J and I headed out for a quick dinner tonight, and couldn’t figure out where we wanted to eat over in Northeast Minneapolis. The place that we had originally thought about going to, Anchor Fish & Chips, was packed out. And so, on the fly, we decided to check out The Sample Room. It turned out to be a fortuitous accident on our part. Reasonably priced and good food in a cozy space made this an excellent place for our date.
I had always been a bit nervous to go since the menu has quite the charcuterie selection — none of which appeal to me, but my dad and J seem to be appreciative of these. So, in my head, I had previously relegated this cozy dining space to a place that J and my dad could visit when I wasn’t around. This was a definite mistake on my part as I think of what delights we may have been missing out on for the past couple of years.
Everything we ordered was fantastic. J got a burger with organic grass-fed beef, gooey cheddar, crispy onions, pork belly, and mustard aioli. Best burger I’ve tasted outside of the Nook over in St Paul; being compared with the Nook is about the highest praise for a burger than I can bestow.
We also shared the daily vegetable and the fennel-potato chowder. Today’s daily vegetable was spaghetti squash, along with asparagus, and then underneath that was pureed cauliflower. I never would have thought to put these flavors and textures together, but it turned out awesome. Additionally, the soup was the best soup that I’ve gotten at a restaurant in a very long, long time — velvety, creamy, and with bites of perfectly cooked potato.
And on a surprising note for me who hates most pickled things, the pickled vegetables that came with my fish dish were also spectacular; I was assuming that I would hate them and they’d sit untouched. But they were so good, I ate them all, and left my fries. I never do that.
Great blend of small plates, sandwiches, and pastas on the menu; there were so many things that I wanted to try that we didn’t get a chance to today. So, we’ll definitely be going back. And probably sooner rather than later. Though one note of caution: get there early because J and I aren’t the only ones who think this place is awesome. It gets hoppin’ by 5:45 on a Friday night.