A 75-year-old burger recipe at Normandy Kitchen
With classic Twin Cities dining being an ever more tenuous proposition (see: the demise of Nye’s, Bonnie’s Cafe, Peter’s Grill, and other grand dames of their ilk), we salute the Normandy Kitchen for investing in a significant makeover.
Now it’s classically classy, but modern as heck. They wisely kept the old burger recipe, culled from a diner that shared their corner way back in the ’40s. The Henry VIII Burger is memorably juicy with pickle relish and raw onion, and comes served on a plate illustrated with the old king's face. We like the slider option (though a standard burger can be yours too) because with a trio of these burgers, it’s easier to see the big guy’s mug as you do your sandwich hunch and watch condiments rain down upon his royal chapeau.
405 S. 8th St., Minneapolis
Nerve-relieving beef udon at Masu MOA
With the addition of places like Shake Shack, Burger Burger, and Tim Horton’s, the Mall of America has definitely upped its fast-casual food game in recent months. But when gallantly braving the Big Mall, sometimes you need more escape than stuffing a paper sack full of fried food into your face. For our money, Masu is still the best full-service place in all of the mall to briefly escape the chaos.
Beef udon with braised sweet and spicy short ribs is a comforting bowl to soothe the most jangled and sticker-shocked nerves. All silky broth, tender meat, and fat noodles, put it next to a sake and a sushi roll and all of a sudden the mall seems civilized and worldly.
344 South Ave., Bloomington
Soulful scratch soups at Lowry Hill Meats
Frozen nosehair season has begun, and you can bet your best pair of boots it’s going to hang on for five solid months even if we do have the occasional balmy 40-degree day or two.
Seek out the healing benefits of scratch-made soups at Lowry Hill Meats, for $5 per heavenly cup. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to find chicken and orzo made with their fine all-natural bird; as well as a smooth celery and potato, liquid green-gold and creamy.
They say they’ll serve a rotating selection all winter long, and we’re grateful. Drinking a hot lunch is a surefire foil for brain freeze.
1934 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
Straight-shooting breakfast sandwich at Triple Rock
The stripped-down vegetarian and vegan-friendly diner-style cooking at Triple Rock makes this punk bar a surprising brunch fave, especially for hangover breakfast.
They don’t tend to screw around too much with over-inventiveness, which makes the fried egg sandwich so great. Cheese, toast, homefries, and choice of meat (or veggie meat) on English muffin is the reliable standard your gut-rotted belly demands.
And, if you want to get back on the train, order a bloody. “You could say our secret ingredient is vodka,” our proficient and heavily face-tatted server informed us. When nothing but smooth, strong, straight-shooting will do, choose Triple Rock.
629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis
Quarter-sized burgers at Radisson Red
Quarter pounders are so last century! At Radisson Red, the new hotel for millennials, they’ve taken the slider trend and shrunk it down even further. Like, way further. For scale, a 50-cent piece would dwarf these bite-sized wonders, and even more wondrous still, they arrive medium-rare. These babies would almost be ridiculous if they weren’t so much fun to gaze upon and eat, three to a plate, but wee enough to pour in a bowl and eat with a spoon.
609 3rd St. S., Minneapolis