Here is the second quarterly round-up of the year of my favourite things eaten in the Twin Cities. While recent roundups have been centered mostly or only on takeout and outdoor meals, this one covers the period in which we started eating in freely at Twin Cities restaurants. It includes meals at some new(er) restaurants, some “new to us” restaurants, and some meals at old favourites. Most of these meals have been written up in more detail on the blog and in almost every case you can click on the restaurant’s name to go to the fuller review. A few of them, however, are from meals that haven’t yet made it from the backlog to the blog. You can consider these to be appetizers for the main review to come. As has been my practice throughout the pandemic, every restaurant we’ve eaten at in this period gets a look-in here.
Let’s take them in chronological order:
- Basil Cafe: Our first encounter with Basil Cafe was in the form of takeout and we were very glad to be finally go and eat in person. We liked almost everything we ate a lot and I’ll particularly note the crispy fried chicken wings, the kao poun with ground tilapia, and the mango sticky rice.
- Alma: This was our first meal at Alma in almost five years and it highlighted our folly in not eating there more often when a pandemic isn’t on. Major highlights included the salad of baby lettuces and garrotxa cheese, the crispy Arctic char, and the dulce cremeux.
- Mucci’s Italian: We ate here for the first time in April and were all just about gruntled with our meal. The only thing I’d single out for praise is the bucatini all’arrabbiata.
- Las Islas: This South St. Paul Mexican seafood restaurant is both new to us and fairly new. We had a very nice lunch there at the end of April and this reminds me that we meant to go back in the summer and sit on their deck. When we do it will be hard to not get the following dishes again: the ceviche with shrimp and octopus, the mixed caldo with fish and shrimp, and the tacos gobernador.
- Khaluna: I ate at Khaluna twice in a few weeks, the first time with colleagues and the second time with the missus and some of our usual dining out crew. I haven’t yet written up the second meal and so will stick to highlights from the first: the mieng paa (a salad of puffed rice, banana blossom etc.), the massaman with short rib, and the passionfruit cremeux.
- Kabob’s Indian Grill: Though there have been changes in the kitchen I was thrilled to see the weekday lunch thali return to Kabob’s menu and even more thrilled to eat it. I expect to eat it often the rest of the year. My favourite thing on both thalis I ate in May was the crisply fried chicken.
- Sakura: A lunch at the sushi counter at Sakura was my last meal out before the pandemic closures started in March 2020 and I was glad to be able to go back in again and eat dinner with the family. We particularly liked the yaki tori (chicken skewers) and beef short rib from the appetizers, and of the sushi I ate the ikura (salmon roe) was probably the best.
- 112 Eatery: Like Alma, this is another of our favourite restaurants which we’d inexplicably not eaten at for several years; we took our boys there in May. They loved it and so did we. Favourites from the meal included the 112 steak tartare, the octopus with avocado puree, and the stringozzi with lamb sugo.
- Bangkok Thai Deli: One of our favourite restaurants in the Twin Cities and we were very glad to finally eat in there as well. Highlights of this meal included the khao soi, the stir-fried Chinese eggplant with shrimp and ground pork, and the stir-fried spicy catfish.
- Saint Genevieve: This was not my first meal here but it was the first meal I’ve written up. We enjoyed the meal as a whole and particularly the endive salad, the roast duck, and the dark chocolate tart with passionfruit curd.
- Tenant: Another of our favourite restaurants: we ate in at Tenant last summer before the delta wave and were very happy to go in again. It was an excellent meal and we’re looking forward to our next, which will be very soon. At this meal our highlights were the dashi poached cod, the huli huli chicken and rice, and the grilled beef strip loin .
- The 5-8 Club: This is one of the two places that lays claim to being the originator of the Juicy/Jucy Lucy. The burgers were fine; we actually liked the cheese curds more.
- Vann: We ate here when a set five-course prix fixe is what they offered. Of our five courses we particularly liked the shrimp, the squid and the veal. We’re looking forward to hopefully going back before the end of the summer to try their new three-course format.
- Orale: Lunch at this casual Mexican (with Filipino accents) in South Minneapolis is one of the meals I still have in my backlog. The boys and I liked all the tacos we ate there but particularly the ones topped with al pastor, Filipino bbq and chile verde.
- Myriel: We took the boys here for dinner as well shortly before leaving for Los Angeles. I’ll have the fuller report very soon. For now I’ll say only that our favourite dishes included the house bread and cultured butter, the petite golden potatoes fried in duck fat, and the duck breast.
And here is a look at all these dishes (all except the ones from Orale and Myriel, which I have not resized yet). Scroll down for a glimpse at July’s restaurant reports.
It was a good quarter of eating out. In July I’ll be catching up with my Twin Cities backlog, which means you should expect write-ups of the meals at Myriel, Orale and my second dinner at Khaluna. I’m not sure yet what the fourth one will be. I do know, however, that on the weekends I’ll be running regular bonus meal reports from our trip to Los Angeles in mid-June and our two weeks following in Hawaii (from where we return to Minnesota tomorrow). So, a lot of restaurant content to come in July. Come back and read some of it.