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Apr 20, 2011 07:49 AM

City Pages - Best of 2011

A couple head scratchers right off the bat...

1) Best service - Travail - Look, I love this place as much as anyone but when they get slammed, the whole chef/server thing really hampers the flow. The interaction is great and the guys are all a blast to talk to, but they inevitably get bogged down.

2) Best deli - Be'Wiched - I'm not saying this isn't the best deli in town (I've still never been), but regarding their cured meats, CP says Be'Wiched "can still compete, bite for bite, with any of the country's most noteworthy: Katz's in New York, Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, the Refuge in San Carlos." Something tells me that isn't the case.

I'd like any thoughts on this list, seeing as I haven't been to the VAST majority of restos listed.

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  1. One more, Best Thai = Nong's in Golden Valley?
    Seriously? The article goes on to praise Nong for cooking at the following fine establishments:
    Sawatdee, True Thai, and Taste of Thailand.
    Three places I would not ever even consider stepping into for Thai food. Of course Nong's is a heavy advertiser with CP, gosh wonder if there is any connection there?

    1. I feel like Citypages' Best Of is always a little internal contest they have with themselves to see if they can avoid repeating picks from year to year, or, alternatively, naming places no one goes to. It's become kind of ridiculous.

      Also, Green Mill is the best place to eat with your kids? Normally I'm not a chain snob, but Green Mill deserves no mention on any Best Of list. Ever.

      5 Replies
      1. re: gildeddawn

        I agree, gildeddawn. I was completely shocked that People's Organic got best vegetarian. It is mediocre, at best. I think it's got a "shiny" appeal because it's new...that's all.

        1. re: gildeddawn

          Green Mill was another mind boggler.

          Interesting that they are only doing a singular best restaurant. Is that new this year?

          1. re: BigE

            Shorty & Wag's for best soul good was a surprise for me. Used to love the place, but if memory serves, the menu has narrowed significantly over the last few years -- most significantly, they don't offer ribs anymore, I don't believe.

          2. re: gildeddawn

            We were just ranting about the Green Mill pick..... And discussing the fact that, between Brasa and Punch Pizza on Grand Ave. in St Paul, half of all St. Paul families with kids who are eating out on a given night are on that block. And I think anyone who's sane would be happier at either of those places than Green Mill. It just furthers the idea that once one has children, one can only eat at crappy chain-y restaurants.

            Punch Pizza
            3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

            1. re: mtullius

              Speaking of which: their selection for "Best Pizza" is an entry that should have been titled, "Best Pizza When You're Drunk After Closing Time."

              Overall, the list seems more fascinated with what's new and/or trendy than what's good.

          3. I think the Travail pick is simply being a bit too clever. Ditto Heid's as best new restaurant.

            Green Mill as best place to eat out with kids? As a chain, it's better than most, but come on. MGM anyone?

            I can't argue with Piccolo as best restaurant, though I have my own personal preferences.

            Happy to see them acknowledge Chimborazo, T's and Sole Cafe. These are all excellent choices to eat.

            Don't agree with Salsa a la Salsa as best Mexican. It's a throwback to an era when Mexican restaurants charged too much money for a little authenticity.

            I'm glad they didn't try to get clever in the cocktails category. Bradstreet is an easy choice.

            Be'Wiched is quite a bit different from Zingerman's, but the quality is there, IMO.

            I don't know that Barbette is all that romantic.

            Nong's Thai cuisine? I haven't been, but I'm skeptical.

            Best fries at Anchor? Hmmm... They're tasty, and a great accompaniment to the fish, but I don't know if I'd recommend them on their own.

            The horseradish vodka at MOTH is worthy of a shout out.

            Spasso has complimentary corkage AND car service? How does it make any money?

            3 Replies
            1. re: kevin47

              Abbreviations make me crazy. Are you saying the best place to eat with kids is at a liquor store or did you mean Midtown Global Market?

              What the heck is MOTH? Make Our Time Hurry? Man of the House? Made of Total Herbage? Oh, Moscow on the Hill.

              As for best Mexican, I think Salsa a la Salsa is a middle of the road choice.

              The Anchor may have the best fries but as a vegetarian I'll never know since they're fried in tallow. I am not denigrating the pick, just sayin'.

              Finding out that Udupi's former chef is back in the kitchen, means I'll have to make my way to Amu's Madras Café. So, yay!

              I agree that they do tend to try and make different picks every year. That's not altogether a bad thing since it points out places I might not have thought about.

              Midtown Global Market
              920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

              1. re: kevin47

                "Nong's Thai cuisine? I haven't been, but I'm skeptical."

                Be very skeptical and sit on your wallet. The original purveyor of "how much sugar" can I add to your Thai food before your teeth fall out."



              2. The biggest surprise is Scusi for best wine list? I get the Italian theme but they don't have much quality offerings. Also not putting down the vintage of the wine should never allow one to win best wine list and their sparkling category needs serious help.

                1. I wanna try the Anchor fries now..

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Warehouse

                    I haven't had the Anchor fries in some time, but at a recent visit my wife and I agreed that the Town Hall Tap's fries were killer.

                    1. re: parkermsp

                      I want to try the Town Hall Tap's fries now. I gave Anchor two tries with the Fish and Chips. And both times I could easily sum up my experience by saying "greasy and soggy" to the Chips... AND the Fish. Considering the buzz that was going around this place it was a big disappointment. Never again.

                      Udupi's former chef is back in the kitchen at Amu's Madras Café? Count me in. I have had good luck at Dosa King for veg Indian, but it's too far out there to get to regular like. Thanks for the tip. I'd rather read about the CP Best Of here, I gave up on that rag decades ago. And, I think, with good reason. Sweet Potato, now THERE was a local scene paper.

                      1. re: sandylc

                        Yup! VIncent's fries are something special.