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BEST RESTAURANT--ST. PAUL Minneapolis 1998 -

You can get a better steak at the St. Paul Grill, a better view at the No Wake, and score better points with Grandma at Forepaugh's, but there's no better all-around food and clean, understated elegance in St. Paul than at the much-beloved T.O.C. We're still harkening back to last spring's breathtaking tiger-shrimp appetizer grilled to an inside-luminous/outside-crisp perfection, lightly smoky and tangy from the marinade, and served on a cylinder of fat sushi rice speckled with Thai basil and crisped to a brown nuttiness: delicious in every possible way. But this spring there was a fantastic entrée of ivory salmon wrapped in prosciutto with wild mushrooms and black truffles and finished with an asparagus purée. Next spring...who knows? Now that there's a new patio for outdoor dining to rival W.A. Frost's, maybe they'll put in a chintz section to pacify the Grandma brigade.

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