I tried First Course when it first arrived in the neighborhood a couple years ago, and it was a pleasant surprise. The variety of food they serve, Mediterranean, French, Italian, is wonderful. And I really like the fact that they change up their menu daily. This being the case, the menu is fairly small, but still something available regardless of what you're in the mood for. Love the outside patio in the Spring & Fall too.
First course is one of my favorite places to go in town. It is a warm inviting neighborhood spot where I am always greeted with open arms. The menu is very well rounded with a little something for everyone. Some of my favorites are the first course shrimp, the ribs, Chicken Roulade and these are just a few of the highlights! Again this is a spot worth trying. Great wine list, and again can't beat 1/2 price bottles on tuesdays.
Pros: Great food and Great Service
Part of me hesitates to write this because I??ve kind of been keeping First Course all to myself!! That is, if they were located downtown or in Uptown there would be a line out the door to get in every night. Instead, they are located in a subtle neighborhood in South Minneapolis with easy parking and in general you can walk in and find a table. BUT this restaurant is first class! Owner and chef Travis Metzger in my opinion ranks among the best in the Twin Cities. From his twist on traditional favorites (like Thursday night sandwich night) to his ever-changing unique menu items, it??s always a win! And price wine on Tuesdays?can??t beat that!
Pros: Amazing food, great service, great ambiance.
This was by far the worst restaurant experience I have ever had. First when we walked in there were four or five tables available and had to wait ten minutes to be seated when we asked the host if there were a lot of reservations tonight he responded with "yes you are lucky to be able to eat here tonight." Needless to say the tables were never filled with customers even after we finished our meal. After a long wait for our food we received two disappointing and overpriced entrees of mushy, overcooked risotto at $11.95 and ONE squash ravioli for $16.95. Neither of us have large appetities but the portions were hardly enough for an appetizer. To top it all off I wrote a letter to the restaurant to express my dissatisfaction with the meal and service and it was returned with a gift card for two hot dogs at Mike's Corner Store. It just shows how much they do not appreciate anyone's business and I am not too worried as with the horrible food and service I can't imagine they will be in business much longer. There are much better places to eat in the neighborhood with better food and better service. We have been to First Course many, many times over the years and have given them a lot of business. NEVER AGAIN. Their manager (or owner) = yuck.
I just called to see if they any reservations left for tonight, as I live a few blocks away and wanted to check this place out. I called at 4pm, an hour before the restaurant opened, and the woman who answered said she didn't know if they had any spots available left tonight, then put the phone down presumably to check (but I could hear her converse with other workers there, and it wasn't about my question on reservations).
After over three minutes of listening to her talk about something else and then walk away, a man picked up the phone and asked what my question was. I repeated it, prefacing that I had been on the phone waiting over three minutes. Instead of answering my question on reservations, the man told me that I was not actually on hold for that long (which is funny, because my cell phone records show differently), and asked if I had a problem for waiting a couple of moments. I told him I actually was waiting that long, and would just appreciate an answer to if they had any spots left. He said, "No, we're full, and don't be so rude about it next time, sweetheart." To which I told him that I will NEVER eat there, and they just lost two customers who live in the neighborhood, plus everyone I will tell to never eat there. He told me, "Fine, I don't want you to eat in my restaurant!" and hung up the phone.
NEVER EVER EAT HERE! I have never had such rude treatment, and when First Course Bistro closes because they care so little about their customers, it will be because they clearly think treating people like this is acceptable. This is not a place where I think anyone should be spending their time or money -- too many other good places in Minneapolis and St. Paul to go to.
Cons: Rudest employees - clearly do not want new customers!
We were a group of five went in today to FirstCourse.
What a great evening we had!!!
Starting with the bread, every course was so tasty.
We ordered the anti pastI platter for appetizer. It was neatly laid out and very good. The wines we ordered were suggested by the waiter and they went well with the food. All of us ordered entrees and tasted each others. Chicken roulade, halibut, butternut squash ravioli, gnocchi and corn meal encrusted tilapia.
The portion size was perfect. We would definitely go again.
Pros: good food, very friendly service, elegant ambience
We arrived, and it took 10-minutes after we were seated to get drink orders. It was another 35 minutes before we even saw a waiter to share the specials and take our order. Another 30 minutes until they brought the bread out, and another 15 after that until we got our first appetizer. One appetizer came AFTER our entrees came out. It's one thing if the kitchen is slow, but usually, wait staff is attentive, giving you updates, checking in. We got nothing. Our particular waiter never apologized for the crappy service.
The ambiance is contrived and the industrial/retro look is a facade for just plain "cheap". (There's nothing cool or charming about plywood walls)
The food was overpriced. Nothing you can't get at the Olive Garden for 3/4 the price, and more portions.
The only reason we went and stayed was cause we had a gift certificate. We'll never go back. 1 Star, only because Citysearch requires that we give at least 1. If I could give 0, I would.
Pros: Food ok
Cons: Bad Service, Overly Rich recipes, Overpriced
JAKE, our waiter, was attentive, prompt and effieient. All the tapas we tried were wonderful with sufficient portions for a table of 4 to share and try. Pizza and fried olives were outstanding. Rissoto was NY quality and very tasty . WINE quality and prices were a pleasant surprise and great bargain. We stayed after closing and were treated pleasantly all evening. Good hospitality. A definite MUST TRY !
Pros: MANY CHOICES OF GOOD FOODS
Went to First Course yesterday evening. Table waiting for 7 and no rush to finish our drinks at the bar and get seated. As we normally do for our "supper club", several appetizers, tapas, and entrees were ordered. Everything was flawless! Some favs: duck, butternut squash ravioli, mussels in red curry. Also, the selection of cheese is outstanding. We had a white chedder with apple balsamic vinagar and it was wonderful. Will definately recommend to my friends.
Pros: Unbelievable food, fun to watch chef at his VERY small, open kitchen.
Cons: Little cramped in space, too hot to sit next to fireplace.
We went there on New Year's Eve and were very disappointed with the service. We had earlier reservations so there was only one other couple in the restaurant. The restaurant had a set menu but as we were waiting for a friend to join us, we heard the waitstaff discussing how they would be serving other items off their regular menu. Since we had time to waste, we asked our already unfriendly waitress (asking for our drink orders with arms crossed and never once smiling) to see the regular menu. Right after this, she returned to the open kitchen area and she and the chef began speaking in very loud voices (having to know we could hear them since it was very quiet in the place) about how "people are never satisfied and how we always need choices." He continued in a very cynical tone, "I try to put together something together but people just aren't happy with it!" He also started yelling about how few ingredients he had for other menu items. He made eye contact with us then and we were so embarrassed! Our friend joined us shortly after and we decided to leave. The set menu was expensive and if we were going to drop $200 for dinner, the least we could have is decent service without making us feel like we are inconveniencing them. Needless to say, we will never return and have told many friends about the terrible and disrespectful service.
I was at First Course for a couple beers with a friend after we had completed taking the bar exam earlier in the day. Caught up in conversation about finally being done with such a grueling test, we did not realize that we had stayed past close because there were a couple other people still drinking and talking to the owner at the bar. Out of the blue, the owner came over to us and said, in a very condescending manner, ?Can I get you anything else?? Before I could say ?no,? the owner said, again in a condescending tone, ?Have a nice night.? The owner quickly turned his back and walked away. As my friend and I were leaving (we are not dense, we understood what he was saying), he came back over to us and patronizingly said, ?Would you like me to buy you a drink?? We said ?no? and proceeded out the door. I was thoroughly embarrassed by the incident because just an hour earlier I had been telling my friend that First Course is a great place. I don?t think we did anything to deserve this kind of treatment ? we had paid our bill, had left a very generous tip, and we were not the last people left in the restaurant. Prior to this incident, I had been to First Course a number of times, I genuinely enjoyed it, and I had recommended it to my friends. However, I had always overlooked the rather unfriendly and disinterested service because it is a neighborhood restaurant within blocks of my house and I thought it was important to provide my support. This incident has made it clear that First Course does not deserve my business or recommendations to friends. It is unfortunate, but I will NEVER step foot inside First Course again.
I've been trying to think of some positives for this place, but I just can't come up with anything. The ambiance is cheap-looking, the service is indifferent and slow, and the food is not good. I regularly eat at high-end restaurants, but I would have been more satisfied with almost anything (think frozen pizza, mac and cheese, ramen noodles, whatever) compared to First Course. The crab cake appetizer was boring, and devoid of any flavor... frozen Trader Joe's cakes have more taste. I had the lamb dish, which was so overcooked all I could taste was the burnt char on the meat. The tilapia was bland and boring. And one main course arrived at our table 20 minutes after everyone else received their food, without any explanation or apology. And the place was not even busy. Tacky.
There are way too many good restaurants in the Twin Cities for me to even remotely consider ever returning to this place. I am frankly shocked to read any good reviews. For those who like this place, it's all yours. I won't be returning.
Cons: food, ambience, service, value
This chef driven bistro has an eclectic mix of great dishes. My husband and I have been impressed with anything we have ever tried. The subdued lighting makes the ambience romantic, but the focus is really on the food. The place is pretty small, so it's smart to get there earlier on the weekends if you don't have a reservation.
Pros: the food is divine
Cons: It can get loud
i went there for dinner last night with my wife and ordered the seafood stew - especially looking forward to it for the calimari, and could not have been more disappointed.
While the broth was wonderful and the clams and mussels quite enjoyable, the calimari was, quite literally, inedible. So much so, that a larger piece with tentacles, I finally had to remove from my mouth after trying to chew it for about 5 minutes. Not a pretty sight (although the calimari looked quite unaltered by the event - kind of like a rubber toy!). In addition, the shrimp was overcooked and hard, and the bread "like a rock".
While I can understand that at any establishment, sometimes things go awry, the most discouraging part is that I was still charged the full $18.99 for a small bowl of stew which i didn't eat, and was offered a dessert which I didn't want.
Fortunately our server was charming.
Pros: nice atmosphere
Cons: poor response to a bad meal
My Husband and I sent to dinner there on a Friday night. We had driven by numerous times and noticed their storefront when shopping at nearby the nearby Kowalski Market. We decided to try this place out one night. It was a wonderful surprise. The facade on the outside doesn't do this cute little S. Mpls gem justice. It's very warm and cozy inside with a modern twist. The food is Mediterrian in flavor but their menu has a little bit of everything. They had a nice wine list with very reputable choices. We had a couple Tapas to start off with, they were yummy. Then the meal was satisfying and flavorful. Prices were reasonable...food was great. We'll definitely be back and I would encourage others to go there. They had an acoustic gituar player the night we were there...very romantic. Another plus, great bathrooms!!! I only saw the woman's bathroom but I honestly think it is one of the nicest bathrooms I've been in for a restaurant. . Dress can be casual but you could go for a very special night on the town and fit in too. Bottom line, put this place on your list of places to try...it's a winner!
Pros: Atmosphere, food, prices
Cons: Service was a little slow, reservations would be helpful
It's a little neighborhood place (especially little) but it has a new design that makes it look far more refined and the food is amazing. Halibut w/ roasted red pepper vinegrette or chili rubbed tenderloin on granny smith apple mashed potatoes & a shiraz demiglace, salads with roasted portabella mushrooms and a port vinegrette, and a nice bunch of tapas. As always, listen for specials. Many are brilliant. The chef is artistic with the food and able to get tremendous consistency out of his staff. I thought he was friendly and interesting and we will be going back often.
Pros: Outstanding chef, friendly service, cozy tables are great with good company
Cons: cozy tables could be pretty bad with bad company
I've never had a worse experience in speaking with someone who is supposed to be in the hospitality business.
On a Monday afternoon, I called to provide some feedback on my experience on the previous Saturday night. I was very polite and made sure to call well before opening, but about 30 seconds into the call, the owner insulted me by asking if I'd ever been to a restaurant before, told me he didn't need my business and SLAMMED the phone down.
I was hoping to provide some constructive feedback for his benefit, but he was an abusive bully.
I live in the neighborhood and have been there several times over the last few years, but I'll take the owner's advice -- I'll NEVER go back.
Cons: Owner's Attitude
I have dined there a few times and they always seem do outdo themselves. The prices are amazing for the quality of food. The chef is a master at his craft and has some of the best food I have ever eaten. I would recommend this for any occasion.
I didn't expect much when I went the first time, but was shocked by the gourmet menu and the food was marvelous. What a find! It's small on the inside and always busy - well deserved. The chef prepares everything as if I was eating at a fine restaurant in NYC - it looks great, tastes great, and leaves me very satisfied. It's a place you can go to socialize, drink wine, eat great food, and wish you lived nearer.
Pros: gourmet food, excellent preparation, varied menu
Cons: small, tacky entrance
First Course has a wonderfully diverse menu, incredible specials, interesting wines and a charming atmosphere. The staff seems excited about the food they serve and are more than happy to tell you all about the subtle tastes they create. I love the small plate tapas style menu and the yummy entrees. First rate!
This was one of my favorite restaurants, so I was excited that they had openings for Valentines Day. Unfortunately, when I made the reservations, inviting another couple along, the host did not mention that it was a special 5 course meal for $100 per person. Fortuantely, the other couples I invited are flexible, although 2 out of 4 of us don't like seafood, which 2 courses were, the main course was rabbit. I have had pet rabbits in the past, so was unable to stomach it. The server was good, but I feel when taking my reservations, they should have mentioned that they would not be serving off the menu that night.
Cons: lack of communication
Small, cozy, quiet - easy to converse. Good choice for a second or third date where conversing might take center seat. The food was delightful and their selection of wine was ideal for the menu.
Had dinner here on a night when one server was out sick so it was hectic but service was still good. The butternut squash ravioli was amazing - it tasted like candy. The tiramisu was good as well.
Pros: Upscale cuisine, Good value
Cons: Small, Busy
I have visited this restaurant 6 times over the past several months and each time the food has been fantastic! Service has always been great, although slow during the first couple of months when the restaurant first opened, it has much improved since then. If you are visiting for lunch, try the 1/2 sandwich and soup--the soups are always incredible. And you can't go wrong with the pasta dishes. The raviola appetizers are wonderful! This restaurant makes you proud to live in Minneapolis--it's a treasure in a South Minneapolis neighborhood! I've recommended it to many.
Pros: Cozy atmosphere, Accessible location, Great food
I've eaten here at least 8 times and I've never had a disappointing meal. The chef is an expert with sauces. The seafood is always worthwhile. Highly recommended - nice wine list too.
Loved the appetizers - try the escargot. Entrees were terrific - the Escolar, the tenderloin, squash ravioli - all great. For dessert we had some yummy dessert wines, creme brule, and the tiramisu. Four people had dinner for $100? Where else are you going to find that kind of deal in this city?
Superb dining, stellar food, friendly service, great wine, all without the attitude or the price. This place is great! Even a jaded restaurant addict like myself can be surprised once in a while. Try for yourself and I think I will find you there again . . .
We've had several fantastic meals at First Course. The salads are fresh and creative, the pastas are superb and they make a wonderful Sea Bass, Salmon and Beef Tenderloin. I would recommend whatever fresh fish is on the menu. Carry-out is also available!
Pros: Large Portions, Gourmet Quality, Lovely Presentation
I've been there 4 times tha past two months. A wonderful experience. One of minneapolis' best in just about every category...an absolute treat!!!
Am I in Heaven? This place is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! Outstanding food, wonderful service, great wine list........who could ask for anything more. No complaints about this Class Act!
First Course knows how to serve a great meal. The food is top quality and the service is impeccable. The meal was served with great timing and Travis actually checked on how things were going during the dinner. It was good to see that owners still care for making sure service is number one. Check this place out for a really great dining experience.
Pros: great food, creative menu
I have eaten at First Course at least six times since it opened last summer and have been impressed each time with the high quality, creativity and honesty of the cuisine. Each time, I have also been impressed with the desire this restaurant has to improve the dining experience. While the staff was a little rough at first, service has improved greatly so that it is now on a par with the food. The overall value for the dining experience is currently unequalled in the Twin Cities.
a great neighborhood discovery. my wife and i have stopped for both a great dinner and a quick lunch. menu range allows us to just pick up something good, but inexpensive, when we do not feel like cooking to the type of items we expect on a nice evening out.
Pros: taste, menu, value