Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Lobster at Italian Eatery in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Near Lake Nokomis, in a former Carbone’s (which moved across the street), ie has been busily feeding neighbors since just before Christmas. This next-generation mom-and-pop is the work of Vanessa and Eric Carrara, industry vets with time in the trenches—Eric as the former GM of Zelo. They bring a bit of modern polish to the place, which has a warm, upscale vibe but remains neighborhood-friendly. You can show up for a date night or with the kids in soccer uniforms—it’s all good here.
The food follows form. It feels just as good to sit at the bar and order a fine glass of Nebbiolo and a spartan pan-fried ravioli filled with yam as it does to hunker down in a corner booth with the cacciatora roast chicken, which is rustic and hearty and warmth-giving from your toes on up. While there have been some seasoning issues here and there, the pastas are for the most part executed well, and quite lovely. A baked garganelli with wild boar meatballs in a cheesy fontina-taleggio mantle was all elevated comfort; it relaxes your shoulders with each bite. Both the spaghetti carbonara and gnocchi erred on the side of bland simplicity, but other dishes more than made up for them.
It’s nice to have a neighborhood joint with a full bar, and the cocktails here are worth sampling. There’s also a goodly amount of wines by the glass and craft beer, including shareable bottles of rare Italian beers. All in all, I’m betting that this place becomes a regular stop for those in the south Minneapolis area—and for those of us looking to swap neighborhoods once in a while. 4724 Cedar Ave., Mpls., 612-223-8504, italianeatery.com