Solo dining in MSP
I need help from all you sweet MSP Hounds! I'm looking for good places to dine alone in MSP.
I dined alone at Barbette last night and was really not happy with the flakey servers. I watched my food get cold through the kitchen window while my server chatted away with her fellow co-worker.
I'm looking for places with good solid food and good service that a solo diner can enjoy.
I don't mind dining at the bar or getting a table by myself. I'm from NYC and enjoy eating alone at places like Blue Hill, Babbo, Gramercy Tavern and many of the city's sushi bars.
I also like more casual places - You can find me slurping pho in a hole-in-the-wall in Queens at a shared table.
Check out Obento-ya.
I've dined solo at the bar and had both good service and good food.
Obento-Ya Japanese Bistro
1510 Como Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
It's been a long time since I've been to some of the places you mention in NYC, so, I'm afraid I might not be matching the atmosphere of some of your faves and I haven't done much solo dining lately, but to build on what churchka says (I think The Craftsman is an awesome recommendation), here are some places I've dined sola lately:
The bar at WA Frost on Selby in St. Paul (higher end dining).
Shish on Grand Avenue in St. Paul (hole in the wall).
Khyber Pass on Grand Avenue in St. Paul (hole in the wall/mom & pop place).
The bar at Town Talk Diner on Lake Street in Minneapolis (high end "diner" food, ironic style; great chow, pristine service, not cheap, can be loud).
Que Nha on University Ave in St. Paul (Vietnamese, hole in the wall mom & pop place).
Puerta Azul on Selby in St. Paul (Puerto Rican--some hits, some misses on the menu but very friendly, cozy and attentive).
A neighborhood institution (unless it's very late, expect that there will be children present) for burgers (try the Lodge Burger or the local specialty Jucy Lucy cheese stuffed burger) served with handcut fries and bakery fresh bun is the Nook on Hamline (at Randolph) in St. Paul. Find a spot at the bar. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?...
While you're at the Nook, a couple of doors down from the Nook is Kopplin's Coffee, which gets rave reviews. http://www.kopplinscoffee.com/ Look for "Rogue" chocolates while you're there, a very small, very local producer of high-end chocolate. http://www.kopplinscoffee.com/
Oh, I know, Tampopo is a lovely spot, I think, for a sola diner.
re: The Dairy Queen
Oh, you didn't mention breakfast, but Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown (near the UofM in Minneapolis) is another Twin Cities institution--it won a James Beard "American Classics" award a couple of years ago. Great pancakes. Great eggs benedict. 14 seat counter. Long wait. Good for solo dining. Breakfast only. Service with good humored attitude.
Also, the Colossal Cafe--a tiny neighborhood spot in Minneapolis--does lovely breakfasts.
Some people on this board didn't like the place, but I had some of the best service ever on a recent visit to duplex.
They also have a small bar (it's an old house) w.a nice happyhour ($1 off every drink, and most drinks are under 5 bucks.. huge, fairly unique (for the area) wine/beer list). If you sit @ the bar you can talk w.the servers & cooks (the bar is open to the kitchen.. I thought that was fun.. photos of it on the photos section of their website).
Vincent. An outstanding place to enjoy a meal, solo. Highly recommended.
I have found the D'Amico restaurants to cater very well to the individual diner, Lurcat and Masa (I like the bar) especially.
Obvious downtown sushi choices (Origami, Nami) are solid.
I've found the bar at Solera to be welcoming and service attentive.
Casual: It really depends on your neighborhood. In mine (St Anthony West) I like Nea, Punch, Bulldog, Whitey's, Emily's, Mairin's Table, and The Modern for dining solo.
This is actually a pretty solo-friendly town in terms of eats. Most places with bars are quite mellow with the solo diner. I've had good luck at
The Monte Carlo
20.21 has a prix fixe at the bar
and I'm sure most of the other, better places (even Barbette's) would be good. I think maybe you had an unfortunate off night.