BEST NEW RESTAURANT (1998)
How can you not love this elegant effort by four young and plucky Minneapolis dreamers? Mark Reinholtz, Scott Davis, Doug Flicker, and Melinda Goodin sank everything they had into the old Lowry's space. And after staying up nights painting the walls and scouring carpet glue off the floors, they took to a life of preparing and plating each and every dish that leaves their kitchen. Truth be told, there's no greater level of quality control in town. The menu is a happy blend of the bold (haddock on a bed of celeriac in a leek sauce finished with blue cheese) and the deluxely, comfortingly bland (grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and a truffle gravy). The chefs are experimental, artistic, and eager-to-please, and best of all, they invest the profits in high-quality ingredients and nice wines. Auriga is the restaurant you want in your neighborhood. Lucky, lucky Lowry Hill.