Weekend Roundup: Minneapolis Edition

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“Sure, I’d love to go to Minneapolis in March,” said no one ever.

When I was told my company would be hosting a March event in Minneapolis and I was expected to be there, I can’t say I was thrilled. Don’t get me wrong, I had been to Minneapolis before and really enjoyed my time in the city. But in March? I.e. when temperatures rarely creep above 20 degrees? Hard pass.

Alas, I don’t get a choice when it comes to these things and I was headed to the cold tundra whether I liked it or not. My coworkers were also leary of the weather we were flying into, but we decided to make the most of the < 48 hours in “Minny” by making reservations at some of the city’s most buzzed about restaurants.

I had read a lot about Minneapolis’ flourishing food scene leading up to the trip. However, the last time I visited the city, I didn’t remember the food standing out. Little did I know the treat I was in for.

I didn’t just enjoy the meals we had, I was blown away. My coworkers and I agreed that these were some of the best meals we had in awhile and at a fraction of what we’d pay for the equivalent in San Francisco. Factor in the friendly locals (well, friendly minus when the Eagles were mentioned…Vikings fans are still a little bitter) and we had quite a nice time in Prince’s hometown, freezing temperatures and all.

My three favorite restaurants:

Alma
I stumbled upon Alma via a Google search and thank goodness I did— this was my favorite meal from our very short trip. The decor is sleek and immediately communicates a warm welcome to diners. The seasonally changing three course menu encourages a pick your own adventure experience with five choices per course. Let’s just say the chef didn’t make the decision an easy one. Everything looked absolutely delicious, but I ended up going with the celery root cream soup for my starter, the shrimp crostone for my middle course (my favorite!), and the peppercorn sturgeon (they were out of sturgeon, so subbed salmon) as my main course. Alma also gives you an option to do a wine pairing with each course for an additional cost. Between the food and the service (so friendly!), my coworkers and I unanimously agreed this was the best meal the four of us had in awhile.

The celery root cream soup featured a cornmeal fried oyster, Brussels sprouts, and black truffle. This was the perfect way to start our meal.

The shrimp crostone was my favorite course and included white beans, limoncello, carmelized garlic, and artichoke.

The final course was supposed to be peppercorn roasted sturgeon, but the restaurant was out of the fish and subbed salmon instead. The dish featured lemongrass-coconut milk broth, rapini, and oyster mushrooms.

Manny’s Steakhouse
A Minneapolis staple, Manny’s makes a mean steak and was named one of the ten best steakhouses in the world by Men’s Journal. Yes, you read that correctly— one of the top 10 steakhouses in the world. I had no idea about this recognition when I booked a customer lunch at Manny’s and selected the restaurant out of convenience (it was located in our hotel). My customers quickly informed me of the restaurant’s legacy and insisted I had to try some sort of steak. I opted to go with Manny’s tenderloin steak salad, so I could sample the restaurant’s star attraction without diving head first into a food coma before my company’s event. I’m glad I listened to my customers vs. opting for the lobster salad I eying— the tenderloin was melt in my mouth delicious. I do wish I could have sampled Manny’s for dinner (i.e. no food coma limitations), but hey, I’m glad I unknowingly stumbled into a local gem.

Borough
Voted one of Bon Appétit’s best new restaurants in America, Borough proved to live up to the buzz. The restaurant’s dishes are comprised of locally sourced organic ingredients and the cozy environment was a nice reprieve from the dropping temperatures. We started with the tuna carpaccio and I went with the scallops for my main course. The scallops were delicious, but after a bite of my coworker’s pork chop, I experienced a little dish envy. Don’t get me wrong, the scallops were very good, but lawd, those pork chops.  After dinner, we popped down to Parlour, the intimate lower-level bar, for a night cap. Our waiter at Alma actually gave us the recommendation to hit Parlour, as they are known for their craft cocktails and have been recognized as one of America’s best bars.

I mentioned I have a lot of work travel on the horizon in the last edition of the Weekend Roundup. Next stop? Dallas. If you have any recommendations, please send my way via the comment section below!

Making a trip to Miami soon? Check out the Miami edition of the Weekend Roundup for my top restaurant picks!

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