Jensen's Supper Club (Eagan, MN)
By Karen Cooper and Bruce Schneier
The idea of a supper club feels dated in this era of ethnic restaurants, celebrity chefs, and neighborhood bistros.
Back in the day, guys wearing skinny ties visited supper clubs to drink manhattans and order the "surf and turf."
Fast forward 40 years and head to Hwy. 13 in Eagan, and you'll find Jensen's Supper Club, a modern-day homage to this classic American dining experience.
In 1996, brothers and restaurant veterans Doron and Derek Jensen opened their dream restaurant. Their idea is that a supper club is a community institution, and here you'll find that idea works.
Jensen's is one of the area's favorite celebration restaurants. The children are well-dressed and well-behaved, choruses of "Happy Birthday" ring out, cameras flash, and nearly every table holds a group of four or six or more.
The super-clean dining room is done in warm rosy reds and good oak woodwork, with dark leatherette upholstery. There's candlelight on the tables and the whole effect feels fancy. The food, however, takes second place to the sociable and friendly surroundings.
Meals start with a relish tray of celery and carrot sticks and such. All entrees come with Jensen's signature popovers and house salad. Our popovers arrived after they'd cooled off, but they still tasted good.
The salad is lettuce and greens mixed with gorgonzola cheese and mandarin orange slices, dressed in a too-sweet pepper vinaigrette.
Jensen's is known for its walleye, available either pan fried or deep fried. The pan-fried version was not at all greasy, though the breading had no flavor to speak of. The most popular menu item is the prime rib, available in several sizes and prices. The meat was flavorful and moist, though unevenly seasoned. We liked the citrus garlic chicken, with its pungent, snappy flavor.
Side orders are meant to share, which adds to the festive atmosphere.
Jensen's special hash browns come covered with cheese and have onions mixed in, nice if a bit breakfasty. The creamed spinach has big pieces of spinach, though the cream sauce was bland and lacked the promised garlic. The children's menu is extensive, and will satisfy even the most finicky third-grader.
Desserts include such popular items as a New York style cheese cake and Haagen-Dazs ice cream. The house-made creme brulee is creamier than many, while the tiramisu comes, oddly, covered in chocolate sauce.
You don't need to dig out a skinny tie for your special occasion at Jensen's; most men get by with a good sweater. And you can still get a manhattan, as well as the full range of classic cocktails.
Their specialty list includes many martinis and an array of what one waitress affectionately called "frou-frou" drinks. The wine list offers popular selections, many available by the glass.
Jensen's has live music on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday nights. They offer private dining rooms for large events. In all, it's a cut above a family restaurant, and a festive gathering place.
Schneier.com is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Co3 Systems, Inc.