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Oct 30, 2006 02:35 PM

Twin Cities--Dinner for Mom's Birthday?

Hi, I just moved to MSP (via San Francisco & Denver) and I've been lurking for the past several months. Thought I'd post to say "hi" and get some specific advice. Its so exciting to see such an active group of hounds!! I've had some great meals so far, thanks in part to many of the recommendations I've found here--I really appreciate it.

So, on to my question. My parents are coming into town for my Mom's birthday. I'm looking for the perfect place to take her to celebrate. When we were living in Denver, my Mom loved the filet at Cherry Creek Grill and I'm looking for something similar. Not necessarily to replicate the experience, but more so to find an equally memorable place that they will want to go time and again when they visit. Cherry Creek grill was a place you could go for a martini after work or for a really nice dinner--and you could spend a little or a lot, depending on what you were up for.

I guess I am looking for a similar atmosphere--a nice, warm, lively atmosphere...not white tablecloth and quiet. A place with really fantastic steak would be wonderful, but I'm definitely not looking for the big expense accout steakhouse kind of place. Local is important too, I don't want it to be restaurant that she could go to in any old city.

At the moment 112 Eatery is my backup, which I think they would enjoy, but I'd love to get some other suggestions. Thanks in advance, looking forward to hearing your suggestions!

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  1. I went to Cherry Creek Grill a few years back and as far as I remember its an upscale diner (leather booths, lots of wood, open grill) serving upscale American fair. Although I can't think of a place that is exactly the same, a few places come to mind. I agree with you that 112 should stay among the top of that list.

    For great steak (maybe the best) I would say Manny's which probably falls into the category of big exapanse steakhouse but had to mention it.

    I actually prefer the more reasonably priced steak at the Capital Grille but we are still in the white cloth steakhouse category.

    Another place with a similar idea to CKG is Trygs which serves American cuisine in a less uptight atmosphere.

    Another place in this list would be Modern Cafe in northeast serves good ole' American food in a unique retro decor. I have to say although i had great steak there before it has been inconsistent.

    Modern Cafe
    337 13th Ave NE
    Minneapolis, MN 55413
    Phone: (612) 378-9882

    I have to say that if my mom was coming to town for her birthday I would take her to Lucia's. I just love the place - consistently good food made from fresh ingredients with great ambiance (and walking distance to my house).

    The list is much longer and i suggest checking out some recent threads (visiting Minneapolis with/ without children etc..). also let us know how much you are willing to deviate from American cuisine (tapas? asian? italian?..) which will produce different recommendations.

    Good Luck and Happy Birthday!

    1 Reply
    1. re: uptowner

      Thanks for adding to my description of Cherry Creek Grill, while I wouldn't have chosen the word diner (I suppose its all a matter of perception), I do think you've hit the food and atmosophere on the head. Its upscale American (steaks, fish, sandwiches, salads, etc.) focusing on the rotisserie, served in a cozy wood burning fireplace-type atmosphere. The quality of the food was always really outstanding, so that combined with the atmosphere made it a hit with almost everyone.

      I've tried the "why don't we try something new" with the parents several times and it never quite works out. Plus its my Mom's birthday, so I suppose she should have what she likes :-) upscale American is what I'm looking for here--thanks for asking.

      I'll definitely check out your recommendations. I've driven by Trygs several times and was thinking that could be the place--but I'm a little concerned with Jordan's comments about the chef being fired. Lucia's also might work--I've been for a girl's lunch and for a glass of wine both on the patio, but I've never been for dinner. Walking by, it always strikes me as the type of place for a romantic dinner for 2...or am I reading it wrong? Thanks for your help!

    2. From your description, Erte sounds like a similar place. Good bar, nice but informal environment, good steaks as well as other types of dishes in a similar vein as what you describe.

      I would have whole-heartedly endorsed the Tryg's recommendation a year ago, but the chef was fired for using "too many expensive ingredients." I haven't been back since, so I can't speak to the quality of the new, all-cheap-ingredients menu.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jordan

        Thanks! Erte definitely sounds interesting. What's the crowd like on any given night? My parents are in their 60s, so I just want to make sure they wouldn't be the oldest by 40+ years :-)

        1. re: curlycue

          Erté usually is a mix of people. I don't think that your parents would feel at all out of place. And the food is really lovely. If you go, make sure you try one of their salads. One of the few places in town that does an excellent job with salad.

      2. What about the lexington in St Paul on Grand ave - great "martini after work" place (or during work as well) and great beef!

        50-60 is the average age - but great for all ages (maybe not in the top 20 places I'd bring my kids - but they are young!)

        must have = spicy green beans.

        Manny's is great - a little more sterile and a little more guys in suits on expense account than the "lex"

        Have fun and happy birthday to mom!

        p.s. welcome to MSP

        1. Etre is excellent and I need to keep it in mind next time its date night.

          Last time I went we had a group with 2 moms (60ish) and they enjoyed it as well.

          When we left there was a band/duo in the bar - nice, a little loud & a younger bunch but fine.....

          1. One of our favorites is Signature Cafe, nestled into a residential neighborhood in Minneapolis. The atmosphere is more like eating at a friend's house than a restaurant.

            There's something on the menu for everyone, all locally sourced and well prepared. Ask Nathalie about a dish, and you'll learn of its preparation and origins from the chef herself.