After hearing multiple recommendations, my wife and I were finally able to visit this "mythical" meat restaurant. I have to say, this is one of the two most memorable experiences I've ever had at a restaurant. I want to emphasize the word "experience," because it definitely goes beyond the food at this wonderful place.
I was able to make noon reservations the day before and, while the restaurant was bustling when we got there, we were seated right on time. We had one main waiter who explained everything to us, and this initial "orientation" was definitely essential. As I waited for my wife to get back from washing her hands, I witnessed the first gaucho going around and slicing off gorgeous chunks from his meat skewers. I'm telling you, I could hear the meat sizzling, and I was drooling!
When my wife returned we started off with a trip to the salad bar--WOW! Per the advice of our server, we didn't pile our plates, but we easily could have... smoked salmon, heart of palm, fresh mozzarella, fresh parmesan, nice fresh veggies, etc. Definitely not your typical salad bar. If you are a vegetarian, you could easily enjoy just the salad bar. And since a lot of the food at the bar is exotic, I have no doubts you could get your money's worth.
My wife and I were here for the meat, though, I don't mind saying. We enjoyed the sampling of stuff from the salad bar, but we couldn't wait for the first gaucho to come by. And it wasn't a long wait! With about 12 different types of meat, as long as we had our little sign set to "go," we were barraged with piping hot pieces of steak, chicken, mutton, sausage, etc. This meat is soooooo good! The servings aren't what you get when you order at a typical steakhouse, so don't expect half pound chunks. However, after about 11 visits from the gauchos, I'm a bit scared to know how much meat I ate, cause it definitely adds up. There were only a couple things I didn't care for--the bottom sirloin was tough, and the mutton just didn't appeal to my tastebuds, but everything else was amazing. I'm the kind of guy who would never ever choose chicken over steak, but I even had a couple servings of their amazing chicken legs! And the filet mignon, top sirloin, rib eye... WOW!
Our server was really fantastic. I regret not making a note of his name, but he was super helpful--and don't underestimate this! We almost felt like he was a tour guide, giving us knowledgeable information about the different types of meat, the process, the restaurant, etc. He was also available almost within seconds the entire time we were there. I've never seen servers so readily at our table before! In addition to our main server, the gauchos were fantastic. We could make a specific request and this would be honored in a very timely manner. We also had people coming up to us to make sure we had our requests satisfied. Honestly, the service was some of the best I've ever seen!
A couple of quick "warnings":
--The meat tends to be on the rare side. I LOVE medium rare meat, but if you don't like your meat very red, this is something to be aware of. I'm not sure if they will make stuff well done upon request.
--The parking is kind of awkward. We called ahead to ask about parking, and we were told, "We have parking on the property." What they didn't tell us was that this requires some driving around Minneapolis 1-ways to find the parking ramp (that will cost around $9 to $15 depending on how long you stay.)
--This is a hustling, bustling and rather noisy atmosphere. It's fun, if you ask me, but don't expect a cosy romantic meal!
--I'm honestly not sure how the tips work or what is fair. I tipped a little over 20% of the meal, but I felt I tipped too little. With a restaurant as unique as this, I almost wish there was a guidance for this.
All in all, this is one of the most memorable meals I've ever eaten at a restaurant, and I will definitely be making the trek back. Thank you to all of the staff that made the experience wonderful!!
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