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A National-Level Food Experience at Scena Tavern

If I told you for $100 you could sit at the counter across from one of the most-acclaimed chefs in the country, and one of the most talented cocktail minds in the country, and spend two hours experiencing flavors that would blow your mind – you’d jump on it, right?

That’s what’s happening at Scena Tavern in Uptown. Chef Erik Anderson was named to Food & Wine’s Top New Chefs list, he ran a hugely successful restaurant in Nashville, and then came home. He’s opening his own restaurant called Brut this summer, but in the meantime he helped create the menu at Scena.

[Read my Minnesota Monthly review of Scena here.]

Scena is great – service can be hit or miss – and some people might not like the Uptown atmosphere of this Uptown restaurant – but overall I really like this restaurant. Great wine list, some of the best cocktails in town, and a really friendly and delicious menu.

But the Crudo bar weekend experience is truly on the level as the best restaurant experiences in America.

crudo erik
Erik Anderson
Nick Kosevich
Nick Kosevich

Imagine crudo dishes like dry-aged Yellowfin tuna, bottarga (roe) and jalapeno paired with Mezcal, lemon, grapefruit, Jamaican Oleo, cilantro, Corazon Bitters, seltzer! Crazy!

Hamachi with cucumber, hot beef fat, and picholine olive was paired with Bone Marrow-infused Auchtentashen Three Wood Whiskey.

I loved the Wild Striped Bass with chilled herb broth, and the Junipero Martini with Orange Bitters, the same herb broth and bergamot oil!

crudo striped bass

There was Spanish Mackeral with charcoaled skin, a gin gelee, and laurel oil paired with a Barrel-Aged Gin Martini. A martini unlike any you’ve ever experienced.

crudo hamachi

Look at this red prawn with the crispy shell on top:

crudo red prawns

If this were on the coasts, national media would be falling over themselves talking about the best bargain in food, the best experience you can have with an incredible pair of chefs. Plus Erik and Nick are really fun – this is a party. Eight seats at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays only.
Scena Tavern, 2943 Girard Avenue S, Minneapolis 55408. Reserve at crudobar@scenatavern.com

 

 

Summer Edition: Top 12 Burgers in Minneapolis/St. Paul

Is there anything hotter than burgers right now? No, there is not. Why is this the case? Burgers are delicious. It’s pretty simple. The hot trend right now is the simple, diner-style burger: thin patties, nice char, simple toppings. It’s a great trend! A great trend!

Because you love burgers, I’ll be updating this list periodically with my Top 12 Burgers in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

  1. Revival
  2. Saint Dinette
  3. Parlour
  4. Strip Club Meat & Fish
  5. Vincent
  6. Haute Dish
  7. Paddy Shack [WCCO Story]
  8. Bulldog NE
  9. The Nook/Shamrock’s: [WCCO story]
  10. Victory 44
  11. Blue Door Pub
  12. Red Cow [WCCO story]

My Must-Try List:

  1. Nighthawks (Update 8/4 – tried it and loved it. Excellent burger. Will likely make next list.)
  2. il Foro
  3. Surly

What else should be on the must-try list? What else should be in my Top 12?

UPDATE 7/17: Tried the Tilia Burger – the cheese sauce is quite dominant, but a very, very good burger.



3 Great Sushi Spots in Minneapolis

I love answering questions on Twitter, either @DeRushaJ or @DeRushaEats – Patrick asked about my favorite sushi places in Minneapolis:

She deserves some sushi, Patrick! Here are my three favorite spots for sushi in Minneapolis, plus one I need to visit.

  • Origami: traditional, creative, huge selection of extremely fresh and delicious sushi
  • Masu: fun vibe, reasonably-priced rolls, high-quality, wide selection of robata and ramen noodle too
  • Fuji Ya: incredible, premium sushi. Go omakase, and have the chefs pick for you

Plus one bonus selection based on reputation and the fact that I have to get there:

  • Kyatchi: sustainable seafood up and down the menu, pressed sushi, plus hot dogs!

Patrick tweeted his choice and his verdict:

What’s your favorite sushi spot in Minneapolis?

Better Beer Food: 9 Great Minneapolis and St. Paul Restaurants With Amazing Beer Lists

A lot of times I want a chill place to eat, where I can have a delicious pint of beer. But not just bar food: delicious food. Luckily, Minneapolis and St. Paul are overflowing with well-developed, interesting beer lists AND creative, quality food. Here are some of the best in the cities:

What did I miss? Add your favorites in the comments!

4 Star Minneapolis St. Paul Restaurants

Another worthy 4 star restaurant! Spoon and Stable occupies an interesting place in the Twin Cities – I would argue it may be the most complete restaurant experience in town. The service is perfect, the room is gorgeous, the wine list is exciting and fresh ranging from affordable to luxury, the bar is sexy, the desserts are world class, and the food is absolutely delicious. UPDATED LIST AS OF APRIL 1 2015 As far as I can tell, Rick has given 15 restaurants that are currently open and operating 4 stars.

I think Rick’s in an interesting spot, because he has yet to review Brasserie Zentral, and the new Corner Table. Both are potential 4-star spots. UPDATES to ORIGINAL POST: Spoon and Stable lives up to the hype, in Rick’s 2015 review Rick Nelson has just given Heyday in Minneapolis 4 stars. I totally agree it’s worthy, as I foreshadowed in my write-up here. Boom. the Brazzerie Zentral review is finally out, and it gets 4 stars, 2014 Your thoughts? Are these restaurants worthy? Who else should be on the list?

OFF THE KIDS MENU: Heyday in Minneapolis

“Dad, can I have the beef?” 

“Sammy, you had the beef last time. You don’t even like steak.”

“I don’t care about the steak, I want the sweetbreads!”

This is apparently the new normal conversation I’m going to have with my 6-year-old, thanks to Heyday in Minneapolis. Soon, you’ll be reading all the real reviewers write-ups of this month-old restaurant, and I’ll be shocked if the critics aren’t losing their minds praising the place. It’s excellent.  Warm, comfortable surroundings, well-trained, very polished service team (headed by Loren Zinter), and perfectly imagined and executed food (thanks to chef Jim Christiansen)!

SethSammy

We’ve been twice with our sons, and we’ve eaten our way through the entire menu. The serving sizes are bigger than what you expect with fine-dining, and slightly smaller than you’d expect from a typical Minnesota restaurant. For me, it’s perfect. We can share- and everyone gets a couple tastes. And the prices are reasonable.

WHAT TO ORDER:
Lamb tartare ($12)
Sweet Beetroot and Hazelnut salad ($8)
Smoked Brook Trout ($14)
Crispy Lamb Belly ($12)
Roasted Chicken Thigh ($11)
Roasted Squab ($18)
Beef Filet ($22)
All the desserts

Start with the lamb tartare. It’s a shocking bright red in color because of a rich chili flavor on top; the crispy artichokes give an awesome texture.

Lamb Tartare

Then get the beetroot salad: and look closely at the beet. It’s covered with a gelatin, that looks like beet but isn’t. It’s preserved raspberry with beet coloring, so it looks similar to the beet. The two flavors match perfectly with the goat cheese.

The beef with sunchokes, morels(Sammy doesn’t like mushrooms but now loves morels), sweetbreads, and perfectly cooked steak is the most expensive thing at $22. It’s one of the best steak dishes I’ve ever had in the Twin Cities.

Beef Filet

There’s lots of fish for good reason: Chef Jim Christiansen is brilliant at it. The kids loved the smoked trout and the roasted monkfish. The fish dishes sound simple, but the sauces and accompaniments are complex and delicious.

Smoked TroutRoasted Monkfish

The squab is a real achievement: perfectly cooked so the squab has a crispy skin and moist inside. Then it’s placed on a bed of beet tapioca and smoked marrow. We told our kids the beet tapioca was like bubble tea – and they loved it! Holy moly.

Roasted Squab

DESSERT

Diane Yang has helped Jim craft a really cool dessert list. We had the Rogue River Blue cheese – a savory cheese course with shallot jam and little onion rings on it. It’s beautiful, and delicious ($5) – I would think about ordering it as a starter.

Rogue River Blue

The vanilla creme fraiche ice cream ($6) is a real achievement: the ice cream is rich and creamy, the frozen licorice is black and ashy in appearance, and adds a subtle anise flavor to the ice cream, and the whole dish is brightened up with rhubarb granita. Just lovely.

Vanilla Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

DRINKS

Bartender Britt Tracy is doing a great job with really approachable $9 cocktails. I like the Beetnick quite a bit, a tequila, Cynar, beet shrub combination. The Garter Belt is another great one. And last night they made my kids a kiddie cocktail that put the ones I make at home to shame!

My children love this place, my wife and I love this place, it sets a new standard for casual/high-end dining. By that I mean: a casual vibe, an affordable price, with quality that you’d expect at a high-end restaurant.
Heyday – dinner only, opens at 5pm
2700 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
http://heydayeats.com