Based on an unscientific review of ads for dinner specials, the most popular spots for a romantic Valentine's Day meal seem to be steakhouses and seafood restaurants. Steakhouses are out of the question for this semi-vegetarian (even when I ate meat on a regular basis, I never understood all the hype about steak), and despite his Maine childhood, Mike doesn't care for seafood. So instead, we made a 5:30 reservation at the Copper Pot Indian Grill.
Located in the historic Lumber Exchange Building, the Copper Pot has a warm, dimly lit ambiance, with a full bar and understated, classy decor. The menu is extensive, with a wide range of appetizers (including many vegetarian options); clay oven kebabs; chicken, lamb, goat, and seafood dishes; and over a dozen vegetarian entrees. The vegetarian samosas, with a crisp homemade pastry crust, warming filling of potatoes and peas, and a refreshing mint sauce, were the perfect was to start our meal. Our entrees showed a similar attention to detail and flavor. The kadai mushroom featured perfectly crisp-tender peppers and onions and juicy mushrooms with a satisfying, slow-burning spicy sauce that started off innocuous but had me reaching for my water glass after each bite by the end of the meal. The chicken tikka masala was meltingly tender, with a complex sauce that still has us guessing at what all of the spices were.
Although the food was wonderful, the service was haphazard and inattentive. Since we were dining on the early side of the dinner rush, the restaurant was mostly empty for the majority of our visit, and there were at least four waitstaff milling around. However, the naan that we ordered never arrived (and no one ever came by to check on us so that we could inquire about it), and there was a fifteen minute wait for a dessert menu, then fifteen minute wait for the check, then another fifteen minute wait for the check to be corrected since we were billed for the naan that we never received. I'm hesitant to dismiss a restaurant's level of service based on one visit, but the fact that the service was so poor on one of the most popular dining nights of the year did not leave a favorable impression.
Because the food was delicious (and the vegetarian options so plentiful), I would love to go back to the Copper Pot Indian Grill. However, I might just stick to the lunch buffet to avoid the service snafus.
Copper Pot Indian Grill
10 South 5th Street
Minneapolis, MN 5502