Top 10 Twin Cities Dishes, Oct. 2018-March 2019


Being out of the country in December I failed to post the last quarterly edition of my Top 5 Twin Cities dishes list. To make up for it here is an extra-long list to cover the last two quarters. We’ve not eaten very many high-end meals in the last six months and so this list is going to be more dominated than usual by the more affordable restaurants we eat out at far more often. Same rules as always: only one dish per restaurant and only dishes that seem to be mainstays on their menus. In a development I would not have predicted, a dish from an Indian restaurant actually appears on this list. I’m hopeful that another will appear on the next version of the list as well, as I’m hoping to continue my survey of a possibly improved local Indian restaurant scene.

In chronological order, my top 10 dishes of the last six months were (click the names of the restaurants to see what else we ate there):

  • Grilled octopus w. clams, fregola, turmeric, parsley at Martina in Minneapolis. We really enjoyed our dinner at Martina in October and this dish—which is still on the menu—was one of the entire group’s favourites.
  • Lamb shank at Ansari’s in Eagan. This was a solid meal on the whole and this perfectly cooked lamb shank may have been the best thing at it.
  • Barramundi with hot bean sauce at Grand Szechuan. There are always couple of whole fish available at Grand Szechuan, which you can get either steamed with soy sauce or in a hot bean sauce. Both are good, but the hot bean sauce can be well, grand.
  • Bun Bo Hue at Tay Ho in St. Paul. I do prefer the bun bo hue at a few other places in the metro but we didn’t eat at any of those places in the last six months and this one was still pretty good. Maybe not the most ringing endorsement but Tay Ho is well worth your time if you like Vietnamese soups.
  • Korean pancake with seafood at Sole Cafe in St. Paul. We went into our dinner at Sole Cafe in November with low expectations and they were easily exceeded. Their hae mul pajun was particularly good.
  • Chicken Chettinadu at Persis Biryani Indian Grill in Eagan. After a fair to middling dinner at Darbar Indian Grill in Apple Valley this dinner at Persis was a real surprise. We hope to get to Bay Leaf in Eagan before the next edition of the list.
  • Cocoa Scented Backstrap at In Bloom in St. Paul. Our dinner at In Bloom earlier this month was excellent and, on the whole, this was probably the dish of the night.
  • Chicken Kottu at House of Curry in Rosemount. I have not written this meal up yet (I will in April) but urge you all to visit soon and often and recommend this quintessential Sri Lankan street food dish highly.
  • Doro Wot at Ghebre’s in St. Paul. The baseline for Ethiopian food in St. Paul is quite high and the doro wot is always one of the best dishes at any of the Ethiopian restaurants in the area. This one at Ghebre’s was no exception.
  • Chicken Liver Mousse Crostini w. balsamic vinegar, polenta crumble, brioche at Hyacinth. This was a highlight of our dinner there last night (the full review will be up next week). The mousse is applied with a light touch on the brioche and set off nicely by the tang of the balsamic vinegar and texturally by a polenta crumble.

Pictorial evidence.

Coming up soon from the Twin Cities: that Hyacinth review, my third review of House of Curry and hopefully more Indian restaurant reviews. I also want to get back to Cheng Heng and to finally make it to Popol Vuh and the Jamie Malone-era Grand Cafe.

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