I am always in search of a hidden gem for dining and this January I found myself in the little known town of Willernie at The Hanger Room. The newly opened restaurant is located a few blocks to the east of the southern bay of White Bear Lake and has already garnered excellent reviews. The ingredients are fresh from local purveyors and the libation menu is extensive – but their true claim to fame is a dry aging meat room. The Hanger Room is the only restaurant in the state to have one on-site and the process is described on their website as follows:
“Dry aging beef is a unique and expensive process, which entails aging only the highest grades of meat for a minimum of 14-45 days in a meticulously temperature-controlled cooler. The key effect of dry aging is the concentration of the flavor. The taste of dry-aged beef is almost incomparable to that of wet-aged beef, which is what is typically available in local supermarkets.”
As great as this sounds, my experience at The Hanger Room happened without even stepping foot in the dining section of the restaurant. With nearly one hundred varieties of beer, an abundant assortment of specialty cocktails, Scotches, Whiskeys, Bourbons and Wines, there was really no reason to leave the bar! On sequential Saturdays I allowed myself to be impressed with an assortment of flavorful plates from the Bar Menu. The first visit was great for two of us but on the second visit, and armed with five, we were truly able to assault the many tempting menu offerings. One member of my team, an exceptional Floral Designer specializing in Weddings and Corporate Events (Jackie Reisenauer of Munster Rose Florist and also my daughter), was not able to control her enthusiasm and ordered nearly every item from the beginning section of the menu. The list is lengthy; Fennel Fries with miso honey mustard; the Tasting of Raw Oysters with garnishes from mild to hot; Crispy Pork Belly with miso honey mustard, pickled ginger and salsa verde; Mini Salmon Ceviche Tacos with guacamole, radish, chili caviar and cilantro; Fried Duck Tenders with sweet and spicy sesame sauce; and the best Chicken Wings I have ever eaten. How’s that for a starter selection?!
At this point we agreed to a much-needed food respite and sampled a variety of their fine beers from the extensive tap offerings, which also include craft soft drinks from Sprecker. The entrée section was enjoyed family style; we chose the Game Hen, Smoked Spicy Ribs, Roasted Fig and Feta Pizza, Fried Egg BLT, and the Dry Aged Angus Cheese Burger. For dessert we ordered the Vanilla Cardamom Crème Brulee, Chocolate-Coffee Mousse and three scoops each of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Raspberry Sorbet. Three hours later, in need of a nap and/or a walk, the five of us departed The Hanger Room, destined to return.
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
This month I chose two beverages from the Hanger Room. The first is The Red Snapper, their version of a Bloody Mary. Their concoction is made from horseradish/potato infused vodka, homemade tomato juice, secret spices and homemade gherkins as a garnish, all served in a smoked salt rimmed glass and a beer chaser of your choice. My second choice is a specialty cocktail called Wall Flower Fizz, made from vodka, elder flower, lemon juice, cassis and an egg white. Delicious!