I am not one to follow sports, but I am a Gopher Hockey fan. For the past 6 years, I have gone to the WCHA Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul in March. Each year, I make a point to eat at Cossetta’s located nearby on West 7th St. at least once. It’s necessary. Sadly the Gophers are no longer part of the WCHA, so I may have to start making special trips to St. Paul to get my fix.
Definitely casual. They opened up a fine dining restaurant upstairs with a relatively recent expansion called “Louis” that I haven’t made it to yet. When it’s busy (and it always is during the Final Five), the line extends out the door. Once you make it inside, you weave your way through the downstairs, including the market to get to the food counters. Once you finish getting your food cafeteria-style (trays and all), you make your way upstairs where all the seating is. It’s amazing that it’s never hard to find a table once you get upstairs, even with ridiculous lines for food, and there is usually someone there helping to find seats.
Tip: If you want to skip the long lines, go for single slice pizza and pass most of the people to find the line specially for that. Otherwise, call in a pizza order ahead of time and walk right up to the pick-up window.
I wouldn’t call it gourmet like a Bar la Grassa or Broder’s Pasta Bar – it probably errs on the side of deli/fast food (maybe more in line with Broder’s Cucina Italiana). But there is something very comforting about sitting down to a meal with a tray full of Italian food. They do salads (including pasta salads), sandwiches (like heroes), pastas, pizzas, and normal entrees. Pictured below on my tray:
- Tortellini Alla Panna – Cheese tortellini tossed with our homemade alfredo sauce and served with crisp-roasted prosciutto and fresh italian parsley
- Mostaccioli con Ricotta – Mostaccioli pasta accompanied with our special ricotta cheese sauce. Topped with our famous cossetta family sauce
- Meatball (side)
A friend and I split the tortellini and baked mostaccioli, and I got a side of meatball. Most things are served with garlic bread, so the meatball comes with the bonus of sauce for dipping (and I like to mix it to cut the cream sauce on the tortellini, too).
While a foodie, my biggest weakness is that I don’t usually partake in dessert. However, the cannolis at Cossetta’s are never missed by my friends, and it usually doesn’t take much convincing to go at the mention of them.
While I usually gorge on food, most people can get away with a sandwich for under $9. The pasta and meatball combination usually runs about $15 or so, but that’s probably almost enough for 2 normal people. Overall great price for what you get, though.