Restoring the Lex, one dish at a time

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 23, 2012 - 10:32 AM

Restaurant review: Chef Dan Calloway is returning Grand Avenue's grand dame, the Lexington, to its all-American roots.

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  • Comments

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lopqwert52Jan. 19, 12 7:42 AM

Place was only OK, never great even with the original owners. I’ve nothing but bad things about it since the new owners took over.

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thunderballJan. 19, 12 8:29 AM

Good to read that the place is still going and brought in a real chef that seems to be the right fit for a legendary eatery that are few and far between these days in the Twin Cities. Far too many trendy today, gone tomorrow places have taken hold, mostly in Mpls though. Well run places need to look at successes like Mancini's and Murray's for longtime traditions and loyal clientele. I recall wonderful meal/time back in 1987, had pheasant under glass, peas served in silver tray. And later on a delicious Sunday breakfast. I hope they look at past menus and bring back the best and also look at landmark Chrlie's Cafe Excep'le for great menu items and style as well to emulate. Gone of course is Charlie's, The Blue Horse, Harry's, Camelot,Gregory's,The Flame Room of the old Radisson and the wonderful every day Lincoln Dells , may the Lex keep the grand flame of dining alive and well for decades!

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EscapeJan. 19, 12 9:31 AM

I have fond memories of The Lex as the fancy restaurant my parents took me to on special occasions. It's been a mainstay of family celebrations for decades. My introduction to martinis was a vodka martini with hand-stuffed anchovy olives at the Lex. I'm very happy to hear the menu's being worked on because it hasn't been good the last few times I've gone (and it's been a while). Time to give the Lex another spin!

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MSUDTGJan. 19, 1211:35 AM

Can't be as bad as Market BBQ. That place was awful, ribs worse then a McRib.

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nteske1980Jan. 19, 1212:38 PM

Turning an aircraft carrier on a dime is the wrong metaphor. A recent dining experience at The Lexington left us feeling like the rats had already fled a sinking ship. Our experience point-by-point: * An unattended host station * A bartender that didn't know how to make a martini * Menus for only half our party * A filthy bussing tray wedged between our six-top and a two-top for the entire night. That two-top left in tears after waiting over an hour for their food. * Silverware and napkins for only half our party * A waiter who tried to open a bottle of wine with a corkscrew. It took him nearly 90 seconds to realize it was a screw top. * Appetizer and special menus that we had to scavenge from the restrooms. * Aforementioned restrooms were filthy. * Our waiter disappeared for an hour or more. The restaurant was half empty by the time he disappeared. * Entrees that took nearly two hours to come out of the kitchen. Steaks were overcooked -- medium came out as well done. The pheasant special was apparently a cut of novelty rubber prepared in a salt sauce. The mac and cheese wasn't even out of a Sysco box, it was barely generic kraft mac. Mashed potatoes freely substituted for au gratins without asking. The only heat the vegetable sides saw was from sitting under a heatlamp. We'd have left had our midwestern niceness not turned to a masochistic dark comedy. We weren't the only table with atrocious food and service that night. A benefit of being the last table to be served is getting to watch the human drama unfold as patrons simply evaporated, sometimes barely pausing to accost the waitstaff and manager with the worst a Minnesotan can muster: Complete and utter disappointment. Minnesota Nice was still present, but just barely. At least the coat check lady was nice, friendly and efficient. I pity her actually, she was the only person who did their job that night yet was forced to deal with huffy patrons cursing under the breath.

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tcm2469Jan. 19, 12 1:19 PM

John Donnely and Mr. Ryan would cringe

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tcm2469Jan. 19, 12 1:26 PM

They probably do not have the same staff as in the booming 80's. Donnely, Ryan, Ivory, Kemps, Frye, Merlin, Preiners, Gags, etc... Takes a little talent and team work as well as a couple beers in the ice after work.

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matteotorgyJan. 19, 12 1:26 PM

Kincaid's and the St. Paul Grill are within virtual a stone's throw of this place. The new owners purchased this place and cared more about maximizing the profit margin than maintaining or reestablishing its reputation. Good luck.

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pepstrebeckJan. 19, 12 2:17 PM

Had my groom's dinner in August at The Lex. They did a great job. Good service, good food, affordable, nice atmosphere. I'm sorry to hear some others posters had such a bad experience.

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busdriver37Jan. 19, 12 2:33 PM

By the sounds of these comments, the place has its fair share of challenges. Fortunately, my own experience was much more positive. We had our department's holiday luncheon in a party room at the Lex on a weekday. The service was prompt, friendly and attentive. We had a limited menu that day, and everyone was raving about what they received (choices were a turkey dinner, a walleye dish, and some sort of a salad). The food arrived right on schedule for us. The desserts were also delicious. We left a very pleased group.

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