Here are the latest additions to the Twin Cities dining scene.
Hennepin Steam Room
One thing the Twin Cities has never done terribly well is pairing live music with good food and drinking. The Dakota in downtown Minneapolis has long been the gold standard in the genre, but it tends to service a more mature audience, with attendant price tags for both the tunes and the plates.
Maybe Hennepin Steam Room can assist in filling this particular hole in our repertoire. Opening in January in the former Tangiers nightclub space, it's being described as “loungy” with music styles that go with lounging, like salsa and jazz, reports the Minneapolis/ St. Paul Business journal. No specific menu items have been revealed yet, but expect stuff that will pair well with cocktails, like bar snacks and fancy sandwiches, among other “higher-end” items.
Opens in January
116 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis
We’ve been looking forward to our Italian food scene coming down off of its high horse a bit after the domino-like shutterings of Parella, Scena, and Il Foro, all very good, but perhaps too much high-concept crudo and noodles all at once.
Red Rabbit has recently landed in the North Loop, aiming to re-democratize Italian for our more Midwestern palate.
You’ll recognize the branding as similar to that of Red Cow, owner Luke Shimp’s gourmet burger chain, offering a straightforward compendium of Things People Like to Eat and Drink. Go to Red Rabbit for inventive takes on classic pastas, pizzas, salads, shareable plates, and oysters. They’re also taking their bar program super seriously, with a several page “book” of cocktail selections and 42 wines by the glass.
Shimp was wise to partner with Todd Macdonald, formerly of Parella, for my money the most talented local Italian chef of this moment.
201 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis
You knew it had to happen. Now that we have a critical mass of good, indie ramen shops locally, someone was gonna come around and fast-casualize the noodly soup. Tryg Truelson, formerly of the late, eponymous Tryg’s restaurant, wants to bring you Rah’Mn, in the style of Chipotle. Point at your stuff through the glass, and they’ll ramen you before your eyes. And in addition to soups, Rah’Mn will serve noodle bowls, salads, beer and wine. The Macalaster college campus proximity probably won’t hurt sales.
Opens in February
300 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul
Last year Bibuta food truck, by the people who bring you Sushi Fix, started serving sushi burritos and bowls, fulfilling a summertime crave for piles of raw fish served quickly and affordably. The Cove is coming to serve poke year-round, as they do in Hawaii and other warm climates. Crudo didn’t work around here, but maybe we will like it better if we can get it by the scoop? Probably.
Again, the collegetown location, this time in Dinkytown, will likely be a boon for the concept.
1320 5th St. SE, Minneapolis