. The food, aside from the bread and calamari, was just all right. While I will certainly return this isn’t a place that I will find myself craving during the middle of the night but I really liked the fact that it gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling all over. Think Grandma’s kitchen on any Thursday night and her wanting to make you eat more because you look too thin.
So, if you are in the mood for some pasta and good service in a really different environment, Giuseppe’s Restaurant in Burnsville is for you. Have you been to Giuseppe’s or if you do go, let us know what you think.
14600 10th Ave S
Burnsville, MN 55337
See all the pictures from today on Flickr here (mobile).