2022 Fall Restaurant Week: The Picks! – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

Last RW of the year is always the best one!
October 10, 2022
3:03 PM
It just is. It’s the best Restaurant Week of the year because we are all edging back into eating season and hearty braises along with the harvest veg that’s all over these menus. And what a deal to be able to get out and about in the last good weather of the year for affordable three course meals! So much food, so little money, so much hang time in chunky knits and boots. Ok, enough waxing, on to the eating:
Just one new kid? Ok Erté and The Peacock Lounge, enjoy the stage. On their $45 dinner menu, they are making a real bid to court the vegetarian eater, which is great for a steak-focused spot like this. I would get the branzino, because I am a sucker for crispy sun chokes, but I am extremely interested in that smoked beet Wellington! Shout out to the fusilli carbonara made with jackfruit on the first course too. 
Here’s some hot leaf-peepin’ intel: there’s a dining room at Birch’s on the Lake with a wall of windows overlooking sweet and beautiful Long Lake, around which are some stunning trees. Get over there for a $20 lunch and start with Reuben soup (trust me), followed with a turkey wild rice burger with Muenster cheese and cranberry mayo. Just a hint of November. And: have a beer. 
Still can’t get over that there’s a three course $20 dinner at Broders Cucina that you can grab and head to a park to soak in the last autumnal azure skies. I go Caesar salad starter with the grilled chicken and alfredo butter risotto with mushrooms. That’s some gut warming business, like a puffer coat for your insides. And: take the chocolate hazelnut cannoli. 
OR, cross the street to Broders Pasta Bar for a $25 dinner that gives you a tapestry of pasta to choose from, so good luck choosing. Linguini al pesto for freshies, cacio e pepe for the pepper and cheese heads, lemon chicken risotto for the ’80s kids, penne puttanesca for all the Lemony Snicket fans, fettuccine bolognese for the food nerds who love an elegant puzzle, fettuccine alfredo for anyone in the Northern Hemisphere. 
A post shared by The Brooklyn (@thebrooklynrestaurant)
Let me start out by saying that a bucket of 35 balls on the Edinburgh driving range is $6 and there are only so many great afternoons left for you to plan an “off-site meeting” followed by lunch at The Brooklyn. This week that lunch can be $15 and stacked with classic chicken wild rice soup, butternut squash ravioli, or that hole-in-one known as the Masterworks burger. 
Color me not surprised that Bungalow Club understood the assignment. My $45 dinner here would start with the pumpkin soup with that little bit of conserved corn relish and rye. I’d move into that seasonal version of fried chicken which takes it off the picnic plate with sweet and sour cabbage, spicy mustard, and wild rice (though, someone at my table had better sport the $10 extra for the lasagna bianca with fontina, saffron butter, and smoked whitefish!!!!). Then we’ll all tuck into the apple trifle with olive oil pound cake and salted caramel. 
Love the room vibe at Giulia, if you haven’t been to this downtown hotel restaurant, it’s worth a visit. Grab the $45 dinner menu and start with the hearty sausage and white bean Ribollita soup. If you’re ready to graduate from fried chicken sandwiches, try the crispy pork Milanese over creamy polenta with a brown butter caper sauce: at once light and filling. The almond frangipane for dessert has a following, you should know. 
If you need to feel empowered, consider a little work-week business lunch at Jimmy’s Kitchen in Minnetonka. Even if your boss doesn’t, they do trust you to make your choices: the $15 lunch menu lets you select from any burger, any sandwich, any entree salad or any lunch combo. Then you get to opt for either a starter or a dessert, you might be a wedge salad person, you might be a seasonal cobbler person, they are not here to micromanage you. Blessedly.
A post shared by Mason Jar Kitchen & Bar (@masonjarkitchenandbar)
Lots of nostalgia fuels this season, so just give into it. The $20 lunch at Mason Jar needs to include that Tater Tot Hotdish. It’s just like a church basement Sunday treat, with plenty of seasoned ground beef, summer corn, house-made cream of mushroom binder, and crispy tots tucked under a bit of cheddar cheese.
If you haven’t been down to Pau Hana, this might be a good reason to trip it to Savage. I think the $40 dinner move is to order the sweet potato mochi with a little brown butter vinaigrette (not the dessert mochi, yo), and then go Kalbi brisket with a dashi croquette, kimchi aioli, and ali’i mushrooms. Miso pumpkin squares with salted caramel to end correctly. 
For the $35 dinner at Red Stag Supperclub, either of the opening flatbreads would work (though I have seen the prosciutto version and it’s nicely hefty with the cured pork). There is plenty of squashy pasta around, but something about this pumpkin gnocchi with butternut and pepitas calls to me. As does a simple apple turnover with maple-honey ice cream. Done. 
A post shared by Twin Cities 400 Tavern (@twincities400tavern)
Maybe I repeat myself with this one, but the party-forward $25 dinner menu at Tavern 400 keeps winning these lists. Three courses that let you mix and match between cheese curds, crab cakes, pizza sticks, a fried chicken sandwich, Cobb salad, Barnyard burger, and so much more. PLUS they have upgrade drink deals like a $4 house bloody. Get your crew over there. 
Yumi St. Paul or Yumi Southdale are playing minimalist with beautiful fish cuts, but playing maximalist by offering you four courses for $35 (when most of us know we can usually pass that with two roll orders). Gyoza or egg rolls are a good sturdy start, but you’ll have to choose your own rolls for second and third courses. The 10 piece Tonka roll is a classic, the seven piece salmon carpaccio roll is elegant, but you can also do sashimi, nigiri, or teriyaki. They have a gorgeous martini from the bar, just FYI. 
Food and Dining editor Stephanie March writes and edits Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Eat + Drink section. She can also be heard Saturdays on her myTalk107.1 radio show, Weekly Dish, where she talks about the Twin Cities food scene.
October 10, 2022
3:03 PM
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