Cravings Wine Bar & Grille, Woodbury, MN

 

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755 Bielenberg Dr
Suite 108
Woodbury, MN 55125
(651) 528-6828

cravingswinebar.com

Neighborhood: East Metro, Twin Cities Area
Cuisine: New American, Wine Bar
Cost: $$ = $11- $30 – Moderately priced
Four Forks = Defines excellence in local dining.  Worth the investment

Hours:
Monday and Tuesday:
11 AM – 10 PM

Thursday:
11 AM – 11 PM

Friday & Saturday:
11 AM – 12 AM

Sunday:
3 PM  – 6 PM

HAPPY HOUR:
Monday – Friday
3 PM to 6 PM

$3 Domestic Beers
$4 House Wines by the glass
$2 off Small Plates

SPECIAL FEATURES:  Offer Wine Dinners

Handicap accessible: Yes
Parking: Semi-Private, Mall lot
Vegetarian options: Yes
Kid friendly: No
Liquor served: Full Bar
Wine List: Very Impressive, exceptional selection of fine wines
Outdoor seating: Yes
Reservations: Yes

I found a Groupon after searching for local Wine Bars.  We’re always looking for new quality establishments to try and I am a strong believer in reading reviews.  I almost always take a look at Yelp, UrbanSpoon and/or TripAdvisor before visiting and I have to admit that we were initially a bit apprehensive about making the trip east because of the mixed reviews.

None the less, we made the hour drive from Andover on a Saturday afternoon; arriving around four pm.  We hadn’t decided if we would have an early dinner or just try some of the small plates.  The mall where the establishment is located is under construction, but it was attractive and sharp looking with a mix of businesses.  (We commented that it would be nice if we had this option for a store front in our area.) 

When we entered, our eyes were quickly drawn to a beautiful display of decadent desserts and we were promptly greeted by a friendly young woman; Alyssa.

dessert display dessert 2

There were a couple of gentlemen seated at the bar and our host walked us back to a nice table near the window, overlooking a beautiful patio.  The weather wasn’t warm this day, but I envisioned us relaxing on a summer day people watching.  We didn’t see it, but read about a gorgeous indoor fireplace sets the mood when the temperatures cool.  The decor was warm and inviting and I appreciated the seasonal fall decorations throughout.

IMG_0653 patio

I’ve tried to find information on Chef “Tony” to no avail.  I would like to learn more about his experience and give him a high five because his cuisine is terrific!

Complimentary:  There was not a bread basket or anything offered complimentary.

Unique:  Offering a relaxed polished casual atmosphere with exceptional food, exquisite wines, full bar, divine desserts.  The desserts are all made in-house at their White Bear Lake location but available at all three locations.  Desserts are available by the slice or ordered whole for your special occasion.

We started off with:  Whipped Feta & Tomato Bruschetta, $13

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Whipped feta, roasted tomatoes, parmesan cheese, reduced balsamic, oregano, served on a grilled crostini.  This was delicious!  Toasts were perfectly charred, the petite tomatoes cut in half roasted was a unique spin a top of the tangy feta cheese and the punch of the fresh oregano paired well with the salty melted parmesan.  The crustini’s were served on top of a drizzle of balsamic and we wished there was just a bit more of the reduction.

Cravings Chop Salad, $11 (as a side, we were only charged $4)

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Romaine, grapes, cucumber, couscous, shaved parmesan, almonds, and green goddess vinaigrette.  This was amazing!  The salad was large enough to share.  It sounded interesting and it was.  The larger Israeli couscous was a delightful added texture next to the greens and the crunch from the Julianned cucumber and the lightly salted marcona almonds.  The vinaigrette was perfectly light and tangy with the brightness of the crisp red grapes.  We both thoroughly enjoyed it and Bill wants me to recreate this in our own kitchen!

Entree: I chose the Barramundi. $23

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Pan roasted barramundi, Thai purple rice, roasted oyster mushrooms, and carrot miso butter.  Delicious!  The fish was cooked perfectly with crisp skin and a firm white fish center.  I could have eaten the sauce in a bowl with a spoon.  It was rich and flavorful, while it reminded me of a bisque!

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There was a generous serving of flavorful mushrooms and the Black rice, which is a deep black color that usually turns deep purple when cooked was perfectly al dente (firm but not hard).  The rice added vibrant color to this dish and I actually felt healthy eating it because I had recently read that this rice was proclaimed as a ‘superfood’!

Bill decided on the Parmesan Crusted Walleye, $24

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The fish was crusted perfectly with just the right amount of salt from the cheese.  I know, seafood and cheese typically don’t pair together, but this was a hit!  You might think that the rich, salty flavor of cheese can too easily overwhelm the flavors of the fish, but the walleye had a delicate, mild flavor.

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The fish sat on a bed of Pea risotto, which was very flavorful and a tomato broth that was thin, but good making an interesting combination.

Dessert:  We opted to take a Chocolate, Raspberry, Pecan Tart home,  $10

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They recommend ending every meal with their divine “Cravings famous” desserts.  There were so many to choose from and I have to admit that I agreed with their claim that their “delicious desserts are absolutely Craveable!”   Their tarts have a delicate buttery shortbread crust; but this one was made of crunch toasted pecans and was filled with a chocolate ganache type of filling.  It was then topped with beautiful, fresh mouthwatering berries.

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We shared it among four of us, including our daughter Michelle and her boyfriend Jacob later that evening  and each enjoyed it thoroughly!  We each wished we had more!

As I mentioned, we had read about reviewers experiences as less than stellar.  This was NOT the case with our experience and our visit couldn’t have been any better!  We all understand that everyone has different tastes, but I hope the case of a customer being charged full price for a cake they didn’t eat wasn’t so.    Our entrees were superb and obviously made to order.  I realize they weren’t busy at the time, but our dishes included the freshest ingredients and our service was exceptional.

Some of the other items I read about positively were the Scallops

scallops small but delicious

The reviewer thought the dish was somewhat small, but reported that they were cooked perfectly and it went well with the roasted cauliflower and puree.

Charcuterie

The cured meats on the charcuterie were reported to be delicious, the flatbread amazing, and others claimed that “the crispy duck entree with parsnip puree, roasted brussel sprouts, and cherry glaze was the best duck dishes he had ever eaten, while he enjoyed every bite.”

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The bottle of wine of the month was priced fairly at $50.  It was the Rex Hill Pinot Noir.

With or without the groupon, we would have paid for the quality and we’ll be back!

Bon appetit!

~Chris

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