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Another date, another meal

Since y'all were so helpful last time. 4th date. Looking for a cozy, intimate neighborhood restaurant. I'm thinking either Grand Cafe or Piccolo. I've been to Grand Cafe a lot for brunch but never dinner. I'm less excited and leaning towards Piccolo. What do you all think?

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  1. I love Piccolo ... and on my first trip there we witnessed a date crash & burn because one person wasn't fully tuned in to what Piccolo is about. It's cozy, it's intimate, and the tiny plates of tastes are all about savoring the creativity of the ingredient flavors and textures.

    Piccolo is wonderful. It is not for every set of diners. Whether it would be a good choice for a 4th date depends entirely on the strength & commonalities in your relationship with regard to expensive, adventurous food.

    If you're not 100% sure that he would equally excited to try some very conceptual cooking, try Blackbird or Tilia or Levain or Trattoria Tosca or any number of options.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KTFoley

      Hmmmm. I've looked at the menu again after reading your comments and I'm starting to think Piccolo might not be the best choice for us. He considers himself a foodie but isn't necessarily adventurous. He prefers seafood usually; he likes to eat light. I'm thinking that Piccolo might be a bit too much this early? He wanted to go somewhere cozy in my neighbourhood, and I was hoping to work a walk into it. I'm still thinking maybe the Grand Cafe is the best bet? They have a good wine list too, and this is important to him. I'm not a fan of Blackbird at all. I think it's unexciting and often not very well executed. Price isn't really an issue though, so I'll look into those other places.

    2. First thought was Barbette, but in your previous thread you mentioned you go there often. Grand Cafe is a good choice as is Piccolo. I've been to both for dinner. Piccolo may not be very "intimate," depending on how you define that. The tables are quite close together, and the lighting is brighter than one would think (unless you get a seat in the back (behind the kitchen). But Piccolo is adventurous, and you could order a lot of different plates and taste each others' dishes.

      Other choices near those places that would work for you are Corner Table and Cafe Ena. And not too much further from those, I strongly recommend In Season.

      Of the places mentioned by KTFoley in the last sentence, I can recommend Levain and Trattoria Tosca. Good ambience and food at both places. I simply haven't been to the new Blackbird or to Tilia yet.

      On the other side of the river from downtown, there's always Alma. And I'll also put in a plug for Butcher Block.

      Plenty of options for cozy, intimate 4th date.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Brad Ballinger

        Thanks so much! I adore Alma but like I said above, I'd like it to be somewhere we can walk to from my place. Somewhere in Kingfield/East Harriet....

        1. re: pistachio peas

          Must have missed that bit about walking from your place. If 46th and Grand isn't too far away, I'd consider Cafe Ena. I think they do a great job with seafood, particularly the ceviche. But you can't go wrong with Corner Table, either.

          And if 4th date means what 4th date usually means, you could save Grand Cafe for breakfast.

        2. re: Brad Ballinger

          Tell me more about Corner Table!

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          Corner Table
          4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409

          1. re: pistachio peas

            Here is a rather long-winded review of my trip to Corner Table last week...

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/780176

            If you've never been, I'd highly recommend it. Small, cozy, laid back, incredible (locally sourced) food.

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            Corner Table
            4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409

          2. re: Brad Ballinger

            Went to Cafe Ena tonight with a friend, and it was great! The ceviche was fantastic. We also had beer battered shrimp appetizer, the pork special and churros for dessert. Excellent. So excited to have such a nice cozy place nearby.

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            Cafe Ena
            4601 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

          3. Grand Cafe is very good and the space at night is really sweetly romantic. My husband and I go quite a bit and are rarely disappointed. Mary Hunter is a gracious host, which always helps.

            I'd suggest 2 other places in that area, Corner Table and Cave Vin. I like both but have been somewhat addicted to Cave Vin lately. The last 2 times I've eaten there have been fantastic.

            Blackbird is another favorite but the feel of the restaurant is a little less intimate and cozy in the new space.

            Haven't been to Piccolo yet- hear nothing but great things.

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            Corner Table
            4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409

            Cave Vin
            5555 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410

            3 Replies
            1. re: meljohns

              I'll second the Cave Vin suggestion. Went there because Lola (next door) was packed and we didn't want to wait so we went there and were blown away.

              Anyway, it would be perfect for what you are looking for as well...

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              Cave Vin
              5555 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410

              1. re: WeZeL27

                Cave Vin would be a bit more 4th-datish. Piccolo is more of a culinary adventure, the room is LOUD, and the seating tight. It's a great restaurant for two people who know they are into food and want that to be the focus.

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                Cave Vin
                5555 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410

                1. re: kevin47

                  I'm surprised by the number of people saying Piccolo is loud! It looks so small and quiet. thanks for the heads up on that!

            2. I agree with everything that has been said before regarding both Piccolo and Grand Cafe. If your date is an adventurous eater who "gets" it, Piccolo would be a fun, albeit possibly expensive, dinner destination.

              I also love most of the other restaurants suggested, especially In Season, Trattoria Tosca or Levain. (I enjoyed my meal at In Season more than my meal at Piccolo, but others probably have had different experiences.)

              I would probably hold off of Tilia for the moment though. I've heard really good things about the place, but I've also heard from friends and read other reports that it's swamped most of the time.

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              In Season
              5416 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

              1. i'm not sure my advice is good after date #3 ;-P

                if it were me, i'd be most excited to go on a date to piccolo or in season, for the awesome food experience.

                but if i were trying to make sure a 4th date went swimmingly my vote would be with the cave vin fans & cave vin was my 1st thought when i saw the post. i like scott & corner table, but i've had some really uneven meals there. the current kitchen crew is quite strong so maybe all that's in the past-- still though, i think the restaurant can be almost too neighborhoody/cliquish if you catch a bad bounce. i think corner table would be a great date #8-20, especially later in the season when the local produce will really shine!

                1 Reply
                1. re: soupkitten

                  awww, don't be silly! your recommendations were lovely! cave vin sounds amazing but it's quite the hike for walking. i'm thinking corner table.