It is always fun to introduce my family, friends and clients to new and interesting dining experiences. This March I took my great clients, Steve and Arvid, and my fellow Welsh associates, Eric and Ryan, to El Meson, a Spanish Caribbean Bistro in South Minneapolis. Located on the southwest corner of Lyndale Avenue and 35th Street, El Meson is just one of a handful of restaurants where I feel confident recommending the lunch buffet. The buffet includes three selection tables: 1. A variety of cold salads and fresh fruit along with homemade guacamole, salsa and chips. 2. Daily entrees such as pork ribs, which I believe are actually wild boar (all the better), coconut curry chicken stew, beef tenderloin in a red sauce with pasta, seafood vegetable soup, and white and saffron rice. 3. Two simple deserts – flan and rice pudding. Skip the flan and double up on the rice pudding. At $8.95 per person, El Meson’s buffet is a tremendous value. You won’t leave disappointed!
If you have time for a long lunch or are out for dinner you will find the menu offers a variety of colorful taste sensations. The Paella Valencia or Paella Marinera are great choices for a group of up to 4 people; but I would recommend selecting an appetizer or salad to pair with it. If you choose to order individually I would choose the Ceviche as an entrada, Dominicana as your ensalada and the Arroz con Mariscos from the arroz section of the menu. Since it would take many visits to experience the various novelty menu items, I would suggest to go in a group and order family style, as I have suggested in past reviews.
Where: South Minneapolis
When: Mon-Thurs: 11AM – 9PM; Fri: 11AM – 10PM; Sat: 12PM – 10PM; Sun: 4PM – 8:30PM
Cuisine: Spanish and Carribean
What to Have: Paella Valencia or Marinera (it takes 45 – 50 minutes to prepare)
Atmosphere: Warm, earthy and vibrant
Cost: Appetizers $8 to $11, Entrees, $15 to $23, Paella $50 to $60
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
The team didn’t elect to indulge in any of El Mason’s beverages during this visit, but next time I will order a sample of the homemade sangria. Judging by the rest of the menu it has got to be great! Later that evening I did enjoy my current favorite beer, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. The Bell’s brand is very popular in local bar/restaurants. Two Hearted Ale, an India Pale Ale, is non-seasonal and available throughout year. It’s smooth and hoppy with a great aroma and is offered in a 5 liter keg for sharing.