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Sep 11, 2012 07:42 PM

Need ideas for a nice dinner, sporty brunch, and a light dinner.

We will be in MSP this weekend for a wedding, staying at the W The Foshay in downtown. We'll be free for dinner Friday, brunch on Saturday, and dinner Sunday. Walking distance from the hotel is a plus, but not necessary. Here's what we were thinking (and need recommendations for):

Friday dinner - we like local, sustainable small plates, with a focus on seafood. The wedding reception on Saturday is at Sea Change, so that's out. Our favorite restaurants for that sort of food in Seattle are Walrus & Carpenter and Terra Plata, we also really enjoy L'Abottoir in Vancouver. Any ideas?

Saturday morning we'd like to catch the Sounders/Timbers soccer game. It's being nationally televised, so we need a sports bar environment, but hopefully one with an above standard brunch. We love hashbrowns and benedicts and classic breakfast fare, we'd just like for it to be GOOD.

Sunday we're planning on Blue Door Pub for lunch (for a Jucy Blucy), so we're looking for a light dinner. Sushi (traditional), Vietnamese, or any other light and fresh recommendations are greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


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  1. little bit confused about what you are looking for for friday dinner-- an msp local foods restaurant specializing in seafood from seattle?

    i personally would go to piccolo for your parameters for friday dinner. you will need a reservation. other options would include heidi's, lucia's, corner table, and alma. if you wanted to stick close to downtown you could look at saffron, 112 eatery, bar la grassa. then you could expand the search a bit more to mona, sapor, butcher and boar, butcher block, la belle vie... but i suspect i may be getting off the mark of what you might want. if you really wanted to insist on seafood you could have a very informal experience at sea salt, it's also a bit of a trek from downtown. if japanese appeals there is also masu, in the sustainable seafood model-- though again if i was standing in front of masu, i might just opt for walking to gorkha palace, a block away.

    well, we have good breakfast places, and we have places to watch soccer matches. putting the two together is a bit of a trick. for your soccer game i would consider brit's pub. they play soccer in the bar area and english pub breakfast, walkable or very short cab. i don't know of too many sports bar type places, actually, although the nomad pub on the west bank is another good place to watch soccer. not near your area, though. hell's kitchen is a cavernous breakfast standby downtown minneapolis, they might put you in a bar area w t.v. with a call ahead, but otoh there can be a bit of a ridiculous wait, and pressure to clear out of your table, on a weekend. i don't find much else, breakfast-wise, to rec in the downtown area.

    bdp is in st paul. will you be in st. paul the whole day on sunday? having dinner in st paul or minneapolis?

    12 Replies
    1. re: soupkitten

      Thank you for your help! Sorry for the confusion, we live in Seattle and I was trying to give an idea of what I was looking for, in case someone in MSP was familiar with Seattle dining. Many of the places you suggested for dinner were on our radar, including Piccolo, so I'll look there first.

      Brit's Pub will work for brunch. I was looking at Hell's Kitchen also, but if there's a rush to clear the table that won't work.

      I didn't realize BDP was in St. Paul (it was just suggested to us with no further info) and we won't have a car, so that's out. Can you recommend anywhere closer to downtown for a Lucy?

      1. re: bailee

        My recommendation would be to stay away from the juicy Lucys unless you are really fond of overcooked hamburger. To get the cheese inside to melt, the meat is way too well done to leave any desirable flavor or texture. Seriously, every place on Soupkitten's list is superior to any juicy Lucy.

        Seafood is not local here. We get our seafood from places such as Seattle. That's why your Friday night criteria are confusing.

        1. re: ChillyDog

          well, without trying to be too negative about the jucy lucy.... if i had 3 meals in msp to play with, it wouldn't even make the list. to me, it's a bar snack/meal. it isn't that it's automatically bad, just very easy to screw up into overcooked meh. most decent msp burger establishments don't mess with lucy, or they are lucy specialists like bdp, and can be kind of gimmick-y. now, i'm a bit of a burger snob, i generally won't order a burger unless it 's grass-fed and/or house ground, so there is that. dh is way less picky and will frequently get a burger at any old place. there is just way more interesting going on, food-wise than the old matt's jucy lucy with rehydrated onions. uh, imo.

          so, if you gotta do the lucy, and don't have a car, you've got vincent downtown, which is a french restaurant, and vincent does a very high-end lucy that gets mixed reviews... or if you want to head to a grungier, hipster-er, more authentic dive bar version, you could go to grumpy's and get something respectable in the jucy lucy vein, and a decent beer. note that you should specify to your cabbie that you are headed to grumpy's downtown/washington ave, not grumpy's NE location, which does not have a kitchen and could not do anythin-fer-ya.

          1. re: soupkitten

            has the op looked at the sunday supper thing at bachelor farmer? trendy, local, etc

        2. re: bailee

          A quick note on the game watching. That game kicks off at 2:30 MSP time and Brit's breakfast menu is done at 11am. I absolutely love the bar(s) and the rooftop area (don't miss that, given the beautiful forecast), but the food is average.

          I'd suggest getting brunch at Haute Dish, then going to Brit's for the game.

          1. re: BigE

            Good point -- most places that do a weekend brunch menu in MSP wrap it up 2:00. Places that do separate breakfast & lunch menus tend to wrap up the first at 11:00.

            There are places where you can linger for the duration of the gamecast (Nomad, Brit's) and there are places where you can get a good brunch. Fortunately, you can often find one within a block of the other (Nomad & Hard Times Cafe, Brit's & Haute Dish/Hells Kitchen).

            1. re: BigE

              Wow, thanks for pointing that out. I was doing the time zone math backward. Unfortunately, the wedding is at 4 so we'll be watching the beginning of the game in our hotel room.

              Haute Dish sounds awesome.

          2. re: soupkitten

            I was at Heidi's on Sunday and wasn't pleased. It was like they are trying too hard or something. I can't put my finger on it exactly but all the food was definitely off and I don't plan on going back soon.

            1. re: suburban_mom

              i think you're either a fan of everything stewart woodman, or you are not. it makes it a tough rec, but i thought i would include heidi's with the restaurants in a similar vein. though... i will admit that i would never in a zilla-yon years (haha, get it?) rec woodman/heidi's over flicker/piccolo, unless there was some kind of wacky circumstances.

              1. re: soupkitten

                I think that Heidi's holds its own against Piccolo. I went in to Piccolo a long time ago with high expectations that were not quiet met, so I don't give it the accolades that others on the board do. (But then again, I'm not a big fan of Alma, either - so sue me...)

                I'd also add In Season to the list that soupkitten put together for the OP's Friday dinner. With the caveat that I haven't eaten there in over a year, I'd also add Cafe Lurcat as a walkable destination. Cafe Maude's new outpost is right next door to Lurcat so that might be a possibility as well.

                1. re: bob s

                  yes, in season (and tilia, while at it ) is a great rec. and there will be the folks who will rec travail for every occasion. i had it in my head that very long cab rides, and long waits for tables would be not nice for new visitors, i thought piccolo would be do-able on short notice reservation, and worth the cab ride to uptown. but in season is not nearly the zoo that is travail and to a lesser ext tilia.

                  and i didn't mention haute dish because they can be quite pork-o-riffic, and the seafood/eating light thing had me confused, but turns out the op likes the menu-- so hey, many options for them!

                  and to each her/his own on the local superstar chef fan clubs. i'm obviously a card-carrying member of both the flicker and roberts clubs

                  eta: really missing the mapping feature right now so we could show the op the relative locations of all these places :(

              2. re: suburban_mom

                Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Heidi's. We had the tasting menu for our anniversary a week ago and it was all phenomenal! I even enjoyed things I never thought I'd like - like pickled tongue. To top it off, they gave us a $20 gift certificate as a gift for our anniversary. Completely unexpected. I only mentioned our anniversary to get a decent table. I've got to say that's brilliant marketing. Great way to get people to come back! We've had brunch there too. Also delicious!

            2. It's not the very best breakfast in downtown, but I wonder if Ike's might fit the bill? They have a decent breakfast, and while it's not quite a sports bar I do recall them having a bunch of TVs, and I suspect you wouldn't be rushed out the door.

              1. I second the recs for Saffron, 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa as being the best options within walking distance (about 15 min walk) for sustainably raised small plate focused food. The choice will probably depend on who has a table available at the time you want to go - all are very popular and crowded on Friday night. Piccolo is great, but is not downtown. The Bachelor Farmer is another good choice downtown, about 4 or 5 blocks further away than 112/Saffron. Here is a link to a Food and Wine article featuring Saffron, BF and Haute Dish. The other featured restaurants are not downtown.


                I also second the recs to stay away from Juicy Lucys - blech! Yes, they are an interesting regional specialty, but I would rather have local veggies, cheeses, meats etc.

                1. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

                  We ended up at Bar La Grassa for dinner on Friday, and that was exactly what we were looking for. I mentioned the seafood focus because my boyfriend doesn't eat a lot of meat, but we had bruschettas and pasta and it was great.

                  Saturday morning we walked to Haute Dish. The good was really good, but they could seriously cut their portion size in half (which is not to say that we didn't finish both dishes). I had the Tuscan benedict and he had a veggie/cheese/hashbrown dish.

                  Sunday was the best day, however. We walked to The Bachelor Farmer for their Sunday brunch, and while it was definitely trendy/hip as someone mentioned, the food was delightful, I loved the decor, and the service was really good. We shared a few dishes and had the Red Snapper, a really light version of a bloody mary, which was delicious.

                  Afterward we rode the shared bikes to Walker Art Center, and then decided to walk back to our hotel. Along the way we passed Butcher & The Boar right as they were opening, so we grabbed seats at the bar and had an assortment of their small plates and charcuterie. Three of the dishes were brand new on the menu that day (salmon sausage, boar ham, and antelope salami) and we had a great time trying them all and sampling the bourbon selection, as well.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bailee

                    What a fun weekend! You hit a lot of highlights!


                    1. re: bailee

                      Thanks for the recap! I'm glad you enjoyed yourselves.