There are few places in the Twin Towns that can claim a lineage comparable to that of the Sample Room. It was a tavern in the 1890s and was restored to its glory in 2003, when the current owners brought in Michael McKay to hone in on the small-plate craze. He did that and more with such Minnesota–friendly dishes as bratwurst simmered in Grain Belt ($4.95) and a warm meat loaf sandwich with Wisconsin cheddar ($7.95) that had nearly everyone gushing. New chef Peter Maccaroni is now helming the bar by the river and things are rolling along better than ever. Maccaroni wisely stuck with the hits and added a few of his own spins, such as tangy grilled chicken breast with cranberry-butter sauce ($4.95) and Brussels sprouts with roasted squash and garlic ($3.95). The budget-friendly menu features more than fifty items, most of which are under $10. Add to that some of the most flattering lighting known to man and the always-charming staff, and you have the recipe for a great night out any day of the week.
2124 NE Marshall St., Mpls., 612-789-0333