VENUE DETAILS

First Course

Price:

$$

Cuisine Type:

American casual

Serves:

Dinner

Handicap Accessible:

Yes

Outdoor Seating:

Yes

Handicap Accessible:

Yes

Outdoor Seating:

Yes

Rating: One Star One Star Half Star No Star

REVIEW

Fire is hot.

Bonfire in Eagan is just the latest entry in a hot new category on the local dining scene: woodfire cooking. Other recent examples include the Downtowner Woodfire Grill and Mississippi Mud Rivertown Grill in St. Paul, Wildfire in Eden Prairie and Redstone American Grill in Minnetonka. Bonfire is a more casual offshoot of the Axel's restaurants (various metro locations); if this one succeeds, expect more to follow.

The parking lot at the former Video Update store has been jammed every night since the restaurant opened in late December, reports a friend who lives nearby. But finding a parking space is only a first challenge of dining at Bonfire. The restaurant doesn't take reservations, and on weekends the wait for a table can be more than two hours long.

The menu offers pretty typical sports bar fare: pizzas and pastas, spit-roasted chicken, duck, prime rib and a selection of steaks, ribs, fish and other entrees, prepared "on & off the hickory grill."

This isn't haute cuisine, but it's the kind of fare that can be done well or badly. Most of what I sampled was simply mediocre.

A first visit got off on a bad start with small rubbery steamed mussels ($10), and a greasy pile of deep-fried seafood fritto misto ($10), an Italian version of tempura. (For a much tastier version, try it at Pazzaluna in downtown St. Paul.)

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