On Friday morning I packed the Rooster into the car and headed to my prior place of employment to visit old coworkers and have lunch with my good friend Andy. We get together for lunch or happy hour a couple of times a year to catch up on all the things we can’t seem to catch up on over the Internet in the mean time. We have visited a couple of great places during these visits including Ban Thai and Margaux’s Table both in White Bear Lake. This time, even though he originally had suggested we head back to Margaux’s Table (which I was completely fine with), we headed over to a relative newcomer to the White Bear restaurant scene, Manitou Station.
Manitou Station prides itself in its “top 5 patio” (as rated by the readers of the Pioneer Press) and apparently its Scotch eggs which is proudly displays on the front of page of its website. Manitou Station is some sort of faux-Irish pub in suburbia located a few blocks off of the lake in downtown White Bear. Located on the spot of what used to be a gas station, the building both inside and out is a nice sight and I have to agree with the readers of the Pioneer Press that it definitely has a nice patio however I have to disagree with the top 5 rating.
Anyway, their lunch menu is full of typical items with your typical suburban pub fare with picks such as “Beef and Guinness Stew”, “English Fish and Chips” and plenty of expensive Guinness and Guinness related drinks on the menu. When our friendly and attentive waitress stopped by the table I asked her what her favorites were. She rattled off an option from almost every section of the menu–something I despise–but did say that she really enjoyed their Shrimp Louis. Being that we were out on the patio enjoying the beautiful weather, both of us ordered salads with me choosing the Shrimp Louis and Andy going with the Steakhouse Wedge. Knowing that they so proudly displayed their Scotch eggs on their website we figured we should try those as well.
The Scotch eggs came out first and were quite good. I have little to compare them to aside from what I have tasted at Brit’s Pub, but these were enjoyable. The mustard sauce they came with was good but didn’t match up with their menu’s offering of their own take on English HP sauce. While I didn’t notice it at the time, until I read the menu again prior to this review, this was the first of several mistakes they made in delivering what the menu offered.
Next up were our salads. They were both beautifully presented with Andy’s Steakhouse Wedge covered in bacon, a very nice bleu cheese with some decent bite, a small cup of ranch dressing (not listed on the menu), several bright and colorful tomato wedges and half a head of lettuce just begging to be cut into. While we had sticker shock from the $13 price tag attached, the salad seemed almost able to match what I would expect for $13. My Shrimp Louis salad was listed on the menu as:
Poached Coldwater Prawns with Avocado, Tomato, and Hard Cooked Egg. Drizzled with Russian Dressing. 12
As you can see from the picture above they clearly had a sliced whole avocado, a hard cooked egg, and several slices of tomato. Unfortunately they decided to deliver six tasteless shrimp instead of prawns and what appeared to be some sort of white dressing which I could not discern from the taste–it certainly wasn’t Russian and it certainly wasn’t drizzled. I’m guessing it was either watered down ranch or Caesar but I really don’t know for sure.
Now, I’m guessing that over half of Minnesotans couldn’t care less about the difference between prawns and shrimp and wouldn’t have thought twice about this problem. While I did remember reading about the prawns on the menu, when I ordered the confusing “Shrimp Louis” name clearly tricked my mind into believing that six cold and certainly bagged, frozen, tasteless and limp shrimp was acceptable. Thankfully I came to my senses only after shelling out $12 for the crappy salad which offered absolutely no flavor including after dousing it in lemon juice from the provided wedges which also shared the same fate as the rest of items before me–they were tasteless.
The worst part of this? They probably do it so often that if I, someone who is anal as all hell, didn’t notice it then no one else does either. Shame on you Manitou Station for serving a mustard sauce (which I do admit was quite good) in place of your own HP sauce and passing off crappy tiny 50 count frozen, bagged shrimp as prawns. I’m not even so upset about the missing Russian dressing because, well, I just can’t see how that would go at all with prawns or shrimp–unless they are always as tasteless as these then maybe at least you can pretend they had flavor.
Overall I won’t be back and not at all because it’s in White Bear Lake. The $37 tab for two salads, an appetizer, a water, and an iced tea ($2.50 for an iced tea, seriously?!) was really a bit much. While our tab and our meal might pass muster with the overpaid and overprivileged lakeshore owners of White Bear and their Porsche SUV driving wives, it’s not going to fly with the rest of us.
Have you ever eaten at Manitou Station in White Bear Lake? If so what did you think? What did you have from their menu? Do you agree that it’s nothing more than a faux-Irish pub? Do you feel it was overpriced? How about the prawns vs. shrimp issue. Would you have known any better? Whatever you have to say about Manitou Station in White Bear Lake go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
2171 4th Street
White Bear Lake, MN 55110