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2nd of 2 dinners in MSP

hello all -

would be grateful for a healthy helping, hopefully with some consensus, regarding selecting where to have dinner in MSP/StP the 2nd of two nights.

we'll be there for a weekend (you'll see my post regarding this same trip a few years ago) - will be in town purely for family conviviality and food.

the 2nd night's dinner will definitely be at Alma. done deal. best for last.

the first big hurdle is Friday dinner. simply put, what would be the runner-up best MSP restaurant for dinner? consider this a "going to MSP simply to eat & eat well" question.

Saturday's lunch presents an opportunity for almost-as-goods.... or generally enjoyable, ie 112, or even Saffron or any other rec as we'll be walkable distance and downtown. Sunday brunch also presents another opportunity, now that i think about it....

much obliged in advance - and already hungry,

ps: if it's helpful, Meritage, Heartland, & Craftsman have been in my bookmarks list for some time as a result of reading these boards.

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  1. The pork belly and fried oyster sliders at Sea Change make for a great lunch with a glass of wine.

    1. Saffron and 112 don't open untill 5pm so lunch is out. Was just at Saffron for the New Years Eve 5 course tasting and it was great. I would head there on Friday night.

      1. My vote is for Heartland for your Friday dinner, Vincent or Sea Change for Saturday lunch, Craftsman for Sunday brunch.

        1. I would not dissuade you from Heartland, but my experience at Heidi's last month was extraordinary at every level. That place has really upped its game.

          As for lunch, Bewiched is sorta walkable from downtown, and well worth a visit on Saturday. Would you consider taking light rail? If so, Town Talk Diner is eating well in MSP.

          1. Everyone's so helpful! Much gratitude.

            A few comments re: suggestions up to this point:

            Vincent is closed for lunch, but for weekdays;

            I didn't see the items mentioned for Sea Change on the lunch (or dinner) menu - the place looks lovely, but I've seen mixed comments on the board as of late.... anyone been very recently?;

            We'll get in a cab and go wherever - that's not a problem. But perhaps lunch in StP would be more problematic and disruptive to being able to do a variety of Mpls things;

            Interesting to see Heidi's mentioned - hadn't thought of that. Also have Lucia's bookmarked, and have seen some happy comments of late.

            One additional note - I'm a vegetarian, other in party is not (you'll see a bit more about that in my first MSP post two years ago). I don't choose a place based upon that, tho. Find that a great restaurant is a great restaurant is a great restaurant. That being said, the Heartland menu looked a bit uninspiring to me. Saffron looks delish - and is walkable from the Graves where we stay. We enjoyed 112 very much last time.

            1. Of all the restaurants mentioned to match the Alma experience, jfood would place Meritage as a must-go (plus Chef Klein can do veggy).

              Of those mentioned plus a couple, jfood would rank:

              1- Meritage
              2 - Craftsman
              3 - Bar La Grassa
              4 - Heartland
              5 - Il Nonni
              6 - Saffron
              7 - Heidis (also consider Corner Table in the same genre)
              8 - 112

              Jfood does think you can go wrong with any of these

              1. For Sunday brunch, I'll vote for Meritage and Muffuletta. I don't think I've had a bad brunch at either.

                At Meritage, I usually get the omelet du jour, however, I've heard good things from their eggs benedict and french toast. Their amusements are fun to get, too. I'd recommend the mini waffle and the beignets. Not quite like New Orleans, but the beignets are delicious nonetheless. Parking can be difficult since it's downtown, and the place fills up quite fast. I'm not sure if they take reservations for brunch. Maybe someone else from the board can help you out on that question.

                At Muffuletta, they give you a tiny piece of coffee cake to start off the meal. I haven't been there in a while, but I will say their bacon is delicious, as are their omelets and potatoes. The area is nice and I've never had a problem with finding street parking. I think this place sometimes gets overlooked for brunch. That's a shame since it's so delicious!

                1. just a note to the op that if heartland's menu doesn't look awesome right now, next week's may appeal more (menu changes weekly). chef russo is very devoted to/dogmatic about (depending on your pov) using local foods exclusively. his winter meals are fantastic imo, but you will see some cabbage and root veggies and other things that that are naturally "keeper" vegetables or have been processed by the restaurant from summer produce. you won't see asparagus or strawberries in january! another small restaurant featuring local foods, menu changing weekly, is lucia's in uptown. love the brunch there, veg-friendly, good service, handy to the lakes in uptown and other points of interest. this might be a good option for the lunch or brunch while doing mpls things.

                  bar la grassa seems to be the place everyone is talking about. sounds really really good. last time i had the opportunity to try it, i opted for an old favorite instead (craftsman, which did not disappoint--just our mood that night).

                  i love meritage, strip club & others in st paul, dinner and brunch menus-both-- but i guess i don't see it being worth cabfare back and forth to downtown mpls, especially for brunch. heartland for dinner, maybe-- but we're talking $50 round-trip, plus the tab for brunch-- great if you have your own car are local for another event, but if dining is the *only* event, it's not the best use of time and cabfare imo. there are scads of very good spots in minneapolis-- you could even check out a smaller neighborhood haunt or have a great bowl of pho on eat street for breakfast-- something i like to do in winter. just a thought. uh, it seems i'm rambling and right now i've no time to edit or try to express myself better. sorry 'bout that.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: soupkitten

                    We went to Heartland's wine bar for dessert on New Year's Eve (and it was spectacular. Excellent.) While we were there I took a look at the other offerings on the wine bar menu and noticed what I thought was a little shift in emphasis. If I'm remembering correctly, some things were identified as "Iowa xxx" or "Wisconsin yyy" etc. And I think I was noticing a mention on the menu of "the Midwest." And one of the desserts featured Ohio pawpaw fruits. I always thought the menu was more local than that. (Not that the midwestern winter menu is going to be featuring tropical items -- except maybe for those Ohio pawpaws, which are apparently related to some tropical fruits!)

                    Anyway, is this a broadening of focus, or something I've just noticed for the first time on the Heartland menu?

                    1. re: karykat

                      hey karykat--what a lovely way to spend NYE!

                      The "broader" Midwestern focus is the way I alway remember Heartland's menu being. It is, afterall, "Heartland, A Contemporary Midwestern Restaurant."


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Yes, that moniker probably tells the story. I'm used to seeing Wisconsin and Iowa cheeses on the menu but it threw me off to see those pawpaws, and I think that got me attuned to this issue.

                  2. if you go to Bar La Grassa, jfood recommends staying with the pastas and proteins. The left side of the menu (veggies and salads) have been less than perfect. The apple and endive was just OK.

                    The pork tenderloin with the polenta was a 10+ a couple of weeks ago. the pulled pork bruschetta, the ragus are over the top as well.

                    1. Has anyone mentioned Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis for Sunday brunch yet?


                      1. as with before - love the suggestions and thoughtfulness. thank you all.

                        one thought on Sunday, to get that out of the way, perhaps... last visit, i'd planned that we'd attempt to get to Hell's Kitchen and didn't. btwn my dad's biz calls & last minute work things that always delay hotel exits, we ate at Cosmo. and it was perfect. so, instead of dealing with getting our respective acts together and trying to have another meal "event', and cab fare, i suspect that relying upon something that we enjoyed would be grand. the comments that i see about Cosmo on the board, including as of late, are that it's good, even outstanding, sometimes, but pricey. by the time we've bothered to get ourselves somewhere else, 6 of one, 1/2 ..... you get the picture. and Cosmo actually has a more elegant brunch selection. the waitstaff is exemplary. i think i've made an executive decision.

                        i went down a list of everything recommended to date, and none offer lunch on saturday. sorry, Sea Change does. i suspect that we'll be downtown in the hotel area most of the time that day.

                        thank you for the comment about Heartland and the menu change - saved me from asking that question! thought that might be the case. i think what looked uninspiring was a whole host of cheese-heavy things but i may be confusing that with another menu. does Meritage also change offerings?