A steak on the stove at Corner Table restaurant
I like to think of Fall Restaurant Week as a bit of a way to kick off feast season. This year we have over 75 chefs and restaurants ready to dazzle you with their dishes made from the harvest bounty. There's no reason why some of them couldn't provide inspiration for your own feast table at home.
We also have a new website this year, and while it is now more viewable on your mobile device, it has changed the way we display the restaurants and their menus. We appreciate your patience and feedback as we continue to shape and mold the information to best suit the eater experience. Feel free to email me and let me know if you have suggestions or concerns about that at email@example.com.
On to the picks!
Crooner's Lounge & Supperclub near Blaine has joined up with a $30 dinner. One of their entree choices is eggplant parmesan on fettuccine, which may be the first one I've seen on a RW menu!
Dixie's on Grand has been around some 30 years, but it's a first timer at RW. Your $15 lunch option includes one of their po' boys that we loved up in the August issue, and there's fried chicken and grits on the $20 dinner menu.
Gianni's Steakhouse in Wayzata is also a long-standing restaurant, but newbie to deal week. The $35 dinner starts with their signature spun salad which could be followed by a hunky filet mignon.
The Howe Daily Kitchen & Bar, which is the new version of the The Rail Station, is joining the show with parmesan polenta fries, broccoli & cheddar tots, a Drunkin Lucy, and brisket grilled cheese among their offerings for $15 lunch and $20 dinner.
Kata is the new fitness studio and wellness center with a cafe in Linden Hills. The $15 lunch could include both a super green salad and a slow-cooked brisket sandwich or BLT, and the $25 dinner offers a squash bisque or some gumbo to start, followed by a bevy of rice bowls including BBQ pork belly or miso chicken. And yes, you can have cake for dessert.
Normandy Kitchen is being given a little pre-superbowl makeover, but you can still pop in this week and still enjoy a $35 dinner that includes Duck 3 Ways: roasted breast, confit leg, and maple bourbon torchon.
Obento-Ya is one of those neighborhood charmers you might easily overlook, but don't. In either of their $15 lunch or $25 dinner, you can score crispy fried balls of takoyaki octopus to start before you tuck into a warm bowl of shiso or tonkotsu ramen, plus ahi poke, then mochi for dessert.
Saji-Ya is also showing up with a $10 lunch that includes a tempura starter and perhaps a spicy salmon roll with avocado.
Tiny Diner is on board this year! The Reuben on their $15 lunch/dinner is legit, and there's a chicken pot pie option as well.
BEST OF THE REST
I am all over the $35 dinner menu at Al Vento with the drooling. Spaghetti squash bruschetta with sumac goat cheese, stuffed mortadella with pumpkin and fontina, braised short rib with cinnamon crispy leeks and parsnip puree are all talking October to me.
At Barbette, there's a crispy pork belly situation with lager and bacon-braised white beans and smoked creme fraiche on the $15 lunch and $30 dinner. Also, ricotta- and porcini-stuffed ravioli with black trumpet mushrooms, leeks, and parmesan broth sounds like it can break through any cloudy day.
Liking the idea of cauliflower fritters with a dill-feta sauce at Bradstreet's $25 dinner, and also that lamb burger with chimichurri mayo.
This may be one of the best meal deals at the MOA: Cedar + Stone at the JW Marriott is sporting a $15 lunch that I would start with kabocha squash soup and follow with a bison stew pot pie or a short rib sandwich with white cheddar. Think about MEA and cutting the kids loose at the park while you nosh.
It's exciting that Copper Pot Indian Grill is still in the mix! This is your chance to spend only $30 on dinner and try a dosa (crispy rice crepe) with coconut chutney, a village goat curry, tandoori chicken, fish moilee, honey dumplings and more.
If you can still find a seat at one of Corner Table's $35 dinners, you'll have to try sautéed duck livers with brioche and cognac creme or, if less brave, the pancetta salad with a poached egg. Then for me it's the roasted chicken ballontine with farro risottto, squash and Brussels sprouts.
Faces Mears Park has a wide list of options for eaters of their $35 dinner, including two vegan choices: Beans of the world vegan tagine and a vegan paella for two with garden vegetables, saffron, and tomato.
Whether you get music in the house or not, Icehouse has some good-looking menu options for their $35 dinner. I like the sound of celery root souffle with fried gulf shrimp and tasso ham, duck lasagne with fontina and spinach, citrus monkfish with lobster cream, or a veggie bread pudding with caramelized rutabaga and stilton. Zowie.
Lunchers in St. Paul should be psyched that Kincaid's is offering a $20 menu that includes a starter salad or soup, then rolls right into an open-faced crab sandwich, beer battered fish n' chips, or a rock salt-roasted prime rib French dip with fries. Good luck making it back to work.
Go for the cheeseburger on the Lake & Irving $20 lunch, but come back for some wild mushroom and black garlic soup, pan seared Arctic char on cauliflower puree, or the coconut curry noodle bowl on the $35 dinner.
On Lela's $20 lunch menu, you'll find the best iteration of a tuna melt with brioche and white cheddar, if you can manage to deny the elevated scampi. On the $35 dinner, it's the bolognese that seems so simple but is so, so satisfying.
Pop into Lucia's and get a first look at what new chef Alan Bergo is cooking: Hand-cut pasta with butter-poached shrimp and black trumpet mushrooms, roasted chicken with turnip-potato puree and apple-fennel slaw, perhaps a butternut pave with goat cheese and thyme on either $20 lunch or $35 dinner menus.
It bears mentioning again, Mediterranean Cruise Cafe has a $10 lunch that is an all-you-can-eat buffet of gyros, hummus, falafel, kabobs and the like. Likewise, Rodizio Grill is only $30 for a meat-fest all-you-can-eat dinner. These are mega meals at mega deals.
Monello's $15 lunch is an automatic win for the smashed burger, but you really should make a double dip this week and get the porchetta sandwich for tomorrow's lunch. Heck, make it a triple so that you can indulge in caviar & creme fraiche before a grilled beef ribeye for your almost silly $35 dinner.
The $35 dinner menu at Saffron looks like a staycation. Fall vegetables with black figs, blue cheese, sherry, and brown butter to start, please. Then I'm going stewed lamb in tomatoes and Greek spices with orzo and sheep's milk cheese before I have my olive oil cake with figs, honey, and thyme.
Check out the $15 lunch at Third Bird for some pumpkin soup with cider syrup and a roasty, toasty pork belly Cubano or wood-roasted squash with wild rice, mushrooms and maple. When you're craving that campfire smell, report here.
See all the restaurants participating in this year's Fall Restaurant Week!