Restaurant Alma alum Ben Rients opens Lyn 65 in Richfield
A quick glance at Ben Rients's LinkedIn profile says a lot about what customers can expect of his new chef-driven restaurant, Lyn 65, located on the corner of Lyndale Avenue and 65th Street in Richfield.
"Since I couldn't manually enter in my skills and expertise, they are as follows: Drinking wine, doing my own laundry . . . making my wife mad, not riding a bike . . . pretending to know what I'm talking about, and being proud as hell to never sit at a desk," he writes.
Rients may not always know what he's talking about, but he certainly knows what he's doing when it comes to food. Before opening Lyn 65, he spent five years working under chef Alex Roberts at Restaurant Alma.
With Lyn 65, Rients has mastered the art of juxtaposition, pairing upscale touches with unpretentious nonchalance. The space is dimly lit, save for the kitchen at the rear of the long, thin restaurant, where Rients and his fellow young cooks work beneath a bright "Lyn" sign. A large picture of Nicolas Cage hangs on the fridge, and if you look carefully, you'll notice a framed picture of what appears to be Hulk Hogan to the side of the kitchen space.
But the dualities don't stop with the space. Lyn 65's menu features everything from pricey entrees like the $28 sea bass, to bar food, to buttermilk chicken served in a tin bucket. The drink menu follows suit. We witnessed patrons drinking everything from signature cocktails to cans of Hamms and Coors Light.
Rients's youth and sense of humor are working to his advantage. Lyn 65 will suit the well-groomed, but you won't feel out of place if you're looking for a casual spot after a long work day.
We started our meal with a $9 old fashioned and quickly learned that Lyn's bartenders don't skimp on the alcohol. A patron at a nearby table opted for a cosmopolitan and exclaimed that it was the best she'd ever had. We imagine the strength of the beverage had something to do with it.
Lyn 65's house refreshments include the Six Five Rye (Rittenhouse Rye, Old Overholt Rye, Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino, port wine reduction, and Aztec Chocolate Bitters), The Sun Also Rises (jalapeno coriander-infused Flor de Cana Gold, Luxardo Maraschino, burnt sugar, Regan's Orange, and mezcal), and The Last Fizz (Gordon's London Dry, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino, citrus, cream, egg, and orange flower), in addition to five others, each coming in at $9.
Rients has crafted a number of inspired flat breads. We tried the $12 duck sausage flat bread with roast summer vegetables, bagna cauda, tomato, provolone -- enough to serve as either an appetizer or entree.
For our main courses, we opted for the catfish sandwich, buttermilk fried chicken, and crab gravy Benedict.
The catfish sandwich is served with hefty strips of breaded catfish, jalapeno, remoulade, and a side of hand-cut fries.
The buttermilk fried chicken comes with plenty for two to share, and at $20, may be the best and most delicious deal on the menu. We were given six moist chicken cuts coated in a crispy buttermilk breading, in addition to spicy coleslaw and cheesy grits.
The crab gravy Benedict was a bit bread-heavy, but the taste was spot-on. An additional poached egg would have perfected the dish.
By the end of our meal, we leaned back in our chairs and glanced at our plates. Not a single morsel of food was spared. It's clear that with five years of experience at Restaurant Alma under his belt, Rients is poised to excel with Lyn 65.
Lyn 65 is open for dinner from 4 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Happy hours run from 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. every day. The bar stays open until midnight Monday through Thursday, until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and until 11 p.m. on Sunday.
Lyn 65 6439 Lyndale Ave. S. 612-353-5501
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