MSP - Temple Closed
From the new MSP Magazine blog "Foodie File" [Aside - couldn't they find something a little more creative?] (http://msp.blogs.com/foodiefile/), it looks like Temple gave up the ghost over the weekend.
(Insert naked sushi joke here.)
Temple Restaurant and Bar [CLOSED
]1201 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
re: The Dairy Queen
re: The Dairy Queen
I dug Mysore Cafe quite a bit; its food was a bit more rough around the edges than most Indian restaurants (in a good way), and it had some South Indian specialties that always a treat to stumble upon. Decent prices, too. But as the CP blog notes, the space is terrible -- big, ugly, and apparently expensive to rent. And the Mysore approach to decorating didn't do much to moderate the visual impact.
Speaking of avoidable problems: They had a bit of a death wish opening with that particular name. "Mysore" makes perfect sense until you start to consider its English connotations... and then you're stuck trying to sell food to people at a restaurant named after a skin lesion.
Mysore was a trainwreck - it got worse each week and the owner was never pleasant or appreciative. It got what was coming to it. Its time Indian restaurants in the TCs pick up their game. The quality of Indian restaurants is sadly lagging behind other ethnic restaurants in the Twin Cities. If I want good South Indian food, I go to Nalapak, for good North Indian, I go to Chapati. See my reviews for Nalapak below...
Nalapak (formerly Udupi Cafe)
4920 Central Avenue
Columbia Heights MN 55421
Category: Indian (South Indian/Vegetarian/Vegan)
Rating (Scale 1-10, with 10 being the highest):
Recommendation: Very Good…South Indian comfort food and a haven for vegetarians/vegans. This restaurant is one of our favorites in the Indian food category.
Nalapak (formerly Udupi) serves delicious South Indian food, which is a rarity in Minneapolis (most Indian restaurants here cater to the North Indian palate with their naans, chicken curry, and tandoori meats). The buffet is a steal for around $10 and allows you to try different dishes without having to order off the menu. Although the restaurant itself is nice from the inside (tiled floor, fireplace, popular Hindi music in the background), the location (on Central Avenue by I-694) is not ideal and the windows have blinds on them, so you can’t look outside.
The buffet has a changing mix of curries, soups, fried veggies (pakoras), and lentils but when here, you must try the Idli (fluffy white patty made with rice and lentils), Dosai (pan fried crêpes stuffed with spicy potatoes and onions), and Vada (deep fried savory donut made with lentils and spices). All are served with Sambar (broth made with lentils and vegetables), Coconut Chutney, and a spicy Tomato Chutney. If you do the buffet, the servers will bring fresh dosais directly to your table. They also serve drinks like the Mango Lassi, which is excellent. Desserts are the usual fare you find at most Indian restaurants (Gulab Jamun, Rice Kheer, etc). Try their appetizer, Chat Papri (Crisp flour cookie sprinkled with chickpeas & marinated with Indian spices & sauces). This appetizer is commonly available in street corners in India and is a local favorite.
$. Reservations are typically not required as they have plenty of seating capacity.
Update (February 20, 2008) – Another fabulous experience at Nalapak. We went for dinner and it looks like the restaurant is going through a very positive image overhaul. Our meal was served in simple white square plates that were very classy, especially for an Indian restaurant. Servers were attentive and the food was brought out quickly…we actually felt rushed because the courses came out in quick succession and the next course was on top of us before we had finished the earlier one. The Punjabi Khana Thali (combination dinner $17) came with one Samosa, Tomato Soup, one drink, Chole Bhatura, and one Gulab Jamun for dessert. Chole Bhatura is a traditional North Indian dish made of spicy chickpeas and served with a fried bread called Bhatura. The Chole were very flavorful but the Bhature was not very authentic. It didn’t have the dense chewy texture we are used it. The Gulab Jamun was one of the best we’ve had in the Twin Cities. We really liked the Sweet Lassi drink (a traditional drink made of thin yogurt and spices) – if you haven’t tried it before, it’s a must. The Masala Dosai – rice crepe filled with potatoes and onions ($7.49) was excellent. The crepe had magnificent texture with crispy edges and soft center, and the filling was delicious. The accompanying Sambar and Coconut Chutney did not disappoint.
This recession is going to lead to a major culling of the herd in the Twin Cities restaurant scene. Right now there are a lot of empty or half empty dining rooms in town. Some people on the wholesale end are nervous about losing their jobs which is a bad sign. A restaurant really has to be hitting it on every level to be sure of making it through the next year.
oh, the irony. given my posts on the thread about "cheering about a restaurant going out of business",
it would be so, so wrong of me to say anything other than: shucks, thom, you gave it a good go. i do hope that as a competent businessman, he evaluated his strengths and decided to close temple to concentrate on azia and his other restaurant during the recession, and that he's taken care of his staff at temple and helped them find new positions in his other restaurants and elsewhere.
pham's restaurant empire's concept is not my fave, yet right now i am very bummed to hear about any msp restaurant establishments folding. many of the smaller places are having a very hard time staying open, and the banks are scared silly at the prospect of giving out loans for new restaurants. r.i.p. temple. and i hope someone can make that pretty location work, it seems to be cursed. . .