The Blue Moose epitomizes East Grand Forks cuisine.
After moving to Grand Forks in 2008, my first trip to the East side was to eat at the Blue Moose. Known for their great food and beer selections, as well as their late night menu, the Moose is a popular hotspot for locals, visitors and college students.
The atmosphere at the Blue Moose is a relaxed “lodge” feel. It features a log cabin like interior, patio seating, private upstairs tables and a large bar area.
A friend and I make the Blue Moose our spot when we want to grab a beer (as in, one beer – if you are going to drink just one you better make it count.) We often try (and fail) at joining the “back 40” club – if you drink all 40 beers on tap, you get a t-shirt and prizes.
Recently, we stopped in and had some late night grub (their “tapas” menu),
What we ordered & menu description:
• Flat iron steak (medium rare): (“A bias cut flat iron steak grilled to medium with our hand mixed coffee rub. It awakens the mouth with flavor.”)
• Stuffed mushrooms: (“Button mushrooms stuffed with herbed cream & cojack cheeses, baked to perfection!”)
• Mini Mahi-Mahi (“A blackened Mahi Mahi fillet finished with béarnaise sauce. Biased cut for sharing.”)
On arrival, we stat in the bar area (one of the many tables adjacent to the bar) and our drink orders were promptly taken. A short while later, our server came back to take our food orders and told us that tapas menu was buy one, get one half off (score!)
After ordering, we decided to move tables because the air conditioning vent was located right underneath that table we are sitting at. This created some very cold dinners…
Our food arrived promptly and we dug in.
Flat Iron Steak :
My steak was done to a perfect medium rare but I could tell right away that the cook failed to rest the meat before cutting into it (it was sitting in a pool of its own blood.)
The menu said it was to be bias cut (cut against the grain at a 45-degree angle,) but was instead cut straight down (see this epicurious video about cutting on the bias: )
Flat iron steaks are tough if not sliced properly and this one was.
The dish came out as 4 large slices when 8 or 10 thinner, biased slices could have brought this dish to the next level.
Good. They were piping hot and stuffed with all kinds of goodies. About 7 of them came with the order and were sitting a bit of clarified butter. Seriously, mushrooms, cheese and butter, what else do you need in life?
I am a fish guy so I had to order mahi-mahi.
The fish was just this side of overdone. Could have been a matter of less than 60 seconds of overcooking but it came out slightly tough, which looses the delicate flakiness of mahi-mahi.
The béarnaise sauce (made from butter and egg, not unlike a hollandaise sauce,) was off the mark. It was thick and gooey and not light and creamy as the cut of fish deserves.
The mahi-mahi was also served plain; it could have done with a simple garnish of tomato, pepper or some other kind of vegetable to balance out the sauce. The fish paired with the stuffed mushrooms was a winner
What it looked like:
Would I eat at the Blue Moose again?
You bet I would.
With the huge selection of food and beer, there is no way that I can turn down a trip to the Blue Moose.
I think of the Tapas menu as bar food. In that respect, the Blue Moose is well above the mark of most bars in Grand Forks. The service is fantastic and the prices are reasonable.