Saturday, August 25, 2007

Axel's Bonfire - Eagan, MN - Review

Axel’s Bonfire - Wood Fire Cooking
1555 Cliff Road
Eagan, MN 55122

Rating: ****

If you are looking for a place where you can drink your Flirtini surrounded by cozy fireplaces, dim lighting, antique armoires, all under an avant-garde sculpture of a horse made with garage sale items…oh and did I mention that it blows steam out its snoot and has a spinning disco ball inside? Well, look no further than Axel’s Bonfire in Eagan, MN.

Located on the north side of Cliff Rd. halfway between Hwy 77 and Pilot Knob Rd. in Eagan, Axel’s Bonfire offers Southwest metro suburbanites a place to escape the rigors of everyday life. Diners are greeted with a real wood bonfire and gas flame lanterns as they approach the entrance. Once inside, the theme continues with dimly lit interior and fireplaces reminiscent of the bygone era of supper clubs.

Seating was prompt and we were quickly approached by our friendly server. A round of waters was offered and when they came we were happy to see a lemon wedge in each glass. The menu offered a wide range of items to choose from. Appetizers, salads, wood fired pizza, pasta, southwestern items, spit roasted meats & entrées, and a selection of sandwiches. We were impressed by the choice of sides offered with each entrée…vegetable and clilantro-lime rice or your choice of potatoes…buttermilk bacon smashed, loaded baked, marinated cheesy hash browns, or fries.

We asked the server for suggestions on a signature drink, he told us about Bonfire’s own Flirtini ($9.00), a martini made with Stoli Raspberry and champagne. We both decided to try it and we were happy we did. The Flirtini was shaken and served tableside into chilled martini glasses with frozen raspberries inside. The server leaves the shaker with you so you can take advantage of the generous portion. Andy was tempted to bite into a frozen raspberry and found it to be very sour, but it was a good contrast to the light, crisp, and sweet taste of this cocktail. Berry flavor seemed to pop out at us with every sip…think Cosmopolitan on steroids.

For an appetizer we shared the Bontons ($8.95), a crispy medley of buffalo chicken cream cheese wontons, served with homemade coleslaw and sweet yet spicy dipping sauce. The spiciness of the buffalo chicken cream cheese paired with the sweet and tangy sauce followed up with the light and crisp coleslaw was a match made in culinary heaven.

Peggy’s choice for entrée was Grilled BBQ Salmon ($19.95) served with buttermilk bacon smashed potatoes and a crunchy green bean and carrot medley. The wood fired salmon was moist and tender with a sweet and smoky barbeque sauce slathered on top. The potatoes were smooth and creamy with just the right amount of chopped bacon to set this side apart from the over present garlic mashed potatoes that are seen on so many menus these days. Crisp whole green beans with crunchy julienne carrots were a good fresh choice of vegetables to round out this dish.

Andy asked for the servers suggestion between the Baby Back Ribs and the BBQ Beef Brisket ($15.95). Brisket was suggested and this dish was also served with buttermilk bacon smashed potatoes and green bean and carrot medley. The BBQ Brisket consisted of piles of thinly sliced brisket smothered in sweet and tangy barbeque sauce. The brisket was very tender and had a wonderful smoky wood fired taste. Andy found himself forking a piece of brisket and some smashed potatoes then dipping it in the barbeque sauce for a good amalgamation of flavors.

It is worth noting we were happy to have our niece Elizabeth join us for dinner. She had the Buffalo Shrimp ($20.95) with the marinated cheesy hash browns and a glass of lemonade. Elizabeth really loved the hash browns and enjoyed her shrimp and lemonade as well. Good company always adds to the dining experience.

When we were waiting for our bill, we were looking at the horse sculpture hanging from the ceiling. Suddenly steam started hissing and shooting out of its snoot. We were all a bit surprised since we hadn’t noticed the steam during our meal. Then we saw our server across the dining room looking at us with a smile on his face. He had the controls for the steam over by him and made it come out when he saw us looking at the sculpture. It is those kind of little things that make a place unique and interesting and make us want to visit in the future.

We really enjoyed our visit to Axel’s Bonfire. The decor and surroundings were great, the employees were kind and attentive, and the food was fabulous. When in Eagan, stop by and give this friendly restaurant a try.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review! Just reading it made me hungry. You've got a good thing going with this blog. Keep Pushin'!

Bob G.
Edina, MN