Icehouse: A sneak peek before today's Eat Street opening

Icehouse Restaurant, the much-anticipated music-and-dining venue on Eat Street, will be officially unveiled to the Twin Cities foodie scene today. But a soft opening on Tuesday allowed City Pages to take a quick, unofficial peek. Here are our first impressions:

The Scene The Icehouse building at 2540 Nicollet was first used as its name indicates. Later, Icehouse did hard time as a video production studio before its latest incarnation--the restaurant is in what was once the loading dock. Now completely unrecognizable as anything but a hip restaurant, and with a design aesthetic that's unapologetically halfway between rustic and contemporary, Icehouse manages to be trendy and comfortable.  It's also unique enough to be a memorable first-date place, with live music to fill in those awkward and unpredictable gaps in conversation.

Fare and Libations:

Chef Matthew Bickford may be young, but he's already cooked with the Twin Cities' best at Zander Café, D'Amico and Sons, Solera, and La Belle Vie, and that was before he offered sliced genius on a plate at Be'Wiched Deli. At Icehouse, the adventurous yet approachable menu will undoubtedly be tweaked, but features like Grass-fed Beef with Roasted Marrow and Chimichurri and the Truffled Cheese Souffle are early favorites. His truffle-laced gourmet burger is priced at over $20, but considering his penchant for sandwich perfection, it might just be worth it. A few other examples from the entree menu: Seafood cannelloni ($10.50); crab cake "mac and cheese" ($10.50); chicken green chile enchiladas ($9.50); sauteed trout with chorizo ($11); and a lobster fettucini ($18.50). And along with a full line of specialty drinks, for just $5 the bar churns out oversized "shots" that are a little too dangerous and a whole lot of fun.

Info and Parking: Icehouse is at 2540 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis (612.276.6523). An adjacent parking lot allows guests easy access to the restaurant. Icehouse website

A Note: There is a separate sink for hand washing inside the women's room. Men, judge not the women who exit their privy without stopping at the outside sink.

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2528 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55404


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