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Is Chef Jim Kyndberg the Most Underrated Chef in the Twin Cities?


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firelake, radisson, minneapolis
Photo by FireLake

I could make a case for it. Jim Kyndberg was a critical darling during his time as chef and owner at Bayport Cookery. His morel festival was legendary. Then in April 2010 he shut down the Bayport and went to Kaskaid to run the culinary operations for Crave.

Did people decide he was a sell-out? A “corporate chef”—so not cool? I’m not sure. He left Crave after two years, and since October 2012 he’s been at the Radisson working as the executive chef for FireLake in downtown Minneapolis.

Admittedly, before the Radisson became the Radisson Blu, and before FireLake got a massive remodel, it wasn’t the most welcoming place in town.

But now it’s beautiful! And Jim is still Jim! He’s an incredible chef, and doing great things. I was just part of a preview dinner for the new spring menu he held with some local Instagrammers.

firelake, minneapolis, jim kyndberg
Photo by Jason DeRusha

The Yukon gold potato soup with smoked trout, fresh dill, and chive oil is absolutely beautiful, and the trout was perfect with that creamy potato and the counterpoint of chive.

Bison bone marrow has become a hallmark of FireLake at Mall of America and downtown: it’s marrow topped with oxtail ragu, shaved fennel and radish. It’s one of the best versions of marrow I’ve tried.

But his lamb trio was a show-stopper: rotisserie lamb shoulder, barbeque lamb rib, and grilled lamb chop. Seek it out.

FireLake is part of a change I’ve been watching closely in town: our hotel restaurants are getting quite good. Marin is an excellent, yet under-attended restaurant in the Le Meridien Chambers hotel. Cedar + Stone is new and extremely promising in the JW Marriott at Mall of America. Cosmos is reinvigorated at the Loews Hotel thanks to a great local chef.

Quality hotel restaurants is a sign of a world-class city, so it’s about time our places step up to that level. And chef Jim Kyndberg is part of the process.

FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, 31 S. Seventh St., Minneapolis, 612-216-3473, firelakerestaurant.com

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