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Oct 20, 2010 08:11 PM

NH hound has 1 dinner to get the taste of MPLS

Business dinner, but with co-workers & not looking to "impress" (or spend tons of money). 1 vegetarian (me), others omnivores. Would love chef-driven/local/sustainable. Staying near new Marriott Minneapolis Autograph and would prefer to avoid going too far.

"Narrowed" it down to:
- 112 Eatery
- Barbette
- Spoonriver
- Red Stag Supper Club
- Heartland
- Bar la Grassa

Doesn't have to be a peak food experience - but fun & unique would be great. How would you rank, or suggest other ideas? Thanks!

750 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

112 Eatery
112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Red Stag Supper Club
509 1st Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

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  1. I'm also a vegetarian.

    Heartland is in downtown St. Paul, about 15 minutes away. I went before they moved, but they've always offered a 3 course vegetarian meal for $30 (the meaty meal is $40). Another awesome St. Paul location is Mertage, who were also very veg-friendly to me (I had a 5 course tasting), even seeming to take it as a challenge to impress. My best meal to date.

    I just read today that the new chef at Barbette is very vegetarian, even vegan, friendly. I haven't been, but it got added to my list of must-trys. I believe they've previously had some health code issues, along with their sister restaurant, but imagine those are long-over. One would hope anyways.

    My other insta-rec is Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Robbinsdale, about 10 minutes from downtown. Casual setting, well executed food, gorgeous plates. Bean bag toss in the back, foi gras in the front. They don't take reservations and weekend evening waits are now pushing 90 minutes so get there before 6pm. $7 - 13 plates. Portions are smaller, don't expect a giant slab of meat or a pile of starch to simply fill your gullet. No website but you can find them on Facebook.

    1 Reply
    1. re: semanticantics

      If you find Travail on Facebook, they sometimes post their menus there.

      I think everything on the OP's list is good, but I think Red Stag would probably fit the "fun and unique" description best, as well as having a very strong focus on being local and sustainable. It's a nice, comfy atmosphere and sometimes they have cool, low-key live music in the later part of the evening.

    2. Haute Dish is definitely worth a look. It's quite close to your hotel and offers an upscale, playful take on classic Midwestern comfort foods. The menu is a ton of fun, but it might not be the most vegetarian-friendly.

      5 Replies
      1. re: keithinmpls

        There is literally nothing on the Haute Dish menu, last I checked, that is remotely veg-friendly. Of what I've read from the chef, it seems he'd also rather not have you ask.

        Piccolo has a few veg options, but is also towards the high end for price. Alma offers a vegetarian tasting menu ($35?) with choose-your-own 4 courses. The chef also won the James Beard award this year.

        Edit: Haute Dish appears to offer a house salad in the classic Iceberg Wedge style.

        1. re: keithinmpls

          to say that haute dish is veg un-friendly is charitable. the chef would probably take pride in saying haute dish is veg-hostile.

          1. re: soupkitten

            I love Haute Dish, but I'm carnivore all the way. Completely agree that you're hard pressed to eat vegetarian there, but I have been there with a vegetarian colleague before. He had the house salad and then ordered the mac and cheese without the crab. I think there was one other thing they could have made veg-friendly for him, but I don't remember what it was. I'd avoid it if you need vegetarian options.

            1. re: soupkitten

              kay, i stand corrected and gotta eat my words on the veg-hostile aspect of haute dish, which has unrolled a new veg tasting menu for $30. sounds pretty good.


              1. re: soupkitten

                Yup. Saw that too. Intriguing. Debated doing it for my birthday dinner.

                Victory 44 announced a 5 course veg tasting menu for Thursdays for $30 too.

                Victory 44
                2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

          2. How many of you will there be?

            As much as I like the non-downtown Minneapolis places on your list, you might just be better off in that vicinity if many of you have to get there. From your list, 112 is the shortest walk. Spoonriver is also walkable. Bar La Grassa and Red Stag would truly get you stretching your legs (and walking off the calories consumed at dinner).

            To your list, I would also add Saffron and Sea Change.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Brad Ballinger

              agree with this.

              heartland might be the best pick, but it's also a big schlep (to st paul) by cab out of your immediate vicinity. barbette will be a shorter cab into uptown. other choices are walkable.

              spoonriver will please you, the veg-- but maybe not your omni friends, so much. blg is a great choice, and can be a lot of fun. red stag is across the river, & at that rate i'd just go to restaurant alma (same distance) and have a great experience, rather than the up-nort supper clubby thing at red stag (which i like, but not for a 1-meal to do mpls type way). i think saffron is a great choice with really innovative and delicious chef-driven food.

            2. Pilletsh, I’m not sure where some of the other contributors have received their information, but I stopped by HauteDish Monday night (its right downtown) and was very pleased with the vegetarian selections. A friend had told me about a stuffed red pepper dish that was vegetarian, but unfortunately the menu had just been seasonally revised and it was gone. However, aside from the Med plate I started with, which is always on, vegetarian and GREAT, I was happily made a veg gnocchi dish with kale, parsnips and prunes. There are a few pesco options as well. I'd say fun and unique definitely characterizes the menu, the way its written & executed! My server also mentioned that starting in November, the chef and his team will have a vegetarian tasting menu every Sunday evening. Doesn’t sound too hostile at all, don’t believe everything you read, I guess. I would totally recommend Alma and Sea Change as well, fantastic food.

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

              3 Replies
              1. re: AldigsMpls

                This contributor has "received her information" by eating at Haute Dish many times. That said, glad to hear it sounds like they are changing things to be more vegetarian friendly.

                1. re: AldigsMpls

                  Well, when they opened there weren't any vegetarian dishes that I can think of. Throwing a house salad on the menu isn't exactly a reason to stop in either. When they opened it was a "hey, meat only place", as is the fashion of the day, and the chef is a bit notorious for being temperamental. It still doesn't sound like a place for a vegetarian to go out of their way for, but I'll keep track of their menu for future reference.

                  I realize my diet is my choice, but there is a difference between being humored and being welcomed. Any dummy can warm up a $30 slab of meat and be considered a good cook, it takes a lot more skill to make a zucchini interesting.

                  1. re: AldigsMpls

                    The Med Plate is vegetarian if you skip the panna cotta. I guess, but as that's the centerpiece of the dish I don't think you can truly call it a vegetarian option. Which leaves a salad as the vegetarian option on the menu. Which brings us back to Haute Dish not being a vegetarian friendly place. At the moment.

                    If they start serving a vegetarian tasting menu I'm saving up and making a reservation.

                  2. Of your list I vote for 112 Eatery or Heartland. But I will recommend Restaurant Alma not on your list, probably my favorite place in MPLS. All these suggestions are based on deliciousness not "fun". Have not checked out Bar la Grassa though I heat that is the place to perhaps that encompasses all the criteria.

                    112 is walkable and I recommend a reservation, Heartland requires a cab to St. Paul, Alma is a short cab north.


                    Restaurant Alma
                    528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                    112 Eatery
                    112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401