Restaurant Week starts Sunday. Where are you eating?


Having trouble keeping up with all the new restaurants in town? Are you wondering if La Belle Vie is as good as you remember? Want to sample some of the Cities' best eateries but don't want to spend a fortune?

Restaurant Week is a chance to answer all your culinary questions. One again this year, from Sunday through Friday, dozens of Twin Cities restaurants will be offering special prix fixe meals designed to showcase their menus. Depending on the eatery, you'll find two-course lunch deals for either $10 or $15 and three-course dinners for $20 or $30.

The event is sponsored by Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, and the list of participating restaurants is enticing. Here are a few sample menus, plus a link to the full list.

Barbette, for example, will be laying out a $20 lunch of French onion soup or lamb and pork terrine for starters, and a main course of butternut squash ravioli or hand-rolled tagliatelli with braised lamb and mushroom ragout. At dinner, Barbette rolls out a $30 menu of the soup or a roasted beet salad, followed by pork prime rib or the squash ravioli, and chocolate croissant bread pudding for dessert.

This may be one of most affordable ways to dine at restaurants like the posh Cosmos, which next week will be doling out $20 lunches of seasonal soup or spiced basil shrimp, plus entrees of pan-seared sea bass with seaweed salad and wasabi mayonnaise, penne with porcini mushrooms, or black Angus beef tenderloin, followed by a crème brûlée and berries for dessert. Their $30 dinners start you off with a special lettuce or creamy shrimp salad, then entice you with entrees of confit of Chilean sea bass and shaved cauliflower "risotto" or parsley root cake with black rice pureé or the Angus tenderloin with blue cheese potato gratin. You'll finish with a dense chocolate gateau and orange ice cream or buttermilk panna cotta.

Let's try one more. Saffron's $30 dinner (with an optional $15 wine pairing) begins with beet salad with yogurt cheese and pistachios or a soup of lobster and celery root. The main course is lamb shank, or roasted ocean trout, or caramelized winter vegetables and goat cheese for the vegetarians. Dessert is chocolate ganache cake or goat's milk cheesecake.

Salivating yet?

Other restaurants on the list include Barrio, Bradstreet Craftshouse, Café Lurcat, D'Amico Kitchen, La Belle Vie, Masa, OM, Sea Change, and Vincent, to name just a few. MSP Mag has the full list of restaurants and most of their menus here.