Edit ModuleShow Tags

DeRushaEats: Mona Restaurant


Can I call this my way-too-soon review? Not really. I had lunch this week at the newly opened Mona Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, and I can't wait to go back.

Chef Lisa Hanson runs the kitchen, and the redesign of what used to be a mediocre-at-best Chinese restaurant is gorgeous. Lots of dark woods, nice bar, open kitchen—it's beautiful.

Lisa told me that since she's going to spend 16 hours every day in the space, she wanted it to look good.

I love the concept for lunch: It's a one-page menu with about 18 items, and most of the items are $5 or $6. Our server told us that the proteins were all about three ounces, which somewhat confused my friend Colin. "What does that mean?" he asked. "We should order two things!" I said.

So he ordered the polenta ($6) and the lamb burger ($7), and I ordered the fregola ($5) and the chicken liver pate sandwich ($6).

FregolaThe sandwich wasn't a sandwich at all, it was three slices of bread (shown above), topped with a luscious liver pate, which was topped by a perfectly tart rhubarb compote and some Northern Lites blue cheese. Just a glorious blend of spring flavors.

I liked the fregola (right) just as much—it was bright and fresh thanks to a healthy dose of preserved lemon on top of the tiny toasted pasta balls and the chunks of feta cheese.

PolentaI loved the polenta—it was creamy topped with shavings of cheese, surrounded by a moat of a roasted mushroom jus (with chunks of mushroom guarding the polenta castle). Very earthy and rewarding.

The lamb burger was slider-sized—very nicely seasoned with visible basil and garlic in the burger, a nice pimenton aioli, and some very tasty french fries. Crispy and potato-y, just how I like them. At first I thought the serving was too small, but it was really the perfect size. No need for an 8-ounce hunk of lamb at lunch—we're all working! We have meetings to attend and we can't be in a food coma!

We tried a couple desserts: I didn't really care for the doughnuts—the caramel sauce tasted slightly burnt to me. The flourless chocolate sundae was a decadent delight—kind of a riff on a brownie sundae with big chunks of flourless chocolate cake in the vanilla ice cream. I'd love to see more creative ice creams to play with the cake, but it was a well spent $5.

Lamb Burger    Donuts    Sundae

The service at Mona is very welcoming and friendly. For lunch—as they get busier—it'll be interesting to see if Mona can execute at the speed diners will need to be served. Good thing to know for dinner: Parking is validated in the underground Accenture Tower parking lot.

I know it's soon, but so far Mona is extremely promising, and a welcome addition to a business district that needs some excitement of the non-food-truck variety.

Mona Restaurant
333 South 7th St., Suite 190, Mpls.

Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Saturday 5-11 p.m.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rfischer@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

3 Drinks to Give Winter the Kiss-Off

West Seventh in St. Paul is bursting with drink options to usher in spring (which is just around the corner, right?)

Minnesota-Grown Greens Now Available Year Round

New locally and sustainably produced Revol Greens makes eating clean and green throughout the year even easier

What to Buy for the Perfect Minnesota Home Bar

From vodka, gin, bourbon, rum, and beyond: Minnesota spirit-makers recommend the best home-bar companions

Quick Moroccan Chicken over Couscous Recipe

Enjoy the exotic flavors of a long-simmered tagine in this easy version that’s quick enough for a weeknight

No-Fail Caramel Corn Recipe

Celebrate National Caramel Corn Day with this sweet crunchy treat—no special equipment needed with this easy recipe

Best Restaurant Bargains Before A Target Field Minnesota Twins Game

They're offering baseball specials, but do you know where to go? Check out these good deals on food before Twins games.

3 Things to Eat This Week: April 4-8

Tropical cake, drinkable flowers, and some mouth-searing spice

Edina Bistro Celebrates National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day

Pinstripes offers a sophisticated twist on the childhood favorite with a five-course meal for two in honor of PB&J Day (April 2)

Croque Madame Recipe

Add a French accent to your brunch for a satisfying midday meal—plus more ideas to make the most of leftover holiday ham
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags