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Oct 26, 2010 11:16 AM

one day, one lunch, one great experience?

I'll be in Minneapolis on Tuesday November 23rd. Lunch ideas?

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  1. I'm not sure you'll get a good quality response with that broad request.

    1. It would be helpful to know where in Minneapolis. Downtown, NE, Uptown?

      MSPD is right, this is going to be a tough one as most of the great experiences aren't over lunch. Here are my thoughts:

      Northeast: The Modern Cafe. Classic American comfort food. Old school diner feel.

      Downtown: Cosmos in the Graves Hotel. For my money, the best designed room in the Twin Cities and creative menus.

      Uptown: Lucia's. Lucia Watson has been on the forefront of the fresh and local movement for years.

      Have fun.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Db Cooper

        Cosmos looks good on its website. What about the bad reviews on this site? Have you been for lunch?

        Thanks for the suggestion.

        1. re: misterodell

          I was just there on monday for lunch. The level of service is a little too intense for most minnesotans, it's very proper. My lunch was good, a foie amuse with a fresh sweet potato chip was a nice start, lobster bisque was balanced, I enjoyed my deviled eggs, and my tuna was very nice. I would say that there is a lot of subtle notes in the dishes that may not be appreciated by some, and the dining room had next to no-one in it, but it was a very enjoyable meal.

          It really is comparable service to what you find in the higher end hotels internationally, and if you will peruse some previous posts on local service, the contrast is pretty stark. It took me a secon to relax, almost, but then I felt very comfortable, and remembered what it was like to dine when the thoughts in the back of your mind aren't "I would really enjoy this dirty silver off my table from 2 dishes ago, or, water- just need some water."

          I think Cosmos gets a bit overlooked, and is so different than it really seems we like to dine in mpls, it was a small vacation to someplace else.

      2. Downtown.
        I know lunch isn't the best time to fully experience the chef's offering but it is the only time frame that I have available.
        I like to venture beyond 'normal' if that helps.

        Thanks for your advice.

        6 Replies
        1. re: misterodell

          The sandwiches at Be'Wiched are fantastic, and the soups are very good as well. Black Sheep pizza is arguably the best in the state. While pizza and sandwiches are standard lunch fare, you'll get more exotic flavors at those places for lunch that at most restaurants downtown.

          If that doesn't appeal to you, give Mission a try. The daily omelet, in particular, is worth the trip.

          1. re: kevin47

            I'm a strong proponent of Be'Wiched IF you tend to be someone that appreciates very high quality ingredients and skilled preparation. I've met quite a few people that didn't really "get" Be'Wiched -- those tend to be my less discerning "why isn't this pastrami sandwich 4 pounds" friends. The pastrami sandwich at Be'Wiched is a must if you love great, well-prepared pastrami.

            I also enjoy Black Sheep, especially with a salad and their Surly on tap. It's not particularly unique, but you won't blow the bank and you likely won't walk away feeling like you wasted a meal. So...excellent recommendations kevin47.

            mistero, I haven't experienced any negatives at Cosmos. I find the food to be imaginative and the last time I was there, had one of the most knowledgeable and pleasant service experiences I've ever had in MSP.

            I'll put this lunch deal on the map -- the other day when I was at D'Amico Kitchen in the Chambers Hotel (whatever it's called now) they had a card on the table promoting a $10, "choose three" lunch special. Both my wife and I thought it sounded like an absolute steal. Their Web-posted lunch prix fixe deal is north of $20, but you can just order off the lunch menu. I guess that would be my recommendation for a single downtown lunch experience.

            1. re: MSPD

              MSPD thanks for the heads up on the Prix Fixe at D'Amico's. I frequent one of their places here in Naples. Always a good experience. I even worked for them when they first opened the Int'l Market Square(?). Oh, the memories. Why doesn't anyone mention Manny's?

              Thanks for the great recs.

              1. re: misterodell

                Why doesn't anyone mention Manny's? Because expensive steak in a pretentious atmosphere is really boring. That's not to say it's not a great place to work, but it's not a place I'd willingly choose for lunch... Me, I'd go to Vincent or Be'Wiched or Chimborazo or -- if a trip to St. Paul was possible -- Ngon Bistro or Heartland's new deli or Saigon (for $4 sandwiches or $6 pho). But I'm a peasant - I care more about good food than a "look how much I can spend on lunch" restaurant.

                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  The steakhouses are also pretty notorious for diminished quality during the lunch hour.

                  How long is your lunch break? Taking the bus south of downtown will get you to some unique stuff in about ten minutes (straight shot, with a straight shot back). Quang Vietnamese and Evergreen Chinese are each about three miles south, and each is cheap.

                  Evergreen Chinese Restaurant
                  2424 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

          2. re: misterodell

            I've done Cosmos for lunch twice and was impressed both times. I will say that it was over a year ago so the menu has obviously changed (I work in the suburbs now which means free parking, but awful dining options).

            Mitch is right. The service is very proper and it is a level of formality that most MN residents aren't used to. The room itself is also very modern which is something that can cause the traditional meat and potatoes crowd some discomfort. But for a memorable lunch, I can't think of anything better downtown.

            Mission is also a good suggestion.

          3. I would go to Vincent. It can be a little slowly paced at lunchtime, but the food is fantastic, and there is a two-course prix fixe option ($12.50 I think). There are some great sandwich options (including a burger that I love, but that has received mixed opinions here, I think), an omelette of the day, and usually one or two "inspirations of the moment" that might be on more unusual side. (There used to be actually something on the menu titled "something unusual" or something similar, but I'm not sure if Vincent is still doing that.) I also love to get "Vincent's favorite childhood dessert" after a nice lunch--it's vanilla ice cream served with hot chocolate sauce from a little pitcher, and some madeline cookies. Vincent is my favorite downtown lunch option, and I wish I could get there more often.

            As for Cosmos . . . I have been once for lunch and was underwhelmed, and once for dinner, and was totally turned off. I posted about that bad experience here already, but I didn't find the service to be too formal or professional, I found it to be completely offputting and unprofessional. I guess my experience wasn't the norm, but I can handle formal, professional service, and I didn't get it at Cosmos.

            5 Replies
            1. re: baa

              I'm going to gently disagree here. The prix fixe lunch at Vincent is a good deal, but it's not that spectacular in terms of the food and overall experience. Pretty good, but not great. If I only had one lunch in Minneapolis, I'm afraid dining at Vincent wouldn't do it for me. But, I don't really have anything to offer over and above all of the other suggestions being thrown out. Maybe Hell's Kitchen but order off the breakfast menu if they'll let you? (their lunch isn't as good as their breakfast). Everything at HK (catsup, peanut butter, etc.) is made from scratch. Their bison breakfast bread sounds gross, but it's fantastic. The wild rice porridge is rich, but a real treat. I love the lemon ricotta hotcakes.

              Really, if it were me and I had a little time, I'd hop in a cab and head over to Eat Street for some pho, but I don't think that's what the OP asked for...

              Mr. O'Dell, from where are you visiting? That might help us narrow in on some recs.


              Hell's Kitchen
              80 South 9th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

              1. re: The Dairy Queen


                Dairy Queen, thanks for the reply. My brother recommended breakfast at HK which I'll try if I have time before lunch. His wife said something about Wild Rice porridge and the bison bkfst bread. She's pretty cool so I think I'm going to give it a try if possible.

                My lunch companion as I just found out is kinda of set on going to Manny's. Any comments?

                I would like to visit Manny's as I would like to work there starting sometime in April after I move to Mpls. I'm just not sure that is where I want to lunch.

                She wants to go to BLG but they don't have lunch.

                Thanks for the comments.

                oops, forgot to mention that I am coming from Naples, FL. Lot's of restaurants but only a few good ones. And, only 2 or 4 really good ones.

                1. re: misterodell

                  If you go, don't miss the porridge. If you are going to get lunch at Manny's (see comments above first...) you might want to stop at the porridge. It is the most filling thing substance on the planet. HK serves breakfast all day. It's the only stuff worth ordering.

                  1. re: kevin47

                    I recommend just a cup of the porridge at HK. It's still rich (I can't even finish a cup to be honest: I always have to share), but then you can get something else, too. HK sells their peanut butter, hot chocolate mix and some other condiments to go. I know you can mail order the bison bread, so, maybe you can get that to take home with you, too. If you find yourself too full or with too many dining options and not enough meals, maybe at least get some things from HK to take home with you. Take-out is, of course, a diminished experience vs. dining in, but it's better than no experience at all. And, HK is only a block from Manny's.

                    Do you have two real meal slots available--breakfast and lunch--or do you really just have lunch and you're trying to squeeze in a clandestine extra stop at HK? If you have both breakfast and lunch, would your companion considering going for to Manny's for breakfast, and since Kevin47 confirms that HK serves breakfast all day (thanks, k-47), go to HK at lunchtime and order off the breakfast menu?

                    Manny's has this brulee and and banana topped steel cut oatmeal that I really like, though, maybe it's not what you typically think to order for your steakhouse experience, and an awesome kobe short ribs benedict that is way too much food for one person, but tender and delicious, though a wee salty, probably from being reduced forever. Manny's breakfast menu is almost even competitively priced.

                    Also, if you just can't squeeze Manny's in for a normal meal, they are the kitchen for the entire W Hotel (you aren't staying the night before in MPLS, right? If so, There's something pretty awesome about ordering room service at the W and having them bring you something from Manny's, say sliders and tots) and do the bar menu for the W's bars: "the living room" which is in the lobby and opens at 3pm and "Prohibition" which is upstairs and doesn't open until 5pm. Maybe stop in for happy hour before heading to the airport? It's a bit of a scene, but I just ignore all that and focus on the food.

                    Is that all too juggled into a random order? I just want you to be able to work in at least some of what you really want to try.

                    Maybe you'd just better go to Cosmos and forget the juggling. ;-).


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Hell's Kitchen is an interesting novelty restaurant with uneven quality. Vincent has never failed to deliver. Haven't been to Manny's in years, but we used to eat there frequently; I see online that they no longer have prime beef. I would consider eating at Lucia's. We have eaten there for 25 years. Cosmos is on our try soon list. We like Masa, also.

                      Hell's Kitchen
                      80 South 9th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

                      1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403