Eastside: Downtown's newest, incredibly beautiful restaurant

Eastside's tile floors are so beautiful you might not even notice what's on the plate.

Eastside's tile floors are so beautiful you might not even notice what's on the plate.

We weren't clear on what exactly to expect from restaurateur Ryan Burnet's Eastside restaurant, opening September 29 in the ground level of the Latitude 45 apartment building, another slick, downtown Minneapolis luxury living property. Its stretch of downtown has traditionally been underserved when it comes to good eating, and chef Remy Pettus, formerly of Cosmos, knows all about it. He grew up in the 'hood. Pettus says it's always been tough to get a good plate of food in the area so now the two men have come around to try to change all that. 

Upon entering, it's impossible not to be awed; the place looks like it's been built to withstand the test of time. Stunning tile work on the floors throughout will undoubtedly inspire the sorts Instagramming of feet usually reserved for the beach or for PAX. Remember to get a pedi. Room for 156 seats makes a big restaurant these days, but they've chopped it up using alcoves, a Captain's Table for wine, and a private dining area that opens and closes using a great captain's wheel. It's a lovely piece of industrial chic architecture. 

Pettus says the cooking is designed with the neighborhood in mind — that is, the sorts of neighbors with designer kitchens they never use, six-night-a-week dining-out budgets, and a tightly controlled calorie count. Thus, plates are conspicuously free of most carbs, though Pettus says that's not by design, it's just they way he cooks. (And if you must, a Gruyere scalloped potato can be had for $7).

Scrupulously sourced proteins anchor most preparations, along with yet more protein plus inventive ways to use vegetables, like this Skuna Bay salmon perched on snow crab perched on a lake of carrot and a tangle of kale for good healthy measure.

The chef is meticulously toeing a delicate line between late summer and early autumn cravings, by lightening a bison hanger steak and beets with citrus and chive oil, for instance, or inviting Brussels sprouts to the party but giving them an acidic blast of lime and garlic butter. 

Price points are commensurate with all this aesthetic grandeur both in the surrounds on the plate, with items in the "snacks" section soaring into the $18 department for "artisan meats" or a "plate of three cheeses." But the menu is designed for sharing, and large plates steer clear of crossing over the dreaded $30 threshold, hovering in the mid-$20s. Most of those dishes are also plenty big to be shared. Still, factoring in a couple of adult beverages, you won't get out of here for under a Benjamin for two diners, probably, unless you try, and with that loft space right upstairs, what do you care? 

Burnet has Barrio, Bar La Grassa, and Burch as his claims to fame, three now-classic establishments with extreme staying power, and this first glimpse into Eastside shows similar moxie. 

Opens for dinner only on September 29, Saturday and Sunday brunch coming soon 

301 S. Washington Ave., S. Minneapolis