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Minneapolis weekend

Thanks for your great recommendations for Minneapolis. In a little while, I am going there for a weekend with some other foodie friends. How does this look below? Also, I was wondering if people could suggest some good "cocktail" locations - vintage drinks with local ingredients perhaps?

#1 Dinner choice
#2 Choice for dinner, lunch; definitely brunch!
#3 Choice for dinner, lunch or maybe brunch
Strip Club - drink/small plate?

Vietnamese LUNCH!!!
Upscale: http://ngonbistro.com/dinnermenu.pdf (YUM possibility)

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  1. I'd swap Craftsman for Heidi's if you are doing dinner. Otherwise great choices. Bradstreet for cocktails.

    1. Certainly a solid list. For the top bar, I believe Marvel Bar is the place at the moment.

      If you're looking for a local ethnic kick, check out the Hmong Village for street-food style stalls. Ngon is very good though.

      For Brunch I think Blackbird Cafe is doing wondrous things.

      My favorite restaurant is Travail. There is a bit of rigamarole to get in (be there before they open and wait in line), but they do a 10 course tasting for 2 for $80. It's super-foodie, casual, and fun.

      If I was going somewhere on someone else's dime, I would choose Alma or Piccolo.

      1 Reply
      1. Sure...sounds good. Craftsman doesn't really excite me...not bad, but not in my top 10 places to eat in MSP. Meritage, Heidi's, Piccolo...all more fascinating to me.

        For drinks, the Strip Club is going to be good. Bradstreet Crafthouse and the lounge at La Belle Vie are known for their mixology/great and thoughtful cocktails.

        1. My vote on your choices: Awesome! Though me, instead of dinner at Craftsman, I might try to squeeze in a visit to Victory 44 - or Travail, if I felt like waiting in an endless line or could arrive at 5pm.

          1. echo the others here....scrap Craftsman.

            1. i would also swap out the craftsman meal (it was once a favorite of mine, but there have been chef changes). *all* of the other suggestions here are really good. piccolo would be my personal rec, or alma-- but it depends on what appeals to you.

              your list looks great, and very local-foods-excellent, otherwise. i do want to note that since you are hitting these great spots in both minneapolis and st. paul, i hope you will have a car (sorry, some visitors don't get the twin cities' spread before their 1st visit)!

              1. I need to stick up for Craftsman. I ate there last Saturday and about a month before that. Great things are happening there. Charcuterie plate was divine. Pork chop incredible. Duck breast flawless. If your experiences aren't recent, I'd suggest a revisit.

                To the OP: I'd do dinner at Strip Club rather than small plates. But I'd do In Season or Alma before anything you have listed. You might still be able to get in. I'd add Piccolo, but I don't think you'll get a table with this little lead time.

                For pre-prohibition cocktails, I'd go to Bradstreet Crafthouse. Great vibe to the place as well. And they make their own bitters.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Brad Ballinger

                  Thank you for sharing your experience at Craftsman. I haven't been in awhile and was very disheartened by the downhill reports. Honestly, though, Craftsman was always inconsistent even before the chef change. Still, I always liked the place when it was good so I'm glad to hear there is still potential.


                  1. re: Brad Ballinger

                    I live pretty close to the Craftsman and have been regular there (Once every month or two so since it opened.) Before that I enjoyed Chet's Taverna which was Micheal Phillips small resto before that in st paul. The restaurant got its real footing when Micheal took over as chef. (I don't recall exactly how long the original chef was involved.) Since Mike left it has not changed radically. Menu has been pretty similar and we have always enjoyed the service there. The chacuterie plate is still pretty darn good and at least most still made in house.

                    Rick Nelson gave a lot of love last weekend to Benjamin Jacoby, the current Craftsmen chef who started as a dish washer at Chet's and was 2nd in the kitchen with Mike at Craftsman. http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/...

                    I am always happy to go there. The only thing I would like to see is more regular changes on the menu.

                    1. re: dalewest

                      Yah, it's good if you stick to the carnivore options. But I also have to admit, they are so good that I'm not prone to wander to other menu items. :o)

                      1. re: dalewest

                        Oh, I loved Loved LOVED Chet's Taverna! I'm sending all that love to Micheal Phillips and his family, whereever they are now. (I know Michael had some health issues that prompted the closing of Chet's.)

                        And thanks for the recent update on the Craftsman - I'll give them another try.

                        1. re: AnneInMpls

                          Mike Phillips is the owner/partner of Green Ox Charcuterie. HIs meat is delicious.

                      2. re: Brad Ballinger

                        wow, really good to know. i was/am a huge fan of mike phillips and understood a large part of the staff went with him when he left. i'll admit i haven't given the post-mike-phillips craftsman a proper chance.

                      3. Dear all,
                        Your feedback on Minneapolis was excellent. The two best meals we had -- Travail and Blackbird -- are ones you all had suggested but that I had not originally listed. I went to Travail with 3 others, and we all had the tasting menu for 40 dollars. We were all pleased with everything. I especially loved the pasta dishes and the hamachi. Everything was beautifully plated. The wine pours were very generous. At Blackbird, everyone loved their meals -- the potato pancakes with poached eggs and cured fish were a favorite. I, however, devoured my Bahn Mi sandwich! For one dinner we ended up going to Bar La Grassa, which was very good, although some of the flavors got a bit redundant. Spare ribs were very good and the fresh pastas were well prepared. Lucia's was pretty good for brunch, but some things were so so (salad with shrimp). The sweet dishes seemed to be a hit. All and all, it was quite a successful Chowhound experience, and I have only you all to thank for it!