Parka's fare thrives with a Northwoods flair

The Longfellow restaurant brings everyday diners and accomplished chefs together for hearty treats

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As far as the larger plates, if you've been to Victory 44 you'll recognize some of the lingo ascribed to Harcey's techniques. For example, Parka's pot roast (which was tender and served with plenty of jus) came with three carrot "textures" — in this case, braised, pickled, and the green tops. More tricks and treats are found in the meatloaf sandwich, with bacon-tomato jam and meaty, fluffy French fries with melt-away duck fat powder. The fish fry was among the more conventional dishes, but the chef still took care to add spicy (jalapeños) and sweet (pineapple) notes to complement the light-as-air batter on the fish. As a side to any entree, get the Brussels sprouts. Something about the nearly identical size and shape, but complete textural discrepancy, between the sprouts and the itty-bitty smoked eggs in the same dish makes for a really interesting bite.

Thanks to Rustica and strong in-house pastry talent, desserts here are no slouches, either. I particularly loved the deconstructed banana cream pie, made from shards of well-baked pastry and layers of yuzu and banana jam, chocolate shavings, salted caramel, and a thick banana pastry cream. If that sounds over the top, well, it is. But it's worth the caloric intake. If you'd rather share some nibbles, there's always the selection of homemade bars (of course) and cookies (Rustica's amazing bittersweet chocolate cookie and sharp ginger cookies are both usually available). They come with a flight of local milk from Autumnwood and Castle Rock Farms. While considering the differences between each little shot, it's impossible not to feel a little like Napoleon Dynamite at the Future Farmers of America competition.

House-made bars and Rustica cookies come with a flight of three local milks
E. Katie Holm
House-made bars and Rustica cookies come with a flight of three local milks
E. Katie Holm

Location Info



4021 East Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Category: Coffee Shops

Region: Seward/ Longfellow/ Minnehaha


4021 E. Lake St., Minneapolis
starters $4-$9; entrees $9-$15

Honestly, I found very little, if anything, to fault during my visits to Parka, but I generally went during non-rush hours when the wait for a table was 10 minutes or less. If you like to have breakfast or unlimited refills of coffee from a server who stops by with a carafe, you may take issue with this place (Parka's service doesn't start till 11 a.m., and its single-cup brew takes a while to make). But Longfellow seems to be welcoming it with open, puffy-jacketed arms. So settle in, order with confidence, and while you're eating, do like Joe Cocker says and feel free to leave your hat (and boots and snow pants) on.

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