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BRUNCH BEAT: Nicollet Diner
By: | Posted: 02/21/2012
Oh my dilly, it's the February edition of Restaurant Week! This is my favorite time to gather people I haven't seen in a while and nab some face time. There are some new restos on the list and a bit of crazy new ballyhoo like the fact that I might show up at your RW lunch and BUY IT FOR YOU! Who doesn't like FREE LUNCH? Especially when it comes with a side of eater-editor stalking? Here's my usual round-up of what I'd be ordering if I was at your table:
Aji's lunch is $10 for a seat at the unlimited sushi bar, take the rest of the day off. Dinner is even more prolific, featuring two choices (i.e. petite filet from the grill and fried rice from the hibachi) plus the sushi buffet.
Dinner at Barbette would include the duck breast with fig compote and gigante beans, pancetta, and pickled onion ragout. And you get to say "szhi-GAHN-tay" when you order.
For lunch, Cafe Ena is sporting some ropa vieja: that slow cooked and shredded beef that's simmered with tomatoes and onions. We all need more ropa vieja in our lives.
At Lurcat I'm clearly starting with the chicken and bacon terrine and perhaps following with the barramundi with lemon, parsley, and toasted hazelnuts (but count me intrigued by the house-made udon noodles and caramelized orange sauce).
Copper River Fish and Chop House is new to the game, and if you're not feeling the chili-glazed salmon, you might choose the bone-in pork chop with sweet potato hash.
Cosmos, always a hot reservation, for me would be a toss up between the garganelli with roasted cauliflower and cracked green olives, and the crispy skin salmon with sunchokes, fennel, and blood orange. It's a sunchoke vs. green olive showdown in my brain.
Dinner at Edina Grill might start with house-made ruffle chips and French onion dip and then whip in the other direction and pick the red curry duck with lychee and rice.
Jack's is making its RW debut, and this is a great time to check out Kevin Kathman's new menu for song! That roasted beet salad is as tasty as it is beautiful, and whether you choose the sirloin steak or the cauliflower ravioli with curry emulsion, expect the unexpected.
If you can look past the brisket burger sliders at Joe's Garage, you might want to dig into the ancho pork chili.
The Lex may not be new to you, but it has a new chef, new owners, and new RW presence. Give them a shot and try the pot roast slider at lunch and the cassoulet, chicken pot pie, or roasted pheasant (because who else is doing that?) at dinner.
The Lowry's new RW menu features the Peacemaker which is essentially a fried oyster po'boy and a worthy accompaniment to beer. Which they have too.
Really, I'm happy with the selection of choices at Masa, but I might go just to end with warm Mexican chocolate bread pudding and banana-rum ice cream. Maybe they'll let me start with that as an app.
I know, you're thinking tuna sandwich, really? But the Parma 8200 lunch menu sammie is so much more than Charlie ever dreamed, serious tuna with pepperonata, olives, tomato and basil will turn you into a believer.
Newbie Pat's Tap is kicking it with that yummy turkey burger with whipped feta, but you'll have to choose between fried pickles and pork belly skewers to start. Throw some skee while you think about it.
Chicken fricassee with creamy polenta and rapini at Red Stag? Fricassee? Let's do it!
The boys at Saffron love RW like none other, and it shows by their offerings of lamb "cassoulet" 2.0 with lamb ham and sausage twisting the traditional French dish.
Sanctuary kicks it off with potato ginger beer soup, which I want right now, and then puts it into drive with salmon and frites with a key lime ketchup sauce or braised Duroc pork with red wine, tomatoes, and black truffle.
At Stella's you can surf n' turf it. Pair the sirloin steak with 1/2 lb. peel n' eat shrimp at lunch or a half-dozen raw oysters at dinner.
Stephanie March is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s food and dining editor. See bio
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