Winter 2013 Restaurant Week: Where to eat

Saffron Restaurant and Lounge serves traditional Spanish pasta and more during Restaurant Week
Saffron Restaurant and Lounge serves traditional Spanish pasta and more during Restaurant Week

Mpls/St. Paul Magazine's Restaurant Week 2013 Through March 1 $10-$20 lunches, $15-$30 dinners

You only have a few days left to take advantage of Mpls/St. Paul Magazine's Restaurant Week, which continues through Friday. Over 50 restaurants are whipping up menus in the $10 to $30 range for lunch and dinner, showcasing some of their best bites at a discounted prix fixe. Here are a few of the Hot Dish's favorite ideas for dining out in style, probably for less than one week's Whole Foods grocery bill.

Comfort food reigns supreme this week, and the 'burbs are bringing their A-games with soul-satisfying gems like a spicy sausage slider on a pretzel bun with whole grain mustard and red onion jelly at Eat Shop Kitchen & Bar in Plymouth. Lakeville's Copper River Fish and Chop House is worth a visit for a lunch-hour Maine lobster roll with Old Bay Mayo, or grab a booth at 3 Squares in Maple Grove for upscale diner fare finished with the towering "Pint-O-Cake" trifle of Cointreau strawberry sauce, sponge cake, and lemon marscapone whipped cream.

Minneapolis holds down the international camp in this year's Restaurant Week lineup with dishes like lamb and olive tagine in a preserved lemon broth served at Saffron Restaurant and Lounge, alongside traditional Spanish shellfish fideos. Meat enthusiasts, indulge your carnivorous cravings at Fogo de Chao, or sample Khao Cadeukadeek (marinated beef tenderloin medallions on a bed of tomato fried rice) at Chiang Mai Thai. For your sweet tooth, see yourself straight to the warm Mexican chocolate bread pudding with banana rum ice cream at Masa.

Half the fun of Restaurant Week is sampling dishes at restaurants you might have found a little pricey or trying food you otherwise wouldn't. In this adventurous spirit, try Corner Table's house-made pappardelle with pork sugo and sarvecchio cheese, or sample three courses from the ever-inventive comfort food menu at Haute Dish: Short rib and porcini béchamel in your Tater Tot hot dish, anyone? Or make a budget-friendly visit to St. Paul's landmark W.A. Frost to sample a duck confit and maple-sausage-filled cassoulet with an Alsatian-style tarte flambee, a $20 "treat yourself" lunch that beats the pants off the usual office Chipotle run.

A list of all participating restaurants is available here, complete with menus and links to Open Table for reservations. With well-priced, accessible menus abounding across the metro, there's no reason not to eat out well tonight, and tomorrow, and Friday, too.

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