The Lowry offers a new take on the urban diner

Burgers, oysters, and whiskey complete the "man food" circle

There are restaurants in town with better oyster selections—the lists at Oceanaire and Meritage are longer and prices are slightly cheaper—but it's nice to see a foodstuff that ocean-deprived Midwesterners perceive as a gourmet indulgence offered in a more informal setting. The oysters I sampled from the Lowry's raw bar were perfectly fresh and briny and prettily presented with a setup of grilled lemon, cocktail sauce, saltines, and Tabasco. (For those squeamish about eating a still-living creature, oysters are also offered fried, either stuffed into a hoagie as a Peacemaker, or into a bun with bacon, scrambled eggs, greens, and chipotle ketchup, as a sandwich version of Hangtown fry.)

Among the other appetizers, the tuna poke is less appealing. When I ordered it, the fish had a rather mushy texture and contained an awful lot of chewy sinew—you'd find better poke at a supermarket deli on Maui. Fortunately, the tuna's flaws were mostly masked by the spark of green onions, soy sauce, capers, ginger, and wasabi.

Better to go with the more standard gastropub bites, such as the $4 cup of spiced and candied nuts, which are flecked with fresh herbs and sea salt. Or the jalapeño cheese curds to be dunked in sweet-salty blueberry ketchup. The fried cheese is breaded, which isn't as good as battered, but otherwise makes for an addictive snack. (If you have the stomach for it, order the curds as a part of the poutine, which pairs them with French fries, braised beef, and gravy.) The grilled Caesar salad offers another twist on a classic. Two thick lettuce planks are sliced lengthwise from a head of romaine and topped with Caesar dressing, anchovies, and a Parmesan crisp. It's fun to pick the whole thing up and eat it like bruschetta.

Emily Utne

Location Info


The Lowry

2112 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55405

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street


The Lowry
2112 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
appetizers $4-$10; entrées $10-$15

The Caesar comes with a bacon-and-relish-topped deviled egg, but the other egg dishes mostly show up on the breakfast menu, selections of which are available all day long. The eggs are served shirred or scrambled or in a frittata topped with chiffonade-cut spinach and basil, roasted tomatoes, and Brie. The hash browns are as crispy as they should be and best eaten with a few shakes of Cholula hot sauce. A side of toast or English muffin arrives with the diner staple of an individual-size plastic tub of jam.

The other Blue Plate restaurants are known for their Killer Banana Waffles, topped with ripe banana and praline, which duly live up to their name. The Lowry offers a peanut butter variation loaded with Skippy, vanilla custard, candied peanuts, and whipped cream. Consider it a justifiable way to eat what's essentially a Pearson's Salted Nut Roll for breakfast. Or try ordering it for dessert.

In the past, Blue Plate restaurants have popped up in underserved restaurant neighborhoods—yes, long ago, 50th and France belonged in that category—and this is the company's first venture into a more competitive market. The Parasole restaurant group, which shares some similarities with Blue Plate, already dominates the nearby Hennepin-Lake intersection with its Chino Latino, Il Gatto, and Uptown Cafeteria. While Parasole's restaurants are still neighborhood-friendly and versatile, they tend to attract a more celebratory, party-ready crowd than Blue Plate's, as well as lure more suburban diners.

By comparison, the Lowry is more of an everyday, drop-in joint for those less focused on being a part of Uptown's "scene." It's a place where a guy might seek employment after having grown out of delivering pizza dressed up as a superhero. Dining at a Blue Plate restaurant feels a little more personal than at those owned by Parasole, especially when the dining check arrives. "Food and service great? Tell your friends!" it reads. "Not so great? Tell me." It's signed by co-owner David Burley, who includes his email address and cell phone number.

Note: This will be my last Dish column for City Pages, so thanks very much for reading these past few years. May your cocktails be strong, may your steaks arrive cooked to temperature, and may you always tip generously. Happy eating! —Rachel Hutton

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