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Who's firing out the best food right now?

I'm going back and forth between taking my fiancee out for dinner next weekend for her birthday, or cooking her favorites at home. Of the top restaurants in the area, is there one that's that's firing out must have dishes? I'm thinking either La Belle Vie, Heartland, Alma, or Piccolo. Most likely the tasting menu option, for those available. Also open to other suggestions - Tillia? (but Tillia doesn't take reservations, correct? That might put them out of the running). Anyone new and flying under the radar that's really hitting the mark right now? Thanks!

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  1. My favorite meals recently have been at Travail/Rookery, Corner Table. Tasting menus at both, but the reservation issue at the former.

    In the new-ish/under the radar group, I like Gray House. I went a few weeks back and had the tasting menu. $20, 3 courses. Star of the show was a flank steak with steel cut oat 'risotto'. Excellent deal...nice, cozy spot in the midst of Uptown/LynLake madness. My only knock on the place was pacing. I was by myself, and I was still sitting for 20+ minutes between courses, with ~10 other people in the restaurant. The FOH needs to do better communicating that, IMO. If I was there with someone else, it wouldn't have bothered me as much.

    3 Replies
    1. re: BigE

      I've had the same issues with Gray House's pacing, and we've been there several times. They've been open for about a year now and still have things they need to figure out.

      I would second Corner Table, but they are currently moving locations and may not be open.

      1. re: BigE

        I just had an excellent dinner at Piccolo- that place is truly excellent, and always innovating. La Belle Vie, I think, is a can't miss choice, and in a class of its own.

        Recently, I had a really surprisingly excellent meal at Bar Lurcat. Its a place I sort of forgot about. I think there quality has improved from my memory, and a perfect birthday choice.

        Also, for birthday fun, Travail might be a good option. But definitely not if your looking for quiet romance.

        1. re: KyleThomas

          We celebrated a friend's birthday at Piccolo recently. Food: creative and delicious; space: serene and elegant; servers: friendly yet professional, and at the end of the meal the birthday girl was presented with a special desert and a card signed by the entire staff.

      2. Belle Vie (Lounge)
        Bachelor Farmer

        Many other fine choices but those 3 are hors classe right now.

        1. I had a great dinner at Borough last weekend, and I'd always recommend Corner Table, Alma or Meritage.

          2 Replies
          1. re: drew13000

            I'd put in a second for Borough too, though I've only ever eaten at Parlour (downstairs bar).

            Best burger in town, hands down.

          2. my vote would be for Victory 44 right now

            very inventive menu items which usually range from unbelievable to very good.

            1. The kitchen at the Kenwood never disappoints, they are pros. The service is adequate. It's not one of those concept places that fail to deliver.

              1. Corner Table, The Lynn on Bryant, The Kenwood, Piccolo, Alma, all are killing it.
                LBV Lounge is great, but everything was slightly underseasoned when I was there last. Still clean, beautiful flavors, though.
                TBF, great food, smug service.

                Gray House didn't impress me at all - concept or food. To me, a Gastropub is a very clearly defined idea...and devoting a third of your menu to fresh pastas is not a part of that. Food had a few notes of W.A. Frost-influence, too, which I feel is the most overrated restaurant in the Twin Cities.

                1. Had a great meal at Bachelor Farmer, which is really doing a good job, particularly with the smaller courses.

                  Joan's in the Park has some stellar new menu items.

                  The Kenwood is a solid can't miss.

                  If you are partial to the tasting menu option, though, my first recommendation would be Piccolo.

                  1. Thank you for all of your responses! I'm still figuring out our weekend birthday celebration plans, and this input is great.

                    1. Travail/Rookery --Travail is a larger tasting menu, the Rookery in the same space, to the right, smaller. While they don't take reservations, we have not had a problem being seated at one of them -- arrived at 6:15 pm and at 8 pm

                      1. I am having a similar issue. I have narrowed it down to Cave Vin, Piccolo, Lurcat, Meritage, and Kenwood. I have not gone to any of these places but am looking for the best new place to take my wife out to celebrate her birthday next weekend.

                        I always fall back on Alma or 112 and want to blow her away with a new place to try. I thought about LBV too.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: brlattim

                          Can't go wrong with LBV, Meritage, or Piccolo. The latter is much different the former two. Classic French vs. New Age...whatever they feel like. All are great.