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Restaurant Week - August 1-6

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http://www.mspmag.com/promotions/wher...

The menu's aren't up yet, but any places where I should get my dinner reservation in now?

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  1. Is this done twice a year now? I swear it was just restaurant week a few months ago.

    1. I should harness the power of the internet before asking questions.

      They just did this Feb 28th - March 5th.

      1. I will always recommend Cosmos. I absolutely love the room and the food is as well executed and creative as anything in MSP.

        I've never seen Heartland on there, but I assume they are trying to give their new spot some business. I'll probably give that one a look.

        Most of the other places I like (Vincent, Oceanaire, Saffron) have ongoing $30-35 3-course menus year round.

        1. We reserved Meritage and Sea Change. Haven't eaten at Cosmos yet, thanks for the tip!

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          Meritage
          410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

          Sea Change
          806 Second Street S., Minneapolis, MN 55415

          1. Heartland is on there frequently. They just do their regular tasting menus though. Nothing special for restaurant week.

            +1 for Cosmos. We tend to always end up there for holiday meals. Their tasting menus are fabulous.

            All that said, I never make RW reservations until I see the menus. Menus are my ultimate deciding factor.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Seige

              I agree with you, Seige, looking at menus are a must! I usually start out by writing down all of the restaurants I would be willing to go to, then slowly eliminate choices.

              I also need to put in a positive word for Cosmos. I went there Feb. 2010 Restaurant Week, and it was to die for.

              Also, it is a much better deal than others, since the prices on the normal menu are significantly more expensive in comparison to some of the other restaurants offering RW $30 tastings.

              I have been thinking about giving some of the $15 dinners a try. Any place that is worth taking the risk? I thought Bradstreet or The Garage looked good...(cannot remember the name of the Garage place, but it's off of Hennepin/Lyndale?)

              1. re: linfr21

                I'll put in a strong second for Cosmos. I went there a year or so ago on RW and it is still the best dining experience I've had during this hallowed week. The room is super chic and the food is as creative and well executed as anywhere in town.

                1. re: BigE

                  Really? Cosmos? This winter I ate at Vincent (close to Valentines) and then Cosmos (RW). Cosmos was good, but I thought my food at Vincent was much more impressive - much more balanced and "wow". Not that the two are so similar, it's just that I was underwhelmed with Cosmos, when I figured it was going to be the other way around...

                  PS- "The Garage" = Joe's Garage, same area as Lurcat. I don't know what their RW menu is, but I love their ratatouille risotto. :)

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                  Joe's Garage
                  1610 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                  1. re: lfiske29

                    I'm a huge fan of both places and I've eaten at both during RW and at other times (I've been to Vincent a half dozen times or more, actually).

                    If I'm going somewhere strictly for restaurant week, I'll pick Cosmos. Vincent has a 3 course dinner menu for ~$35 that changes weekly, which means you can get pretty close to a RW priced dinner at all times.

                    Cosmos doesn't offer something like that and like I said, I think the quality they put out is as good as anywhere right now.

            2. I just made my reservation for Cafe Lurcat. Great food, service and price and you can enjoy a cocktail on the patio before or after.

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              Cafe Lurcat
              1624 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403

              1. Now that the menus are up, we've decided to try some places we haven't been to before, so we're going to check out Seven Steakhouse and Cafe Ena. Might sneak Heartland in there at some point too, but we're not sure. Should be fun!

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                Cafe Ena
                4601 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

                1. We've been wanting to go to Cave Vin for quite some time. Escargot and braised short rib sound like winners to me.

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                  Cave Vin
                  5555 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410

                  1. Fogo de Chao is offering dinner for $30 per person. Their usual charge is $47. Please note, this restaurant is not for vegetarians.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lindainwi

                      We went to Fogo de Chao (first time) and had a fun time. Definitely went because of their $30 deal (salad bar, all you can eat meat and dessert). As mentioned above normally it's $47 for dinner (salad bar and meat) and then another $9 or so for dessert. Service was good.

                    2. So? Where has everyone eaten? How was it?

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: linfr21

                        This seems to be a marketing scheme to me. I looked over alot of menus and there was very poor value IMO. For example...Bradstreet had a $15 dinner. The choices were $4 apps and $9 entrees. I wasn't a math major but a $14 dinner being sold for $1 more on restaraunt week? Cosmos seemed liked a good deal but I'm guessing full portions won't be served. Am I wrong? Are there good deals out there?

                        1. re: kriminalrat

                          It is absolutely a marketing scheme. But the idea is to let people who might not otherwise think they can afford to dine at a particular restaurant come in and try some stuff and feel like they aren't going to break the bank.

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            I love that Heartland is participating, and the price is their everyday price.

                            1. re: semanticantics

                              Sorry, I love Heartland, but what's the advantage (to the consumer) if the price is their everyday price?

                              There's an advantage to the consumer if the restaurant discounts the price or gives smaller portions for a lower price (so that people who otherwise may not be able to afford it can afford it), or bundles things differently than usual so you get a more varied experience, but if they do things as they always do them and price them as they always price them, then it's a marketing scheme that only advantages the restaurant and not the consumer at all. That sounds win/lose to me.

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                It seems like half of the restaurant's put no effort in this and half did. A good example is D'amico Kitchen. They are offering 3 courses for lunch at $10. A chance to try different things at a good price. Shame on the restaurants that are offering the same thing at the same price.

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  Do you follow Russo's blog? Read the Groupon one, he touches on RW, giveaways, etc. It's a good read and it makes sense. In Heartlands defense, they have what they have, they do not plan a menu 3 weeks out like everyone else, if not a static menu, so it's a little harder to imply a value when the value is already there.

                                  1. re: semanticantics

                                    That's fine, if your business model doesn't allow you the flexibility to participate in promotions, don't. If you're a great restaurant (as Heartland is), people will come anyway, but don't pretend to offer something if you aren't really offering anything. It only serves to erode consumer confidence in the promotion in which other restaurants are participating in good faith.

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      I did some math, and the best deals were Saffron, Lurcat and Fogo de Chao.

                                      I found most of the deals to be cheaper, though some of the restaurants have similar prix fixe offerings during certain nights of the week.

                                      We're basically getting free dessert with our choice, which is fine by me.

                            2. re: kriminalrat

                              The portions at Cosmos are full portions so it's probably the best deal on the list. The potatoes that are served with the steak are probably the best potatoes I've ever had. Meritage seemed like a good deal, as is Saffron. But I agree, there were more restaurants this time that didn't seem like deals.

                              -----
                              Meritage
                              410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                              1. re: drew13000

                                We went to Meritage last night. Very good. They created a special menu for restaurant week that has a few things not on their normal menu, particularly the lamb couscous, which is what I had. They also are offering wine pairings for this menu plus a $15 tasting flight (3 wines from the pairings in a 2.5 to 3 oz. pour).
                                One disappointment was that there was no calamari appetizer as listed on their menu online.
                                I agree with much of what's been said about prices which is why we picked Meritage. $30 for 3 courses is pretty good there, as is the fact that they added a few special things that they don't normally do. And the portions aren't smaller, it's not like a tasting menu.
                                One weird aside- what's with wine glasses in the TC? Does anyone else find most of the stemware at restaurants really cheap looking/feeling?
                                Anyway, I would definitely recommend Meritage's restaurant week menu.

                                -----
                                Meritage
                                410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                              2. re: kriminalrat

                                You have to look at the menus individually to determine where the deals are.

                                -Saffron has a monthly 3 course, $30 menu. This has been going on for years. Vincent and Oceanaire have been running 3 course $30-35 menus for the last year or two as well.
                                -Heartland's fauna menu is normally $40 (unless that's changed), so this is a $10 savings.
                                -There are plenty of values to be found, you just have to look.

                                1. re: kriminalrat

                                  I am reaffirming earlier posts regarding some places offering good deals. When I was at Cosmos with my boyfriend, neither of us finished our meals- not because the food wasn't exquisite, because it was absolutely exquisite, but because the portions were big. We chose Cosmos because the normal price of what we got would have been $70+.

                                  Another RW, we went to D' Amico Kitchen and had really good appetizers, a duck curry over corn, and interesting dessert. The point is, we felt full afterwards. And it was nummy.

                                  So there are good deals, you just have to research a bit, like everyone else said.

                                  -----
                                  Meritage
                                  410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                              3. Went to The Capital Grille last night- also one of the best values of Restaurant Week. A $8 salad, $38 steak, two sides and $9 dessert all for $30. And the portions were not any smaller- they couldn't have been as I was way full and did not finish. Insanely good! Well the caeser was good, a bit heavy on the dressing, but everything else- perfect.

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                                Capital Grille
                                801 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402

                                1. Went to Saffron last night with my sister and brother in law (neither of them had been there).

                                  We got a whole pile of stuff:

                                  Apps - From the RW menu, they got the corn soup (cold) with figs and lobster. Both of them were ready to lick the bowl at the end, so I think that's an endorsement. I had the heirloom tomato salad with arugula, marinated feta and sumac vinaigrette. Delicious...perfect summer starter. We also got the soft shell crab supplement, which was served with basil, watermelon curry and pickled radishes. I've not eaten enough crab to know how good this was, but the BIL enjoyed it thoroughly and he's an east coast guy. We also got the haloumi cheese (grilled and served with a tomato/saffron jam) and the mirqaz (sp?) sausage. Both of those were excellent. The sausage might be my favorite app/small plate at Saffron. The flavors are incredible.

                                  For mains, two of us got the brisket, one got gnocchi. The 'brisket' looked and tasted like short rib to me, but it was delicious either way. It was served with a cold cous cous salad which was a great play off the good ol' American pasta salad. Gnocchi, served with summer veggies and taleggio, was happy consumed by the group.

                                  Goat's milk cheese cake with berries, mango and a little rice krispie treat was a good way to end the meal.

                                  We all left completely stuffed and happy.

                                  1. We did Meritage on Wed, Saffron on Thurs.

                                    Meritage - we both started with the Tomato Panzenella Salad (mine sans the bread) and it was bona-fide summer on a plate. Big chunks of Cukes, Peppers, Tomatos, Feta and Olive Oil soaked bread. My main was the Shrimp and Crab Risotto with grilled corn and zucchini balls. Pretty solid flavors, but could have used more of the grilled corn, which was a nice textural contrast as well as sweet balance. S/O had the Steak Frites w/Bernaise. Hanger steak seasoned perfectly and cooked to a legitimate medium with fries that were some of the best we've had. For dessert I did the chocolate mousse, which was fine, but nothing memorable and she did the Blueberry Clafoutis, which was good but could have used the standard light dusting of sugar. Service was efficient but not necessarily warm. Cocktails were good, but pricey, obviously. Pleasant experience overall, it being our first time at Meritage and both have agreed it bumps itself near the top of our list for STP.

                                    Saffron - Also our first time dining here. Greeted warmly by Sameh's brother and seated promptly. Good way to start. Started off with the cold corn soup. Insanely good. Velvet-y, sweet, light-yet-rich. Loved it. S/O had the heirloom tomato salad w/marinated feta and pita strips. She enjoyed it but not as much as I enjoyed the soup. Mains - I did the Salmon w/dill and giant beans. Another winner. The salmon was not overdone or underdone, the beans were tasty and creamy and the addition of fresh dill enhanced both pieces of the dish. S/O had the gnocchi with summer vegetables and tallegio. She loved it. Nice mix of fresh veg with perfectly cooked parisian gnocchi and the extremely creamy and delicious tallegio. Finished with the goat cheesecake w/fruit and the chocolate ganache w/turkish coffee. The cheesecake especially was a perfect end to a great dinner and great experience.

                                    It was surprisingly busier than Meritage was at around the same time the previous night, but the service was top-notch. Everyone from the hostess, to the Wadi's to our server were warm and friendly. Cocktails were delicious as well. Great experience. A fine example of Restaurant Week success story for us as we will gladly head back there soon for another experience.

                                    -----
                                    Meritage
                                    410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: mplsean

                                      since everybody's raving about saffron's RW menu i just wanted to add that the restaurant is extending the RW menu and special price through *tonight,* Aug 7th. So maybe some folks may want to check it out last minute if you see this post. i'm not affiliated with saffron in any way, just on their e-mailing list that anybody can get on.

                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                        As mentioned earlier, they've been doing a $35 3-course monthly menu for some time. The only downside is only one option per course.

                                        1. re: BigE

                                          i thought the RW special was $30, with 2-3 options for each course? so it's different from the monthly tasting, and > 10% cheaper, if so. thought some folks might have been interested. fwiw they also offered a $15 optional wine pairing, which also sounds like a good RW special. so a couple could have 3 courses with wine pairings, and the full experience, and get out for just $90 before tip, at saffron. which, just imo, is a really great deal.

                                    2. We went to Cave Vin on Friday, for the first time.

                                      We were seated promptly (the service was prompt and extremely efficient) at what appeared to be a four top, and told that the reservations get the big tables. As it should be. I appreciated the simplicity of the space. Three rows of tables, drawing the eye to a half-walled kitchen prep space. The linear aspect is really refreshing in a neighborhood marked by Tetris-like seating charts.

                                      We were presented with menus, and an explanation that we could select two appetizers and an entree, or one each of appetizer, entree and dessert. A last second switch from escargot to mussels was giving me consternation. Problem solved. Wife ordered the calamari.

                                      Like most Minnesotans, I was no expert on escargot. I'll make it a point to be so. These were fantastic. The plating was accessible but opulent, the rich butter sauce sizzled with fried parsley, and even the wife indulged. The calamari were nice and light, accompanied by a pitch-perfect aioli, which was blissfully neither sour nor overwhelming.

                                      The mussels which arrived a couple minutes later were solidly executed, but a poor accompaniment to the escargot. It was a bit like going from a red zin to a chablis. That said, I was struck by the texture of the mussels. Not toothsome or grainy. (side note: On the regular menu, you can make a meal out of them by adding frites for $5. The portion is substantial enough to make this an option).

                                      Waitress delivered the entrees with perfect timing. Short rib for me, chicken gnocchi (a play on chicken parm) for her. Again, I'll note the plating. My short rib was accompanied by potatoes and a swaddle of haricots verts banded by a paper-thin thread of (I think) onion. I'll take this eloquent touch over the Jackson Pollack baby food saucing motifs any day.

                                      The flavors of the dish were intense. The balsamic glaze was so decadent I wondered if there was a hint of port wine, and it found it's way into the crust of the meat. I am accustomed to entrees that back off a bit, but this was full throttle. I enjoyed it quite a bit, especially since I was leaving without dessert, but the dish is anything but Minnesota nice.

                                      The chicken parmesan, standing in for the ravioli pretemps, was mediocre. The gnocchi and chicken were prepared correctly, but the herbs (more fried parsley) on the chicken were at war with the sauce. The dish is clearly outside of Cave Vin's wheelhouse, and I'm surprised they featured it during restaurant week.

                                      Pot de Creme, on the other hand, is obviously a specialty of the house. The presentation was lovely, and the bite I was able to steal evinced a surprising amount of complexity for such a rich (one runs out of synonyms for the word when eating here) dessert.

                                      A relatively minor quibble. When the bill came, we had been overcharged by $20 for our food. Not sure how this happens when everyone is ordering prix fixe, and it's a pet peeve of mine, as I feel cheap when asking for a correction.

                                      Cave Vin isn't as frequently mentioned as some of the other heavyweights in the Twin Cities, perhaps because the menu is so traditional, but we both came away very impressed. If you like your food rich and, well, French, this is your place.

                                      -----
                                      Cave Vin
                                      5555 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: kevin47

                                        Love Cave Vin, glad you liked it.

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                                        Cave Vin
                                        5555 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410