Erstwhile pharmacy opens as the highly anticipated Burch Steak
Now that the paper has been removed from the windows, we can eagerly peek inside the brand, new Burch Steak.
Burch Steak (and the sublevel Pizza Bar) is the brainchild of James Beard Award-winning chef Isaac Becker, his wife and front-of-house maven Nancy St. Pierre, and their partner at Bar La Grassa, real estate developer/restaurateur Ryan Burnet.
The entrance is at the back, off Hennepin, behind a well-staffed valet stand. As you step down into the dining room, an open kitchen with plenty of seating is to the left, and a bar with yet more seating is to the right.
The pharmacy space was completely gutted, taking it down to the bricks. The restaurant is now decorated with minimal furnishings, huge mirrors, and carefully chosen fixtures. The result is open with a casual elegance.
Open dining with a great view of Hennepin Avenue
The wine list is judiciously edited, bottles are carefully chosen, and wines by the glass are served on tap, retaining their integrity. All were very reasonably priced.
The menu lists raw items, salads and starters, dumplings, sides, steaks, and entrees to share.
Our favorite dumpling was the pretzel with celery juice, a disk set atop a gently green sauce. The first bite elicited a sudden sense memory of Thanksgiving stuffing. It was so perfectly homey, buttery with just a bit of salt and the celery. Delightful for $7.
The bone marrow dumplings were poached and served in a star-anise-flavored broth, reminiscent of pho, for $8.
Sides we sampled included the sunchoke gratinnatta (above left), which was creamy, crunchy, and topped with wonderfully butter-drenched crumbs ($7). The sauerkraut side was bracing and tart, laid atop a pile of ultra-buttery crouton hunks and topped with an egg so perfectly poached it was like a puffy cloud above a wheat field. This could be a meal in itself for only $8.
Sauerkraut topped with poached egg
However, the name of the game is steak, and oh my, what they do with a steak. A small rib eye arrived absolutely perfectly seasoned. A simple salt-and-peppered crusty exterior belies the tender meat inside. Like opening a beautifully wrapped present, the knife reveals an interior as rosy as a virgin's blush. A medium-rare order resulted in a thin ribbon of purple drawn through the very center of the meat. That is how you do steak.
1942 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis
612.843.1515; Burch Steak website
Hours: Monday-Thursday 5 p.m.-1 a.m., Friday-Saturday 5 p.m.-2 a.m.