Category: MN – Minneapolis

Hell’s Kitchen (Breakfast) – Minneapolis, MN »

The Basics

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Cuisine: America
Ambiance: Dark Sophisticate
Address: 80 S 9th St, Minneapolis, MN 55467
Neighborhood: Downtown
Phone: 612.332.4700
Web Site: http://www.hellskitcheninc.com
Must Taste (Breakfast):

  • Topping: Homemade peanut butter. I really wanted to try this, but didn’t end up ordering anything it came with. I also wanted to bring some PB home with me, but was trying to not check my baggage for the flight home.
  • Breakfast: Lemon-Ricotta Hotcakes. I also really wanted to try this, but decided to veer off the main path with my dish selection.
  • Side: Maple-Glazed Bison Sausage – Savory and sweet with that maple syrup topping.
  • Drink: I loved their coffee…it doesn’t say anything about this on their web site, but I believe I read somewhere in the restaurant that the beans are locally roasted (anyone from Hell’s Kitchen reading who can confirm?).

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Best For: Date (1 who is either hip or just loves great food…someone too prissy may not gel with the “dark” theme), Group Outing (with friends or co-workers), meal solo for you business travelers
What to Wear: casual-dressy (tennis shoes may be ok, but I wouldn’t wear them personally) to dressy
Good to Know: The restaurant has live music and events – see calendar online for details. Also, the restaurant features a slightly morbid theme (see photos of interior). I actually really like it, but those less open-minded may not.
Fave Points: Fun theme, rockin food, great menu selection.
My Fave Dish: I only got to sample 2 selections due to my business trip being short and my small appetite, but between the 2 I had, my fave was the Maple-Glazed Bison Sausage. I loved the savory-sweet combo of the sausage with the maple syrup topping that tasted almost candied. So good. I also love ordering things in restaurants that I can’t easily find elsewhere, and I’ve never seen bison sausage on a menu before. This is a definite must-try, especially since you can order a single patty for $2 and use it to balance out some of the sweeter breakfast options.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

I was in Minneapolis, MN on business and noticed the Hell’s Kitchen sign on the way into town. I thought at first that the restaurant was related to one of my favorite shows – Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay.

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Upon investigation via yelp.com, I realized that this Hell’s Kitchen was a restaurant with its own original flair.

I decided this restaurant was a must-eat on my business trip and made sure to wake up extra early one morning to check it out solo. I was happy there were so many signs to guide me to the restaurant from the street.

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Enter from the street, pass a long hallway, and then descend down some stairs into Hell’s Kitchen.

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Mind the pointy chandelier (love this) on your way in. If you don’t have a good feeling for the theme of this restaurant, you soon will.

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The interior of the restaurant is as dark as you were likely expecting with dark wood, black drapery…

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…and interesting artwork.

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The menu is where things got really interesting.

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There were so many things that sounded interesting, like the Lemon-Ricotta Hotcakes I heard so much about online and the Mahnomin Porridge (a hot breakfast cereal made with rice and other tasty ingredients).

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I decided to try the Bread Pudding with Black Currants and Creme Anglaise (from the menu – “We use toasted, buttery brioche bread, baked in a vanilla-flavored custard with black currants folded in. Served warm with a vanilla crème Anglaise – $4.75″) and a single Maple-Glazed Bison Sausage ($2).

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Breakfast started with a nice, hot, mug of coffee. I really liked their house blend. It was nice and smooth.

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The Bread Pudding with Black Currants and Creme Anglaise came out nice and hot. I thought it was interesting that the sauce on the bottom was completely different from the sauce on the top (at least they tasted different to me – guess I should have checked with the waitress that they were truly 2 separate sauces). I tried to get a little bit of each sauce with every bite because they went so well together.

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The bread pudding was quite decadent…much like eating an uber-rich dessert for breakfast. Since I have a major sweet-tooth, this was welcome. I loved the bites of thick pudding with warm cream sauce and bursts of currants.

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I balanced the sweetness of the dessert-like breakfast with the Maple-Glazed Bison Sausage. I really enjoyed the spicy, savory-sweet flavor of the sausage and the fact that you can’t order bison sausage just anywhere.

Final Dish

I loved the playful ambiance of Hell’s Kitchen, their use of unique ingredients (lemon in pancakes, bison for the sausage meat, and rice in the porridge), and their most-interesting menu selection. I would try one of everything if I could, the menu was that captivating. I read some reviews on yelp saying that service was slow and unkind, but I thought the hostess was friendly, and she definitely seated me promptly. My waitress was prompt and took great care of me on top of her smiling face. I thought the service was great, though I did go on a slow morning when there were only a handful of tables in the restaurant, so I can’t speak to “rush hour.” The food was the main attraction and definitely lived up to the many reviews I found online. I can’t wait to go back and try some new dishes.

Hell’s Kitchen is exactly the kind of place that I seek out when I go taste-exploring in a new town. Every time I visit Minneapolis, I plan to make Hell’s Kitchen a must-stop and hope to take some of my co-workers with me.

Want to take a taste of Hell’s Kitchen home with you or bring it to your house? They have merchandise and food items available for purchase in the store and online. The also have a cookbook, which is something I look for from restaurants I like. You can also find a video on how to make the homemade peanut butter on their blog.

Restaurant Max (Apps + Cocktails) – Minneapolis, MN »

The Basics

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Cuisine: American
Ambiance: Modern Chic
Address: 215 4th St S, Minneapolis, MN 55467
Neighborhood: Downtown
Phone: 612.340.0303
Web Site: https://www.therestaurantmax.com
Must Taste (Dinner):

  • Grilled Flatbreads: Garden – $11 – “artichokes, tomatoes, green olives, parmesan, basil, balsamic vinegar.”
  • Appetizers + Small Plates: Mini Crab Cakes – $9 – “preserved lemon, smoked tomato aioli.”
  • Drink: Gatsby’s Daisy – $9 – “charbay green tea vodka, lavender simple syrup, tarragon, cranberries” – great if you like interesting cocktails.

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Best For: Group Outing (with friends or co-workers), Romantic Date
What to Wear: dressy casual (sneakers not recommended) to dressy
Fave Points: Interesting cocktail concoctions. For our particular outing, the extensive bar menu was nice.
My Fave Dish: The Garden Grilled Flatbread was so much more flavorful than expected. I loved everything about it. I sampled a couple other flatbreads and thought they were pretty awesome, too.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

In Minneapolis on business, I went out with some co-workers after a long day to Restaurant Max to enjoy a drink or two and snack on some appetizers.

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Inside, the restaurant was quite large – especially the bar area. We found some comfy half booth / half table seats next to the bar.

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I loved the lights inside the restaurant – they were very unique and vibrant.

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For my drink, I ordered the Gatsby’s Daisy – $9 – (from the menu) “charbay green tea vodka, lavender simple syrup, tarragon, cranberries.”

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I loved the light but interesting flavors of this drink.

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Cute garnish.

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Our group ordered a couple different appetizers. My first selection – the Grilled Flabread in Garden – $11 (was $10 when we went, but the web site now says it’s $11) – “artichokes, tomatoes, green olives, parmesan, basil, balsamic vinegar.”

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I love flatbreads and pizza as much as the next girl, but this one really surprised me.

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I really liked the combination of flavors – all the veggies tasted great with the fresh basil and drizzle of balsamic.

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My second order was for the Mini Crab Cakes – $9 – “preserved lemon, smoked tomato aioli.”

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They were mini indeed. I wouldn’t recommend splitting this app with more than 2 people unless you have really small appetites.

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These mini crab cakes were small but mighty in flavor. The presentation was beautiful, too.

Final Dish

I really enjoyed my group outing to Restaurant Max. I think this place is great for appetizers and cocktails. Personally, I’m a big fan of unique cocktails and there were many on the menu that caught my eye. There is plenty of comfortable seating and the restaurant has a relaxed but fun feel. The bar menu had a great cocktail list and featured eats priced from $4 – 35 (soup to steak) – sure to fit anyone’s bill. Our waitress was friendly and prompt and got our checks to us when we needed (some of our party had to leave before the rest).

Next time I go to Restaurant Max, I’m trying a different cocktail, getting the Garden flatbread again, and possibly checking out one of their apps. Who knows, maybe I’ll even wander to the dining room for a full dinner? Based on the bar experience, I bet it would be awesome.

Basil’s Restaurant (Breakfast) – Minneapolis, MN »

The Basics

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Cuisine: American
Ambiance: Contemporary
Address: 7th & Marquette, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Neighborhood: Downtown
Phone: 612.376.7404
Web Site: http://www.basilsminneapolis.com/
Must Taste (Breakfast):

  • Breakfast: Wild Rice Waffles – when in Rome…check out the Wild Rice Waffles to get a taste of the local cuisine. These waffles taste pretty much like regular ones with a little extra texture.

Best For: Eats for travelers, meal with friends or co-workers
What to Wear: casual to business casual to dress casual
Fave Points: Convenient location for business travelers, nice interior, and fabulous indoor patio.
My Fave Dish: I loved my wild rice waffles. I’ve never heard of such a dish before and thought the flavor of the waffles was really nice and that the rice added some fun texture. The waffle was cooked perfectly – slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

I was in Minneapolis, MN on business and made a quick stop to Basil’s Restaurant for a simple breakfast.

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As the hostess led me inside the restaurant, I caught a glimpse of their indoor patio area and asked to be seated out there. There was a nice water fountain that streamed from the ceiling to a small pool below that created a relaxing moving water background. The view was the inside of a mall-like area.

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The table setup simple simple, but nice and clean.

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I ordered a cup of coffee with cream and sugar to drink.

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I was feeling a standard egg, pancake, and bacon kind of breakfast, but the wild rice waffle captured my attention as soon as I saw the dish listed on the menu. I knew I had to try them.

The waffle came out perfectly golden brown and served with whipped butter, syrup, and a couple pieces of fruit.

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The waffle was just how I like them: slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Yes, there really was wild rice inside!

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I ordered an extra side of fresh fruit – the bowl was really pretty and I liked the variety of fruit and how the medley contained berries – strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

Final Dish

Although Basil’s Restaurant may easily be missed since it’s not street-side and is located inside The Marquette Hotel (on the third floor), the restaurant is worth a visit. I liked the clean, contemporary interior of the restaurant and the indoor patio is definitely worth checking out. My waiter was nice but the service was a little on the slow side. The food more than made up for it. My breakfast was really well prepared and the flavor of the waffles was awesome. I would definitely come back to Basil’s Restaurant, but I will probably try to wake up earlier next time so I can enjoy a slower-paced breakfast, but not because of the service. This restaurant is a nice place to catch up with the newspaper and take your time sipping on coffee and savoring your waffles, especially before starting a long workday.

BANK (Drinks) – Minneapolis, MN »

The Basics

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Cuisine: American
Ambiance: Modern Sophisticate
Address: 88 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Neighborhood: Downtown
Phone: 612.656.3255
Web Site: http://www.bankmpls.com/
Must Taste (Drink):

  • Cocktails: Blueberry Mojito – a mojito amped up with fresh blueberries…yum!
  • Drink: For a more masculine drink, try The Classic – a standard martini served with either gin or vodka and choice of olives or lemon twist

Best For: Group Outing (with friends or co-workers)
What to Wear: casual-dressy to dressy
Fave Points: Quiet, laid back atmosphere and nice cocktail selection. I also liked how the bar was located in an old bank with dining rooms available in what used to be bankers’ offices. Check out the vault which is now a wine cellar.
My Fave Dish: I fell in love with the blueberry mojito. So simple, but so good.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

I was in Minneapolis, MN for work and headed out with a group of co-workers for drinks. I went with the group to BANK and was happy to relax in the sophisticated and relaxed environment.

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I was torn between the blueberry mojito and the Green Grass Tea and as I like to do in these situations, I asked the waiter which one was better.

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He recommended the blueberry mojito, which was an excellent choice.

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The blueberry mojito was delicious – refreshing but with a fruity twist. I loved it and am only sad that I can’t seem to find this drink anywhere else. I suppose it would be easy enough to ask a bar to toss a couple blueberries into my next mojito, so maybe I’ll try that and see how it compares until I can make it back to Minneapolis again.

Final Dish

BANK was an awesome spot for after-work cocktails. There were plenty of seats – spaces for small groups to large groups – standard chairs to cozy couches. I liked their speciality cocktail list – I love being able to select from lists of cocktails rather than trying to make up my own. The service was prompt and our waiter was personable. I especially liked how mod yet relaxed the environment felt – it was nice to be able to relax with my blueberry mojito. I saw a couple dishes going out to some tables while we were there and they looked quite appetizing, so next time, I’m hoping to hit up BANK for both the eats and drinks.

Lyon’s Pub (Dinner) – Minneapolis, MN »

The Basics

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Cuisine: American
Ambiance: Neighborhood Pub
Address: 16 S 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Neighborhood: Downtown
Phone: 612.333.6612
Web Site: http://lyonspub.com/
Must Taste (Dinner):

  • Dinner: Plymouth Burger – burger with Swiss cheese, American cheese, and grilled onions on marbled rye with hand cut fries.
  • Drink: Choose from the pub’s nice beer list.

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Best For: Group Outing (with friends or co-workers)
What to Wear: casual
Fave Points: Interesting burger concoctions – they aren’t too over the top, but they’re a step ahead of the typical options (hamburger or bacon cheeseburger?) even just in the bread/bun options.
My Fave Dish: My fave dish was the Plymouth burger (or do I like the Wells Fargo better…hmm). I’m a bit traditional at times and was worried I wouldn’t like how the burger was served on marbled rye bread instead of a typical burger-bun, but I absolutely loved the marbled rye substitution.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

I was in Minneapolis for work and went out with a group of co-workers to grab a relaxed dinner at self-proclaimed “neighborhood pub” Lyon’s Pub after flying into town on a Wednesday.

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Normally, when I’m traveling, I try to hit up restaurants featuring a city’s specialties, so while I was looking forward to hanging out with my co-workers, I wasn’t expecting more than bar food at the restaurant, but I’d be happily surprised by the pub’s burger list.

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The inside of the pub really did have a friendly neighborhood-like feel with lots of rustic wood and a relaxed ambiance. It was May and pretty hot, but the front windows were wide open, so the temperature was a bit warm inside the restaurant. I did kinda of like the open-air feel, which reminded me a bit of how they’ll swing the windows open at restaurants in Charleston, SC (where it gets quite hot and muggy).

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I was expecting to order my usual bar fare – some sort of burger. What I wasn’t expecting was the most-awesome list of creative burger concoctions, which had more than just the usual bacon cheeseburger. The burger combinations weren’t all that unusual but small changes, like rye buns instead of traditional white buns, were nice to see. I had a hard time narrowing down and selection and lucked out that the lady across from me said she’d split her burger with me if I split mine. Done and done. I love sampling as many flavors as possible, so this seemed like a win-win.

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I’m a pretty healthy eater on most days and find getting my veggies in while I’m traveling for work to be a bit of a challenge. To get at least a serving or two, I started my dinner with a side salad, which was HUGE. Lots of iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomato, shredded carrot, and plenty of croutons. I had ranch dressing on the side.

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I also managed to get an onion ring and 1/2 cheese stick the group was sharing for appetizers. They were nice and crispy.

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I ordered the Plymoutha burger with Swiss cheese, American cheese, and grilled onions on marbled rye with hand cut fries.

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I traded half of my Plymouth for half of a co-worker’s Wells Fargo burger, which had swiss cheese and bacon on a rye bun.

Both burgers were awesome! I was happily surprised at the burgers and really enjoyed both. I was so glad my co-worker wanted to trade sandwiches because I was torn between ordering the two and got to taste them both this way! I’m still not sure which one I liked better.

Final Dish

While there are many fancy options for eats in downtown Minneapolis, check out Lyon’s Pub if you’re looking for a casual dinner in a friendly bar environment. They have an open interior and nice beer selection. I imagine the place can get pretty busy and loud on the weekends, but it is a pub, afterall. We were there on a weeknight and the place was nice and laid back with what appeared to be a handful of regulars.

The waiter we had was quite personable and friendly and helped answer all our questions. Definitely try one of their interesting burger creations for a different kind of burger dinner – maybe the Plymouth? If you’re looking for a MN-themed eat, try the Beer Cheese Soup with Popcorn topping. I didn’t get it but wanted to try it. Maybe next time?