The Lynn on Bryant
A charming neighborhood eatery offers two dining experiences in one
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The Lynn’s dishes are deceptively simple—not the sort that home cooks Mastering the Art of French Cooking would make the effort to replicate, even if they had the skill. Consider the Lynn’s veggie burger: in a genre that typically involves adding frozen patties to microwaves, Ireland’s formula is a more complex calculus. He blends a vegetable mash (butternut squash when I had it) with bulgur, as if creating a meat-less Middle Eastern kibbeh. The patties are breaded, baked, and then pan fried until a thick, delicious crust develops. The accompanying chickpea fries are more complicated, and interesting, than their potato cousins. Inspired by French panisse, Ireland makes a chickpea flour dough that’s cooked like polenta. Once it sets, the dough is cut into stubby wands, dredged in flour and fried until it resembles hummus-filled mozzarella sticks.
While Ireland certainly cooks for carnivores—he serves a grass-fed beef burger on a house-made English muffin and a lovely pork duo in a delicate cider broth—his attention to vegetarians is admirable. My favorite of the Lynn’s meatless dishes is a cute miniature pumpkin filled with chestnut custard. The savory spices of the custard complement their container’s sweet flesh and a bed of roasted cauliflower, sautéed spinach, and kañiwa (a relative of quinoa).
The only trouble I encountered at the Lynn occurred during morning hours, when, perhaps, the staff hadn’t yet had enough caffeine. At 7:30 a.m. one day, the sign on the sidewalk advertised breakfast, even though the kitchen doesn’t open until 8. Cups of coffee were available (good ones—Andrew Kopplin of Kopplin’s Coffee roasts the beans) along with a couple of house-made pastries. But the setup seemed confusing at best, a tease at worst. When I was able to sample from the full morning menu, I liked everything I tried, though eggs Florentine served in a charming canning jar looked rather unappetizing with its still-liquid whites and spinach juices blending into an algae-like substance.
Ireland hasn’t lived in the Twin Cities long enough to remember when Lynnhurst’s best breakfast option was a toss-up between a plate of greasy eggs at the roadside shack, Our Kitchen, or Edina’s AARP cafeteria, Pearson’s. Those of us who remember those days will be happy to spend a few more bucks at the Lynn to enjoy a rich, spongy gateaux de Bordeaux—a French baked pancake made with whipped egg whites—or the Swedish cream, which is basically a yogurt panna cotta and a great excuse to eat dessert for breakfast.
A French-influenced eatery puts 50th and Bryant back on the culinary map.
Ideal Meal: The escargots and the chestnut custard-filled pumpkin or the black cod. Save room for the chocolate sundae featuring house-made ice cream.
Tip: Consider the Lynn for takeout—come spring, they’ll do picnic baskets to go.
Hours: Sun.–Mon. and Thurs, 7 a.m.–9 p.m.; Tues.–Wed., 7 a.m.—5 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 7 a.m.–10 p.m.
Prices: Appetizers $6–12; entrées $19-$26
Address: 5003 Bryant Ave. S., Mpls., 612-767-7797, thelynnonbryant.com
Rachel Hutton is a senior editor at Minnesota Monthly.