Renegades Bar & Grill (Burnsville, MN)
By Karen Cooper and Bruce Schneier
Sometimes, we like to be reminded of how much fun it can be to hang around in bars. Not that we favor a steady diet of bar food or bar fun. But once in a while, meeting up with friends for beers and classic rock music is a simple pleasure. It's even better with some decent food.
Renegades fills the bill with its excellent jukebox and acceptable beer selection. It was the non-ironic playing of "Free Bird" that sold us, along with the Blue Moon beer served with an orange slice.
The entire menu isn't stellar, but there are some good eats here.
What we liked about Renegades' food can be summed up in one word: chicken. It's moist and flavorful and tasty, whether it's grilled or breaded and fried. The Buffalo sauce comes on the chicken fingers appetizer, as well as on the Buffalo chicken sandwich or salad. We think it's got too much vinegar, but if that's what you like, here's where to get it.
We liked the Renegade sandwich: grilled chicken with lettuce, tomato, black olives, jalapenos and pepper jack cheese. Even the Buffalo chicken salad was pretty good. Basically, any dish with chicken in it is a safe bet.
Stray from these items, and you're likely to be disappointed.
The chili tasted like it came out of a can, and the chicken and rice soup we had with dinner tasted of an afternoon's worth of steamer time. The quesadilla was a gloppy mess of too much cheese that even a generous helping of jalapenos couldn't save.
The potato skins are tasteless. The pizzas are only slightly better than frozen.
The hamburgers are OK but no better than what you'd get at a mediocre fast food restaurant. On the other hand, there's a nice selection of toppings and enough Buffalo sauce, cheese, onions and jalapenos can disguise the meat.
The French dip sandwich is better, but not good enough to order twice: There's nothing actively wrong with it, but nothing that would entice you to order it again, either. It's just not interesting.
The walleye dinner, pan-fried or breaded and deep-fried, is a large portion served with vegetables, potato and a salad. We particularly liked the deep-fried version with its crispy batter coating, but both are good.
Just about everything comes with your choice of French fries or ranch potatoes. Aside from them not being hot enough, the fries are fine. But we think the ranch potatoes -- thicker potato wedges -- are a tastier option. And honestly, we recommend you spend the extra $1.50 and order the onion rings. Renegades' beer-battered onion rings are delicious.
Really, you're probably not here for the food. You're here for the live music, the Monday night poker tournament, the happy hour specials or maybe the buffet meals. Or the beer; Renegades has a good selection of beers on tap. And the bartender introduced us to the banana kamikaze, a silly but delicious drink. That's the sort of thing that makes a bar fun, and it's why we liked Renegades.
Renegades Bar & Grill
Where: 3809 W. Hwy. 13, Burnsville
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