Red Rossa - Bloomington, MN (MOA Area)
As some of you know, I work near the Mall of America/494 Strip/Airport and recognize it as the most culinary devoid bunch of square miles in all of Minnesota.
Over the last few months, I watched with indifference as they tore apart the horribly ugly Best Western next to the Mall and remodeled it into a slightly less horribly ugly hotel. As they did so, they glued on a large restaurant space to the freeway side of the hotel.
Recently, Red Rossa Italian Grille opened there. I researched for about 3 minutes and discovered it's a Sioux Falls-based restaurant. I asked my Sioux Falls-based friend and she said she hadn't been impressed with their one visit.
Anyway, I stopped over there for lunch a couple of weeks ago with very low expectations (part the location, part the cheesy name, part the input from my friend).
As it turns out, it's a surprisingly pleasant place to eat.
They aren't sourcing from the farmers' markets, nor do they have a signature chef at the helm, but I have now had (or tasted) about 6 or 7 different entrees, some of the kids' offerings, a couple appetizers, etc. and universally, the ingredients used are fresh, the dishes are clearly crafted by cooks with culinary skills, and most importantly, the food tastes good.
The menu is fairly extensive, including a back page of wood-fired pizzas (not bad but not going to challenge the VPN places in town or Black Sheep, etc.). They have quite a few gluten-free options for those that care.
It's equal to, or better than every restaurant in the Mall (although that's not saying much) and quite a bit less expensive. Certainly, there isn't a restaurant within a reasonable radius that is as good.
Anyway, if you're in the Mall or the area of the Mall and you want a meal that won't make you feel like you've just torched a $20 bill, Red Rossa is a surprisingly good choice.