A short visit to Minneapolis (perhaps an omen of moving there soon ) yielder the following results:
Aquavit - a clone of the NY aquavit (or is it the other way around?) served a superb foie-gras ganache, a great loin of lamb, an interesting, if somewhat odd, beef ravioli (where the raw beef was the ravioli), nice (but too sweet) caramelized lobster and some other dishes that I cannot recall but that were overall too sweet. Service was confused but well meaning, $200 including a $60 bottle of wine, tax (11% as this is somewhat near a hotel) and tip.
The Local - On the upside, we got our dinners for free. On the downside, we didn't want to eat them. I mean, it's one thing to get a well done sirloin when you asked for medium rare, but it's a completely different thing to get it like that twice...
Briant Lake Bowl - the food in this bowling alley/pub/theater combo is nothing to write home about, but the beer menu is most definitely inspired (and attached).
Yes, I know we missed Manny's steakhouse, Oceanaire and Auriga, will try them next time.
This may be a little late, but I thought I'd post anyway for any lurkers who may be coming to Minneapolis/St. Paul.
My current favorites:
La Belle Vie
Far and away the best restaurant in the area. It's in Stillwater, a beatiful St. Croix River Valley town about 30 miles east of St. Paul. The chef-owner, Tim Mckee, is amazing. Every meal I've had there has been sublime. Do not visit the area without visiting La Belle Vie. Trust me.
South Minneapolis (Uptown), West 31st St. Good food (with a focus on fresh, local, seasonal produce). Menu changes weekly. Good ever-changing wine list with great values. A nice little wine bar attached to the restaurant. I often stop in for a meal at the bar. The restaurant sets aside a few tables for walk-ins.
On Selby Ave, St. Paul. Wine bar/restaurant in a converted Victorian house. Wine list and setting currently overshadows the food, but the food has improved recently.
Also on Selby Ave, St. Paul. Another place with a great setting and a good wine list. The menu has continually improved since the new chef (Lenny Russo) took over about a year or so ago. The mushroom risotto is the best restaurant risotto I've ever had.