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Tastemakers: Vitamin Joy
By: Jason DeRusha | Posted: 07/07/2014
For three years I’ve been ignoring Pinstripes in Edina. People would tell me I should go check it out, I would get press releases telling me I should go check it out. But I admit to thinking: sure, a (small) national chain of bowling alleys . . . how good can the food be?
Then I hosted Taste of Edina, where the chefs at Pittsburgh Blue and Crave competed against Nelson Pinos, the chef at Pinstripes. And I thought for sure the bowling alley chef was going to get killed. Of course, Pinos won. So I checked out Pinstripes, and it’s really good! So go ahead and print this out: I was wrong.
Pinstripes bills itself as “Bowling. Bocce. Bistro." But the truth is, there are only a handful of lanes of bowling, and three “lanes” for bocce ball. The bistro is gorgeous with windows open to the park surrounding Centennial Lakes. When Chef Nelson Pinos came over after a stint as the corporate chef for Claddaugh, a chain of Irish pubs with their smallest outpost in Maple Grove, he told the owners that he was going to change a lot of things. He reorganized the workflow in the enormous kitchen, where they do everything by scratch, including making their own pastas. The flavors are bold, which is no surprise considering Pinos grew up in Ecaudor and describes his mom, who owned a small restaurant, as "my inspiration.”
He added a lot of new menu items, including a seafood linguini in saffron broth, a gorgeous dish with a rich red color. The linguini was firm and dense, holding the saffron flavor well, it's topped with mussels, grilled shrimp and delicious jumbo lump crab. It’s an awesome dish for $19. The salmon came with a maple glaze that gets a pop from jalepeño and whole grain mustard. But what made it special was a salad of organic red quinoa, toasted in a pan with cucumber, avocado, tomato, and mint. So good.
The pizzas and flatbreads are between $12-$14, the sandwiches are generally $12-$13. It’s the kind of place you can go on a date night (I recommend Friday when you can get a bottle of wine priced at $50 or under for half off), or with your family (try Sunday when kids 12 and under eat free). Bowling is usually $5 per person/game, bocce is usually $5 per person/hour. (Friday/Saturday after 5 p.m. is more).
Just don’t make my mistake. The “bowling alley guy” knows how to cook!
Pinstripes Edina, 3849 Gallagher Dr., Edina, 952-835-6440, pinstripes.com
Jason DeRusha anchors WCCO-TV’s morning and noon news. His column "DeRusha Eats" appears in Mpls.St.Paul Magazine monthly. See bio
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