RYAN BAKKEN: Where fine dining is just fineRyan Bakken writes about the "local eateries worthy of a Five Fork rating."
By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald
The Ho-Do Restaurant in Fargo is North Dakota’s only eatery to receive a Four Diamond rating by AAA.
Not even one restaurant in the state was deemed worthy of a Five Diamond designation, the highest rating.
Well, la-di-da. I beg to differ.
Around here, we have different standards than the highfalutin, arrogant, haughty, pretentious, pompous, grandiose, snooty, stuck-up, conceited, snobbish, uppity elitists at AAA who are concerned about the weight of the linens and the texture of the garnishes, many of which are not available at Hugo’s.
I want to recognize the name of the food I’m eating. I don’t want to dine where I might use the wrong fork. And, I don’t want to dine where neckties are required because, well, that would necessitate renting one.
If you want to see less hoity-toity ratings of local restaurants, read on. Following are my three choices of local eateries worthy of a Five Fork rating.
• The Red Pepper.
By that, I mean the original one, on University Avenue. That’s because it has more character than the two Red Pepper offshoots. By character, I mean it’s dumpier.
Ambience is important. So is the grub, which is perfect fare for absorbing massive amounts of beer by college students.
Here’s why it heads the list: Name me another restaurant anywhere that has customers waiting in line for 30 minutes outside in 20-below temperatures at 2 a.m.
If a statewide poll were taken, there’s no question that the Red Pepper would win because votes of UND alumni would be near-unanimous.
• Big Sioux Cafe, which is better known generically as the I-29 truck stop because of its location on 32nd Avenue South and I-29.
I don’t eat breakfast. But I love breakfast food. So, I go there about once a month for a supper of ham, eggs, toast and hash browns. If my cardiologist is reading and disgusted with me, he can rest assured that I order wheat toast.
Another plus is that it’s about 20 minutes from the time you are seated until the time you are paying the bill. I’m not much for leisurely meals.
• Dakota Harvest Bakery.
I used to fall prey to their pastries every afternoon. That changed with Stent No. 2.
Now, I’ve turned to the downtown restaurant’s wide variety of healthy sandwich and soup offerings. I never knew so many flavors existed.
This is the worst kept eatery secret in town. The days of not having to wait are long gone.
You may have noticed that the better known local fine dining places are not listed here. That’s not a reflection on them, but rather on my tastes.
I also want to make it clear that this restaurant review column is not a lame attempt to receive Internet fame, a television chat with Anderson Cooper, or a Mediterranean cruise.
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send e-mail to email@example.com.