Clockwise from left: Coalition, Sparks, Monello
Happy midsommer and guess what? It’s Restaurant Week until Friday. We’re halfway through already? How did that happen? Dunno, but it’s in your best interest to focus on this astonishing fact: There are scads of great lunches and dinners to be had at the 50-strong restaurants signed up, and you are advised to get out there and eat. But first, a little cheat sheet for some of the eateries that are new to the mix:
Coalition in Excelsior—That pork chop with cheddar biscuit bread pudding sounds great, and it's a lake town, so there's the potential for an after dinner stroll by the water.
Black Forest Inn—Offering dinner for two people: $30 all told for two apps, two entrees, and a split apple strudel! Get the famous sauerbraten—it’s like you’re on vacation in Germany!
Cosmos—One of the fanciest dining rooms in town, and "new" since the ownership/chef/menu changed it all up. Put on your fanciest summer duds, tuck into a nicely sized NY strip with bone marrow whipped potatoes, and add some Champagne from the great list.
Holy Land—For $15 at dinner you get all the salads and soup you can eat, and the chance to see what they do when they get fancy, with lamb shanks, roast lamb, and other treats they’re bringing out just for Restaurant Week.
Il Foro—Brand new, and so gorgeous inside. The $10 lunch is an incredible bargain—and that roasted porchetta sandwich with marinated fennel on focaccia is delicious.
Monello—Mike DeCamp's new Italian spot in The Hotel Ivy is new to the city. They're doing a $20 lunch, and to me, that spicy seared tuna and harissa sandwich sounds divine. Also, FREE VALET for lunch and dinner every day.
Rinata—Four dinner courses for $30 from Jon Hunt is a luxurious way to spend a night—never forget he is one of the greatest ravioli masters. This summer's version has roasted sweet corn, lobster, and walnut pesto.
Copper Pot Indian—The Indian spot close to Target Field is doing dinner for $30. I really want to try that fried eggplant with tamarind date sauce over chickpea noodles.
Park Tavern—Add a game of bowling and you’ve turned RW into your very own cheap date night. The $10 lunch includes the Ultimate Burgers. The $15 dinner should end with the apple pie pizza. Needless to say: get the cheese curds!
Pub 819—The former Hopkins Tavern has whoopie pies, people! Whoopie pies.
Poor Richard’s—Bloomington is set. Lunch is $10, dinner is $30. Keep in mind, those braised short ribs will fix you up after a day of shopping at the Mall.
The Loop—After the $10 lunch here in the West End, go to a movie and you have a full-on staycation. I would get the salmon rice bowl with peppers, carrots, spicy mayo, and egg if I were you.
Sparks—A four-course dinner for $30 at this super-popular wood-fired Bryn Mawr spot is news itself—and that hangar steak chimichurri with roasted potato, fried egg, and arugula salad adds the headline.
Al Vento—One of the prettiest patios in the Twin Cities and one of the best Italian spots. Get the lobster gnocchi with fresh tomatoes, tarragon, and white wine.