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Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge

By Lavender February 23, 2011

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Offers Superb Food Along With Great Drinks and Fun Ambience

As a rule, Twin Cities foodies aren’t fixated on fine dining. Restauranteurs, do not come here looking for hordes of jacket-and-tie enthusiasts, reservation elitists, or followers of the Michelin star, but rather to find down-to-earth foodies who revel in excellent local produce, inventiveness, and a little something else. We have a very refined, cultivated appreciation for the weird. Say hello to the kings of camp and the masters of kitschy kitchen.

Suzi’s Burger; Chicken Gremlins. Photos by Hubert Bonnet

Some of our favorite hot spots look like they were plucked directly from a David Lynch film. One is Nye’s Polonaise Room, obviously, but if strange organist karaoke/polka isn’t your thing, then Donnie Dirk’s Zombie Den has bartender uniforms featuring faux blood-smeared aprons. Just like Nye’s and Donnie Dirk’s, on any given weekend, the motorcycle punk/tropical-themed Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge will be packed. The old location only allowed the place to fly its freaky tiki flag so high, but at the new digs, it’s game on. From the enormous indoor water feature and “faux wood plank” carpeting to the superhappy fun-themed bars upstairs and its darksider staff, the establishment brings a thoroughly bizarre take on the tropics.

If you ask me, it actually works pretty well together. Just close your eyes, and think of World War II Hawaii—tattooed, battle-hardened servicemen, smack-dab in the middle of the government’s sanctioned red light district—and voilà: Psycho Suzi’s.

We started with a couple of rum slushes, such as the Psycho Zombie ($8.95)—a rum and coke with a very heavy hit of lime, served in an olive green tiki cup. We also split the Aku Rum ($8.95), which balances out its heavy citrus with guava and “various rums,” and is served in a rather chipper-looking Easter Island head glass. The tiki cups are yours to take home for an additional $5. Slushes only have been on the menu since Psycho Suzi’s relocated, so if you haven’t tried one, make sure to proceed with caution—they go down supereasy, and make you feel like a small-town prom queen.

The drink menu is extensive here, and worth throwing a little caution to the wind. For example, we also really dug the Miserable Bastard ($8.95). One of the nonslush drinks, it’s named for its limey bite and dark rum base—and, of course, served in a grumpy-looking tiki mug. However, if you’re really brave—or just having a really bad day—you could spring for a large drink ($11), or a very, very large drink meant to be shared ($19). If you’re bringing a date, you might want to brush up on your oral maraschino-stem acrobatics. After a few slushes, this skill can become important.

To soak it up, we eagerly scanned the food menu. Knowing so many people come here solely for the drinks and the ambience, I wasn’t expecting the food to be as much of a feature, but I was so pleasantly surprised.

We first sampled appetizers. Dry Rub Wings ($8.45) are fragrant, with Island-inspired spices and just a touch of brown sugar, fried to a crisp that is neither greasy nor wanting. Fried Asparagus ($6.95), beer-battered and deep-fried, is served with Sriracha-mayo sauce that was so good, I swear it made me tipsier than the cocktails.

Emboldened, we ordered Paradise City Pizza ($15.75-$23.95). I have to admit, it’s nothing I ever would have ordered for myself. Canadian bacon often tastes a little tinny and hollow on pizza for my taste, but at Psycho Suzi’s, it is mitigated with a spicy tomato sauce base and rum-soaked raisins to add just a little earthiness. We ordered the thin-crust version, and I enjoyed the not-too-hard, not-too-soft crust. If you want to fold your slice of pizza, you certainly could, but it also balances on your fingers without either slumping into your lap or cutting the inside of your cheek.

The Suzi Burger ($9.75) is a package of beefy splendor, topped with caramelized onion, provolone cheese, and red pepper mayo. It comes with those ambrosial tuberific wonders known to us mere mortals as tater tots. Best of all, underneath all that, you still can taste the meat on the burger, which was cooked to that perfect “best-of-both-worlds” medium. All in all, this burger walks the fine line between casual diner fare and upscale gourmet, without losing its sense of nostalgia and play.

If you have any room left, S’mores Platter ($12.95) is the perfect ending to an already-surreal experience. Pieces of candy bar, peanut butter cups, marshmallows, and graham crackers are served pu pu platter—style, meant to share. It takes a little longer to cook the marshmallow over that little flame if you’re prissy about it, but no matter your style, it’s totally worth it for the messy, sticky delight that follows.

So come, Twin Cities, for the drinks and the ambience if that’s what will get you in to Psycho Suzi’s. But please, my queer dears, stay for the food.

Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
1900 Marshall St. NE, Mpls.
(612) 788-9069
www.psychosuzis.com

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