Axel’s Bonfire Grill – St. Paul

I’ve been spending a lot of quality time at Axel’s in the last month or so. We got a gift card for Christmas, so a couple weeks ago, Tim and I were feeling stir-crazy and ventured out for dinner. Tim had the petite filet and a side of the smashed potatoes with bacon, accompanied by a strawberry passion drink. The filet was good but needed a little salt. The drink contained tequila and was sweet and fruity and tasty. I ordered the blueberry BBQ pork chop, a side of the smashed potatoes with bacon (surprise), and a bubbly lychee martini. The martini came with an extra serving and a half in the shaker, which is always welcome. It had grapefruit in it so it was slightly tart, but the lychee flavor still came through. The pork chop was one of the most interesting dishes I’d had in a while. The blueberry and barbecue flavors complemented each other well, with the blueberry adding just a hint of sweetness. It was one of the specials for the evening, but I wish they’d add it as a regular item because I’d order it again in a heartbeat.

Last weekend, a friend and I were looking for a convenient place for brunch, and I mentioned Axel’s again. Although we didn’t indulge, they have $2 mimosas and $4 build-your-own Bloody Marys. They had added a new family-style breakfast since we’d been there last. The breakfast was similar to the offerings at Ike’s, yet there were a few deviations. The breakfast is $12.95 per person and comes with your choice of cinnamon or caramel roll (we chose caramel), your choice of regular, cheesy, or Denver-style eggs (we chose cheesy), cheesy hash browns, and your choice of bacon or sausage (again, the bacon). 

What the caramel roll lacked in height (unlike the towering rolls at Ike’s), it made up in width and taste. It covered an entire plate, and the smells of the hot caramel drifted toward us as the waitress set the plate on the table. It didn’t contain pecans (which could be a plus or minus), but it was light and fluffy and warm. We finished about half of it. 

Unlike Ike’s, we could get more than one egg dish, but the servers can only bring out one kind at a time. The same thing went for the meat, which I thought was really odd. How hard was it to throw a couple sausage patties onto a plate along with the bacon? But maybe they were more in tune with our appetites than we thought. By the time we’d finished our first plate of eggs, bacon, and hash browns, we had no room for sausage, much less an extra round. 

Their service was excellent for both visits. I wouldn’t have tried the pork chops without the waiter telling me how incredible they were. And the waitress for brunch was quick with the refills and patient with our questions. The brunch was a new feature, so she had to ask the kitchen for clarification a few times, but it was a smooth experience.

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