Chef's Day Off: Where Jim Kyndberg of FireLake Grill likes to eat

Chickens on the spit at FireLake Grill
Chickens on the spit at FireLake Grill

Tony Nelson

It's relatively rare -- maybe even a blue moon-level occasion -- for a chef, particularly one at a new restaurant, to be able to go out on the town and have someone else cook for them. So when local chefs do get a chance to get away from their own kitchens, where do they choose to eat? This Chef's Day Off series reveals some of the lusted-after dishes and top restaurant picks of the talented people who shape our local food scene.

This week's featured food professional is Jim Kyndberg, the newly appointed executive chef at FireLake Grill in downtown Minneapolis. Kyndberg first made a splash in food world as the chef and owner of Bayport Cookery, in Bayport, Minnesota, which was famed for its creative barbecue. He went on to become the culinary director for Crave restaurants, with a few breaks in between to help out other chef friends at venerable local spots like Victory 44. Though the holiday season is a particularly busy time for any hotel restaurant, Kyndberg does get to sneak away every so often, and when he does, here's where he goes.

See also:
Victory 44: I never even look at what's on the menu because I always end up doing the chef's tasting menu.

In Season: The menu here changes frequently with the seasons, so no real "must-have dish," but I love Don Saunders's approach to cuisine. Plus, he has a solid wine list and great service from staff who always make you feel welcome.

Union: I know it's the new fancy restaurant in Minneapolis with that amazing retractable rooftop, but the food is pretty amazing on its own. Savory doughnut holes with Vasterbotten fondue, chicken liver parfait with maple gelee, and the seafood platter are all definite must-haves.

Urban Eatery: I may be a bit biased since I was involved in the menu development, but I still crave the Mexican hash and spicy Asian pork sliders, and the "local burger" is still my favorite burger in town.

Phil's Tara Hideaway: I live in the Stillwater area, so this is my go-to when I don't feel like driving into the cities on my day off, which is usually the case. They have a menu with a little something for everyone. Midwest classics, some great Mediterranean influenced dishes, and always a special or two that pushes the Minnesota-nice envelope, such as grilled octopus or smoked salmon rillettes.

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Firelake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

31 S. 7th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55402


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