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MSP - Dinner Recommendation; Saturday

nymoving2004 Feb 19, 2009 05:06 PM

My wife and I are looking at a dinner on Saturday and wanted a few recommendations.....our last meal was at Porter & Frye. Alma is closed for a private party....so we were looking at Meritage, Fugaise, Heidi's, Brasa.........We've eaten at Fugaise....but not the other 3. Is there anything else you'd recommend for a last minute 2-top that has the night away from their 6-month old??

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  1. l
    latte4me RE: nymoving2004 Feb 19, 2009 05:28 PM

    I haven't been there in about a year, but how about the Sample Room?

    4 Replies
    1. re: latte4me
      St Paul Susie RE: latte4me Feb 19, 2009 06:12 PM

      altho my most recent meal at Mertiage (last thursday) wasn't as outstanding as the prior visits I would still recommend it for a date night.

      But there is a Wild game on Saturday night - FYI

      Heidi's as well - geographic-ly I don't make it over to that area quite as often and probably haven't been to Heidi's in a year and a half. I'm on OT and Heidi's only has a 8:45

      Too bad about Alma - i was about to call them for Saturday!

      How about I Nonni?

      Heartland? WA Frost?

      1. re: latte4me
        zataar RE: latte4me Feb 19, 2009 06:52 PM

        the last time we ate at the Sample Room it was not the greatest experience. Subpar...

        1. re: zataar
          Foureyes137 RE: zataar Mar 4, 2009 05:35 AM

          Seconded. We haven't had a good meal at Sample Room in 2 years. We go for the wine flights.

        2. re: latte4me
          cheeseguysgirl RE: latte4me Feb 20, 2009 07:49 AM

          The Sample Room hasn't been the same since Michael McKay left- he opened his own place in S. Mpls called Citizen Cafe. I would recommend it, as well as Cafe Levain. Both would be great last minute choices.

          Cafe Levain
          4762 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

          Citizen Cafe
          2403 E 38th St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

        3. bob s RE: nymoving2004 Feb 19, 2009 06:42 PM

          It's now or never for Fugaise - I'd go there, but obviously you may want to go someplace else.. ;-)

          Heartland? The Craftsman? Saffron? Lucia's? Barbette? Little Szechuan? Cafe Levain?

          I'm not a big fan of Heidi's and Meritage would not pull me any more than any of the above.

          1. k
            karykat RE: nymoving2004 Feb 19, 2009 06:44 PM

            I love love love Alma and I love Brasa but Brasa is a lot more casual than Alma. If you are looking for more of a special dinner, I would think about Heartland, or maybe the Strip Club if you can get to St. Paul.

            6 Replies
            1. re: karykat
              churchka RE: karykat Feb 20, 2009 06:44 AM

              Brasa would be a great place to go for lunch with your 6 month old.

              1. re: churchka
                nymoving2004 RE: churchka Feb 20, 2009 10:04 AM

                Great - then we'll take our son to Brasa some other time.....I got that vibe from the website/menu presentation....but for this Saturday I've narrowed it down to Levain (which I haven't been to since they closed/reopened), Strip Club (which is booked, but has room at the bar on a first come-first serve basis)....and then Craftsman......is Craftsman similar to Alma (food, atmosphere, etc)????
                Any chance we'd be able to get a bar seat at Strip Club....or is it a smaller bar area similar to 112's main bar area on the ground level????

                1. re: nymoving2004
                  bob s RE: nymoving2004 Feb 20, 2009 10:35 AM

                  IIRC, the bar at the Strip Club is bigger than 112 - but not by a whole lot.

                  I'm not a big fan of Alma, so I would say that the food is on par and the room is nicer. But others may disagree.

                  1. re: nymoving2004
                    LauraB RE: nymoving2004 Feb 20, 2009 11:22 AM

                    I love the Strip Club, but they are pretty small and get quite full on Saturday nights. We tried the "room at the bar on a first come-first served basis" a couple of weeks ago. We got there fairly late (~8:30pm), but we had to wait until ~9:30pm to be seated (actually at a table because it was the first available seat). We figured that we would have to wait so we came hungry, but not staving, and enjoyed a delicious drink while waiting. It was fine for us and the food was worth the wait, but if waiting will diminish your enjoyment I might try the Strip Club another time or call them to see if they thought it would be better if you went earlier in the evening.

                    I have been to Craftsman and Alma once each and enjoyed them both. I liked the food better overall at Alma (but I really liked it a lot), but the pasta I had at Craftsman was really good too.

                    1. re: nymoving2004
                      tex.s.toast RE: nymoving2004 Feb 20, 2009 04:33 PM

                      I would say that the food at alma is similar, but better, than the food ive had at the craftsman. both are midwestern-modern but i found alma to be much more refined and damn near perfect execution-wise. ill be posting a full report of the meal we had at alma this week, but it was far and away better than the food we've had at the craftsman. craftsman faves included the charcuterie plate and some good burgers, but ive had some so-so entrees and other slightly-off things (a sandwich served on WAY too much bread, weird flavors that didnt quite work).

                      Alma is a bit pricier, more refined, and smaller. it would be fair to say that the craftsman and alma are similar, but they are in no way substitutes.

                      1. re: nymoving2004
                        Foureyes137 RE: nymoving2004 Mar 4, 2009 05:37 AM

                        I would not put Craftsman in the same league at Alma. Closer to Levain in style and quality IMO.

                  2. s
                    shinmn RE: nymoving2004 Feb 20, 2009 07:29 AM

                    Rice Paper

                    1. m
                      MrSlippery RE: nymoving2004 Feb 20, 2009 10:55 AM

                      We also ate recently at Porter and Frye. If you enjoyed that, I would recommend Cosmos. They are doing some really interesting things there lately.

                      1. s
                        sarah.j.morrison RE: nymoving2004 Feb 20, 2009 07:41 PM

                        there haven't been many comments about Meritage. I had an awesome meal there a few weeks ago. We LOVED the amuse busch apps and desserts. Such a great way to get to taste new things without committing to a whole dish. Could be appropriate with a 6 month old if you go early in the night. Be sure to try a cocktail-- the tarragon/gin/pomegranate concoction was amazing!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: sarah.j.morrison
                          The Dairy Queen RE: sarah.j.morrison Feb 21, 2009 12:22 AM

                          I love Meritage, but wouldn't take a 6 month old there, except on the patio for weekend brunch in summer.


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                            clepro RE: The Dairy Queen Feb 21, 2009 11:55 AM

                            FWIW, I would have thought the same, up to the time I was there with a group that DID include a baby, around 6 mos, as it happens. This was a weekday evening, around 7:00.

                            When I learned that someone in our group was planning to bring her baby, I called in advance to let the restaurant know. I thought they might want to try to seat us by the door so someone could exit with the baby quickly if needed.

                            The Meritage staff were just lovely...they seemed to truly enjoy the baby's presence; lots of attention and doting. In fact, I was kind of rebuked for sounding as apologetic as I did when I called; she said something along the lines of babies and children always being welcome. In a rather stern tone.

                            1. re: clepro
                              The Dairy Queen RE: clepro Feb 21, 2009 01:51 PM

                              Well, entrees start at $20 and go up to about $34, with most of them price at higher than $25. And that's just for the entree, no drinks, apps or anything else. According to my pocketbook, that's a pretty nice night out.


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                clepro RE: The Dairy Queen Mar 4, 2009 12:04 AM

                                Ah, I see. I'd thought you meant it isn't a place were babies would be accommodated. My pocketbook agrees with yours.

                                1. re: clepro
                                  The Dairy Queen RE: clepro Mar 4, 2009 03:16 AM

                                  They are incredibly gracious at Meritage and, I'll bet, would be accommodating in most circumstances, though, as you describe.


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