El Meson – Minneapolis {Closed}

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I had been here once before years back with my friends Jen and Kari. I think it was before Kari’s kids were even born yet. {Let’s just say that they aren’t toddlers anymore.} I remember loving the ambiance, the booths that felt like private cubby holes and the Spanish-style décor.

I also remember loving the sangria.

Sometimes I find that the reason we dine somewhere that isn’t in a 5-mile radius from our house is that we have a Groupon. And it is for that reason that I was able to get Rob to dine here on beautiful afternoon in May. 😉

We went early. The Groupon required a reservation and since we had planned to be in the area for something else, I made it really early – 4pm. We often eat early, but not this early!  Of course, without anyone else there at 4pm, the restaurant didn’t have quite the same liveliness as I had first experienced.

Our Groupon included two glasses of wine or beer and two entrees.

However, we decided to start with an app from their tapas menu:

Cantapalitos
Grilled mini Chorizo sausages served with sautéed artichoke hearts & sweet onions in a warm vinaigrette. 7.95

With it, they served some bread:

buttered bread

This pre-buttered bread was way too easy to eat. I try to limit myself to one piece if I do eat any bread while out, but I did have at least one more. I think this bread basket went away from our table empty. Whoops.

But I did think that ordering a lower calorie dish like scallops could make up for it:

Conchas – Pan Seared Curry Dusted Sea Scallops served with coconut, mango, spinach risotto, in a lemon butter sauce, topped with a pineapple salsa. 19.95

This was a great dish and I loved the risotto. I’m sure the sauces made up for the low-calorie scallops, though. Would I get it again? It wasn’t one of those scallop dishes I have to have again. There are just too many other things on the menu that I’d like to try!

Rob ordered:

Carne a la Brava – Piementon crusted beef medallions served with a Valencia saffron rice, braised fingerling potatoes, sauteed artichokes hearts and chorizo, in a tempranillo demi glaze, topped with a Serrano crisp. 18.95

The server did not ask how he’d like it done. And in a place like this, I just assume that means they only serve it one way because that is the way it was supposed  to be cooked. And it was cooked to perfection – medium rare. The only thing was that it needed more seasoning. Season it already!  Still, I was curious about the Serrano crisp sticking out of the saffron rice. So I snapped off a piece before Rob could slap my hand away. It tasted like really crunchy bacon. It was very cool-looking garnish – like a whale tail was sticking out the rice.

And the Sangria?

El Meson Sangria

Delicious! While the Sangria at Burger Jones still tops my list, this one is still lovely. I can’t say that I’ve ever had bad Sangria though…

Overall, El Meson is a great little neighborhood restaurant that we’d probably frequent if we lived in the area to check out more of their menu. Oh, and they call themselves a Spanish-Caribbean Bistro. Have you been to one of those lately?

What’s the most interesting garnish you’ve had served on a plate or in a cocktail?

Cheers~
Carrie

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