The most wonderful time of the year had finally come, and no, I don’t mean Christmas. It’s restaurant week! Restaurant week is a time where many of the establishments from the twin cities put together special menus to showcase what they have to offer. The 3 course lunch or dinner options are price fixed with lunch usually being $10-$20 and dinner being $30. The place that I picked out was the Copper River Fish and Chop House in Lakeville, MN.

The building itself is pretty interesting. It’s basically a large circle which is a nice change of pace from your run of the mill box-shaped buildings. I like that it had an upscale, white-tablecloth section and another area that had a more casual feel too it if you really didn’t want to get that fancy. Copper River has a very casual feel to it though which makes it a nice place to go for pretty much anyone. It has a rich wood interior and a very interesting ceiling. The building is just one of those things you have to go and experience.

Service was a bit on the slow side when I was seated as it took some time to even get a water to start things off with. However, even with this delay, I had come prepared so I knew exactly what I wanted from the restaurant week menu: calamari appetizer, bone-in pork chop entrée, and crème brulee (of course!) for dessert.

I was pretty excited when the calamari came. The pieces were all lightly breaded and the texture was quite good. If you have never tried calamari, it’s a pretty chewy type of food that is often enhanced by the breading. However, this dish was brought down by that very thing. The calamari was pretty over salted. The dipping sauce brought it back from the brink only slightly.

Next up was the grilled 16 oz. bone-in pork chop with Sweet Potato Hash and Grade “A” Maple Chipotle Butter. The picture I took really didn’t do this dish justice with how beautiful it was. The pork chop had nice grill marks and was cooked perfectly. The sweet potato hash with maple chipotle butter was really sweet and was something that I though kind of overpowered the dish. To put that sweet on top of sweet like that really started to take over and the flavor of the pork chop became diminished. I’m hoping this is one dish that the go back to and take another look at. The cut of meat was amazing, but it was basically killed by its’ accompaniment.
Finally, it was time for everyone’s favorite dessert, crème brulee! This is another one of those desserts that everyone thinks is too fancy and is beyond them. However, you’d be surprised with how easy it is to make at home with sugar, egg yolks, heavy crème, and vanilla beans or vanilla extract. That’s it. From there you can really go many different directions by adding things such as crushed coffee beans or even maple syrup. Copper River does it the way I like it, old school vanilla bean. The consistency was very smooth and the topping torched perfectly. It was also topped with drunken strawberries that really brought the flavor up a notch. I normally just eat the topped berries separately, but in this case I loved combining everything together.
Overall I think the Copper River has a lot of great things going for it. Judging by the cut of meat I got for a pork chop I can tell they really want to showcase the freshness and boldness of its’ meat selection. The prices are great and the casual atmosphere really makes you feel at home. I would definitely recommend this place to those looking for a great place for fresh seafood, steak, or pork chops.

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