Fried chicken livers at Revival
If you go -- well, when you go -- to Revival to get your fried chicken fix, you'll be confronted with all manner of methods to consume the bird. The "2pc," maybe? A "1/2 bird," perhaps even the "whole bird"? Though, that description is a misnomer, for it labels a pile of juicy meat, white and dark, wings, thighs, and breasts... but leaves out the meaty secrets that lie within our fowl friend. We refer here to the chicken liver, an organ usually shelved in favor of prettier pieces, but perfectly good eats in the hands of the fry masters at Revival. Light, crispy breading gives way to soft, dark meat. Touch it up with the in-house hot sauce or the in-house hotter sauce, but don't smother: The bird's secret is worth knowing.
Revival (two locations)
525 Selby Ave Saint Paul
4257 Nicollet Ave Minneapolis
Pastrami Sandwich at Lowry Hill Meats
While our BBQ scene may be lighting up mightily, one thing we still don’t do well around here is real deal Eastern European deli food. We’ve had a few flashes of greatness (and some tried and failed attempts) but aside from Cecil’s in St. Paul, it’s still tough to get a consistent corned beef or pastrami on rye. When you need this and only this, you’d be wise to check in at our sustainable butcher shops including St. Paul Meat Shop, Clancey’s Meats and Fish and Lowry Hill Meat. As meat specialists, they understand the care required to prepare these time-honored preservation techniques. As such, they don’t always have them around, but when they do, it’s worth marking the calendar for. This fatty, smoky, almost bacon-like beauty was a project to tackle. A project we’d be happy to lead a weekly seminar on.
1934 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
Lengua taco at Bearcat Bar
We’re happy the people at Bearcat Bar, brand new to Loring Park not annoyingly calling this one a “street taco,” though that’s basically what this $3 lovely tastes like. Lengua (tongue) tenderized with expert care, then dressed with nothing more than fiery green salsa and a bit of cilantro on steamy corn tortillas. You owe it to yourself to order them in multiples, and maybe even one for the road (which would then qualify it a street taco).
1612 Harmon Place, Minneapolis
Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit Gelee at Lucia's
Is Lucia's experiencing a new golden age? The 31-year-old institution went through a major transition when the name behind the brand, Lucia Watson sold her French Blue bistro, putting the dependable go-to through a bit of unavoidable tumlut. Would it be the same? Maybe not, but it's damn good. Take this chocolate panna cotta, rich and thick as rain-packed earth, invigorated by a float of passion fruit gelee and some of those mini malt balls that are the one of the pastry industry's most genius inventions. Classically uncomplcated with execution as tight as a symphony. That's Lucia's right now. Head on over.
1432 W 31st St., Minneapolis
Dajaj chicken sandwich at Moroccan Flavors
The peppy little green olives that come alongside this and other dishes at Moroccan Flavors are worth their own mention. They come in a container just small enough not to blow your diet, but big enough convince you someone behind this counter cares about olives. As to the sandwich, it is (like that Lowry Hill pastrami above) a model of simplicity, calling upon seasoned, slow-cooked meat to do the heavy lifting. The baguette is baked and sliced thin, so you won't have to unhook your jaw, but is strong enough to hold together the great chunks of buttery, herb-y chicken it's supporting. Stewed tomatoes deepen the affair, and a layer of dijon brings a level of gentle heat. Allow a few minutes for this one to be baked in the oven to warm up together. Try not to jump over the counter and steal the olives while you wait.
Midtown Global Market
920 E. Lake Street #126, Minneapolis