Where to eat for Winter 2014 Restaurant Week

Photo Courtesy of Meritage

It's back! This quarterly event dedicated to dining is back and badder than ever. This week marks the first Restaurant Week of 2014 and there are some great new restaurants to choose from and a lot of classics that might be worth a revisit (or two).

We've gone through and selected a few choice options, just in case you needed a little help, paying particular attention to restaurants that still have availability. We suggest you get on this now while the getting is still good. Restaurant week only runs until this Friday and after that you'll just have to wait until the next time it rolls around.

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For the unfamiliar, Restaurant Week is sponsored by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and features a host of restaurants offering special prix-fixe menus at extremely reasonable prices. Multi-course lunches run from $10-$20 while dinners run from $15-$30. It's a great time to get out and explore a restaurant you've been wanting to try or a great excuse to visit an old favorite.

One of the best picks on the list is Corner Table. This South Minneapolis restaurant is helmed by Chef Thomas Boemer, who is consistently working his magic behind the stove, crafting elegant, yet approachable dishes. Here, $30 is going to get you a whole lot of options. For appetizers, they're offering a goat cheese panna cotta, an egg yolk and ricotta raviolo, or their famous crispy pork belly. For entrees you can choose from potato gnocchi, beef short ribs, or pan roasted scallops. Obviously you'll be looking to satiate your sweet tooth after that, and the folks at Corner Table have got you covered there, too. You'll be able to choose between their seriously delicious sweet potato donuts, a decadent chocolate cremeux, or a salted maple creme brulee.

If something new is what you're after, now might be the time to check out Restaurant Week newcomer Eat Street Buddha Kitchen. They'll also be offering a lavish array of options which include several signature sushi rolls or their Buddha belly cranberry wantons for starters. For entrees, they'll be serving up dishes like their Key West Panang which features crispy, sweet Key West shrimp, ramen, and napa cabbage slaw with fried shallots, a poached egg, and panang curry. They've also got a Mongolian beef tenderloin or a braised short rib curry. If you're in more of a Chinese take-out kind of mood, opt for their take on the classic General Tso's Chicken. 

For those who dwell on the other side of the river, Meritage in St. Paul is always a good bet. Start with a marinated leek salad, a salmon mousse, or a selection of oysters on the half-shell, and follow that up with some classic French dishes courtesy of executive Chef/owner Russell Klein. Options include a chicken ballotine with sweet potato, tea-braised prunes, and pickled mustard seeds or a classic Beef Bourguignon.

If you're out in the suburbs you might want to consider Eat Shop in Plymouth, Copper River in Lakeville, or the all-you-can-eat, Brazilian style steakhouse, Rodizio Grill in Maple Grove.

Remember, you've only got until the end of the week to make up your mind, but if you're ambitious (and have some cash to burn), maybe you can hit up all those places you've been endlessly piling up on your list. A full list of participating restaurants is available here.

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