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Jan 24, 2011 09:08 PM

N.Y./L.A. Hound in for Business

I would appreciate any help from you diligent Minneapolis hounds. I'm coming into town soon and need two very good places to go dinner, as well as a good place to have a pint and maybe a scotch. Staying in downtown (Uptown?) Minneapolis and probably won't be leaving that area. Based on some preliminary research, it sounds like Bar La Grassa is a good bet, and I was thinking Bradstreet Crafthouse for a later dinner the night I come in. Also, any suggestions for a good cup of coffee, preferably on the Skywalk, would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Bar La Grassa
800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401

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  1. I'd be happy to oblige you if I knew a little more about what you're looking for exactly. I've not been to Bar La Grassa, but most on this board seem to like it. It's sister restaurant, 112 eatery, is also a board favorite and a little closer to the hotels downtown. (Where are you staying, BTW?)

    I'd recommend Saffron, which is across the street from 112. Other favorites of mine that are downtown include Vincent, Solera, and Cafe Lurcat. (Having said that, there are probably equivalent or better French, tapas, and Craft-like restaurants in NY and/or LA.)

    Chances are you will be taking a cab to Bar La Grassa, so I would suggest you think a little further afield than the central business district or the warehouse district.

    By the way, Uptown is distinct from Downtown - it's about a 10 minute cab ride, and locals refer to the habitrail system between buildings as the Skyway, not the Skywalk. Coffee is variable within the skyway system. I can't think of a stellar cup anywhere to give you a solid recommendation. You will run into our local chain - Caribou - and it's about on the level of Starbucks.

    Cafe Lurcat
    1624 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403

    900 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Bar La Grassa
    800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401

    1. Hotel location and budget are important. Chances are pretty good you'll be in downtown, not uptown. Assuming that is the case...

      Bar La Grassa is nice, but extremely loud. Its always packed and they aren't shy about the music volume. Really good food, just be prepared for that type of atmosphere. This would be a short (~5 minute) cab ride from most downtown hotels.

      Other than that, I'd second the recommendation for Saffron. Really well done middle eastern/north African food from a great young chef. Could be walkable, otherwise an even shorter cab ride than Bar La Grassa.

      Cosmos definitely deserves a nod. Super chic room with some of the best food in town. This is probably walkable from your hotel.

      As far as your desire for a pint or a scotch, I'm really not sure what the best spot would be. I've never ventured to DT Minneapolis in search of that.

      Bradstreet is in the same hotel as Cosmo's. Mainly known for their house made cocktails, I have no idea about the beer/whiskey selection.

      Bar La Grassa
      800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401

      1. Bradstreet is perfect for a later dinner, I think, though you can't skip having a cocktail there.

        BLG is good, but not great for solo dining (part of the fun, IMO, is splitting a bunch of items), and I'm somewhat hesitant to recommend Italian to anyone from NY. That said, I'm not quite as enamored of the place as others are here.

        Saffron is just excellent right now. Really interesting food executed at the highest level.

        1. 2nd....
          Are you planning business dinners? Bar la Grassa would be a tough one to conduct too much conversation, as well as 112 eatery. If you are eating for pleasure, I would hit BLG,(112 has had too many salt related issues for me lately) For business, Saffron, Cosmos, Steakhouses would fit the bill more, although may be a let down if you are an avid steak eater in NYC. Restaurant Alma is truly midwestern, with really nicely executed food, wine and great price, but service can be casual(but professional) on the business end and could be followed by a great beer selection at the Bulldog bar in the same vicinity. As for brown booze, La Grassa has a nice bourbon selection, with van winkel reasonably priced, but if you are strictly looking for scotch, I would forego the Bradstreet and go upstairs to the bar at cosmos. Bradstreet has more cocktail functional brown spirits, so they aren't super geared towards the single malt drinker. The food is nice for a late dinner at Bradstreet, the BLT is a nice piece of belly, but it really is one note small plates themed, no composed dishes.
          Haute dish may be worth visiting for you, to get a little different later night dining option(at least kitchen open til midnight or 1) and it has an LA's Animal restaurant air to it. Great bar here too, I think the bar itself is 100 years old. Uptown for me, with the exception of Lucia's and Barbette can really be a culinary bermuda triangle, with some good ideas and less good execution, so polished it would not be, as far as big city standards go.

          Coffee culture here is about 10 yrs behind NY, Chi and LA, as we just saw our first Intelligentsia sanctioned cafe open about 1 yr ago.

          Lucia's Restaurant
          1432 W 31st St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

          Restaurant Alma
          528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

          1600 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

          Bulldog NE
          401 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

          Manny's Steakhouse
          825 Marquette Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55402

          Capital Grille
          801 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402

          Cosmos Restaturant
          601 First Avenue North Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN 55403

          Saffron Restaurant & Lounge
          123 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          Murray's Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge
          26 S 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402

          Bradstreet Craftshouse Restaurant
          601 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55403

          SEVEN | The Steakhouse
          700 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

          2 Replies
          1. re: mitch cumstein

            that's an interesting take on the local coffee culture, to be sure. i would disagree that coffee in msp needs to be "approved" (read supplied) by a national corp to be viable. minnesota is the only state in the union to have more coffee shops that are not starbucks, than starbucks. msp has very good local roasters that have kept intelligentsia etc. out of the market. msp also has a good independent coffee shop scene similar to seattle's--just not downtown minneapolis, where the rent is high. there is a dunn bros. (small local coffee chain) on nicollet mall and another off washington ave and 3rd, and i would only assume there would be several caribous (large local coffee chain) in the skyway. imo, caribou does not suck nearly as bad as starbucks. dunn bros borders on acceptability, though i avoid the dark roasts there.

            1. re: soupkitten

              I agree. I love the Dunn Brothers branch on Hennipen (and 34?). I like the fact that in Minneapolis I do not have to step into a Starbucks. My favorite though is Anodyne on 43rd and Nicollet.

          2. As others have commented... some more details would help such as which hotel, how many diners, and types of cuisine you prefer.

            I breezed through most of the replies above and nothing jumped out to answer your pint/scotch question. Louder atmosphere for this would be Brit's Pub. Not quite as loud (but not pin-drop quiet, either) would be The Local. One person commented on having a cocktail when at Bradstreet. That's an absolute must. Ask them to make you a Son of a Preacher Man.