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BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING Minneapolis 2001 -

Readers' Choice: Oceanaire Seafood Room

If you're buying, we're getting the $95 Aquavit tasting menu, paired with accompanying wines. A recent version of the six-course meal started with tandoori smoked salmon paired with fried wasabi sorbet and cilantro vinaigrette, progressed to serrano-chile-wrapped lobster with mushroom-corn orzo and asparagus cappuccino (like a cream sauce). For the third course there was caramelized tuna with a celery-Asian-pear terrine, seared foie gras, and fig sauce. Then salt-cured duck breast with oxtail-marrow ravioli, taro root purée, and truffle froth (we love it when they bust out the froth). That was followed by a cheese course and dessert, namely a chocolate blini with coconut tapioca. (There's also a comparable vegetarian tasting menu, $82 with wine.) But then, since you're buying, we'd probably also have thrown in a $50 ounce of osetra caviar and a couple of armloads of handmade itty-bitty glasses of aquavit, and, as long as you're feeling so generous, we might as well toss a couple of bottles of Champagne around the table. Ever had the 1988 Pol Roger brut? Hey, where are you going?

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