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Everything posted by MSPD

  1. Yes. Love the place...it's like walking into a different world. FWIW, I've been there in the summertime and have never seen anything outside.
  2. Nobody answered your question on Cosmos and Heartland. Both are excellent restaurants. I also notice very little on cheeses. I would enthusiastically send you to Premier Cheese Market in Edina (50th and France neighborhood). Unsolicited advice (if you're looking for these foods) -- get to the intersection of Marshall Avenue and Cleveland Avenue in St. Paul (only a few miles from downtown Mpls) and stop in Legacy Chocolates and Izzy's Ice Cream, which are a few doors apart.
  3. It is a neat place for a photo op. I often disagree with food critics. Where does the food channel head to when they need something that looks good on TV? Mickey's. Who cares i the food is subpar and it is over priced. ← This is why I don't take my restaurant recommendations from the Food Network. I think of eGullet as a place where food comes first.
  4. La Belle Vie, Alma, 112 Eatery and Saffron are definites. In fine dining, Fugaise deserves to be on your list. Porter & Frye as well. Comparing Hell's Kitchen and Al's Breakfast makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Aside from serving breakfast, there is no similarity. And Mickey's is one of the last places on the face of the earth that should be mentioned on eGullet. The food sucks. Go to Hell's Kitchen AND go to Al's. Solera doesn't do much for me. I would send you to Barrio instead. Town Talk Diner is fine. Some of the original guys from TTD opened The Strip Club on the east edge of downtown St. Paul. I like what they do there better than Town Talk. It's much more than just steak and I would recommend it -- it's worth the trip over to St. Paul. I enjoy Little Szechuan. A lot of people feel that Tea House 2 in the same area is better for Szechuan. And, yes, if you're into mixology, Bradstreet Crafthouse is probably a place you want to stop.
  5. I e-mailed the design firm for La Belle Vie and this morning I received a reply from someone at Solera restaurant (same owners..e-mail must have been forwarded). The artist's name is John Donahue according to them. Unfortunately, that's all the info they had and several internet searches turn up nothing more.
  6. What is the relation? ← Same chef, I believe, but of the two, my wife and I enjoyed Cue much more. The space is amazing, on the river, etc., and the seasonal food not too shabby either. Heartland is good for being close to Izzy's ice cream. ← Staying near the airport....ouch. Lenny Russo (Heartland) left Cue several months ago and returned to Heartland. Heartland is an excellent choice and is very, very close to the airport (5 miles from the baggage claim...very simple directions). Note that they have both a restaurant and wine bar menu if you're budget conscious. www.heartlandrestaurant.com Al's is still there and hasn't changed. South Minneapolis is also more convenient from the airport area than trekking into downtown and you won't sacrifice in the level of cuisine. I think you would enjoy Cafe Levain ( www.restaurantlevain.com ), Grand Cafe ( www.grandcafempls.com ), and Corner Table ( www.cornertablerestaurant.com ). For a more neighborhood cafe feel, the Birchwood Cafe ( www.birchwoodcafe.com ) is a gem, especially if you're looking to eat lighter, more casually and/or explore some vegetarian options. It's closer to downtown and a little more fussy to get to though. If you do head into downtown, 112 Eatery ( www.112eatery.com ) is worthy of its praise and, for the small plates, I would encourage you to bypass the hyped Solera and check out Saffron ( www.saffronmpls.com ). Not strictly small plates but there are many to choose from. The lounge at La Belle Vie, MSP's most celebrated restaurant is also an option: ( www.labellevie.us ). If you really feel like branching out, the new Meritage in downtown St. Paul (about 15 minutes from the airport) is getting raves. I haven't been there yet so my input is 2nd hand here, but I have enjoyed Chef Klein's cooking at another venue here in town, W.A. Frost. ( www.meritage-stpaul.com ) Enjoy your visit.
  7. They have a beautiful sign. That's about all I know yet.
  8. There are two tasting menus in the dining room. Go to the website and click on "Tasting Menus" (WITHOUT clicking on any of the pull-down items that appear below when you mouse over it). You will get the Chef's tasting (around 8-9 courses) and a 5-course tasting menu. My interpretation is that the Lounge Tasting Menu is, as you mention, a sampling of some of the current dining room a la carte selections.
  9. Thanks Brad for the writeup. I had no idea they were open already. All of a sudden there are a whole host of intriguing higher-end new places having just opened, or opening soon, around MSP. Maybe I need to gut my kitchen too.
  10. Lisa, It's too bad their website lags behind their monthly magazine because Andrew Zimmern just did a comprehensive review of MSP steakhouses in last month's Minneapolis/St. Paul magazine. I thought it was an excellent roundup of everything from high-end to budget to old-school MSP institutions. To summarize, his top preference was Mortons. Manny's was close behind. My experience would also put those two on top, although I like the atmosphere and service of Manny's better. Though more expensive than the others in town, Manny's is also the place to go if you really want to go over the top (i.e. $100 3 lb. lobster tails, etc.). Frankly, I've never been impressed with the steaks at Murray's. The service and experience are wonderful though. Same with Mancini's over in St. Paul. One other consideration if want to think outside the box. MSP just got a location of Fogo de Chao, a high-end Brazilian "churrascaria" steakhouse. Carnivore heaven. You can get a feel for each place on the web: www.mortons.com www.mannyssteakhouse.com www.murraysrestaurant.com www.mancinis.com www.fogodechao.com
  11. In every case, the restaurant has offered; I have not imposed my will on them. ← Well...at least you now know not to do that any more. Regardless of who initiates it, you knowingly would be putting them at risk of committing a criminal act.
  12. Not necessarily true. Or, perhaps, I should say not necessarily always practiced. I've successfully brought wine to restaurants in Minnesota that don't have liquor licenses. ← It is absolutely true. MN statute 340A.414 states, "No business establishment or club which does not hold an on-sale intoxicating liquor license may directly or indirectly allow the consumption and display of alcoholic beverages, without first having obtained a permit from the commissioner." The dispensing or display of alcoholic beverages in such a business setting, without the proper license or permit may subject the business owner and employees to criminal charges, as well as liability issues. Whether it's enforced is another matter. However, the restaurant would have ultimately responsible for your action. I personally would not put a restaurant I enjoyed at risk by doing that.
  13. In Minnesota, the only significant pitfall is that you cannot BYO to any restaurant that doesn't have a liquor license.
  14. I miss Big Daddy. Where are these "outdoor grills/BBQs"? ← Pastor Hamilton serves up ribs and chicken curbside in front of his church and small restaurant on Fridays during summer. The restaurant is open daily but he only grills outside on Fridays. 1130 E. 7th St St. Paul "Big Daddy" sets up in the Johnny Baby's parking lot on University Ave, east of Lexington a little ways, in St. Paul on Saturday evenings.
  15. BTW, the space does look beautiful. If the food even comes close to matching up, it's going to be a good spot. Generally speaking, how is BBQ in the Twin Cities? Is there any of note? =R= ← BBQ in MSP is fair to poor. Nothing unique and certainly nothing consistent. If you're familiar with Speed Queen in Milwaukee, that trumps anything we have here in MSP (and that's not saying much at all). The best pork ribs are those done on outdoor grills/BBQs once a week by two individuals in St. Paul ("Big Daddy" and Pastor Luches Hamilton). Outside of Friday or Saturday when that's happening, you can take your pick of about a half dozen equally ho-hum places.
  16. 112 eatery is excellent although reservations can be difficult to come by on short notice. Depending on your experience with pan-Asian haute cuisine, 20.21 may be excellent or disappointing. Think a significant step down from Nobu or those kinds of places. I was mildly disappointed but had very high expectations. The desserts are spectacular. If you're concerned about conversation, 112 eatery is small and can be loud and a bit crowded at peak dinner hour (7-9 p.m.) and 20.21 is ridiculously loud. Also, don't rule out Fugaise -- a bit under the radar here. www.fugaise.com By the way, all of your recommendations are upper tier -- are you looking to try anything less upscale?
  17. Just want to add to my previous post -- apparently too late to "edit" or I don't know how...anyway: Bruce, I picked up the City Pages yesterday and the restaurant insert fell out. I wasn't understanding you correctly as I didn't know there was a special Restaurant Guide section this week. I thought you were just referring to the standard weekly blurb introducing the regular summaries. While I still think leaving Vincent out was unintentional on Dara's part, it did seem a little more glaring given the sheer number of restaurants mentioned. I can see the validity of reading that and concluding that we take Vincent for granted. It just gives cause to bump them back up to the top of the "next fine meal" to-do list. MSPD
  18. I wouldn't categorize it as being ignored. Garnering an honorable mention in the MSP Mag Critics' "Fine Dining" category is, after all, an endorsement that many other restaurants would covet. Plus, in both publications, Vincent is listed monthly/weekly as an Editor's Choice with very favorable comments. I would say it's more of a "victim of circumstance". 2005 was a remarkable year in terms of MSP fine dining. There were a few openings (Fugaise, Five, 112 Eatery, 20.21), that stole the attention from established places, a slew of accomplished chefs moving around and shaking things up, and the entry of La Belle Vie into the downtown mix. Specific to the MSP Mag feature, Vincent was also victim to the peculiar format of the Critics' Choice listing. Aside from the fact that the Honorable Mention ended up an afterthought on page 242 after the continuation of the article, the categorizations made it confusing. Fugaise in "Chef Driven - Neighborhood", while Vincent, Five and Heartland are listed in "Fine Dining/Luxury"...you could randomly rearrange the four and it would make the same amount of sense. Add that 20.21, and perhaps D'Amico Cucina and I Nonni should have been in "Ethnic", and it lost its meaningfulness to the blurring of categories. (I'll also throw in my MSP Mag pet peeve regarding their incomprehensible love affair with The Cheesecake Factory). I suspect when the dust settles, Vincent will emerge still regarded as one of the finer restaurants in the cities. The best you can do is to keep broadcasting the details of great meals there when you have one.
  19. If it's not too late....make sure to pick up this month's edition of "Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine" that just came out. The cover article is about roadtripping from the SE corner of MN all the way to Grand Portage on the North Shore (skipping the MSP area). It is a perfect resource (less for groceries, more for food) for this post.
  20. The adjoining room was another business, then an additional seating area for EBM and now they offer table service. Great photo group! Patrick's, Al's, EBM, Caspian Bistro, Holy Land Deli, Maria's, Mediterranean Cruise...what a culinary tour. Those are all places I love.
  21. El Burrito Mercado is indeed open for dinner. They also have table service in the adjoining room -- not just the cafeteria line.
  22. I frequent El Burrito Mercado and Mercado Central as already mentioned -- I think you'll find what you're looking for there. Taqueria La Hacienda just east of 35W on Lake Street is another favorite of mine. There are dozens of places along that stretch of Lake Street (starting at 35W and going east a little bit past Bloomington Ave) that will satisfy your search for simpler fare like tacos. El Amanacer near El Burrito Mercado is a decent sit-down place. Tamalandia on South Robert specializes in tamales, although I prefer the ones at El Burrito Mercado. I go to Tamalandia for wider selection. La Perla del Pacifico on Lyndale (north side of the Crosstown) is known for authentic Mexican seafood dishes. I haven't had enough food there to formulate a credible opinion on the place yet (only a couple lunches). It got a good writeup in the Star Trib though and it's on my short list of places to revisit.
  23. 112 Eatery is excellent. It's precisely four blocks west on Washington Avenue, one block south on Hennepin, then hang a right. It is very, very cold in MSP right now, but if you dress warm and hustle, that's not a long way to go. This would be my choice hands down, especially from your location. For something more casual, I would consider Cafe Havana on the corner of Washington and 1st Ave N (4 blocks west on Washington) or Babalu further down the street (www.babalu.us). Not as universally good and creative as 112, but I've had many enjoyable dishes at both without any negatives. Regarding Vincent, while it is a longer walk (8 blocks south, 3 blocks west), you can do all but about 25 steps INDOORS. Go to www.tonnhaus.com and print the Minneapolis Skyway Map. You're looking at about a quarter of a mile. As an aside, on Wednesday - Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. (now until Christmas) the Holidazzle Parade is going on. www.holidazzle.com The skyway (any section over Nicollet Mall) is a great place to watch the parade as it goes by and you're walking to and from dinner. Good taste of how we have fun up here in the frozen northland (if you're not from a similar climate). Welcome and enjoy.
  24. Thanks for highlighting a place like this. I like to hear about the lesser-known places. Perhaps a significant FYI: the restaurant is Krua (with a K).
  25. Eat Street (Nicollet Avenue, south of downtown Minneapolis, starting at roughly Grant St/14th or 15th or so) is a stretch of smaller, mostly ethnic restaurants. Highlights, in order of my personal preference more or less, include: Jasmine Deli -- tiny, friendly Vietnamese. (Banh mi, soups and spring rolls) Quang -- Vietnamese Evergreen -- Taiwanese Yummy -- Chinese, Hong Kong style Jerusalem -- Mid. Eastern/Mediterranean Morelos and Salsa a la Salsa -- Mexican Black Forest Inn -- German Christos -- Greek The southern terminus of "Eat Street" is fairly close to Lake Street. If you head east on Lake about 20 blocks (not as far as it sounds...maybe 2 miles) to Bloomington Avenue, you'll find the Mercado Central on the south side of Lake, which was mentioned earlier. The Mercado has several stalls serving various authentic Mexican items. Taqueria la Hacienda (which also has an outpost on Lake St. at 35W) has great "al Pastor". Right next to it is Manny's which has superb tortas, then one stall down is La Perla tortilleria -- a portal to a tortilla operation in the adjacent space behind (and also offering great tamales). There are a lot of other places to explore along Nicollet and also in the neighborhood of the Mercado. The above are the "mainstay" places.
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