BEST RESTAURANT FOR A FIRST DATE - 2005
JP American Bistro - CLOSED
2937 Lyndale Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
A friend of ours was scheduled to go on a blind first date with someone she met online. He suggested one of those places with the animatronic bears. The date never happened, no matter how we assured her it must have been a joke. Hey--people are skittish. Which is why jP is such a great choice: Anyone with any variety of good taste likes jP. Is the date in question artsy? Then she or he will likely already know the place due to its next-door proximity to Jungle Theater. Is she interested in architecture and community preservation? Then she'll enjoy the salvaged and repurposed old tire building. Is he into the New York restaurant scene? Then he'll enjoy knowing that chef and owner J.P. Samuelson spent two years at the original Bouley before moving through many other important restaurant kitchens. Is she into the Minneapolis restaurant scene? Then she'll enjoy remembering that J.P. was involved in some of the biggest restaurants of the 1990s, opening Bobino, and going on to head things at D'Amico Cucina. Is he nuts about family? Then you can talk about how jP's is a mom-and-pop shop, with J.P. and his wife Cheryl on the premises almost every night. Is he a vegetarian? Then he'll enjoy feasting on potato gnocchi with organic green beans, toasted hazelnut crème fraîche, and chive oil. Is she a bow hunter? Then she'll like something such as a pan-roasted venison steak in a cranberry-red wine reduction paired with Yukon-gold potato puree and roasted Brussels sprouts. Whatever you order, serious attention and skill goes into every plate. If this first date goes well, you can move into jP's attached bar for a nightcap. And if it doesn't, you can always run screaming across Lyndale and into the Herkimer brewpub to meet your friends and explain what went wrong. Whatever it was, at least you know you can't blame the restaurant.