What to order at 112 Eatery (Mpls)?
I was there last night, and finally tried a few of their sandwiches for the first time. The fried egg and bacon sandwich was good but not in the same class as other dishes there. I finally tried the burger and the banh mi. For both of those, the flavors pleased me so much, time and space around me ceased to exist. The duck pate was transcendent, and that burger is to die for.
We love the 112 Burger and the Nori encrusted Sirloin with Ponzu. Desserts are excellent. Here is our full review:
112 N. 3rd St
Rating (Scale 1-10, with 10 being the highest):
Recommendation: Excellent. One of a kind eatery in the Twin Cities with a chef that has received his share of accolades. 112 serves excellent eats until late at night and satisfies all palates and budgets.
112 Eatery is located in the historic Amsterdam Building on 3rd street in the Warehouse district. The space is small yet cozy, dark with soft lighting, exposed brick, and hardwood floors. 112 is chic but unpretentious and has a New York bistro feel to it. It is a great place for a date, dining with friends, or a late night snack after a night out at the bars on 1st Avenue. Even though its been open for three years, its undoubtedly one of hardest restaurants to get into, regardless of whether it’s a weekend or weeknight. On a recent Wednesday night at 11:30pm, more than half the restaurant was full, which is a refreshing change to the Twin Cities dining scene. The main level can sometimes get very loud and stuffy so we’d recommend sitting on the upper level where the ventilation is a little better and seating a little more open. Loud music can be an issue for some as it makes it hard to have a conversation. The menu consists of a good mix of appetizers, salads, small plates, and entrees. They have a nice wine list and a good selection of desserts and after-dinner drinks. Ever since it opened in January 2005, 112 Eatery has become a rage in the Twin Cities foodie scene. It has been featured in many magazines - Food and Wine, and Bon Appetit, to name a few. Chef Isaac Becker experiments with ingredients and combinations in a way that we’ve never seen before; his dishes are very flavorful yet simple.
The Sweet and Sour Crab Salad ($9) from the Appetizer menu is simply delicious. It consists of crab, chopped greens, cucumbers, cilantro, and mint drizzled with a simple dressing of lemon juice, rice wine vinegar and sugar…very light and refreshing. Another excellent appetizer is the Blue Prawns with Mayo ($12). Gigantic New Zealand tempura-battered prawns are served with Sriracha sauce laced aioli. The Sea Scallops with Oyster Mushrooms ($12) make a great starter. The sweet and soft scallops are drizzled with truffle oil…yum. Appetizers are very diverse and have something to offer for every palate: Duck Salad, Soba Noodles with Shrimp, Lamb, Scallops, Sauteed Sweetbreads, etc. In addition to Appetizers, they also have Sides which can also act as an appetizer. Their Pan-fried Gnocchi with Parmesan Reggiano ($8) is simple, yet excellent. This is one of the better gnocchi’s we’ve had in the Twin Cities. The Cauliflower Fritters ($7.50), while good, would not be our top pick. Large chunks of cauliflower are deep fried in a light batter; nothing spectacular. The Roasted Asparagus with Prosciutto is also good. The French Fries ($6.50) are thin and crispy, like Belgian Frites.
For entrees, we love the 112 Cheese burger ($9). The burger is an excellent example of the Chef Becker’s creativity and genius. The ground beef patty includes eggs, thyme, onions and is grilled to perfection…almost melts in your mouth. It is topped with Brie cheese and served on an English muffin. Very unusual and extremely flavorful. The Linguine with Blue Prawns is awesome, although it is no longer on the menu. On a recent visit, our server recommended the Tagliatelle with Foie Gras Meatballs ($12 half, $24 full). We loved the meatballs, as they literally melted in your mouth. The dish overall was a little underwhelming…it was lightly seasoned with a cream based sauce. Our server’s other recommendation was spot on. The Nori encrusted Sirloin with Ponzu ($28) was excellent. The Ponzu sauce gave the dish a nice sweet and citrusy flavor and the accompanying wasabi gave it a nice kick.
We can’t rave enough about the desserts at 112. The Tres Leches Cake ($7) was soft, creamy and simply terrific. One bite and all the milk absorbed by the cake comes bursting out into your mouth. The Chocolate Pot de Crème ($7) had a smooth dense pudding like texture and was absolutely decadent. The Butterscotch Budino ($7) was a layered dessert with custard at the bottom and butterscotch at the top. The combination was excellent but once the butterscotch layer ran out, we found that the Budino actually had a sprinkling of salt crystals, something we didn’t care for. Why mess up a sweet dessert by adding salt?
$$$. Appetizers, Small plates, and Sides are under $10. Entrees are $16-$28. Open Monday-Friday 5pm-1am (full kitchen service) and Sundays 5pm-10pm. Reservations are highly recommended, especially during peak hours. This place is hard to get into due to its popularity.
My wife and I went for dinner on Sunday, here are some notes:
Foie gras & lardon salad: Outstanding. Terrific play between the foie, lardons, yolk and vinegar. The foie still had the vein in it, but I really didn't mind, it was great. The poached egg preparation was a fun surprise.
Anchovy toast with avacodo: A good starter. Great quality on the anchovies (white I believe) and good mouth feel between the creamy avacado and the toast. Little micro-green on top actually added some pepperiness.
Duck liver bahn mi: Meh. I could take it or leave it. The pate is good and the herb salad atop it was fresh and complimentary, but it felt like it was missing something substantial like the traditional roasted pork. Also, it was sunday so the bread was a little less fresh than I would have liked, but what are you gonna do.
I'd wanted to try the sweetbreads and our waiter and bartender both said they were outstanding, but I did not have room.
Country ribs: Terrific as always. Perfect heat that lingers, love the roasted red-pepper "salsa" as well. So good.
Lamb sugo: Another consistant favorite. Always good, and a must if you've not had it before. When I am in the mood for pasta my first craving is Broders, my second is this dish.
Though we didn't get them this night, the following items are a must-try/can't miss if you've not been before: lamb scottadito, the burger, the egg & bacon sandwich, and my wife loves the cauliflower fritters.
Additionally, the Duoro we had on Sunday was outstanding. If it pairs well, I recommend it. Bon appetite!