Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ward 6 Food & Drink Eastside (St. Paul, MN)

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum and
Steel Toe Douglas
From several sources, including a speechie friend, I've heard good reports about Ward 6, beer and food.  I'm happy to confirm that the positive rumors are true.

Because I love the name, I started with a Pour Decisions brew out of the range of strong choices. Last week, I had a bottle of Maroon & Gold, an IPA of a sorts. Good in a bottle but better on draft. Nice start. G tried Third Street's Sugar Shack, which was good enough on tap that I bought a six pack to replenish the beer fridge this week.

Started dinner off with a order of herbed fries with beer cheese and harissa hollondaise dips. Solidly entertaining food with both sauces, but I want to try the lemon gastrique next time.  We shared a grilled camembert on sourdough with pears, walnut butter and arugula.  Really amazing.  Chatting with my friend at a tournament after our visit, I think I will try the vegetarian Cicero Stew next time.

Tuckered out on a Friday night during speech season, I ended with the session ale by Pour Decisions: Pubstitute.  More than adequate, but I had my expectations higher than the beer could live up to.

Overall, a great night at a local pub in St. Paul. The place is small and the biggest table is for about five. We tried earlier for a larger group, but they don't take reservations. More of a place for date night or two couples out for a chat for well served beer and inspired food. Plus, the service was spectacular.  If I lived in St. Paul, I would be happy to walk home from Ward 6 as my local.

Update 5/17/13

Cicero Stew
We were able to return to Ward 6 tonight with some friends.  Because the pub has a habit of filling fast, we picked a night that I could leave right after school and got there before 5 pm to have a draft at the bar and put my name on a list for a table for four.  Worked out perfectly and they even seated one group before us since our friends weren't coming for another half hour while keeping us at the top of the list.  

The staff was working very hard to get everyone seating as soon as possible.  Almost too hard later in the night—we felt a bit rushed when we wanted to sit and chat over beers, even though there wasn't a line after paying the bill. Sitting in the back booth, I had a view of the door. The line formed quickly on a Friday night just after 5 pm until 6 pm, but the line went up and down, very hit and miss as the night lingered. Just a matter of luck after the dinner rush to get a table.

I was able to try the Cicero stew this trip and, in spite of the simple appearance, it's amazingly flavorful.  The waitress warned me it was hot, which was true.  The spice went very well in the Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, so I'd recommend having the stew with the hoppiest IPA on tap.  With three new beers for the list on tap tonight plus a great dinner with friends, I see us returning more and more to Ward 6.

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