Lela (Minneapolis, MN)

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How do you choose which restaurants to dine at when traveling to an area you’ve never been?  Do you rely on the information that’s given to you from word of mouth?  Do you go to your favorite website and read the comments from someone who doesn’t know the difference between calamari and squid?  I always wonder how people come up with their reasoning behind why you should go to the restaurant that they went to.  I have my own methods behind the madness I describe as to how I pick the restaurants I dine at when traveling (which i’ll share with you some other time) but today we’re going to focus on Lela and why I’m happy with the research I did before I decided to dine here.

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The restaurant has a beautiful interior, with big windows, an open kitchen, and a huge wine cellar.  I was definitely surprised when walking into the restaurant because I didn’t think it would look the way it did.  I don’t mean that in a negative way, more of a surprisingly shocked look.  I did most of my research through yelp pictures and comments, but the pictures on that site did absolutely no justice to what I saw.  One thing about dining at restaurants that have a beautiful interior is that you hope the meal matches what you see, otherwise it’s a total waste of a gorgeous space.

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During this visit five dishes were ordered, mostly appetizers because my eyes had more appeal for the small dishes rather then the larger ones.  The first dish that was ordered were the Lobster Deviled Eggs.  I’ve had Deviled Eggs so many times that I’ve lost count, but this was my first time having it with lobster.  Needless to say, I was impressed.  The lobster taste as though it was poached in butter and the sweetness of the yolk mixture in the egg worked well with each other.  The saltiness of the pancetta that was on top of the egg as well gave it the extra smokiness flavor it needed to bring the dish together.  The only negative thing I can say about this dish is that they only give you two Deviled Eggs.  I have to constantly remind myself that it’s an appetizer, not an entree, but then again.. Maybe I should’ve ordered the dish again?

The next item that was ordered was the meatball.  Yes.. A Meatball.  When’s the last time you ordered a Meatball at a restaurant?  I decided to order it because I honestly had a taste for a meatball.  (Please don’t judge me)  The Meatball was mixed with Pork, Beef, and a tomato garlic confit.  Surprisingly the meatball was HUGE!  I honestly think that if you ordered the Meatball with two other appetizer dishes that would’ve been plenty of food for the evening.  The dish wasn’t my favorite because it was smothered with too much tomato sauce, but if you enjoy tomato sauce then this dish maybe the one for you. I didn’t taste any pork in this dish, but I did taste the beef.  I didn’t know what to expect from this dish, but it isn’t one that will knock you off your feet.

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The third dish that was ordered was the Crab Cake.  It consisted of Green Apple Slaw, Jicama, Asian Pear, and Pepper Aioli.  The crab cake was fried and if you’re close to me, you know how much I hate fried crab cakes, but this one makes me contemplate on if I truly indeed hate fried crab cakes.  The crab cakes had a little filler in it but not enough for me to complain about the dish.  The Aioli sauce was spicy but it worked well with the sweetness of the Green Apple Slaw which I thought was an amazing concept.  I never had an Apple Slaw before so I definitely enjoyed trying something new.

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The last dish that was ordered was the Taglliatellini which consisted of Beef Tips, Maitake, Greens, and Gorgonzola Crumbles.  I also had a taste for pasta and thought that this dish was reasonably priced so I decided to order it.  I can honestly say if you come to this restaurant and order this dish and nothing else, you’ll be satisfied.  They provide you with plenty of pasta, Beef Tips, and Mushrooms.  The flavors of the Beef Tips were definitely salty, and the Gorgonzola Crumbles didn’t help combat that flavor.  I had to add some pepper to the dish, but that’s okay because I didn’t want my blood pressure going up from all of the salt that was incorporated into the dish.  I enjoyed this dish and I think the price of $16 made me enjoy it that much more.  The pasta was cooked well too, as it wasn’t too soft or too firm.

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Overall, I’d definitely give this restaurant a try.  The prices are reasonable, the ambiance is amazing, and the scenery is great.  The food is just as good as well.  It’s hard to actually critique certain dishes when the prices match the consistency of the dish.  If you decide to go, let me know what you think!


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