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hosted business dinner in MSP, U of MN area

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I'm scheduled for a follow-up interview next week for an outstate Minnesota position (white-collar professional-type job). The hiring partner will be in Minneapolis for the day, and wanted me to suggest a place for dinner. I have no idea what his tastes are, so it should be something fairly safe, yet classy at the same time, and near the University of Minnesota. Alma seems like a safe bet, although I haven't been there in ages. The Loring Pasta Bar looks impressive, but I've never been too impressed by their food. I'm drawing a blank on this right now - anyone have a good suggestion? Normally, I'd always go for sushi, but that can be a risky choice with strangers.

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  1. I can't think of a downside of Alma. It's "classy" yet quaint, so as to allow conversation. The food is nice, and not too out there. It's certainly close. I am not sure why you wouldn't run with it. I immediately thought of Alma when I saw the thread title.

    1. Although it's not my favorite, Alma definitely fits the bill. Another nearby possibility is Fugaise - probably 5 minutes further than Alma.

      Loring Pasta Bar is a great choice for funky location, but the food is only average. I think that its food has started heading downhill although, according to my 8 year old, it's the still nicest restaurant in Minneapolis. (It's his choice for a "fancy" dinner out.)

      Of course, downtown Minneapolis isn't really THAT far away from the U either...

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      Restaurant Alma
      528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

      Fugaise [CLOSED 2009]
      304 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

      1. Kafe 421 might also be an option. I really love that place. It is a step down from Alma both food and pricewise, But it is a huge step up from the Loring.

        Also interesting and good is the Caspian Bistro. It is Persian and very good. The food may be "exotic", but it is really simple and will please 99% of all people.

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        Kafe 421
        421 14th Avenue S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55415

        Caspian Bistro
        2418 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

        1 Reply
        1. re: churchka

          I agree with churcka that Kafe 421 has much, much better food than the Loring Pasta Bar. Good selection of wines and well-prepared lamb entrees.

        2. You know, don't you, that Restaurant Alma is very expensive? But you've been there, so you probably do. I just mention it because the places I tend to interview with don't have the budget for Alma's.

          Kafe 421 is quite nice. It's not in Alma's league, but the food is good, and it has that Dinkytown charm. Caspian Bistro is also nice, and very casual (more so than Kafe 421), and the Persian meat-and-rice dishes aren't too threatening for sensitive palates.

          For neighborhood charm just a bit off-campus, try Signature Cafe or Jay's Cafe. You'll need very good directions for each (especially for Signature, where I recommend the pot roast).

          A few miles north of campus is the Modern Cafe and Erte - both moderate in price, hip in feel, and acceptable to even the most picky of palate.

          Best of luck with the interview!

          Anne

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          Signature Cafe & Catering
          130 Warwick St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

          Jay's Cafe
          791 Raymond Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55114

          Modern Cafe
          337 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

          Erte
          323 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN

          1 Reply
          1. re: AnneInMpls

            While I enjoy the Modern as much as any one, it's not a place that I would ever describe as "classy" in the "I'm trying to impress you so you give me a job" sense. Great food and homey, yes. Impressive aura, not really.

          2. We went to Alma, and it was outstanding. We each had the tasting menu - mine was steak tartare, miso-glazed black cod, and a seared duck breast. The tasting menu is $42, and an excellent deal.

            I think I'll go back tonight.

            1. What about taking the river road to Lake Street and going to the Longfellow Grill or Craftsman?

              1 Reply
              1. re: liesel

                I would echo bob s in saying while I like the Longfellow Grill, I would never describe it as "classy" in the "I'm trying to impress you so you give me a job" sense.

                Besides, the OP already had his interview at Alma (hope it went well, btw!!). The point is now moot.