Mill Valley Kitchen offers Midwestern take on California cuisine

Day boat scallops and grass-fed beef anchor healthy entrees

Rakun's flatbreads seem like another species entirely than the typical Domino's pie. They're based on a thin but soft whole-grain crust and topped with things like spinach, onions, and a few blotches of chèvre. It's the rare pizza that could legitimately be considered a balanced meal.

The menu's more substantial entrées, which top out at $24, are mostly straightforward but well executed. The grass-fed beef filet has good flavor for its tenderness, and is classically accompanied by potatoes, mushrooms, and onions. Day boat scallops arrive on a bed of barley with a lively romesco sauce.

The miso-glazed sea bass best exemplifies the restaurant's light-but-flavorful approach. It's a dish that will leave you full, but not weighed down. The fish is certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, and it's handled with a deft, light touch: The lightly blackened crust on the skin is as appealing as the charred bits of hash browns that lingered on the griddle. A pile of Incan red quinoa adds the textural pop of tiny little beads and a nutty flavor that's rather like wild rice. A finishing drizzle of miso contributes a touch of salt and lip-smacking umami. It's a dish that's good for you—and just plain good.

Light but full of flavor: Grilled Nantucket day boat scallops
Alma Guzman
Light but full of flavor: Grilled Nantucket day boat scallops

Location Info

Map

Mill Valley Kitchen

3906 Excelsior Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55416

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Louis Park

Details

Mill Valley Kitchen
3906 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park
952.358.2000; www.millvalleykitchen.com
appetizers $7-$10; entrées $10-$24

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Mill Valley's dessert menu cuts diners a little slack by dispensing with nutritional numbers entirely—though they are available upon request. Perhaps the kitchen wants to remind us that life can only be so data-driven, and that food, of course, is about far more than physical sustenance. (It's well worth the extra 220 calories to upgrade from the Grilled Plum salad to the Rustic Three Bean with roasted red peppers and Parmesan, for example.) In any case, the dessert "miniatures" offer a shot-glass-size portion of something rich: Triple Chocolate, Maple Panna Cotta, and Key Lime Pie are all excellent picks. For those who prefer sharing, the kitchen bakes a killer plate of warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies that drip melted chips when cracked apart. They're short on nutrition, but long on nostalgia.

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