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Dec 14, 2009 12:24 PM

MSP- Date Night

Trying to decide which restaurant to go to for a (too) rare Date Night. Since the baby arrived just over a year ago, we don't eat out for dinner very much. There is a backlog of restaurants we haven't gotten around to trying, but now there are various new places I'm hearing about too!

Places we've been (tempting as it is to repeat a place we really liked, I think we'll resist and try something new to us):

Alma, Heartland, Meritage, LBV, Vincent, I Nonni, Strip Club, Masa, Solera... probably missing a few... We liked all of these to one degree or another.

We're looking for a special occasion place. $$ is no object (we eat out so rarely!). We're definitely looking for somewhere with a local/sustainable vibe. Some of the places I've thought about (and browsed some menus for):

112 Eatery
Bar La Grassa
Butcher Block

What am I missing? What would the hounds recommend? Thanks in advance!

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  1. Of those on your list, I have been to (and enjoyed) 112 Eatery, Bar La Grassa and Craftsman. Craftsman definitely has a stronger "local/sustainable" vibe than the others. It is also a more peaceful dinner experience. 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa were very good when I was there. Both of these have a more "hip" feel.

    Another place to consider (based on your local/sustainable criteria) would be Corner Table. I only liked it the one time I have been (instead of really liked as I did for the restaurants above), but a few friends that I trust raved about some of the things they have eaten there.

    1. i'm excited to try bar la grassa too-- haven't been yet. i've also heard it's very "hot" right now, which makes it a little hard to get in there at times-- don't know whether that's a factor.

      112 is one of my faves. also love craftsman & that would be the sustainable/local pick of your list--maybe the best pick overall.

      a couple places you're missing & should definitely consider: saffron, lucia's.

      others that may qualify: heidi's, blackbird, levain (in transition, new chefs), barbette, corner table

      1. For a local/sustainable vibe, I'd go with Heartland, Signature Cafe, or Craftsman. While many of the others on your list are excellent, they don't have the local emphasis that the above three do.

        1. I'd go with Craftsman, Corner Table, or Levain. All seem more intimate and "date night-y" to me than some of the other recs. would you ever consider the kitchen table at Corner Table? Probably not very romantic being in the midst of a working kitchen, but would be an amazing, unique experience!

          1. If jfood had one date night with his favorite mrs jfood he would choose Meritage in SP. His top two favorite food are Meritage and Alma, but Meritage is more romantic than Alma. I Nonni can give Meritage a run for its money on romantic but jfood has not eatenthere in many months and if it is as good as it was then, he would include that on the Top 3.

            Finishing in positions #4. Jfood really likes Craftsman of the next group. Great food, nice little place, makes his own smoked meats, service has been great for jfood. Corner Table and Levain are also on the jfood "return" list, as well as Heidi's in that neighborhood. Before going to Corner Table of Heidi's check the menu on line. Heidi's is also a bit more sterile in feel and not romantic at all. There are times when the choices do not strike jfood's fancy. It also appears that Levain may be experiencing a chef-change, so that may be an issue. Likewise you should look at Tosca Trattoria where Adam, the former chef at Levain is cooking. Look to his website for his current menu as that has the same issue as Corner Table. Jfood ate at 112 last night. The pasta with foie gras meatballs has taken a downturn, but the pork and gnocchi were A-listers. Bar La Grassa is one of jfood's new favorites. If he did not get into 112 last night he was heading there. He might go there tomorrow for some pastas.

            Jfood owes Heartland a return visit. Since he is south of the city, if he is making that trip, it is hard not to go to Meritage, though. But he expects to return in the next two months. Strip Club is a steak place, not sure if that would get the jfood's happy on date night.

            Hope that helps and enjoy the adult time.