Burch delivers the cure for your hunger

Isaac Becker's new restaurant in the old Burch Pharmacy location boasts amazing steaks, dumplings, and pizza

Burch delivers the cure for your hunger
Benjamin Carter Grimes
Burch aims to be a "Midwestern steak house for a more modern audience"

Check out more delicious photos from Burch Steak and Pizza Bar...

When Isaac Becker announced he would be opening a new restaurant in the old Burch Pharmacy space on the corner of Franklin and Hennepin in Uptown, it caused a stir of mixed emotions. On one hand, it meant that a longstanding, locally owned, independent business and neighborhood landmark, a place that could claim Sir Paul McCartney as a onetime customer (he was was spotted there perusing the greeting card selection back in the early aughts), would be gone forever. On the other hand, steak. Steak and dumplings and a raw bar with marlin crudo and lamb tartare and a banquet table stocked with a splendid array of layer cakes and uniquely shaped bundts. And a full bar. And reasonably priced wine by the glass. And a kitchen that stays open until 1 a.m. on weekends. And, as if that weren't enough to appease every palate in your dining party, there's a separate pizza bar on the lower level, which is, in my opinion, a function of the highest nobility for unused basement space.

"We joke that we opened a restaurant and ... a restaurant," laughed Nancy St. Pierre, general manager and co-owner of Burch with Becker, who serves as executive chef and the conceptual craftsman of this "Midwestern steak house for a more modern audience," as St. Pierre so eloquently summarized it. "When we go out to eat, I rarely want a big piece of meat," she elaborated. "I tend to eat lighter, but Isaac still likes to be able to order something big and from the grill, so that was kind of where we started. Just like with 112, where we made a bistro sort of the way we imagined it, and Bar La Grassa, where we wanted to do lots of pasta but still offer plenty of other options, Burch is our steak house. It's meant to fit the tastes of people who eat like me and people who eat like Isaac."

Location Info

Map

Burch Steak and Pizza Bar

1933 Colfax Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Details

Burch Steak and Pizza Bar
1933 Colfax Ave. S., Minneapolis
612.843.1515; burchrestaurant.com
starters $6-$15; entrees $13-$30

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As you might imagine, Isaac Becker eats very well, but both he and St. Pierre emphasized that they wanted the diners at Burch to have that steak-house experience without it hitting their wallets too hard. "That's why we have so many different cuts and sizes of beef on the menu," Becker explains. And that is no lie. In fact, I worked it out, and theoretically you could eat at Burch every day for a month and never have to order the same exact steak twice. Not only does Burch offer three designations of beef (grass-fed, natural, and prime from Grass Run Farms in Iowa and Niman Ranch in California) in every kind of cut from hanger to porterhouse, it also gives diners a choice with portions. So you can get a robust prime rib eye in either an eight- or 16-ounce portion, or a lean and clean grass-fed New York strip weighing in at either seven or 14 ounces. The minerally grass-fed beef is really excellent, and every cut is given equal expert care in its preparation, but let's be real — fat makes things taste good. It's why a high-quality beef burger served with nothing but a bun still beats out a fancied-up turkey burger any day of the week. So based on pure taste and texture, and without regard for cardiovascular health, the prime beef at Burch is absolutely superior. It's the kind of meat that originated the phrase "a cut above the rest," and it's why Becker chose it. "To me, the Niman Ranch prime beef is on par with Kobe beef in terms of the marbling and flavor. It's that good."

And even if you go for prime, you don't have to go all out. "I think last week 80 percent of the steaks we sold were the half-size ones," says St. Pierre. "So it seems like people appreciate the more manageable portions." Personally, I found it to be more than enough, especially when you factor in sides, which you absolutely must do. There's horseradish-heavy, buttery pureed potatoes with poutine gravy; sweet roasted carrots with thyme and goat cheese; and caramelized cauliflower with sweet bread crumbs, creamy burrata, and the umami tinge of anchovy. Everything is a la carte, though all steaks do come with a tray of sauce accoutrements: smoky and acidic house steak sauce, a beautifully smooth Béarnaise, and a dish of pickled mushrooms with tons of whole mustard and coriander seed.

Check out more delicious photos from Burch Steak and Pizza Bar...

"I think just in general, people are eating differently than they did 20 years ago," says St. Pierre. "That was part of the reasoning behind the raw bar and designing both the small and large plates as ones you could potentially share." Yes, in addition to all that beef, there are a few other main dishes — mostly fish, with a pork shoulder and pressed whole duck thrown in for good measure — that could work as light individual entrees or a make-your-own surf and turf. The simple salmon in parmesan broth with braised artichokes was lovely and well balanced, but the monkfish scallopini suffered from serious oversalting and an overwhelming amount of relish-like tartar sauce. I preferred the smaller plates overall, like the sweet, creamy, utterly oceanic Dungeness crab salad with crisp sea beans; the charred Brussels sprout salad with pancetta and a bright sherry dressing to balance the bitterness of the greens; and the savory turnover filled with chocolate-braised rabbit, which had a great depth of flavor, if a little on the salty side, complemented perfectly by a smear of pureed acorn squash.

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