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The New Restaurant Scene

The New Restaurant Scene
Photo by Todd Buchanan (3)

(page 4 of 5)

Fresh Entrées

The world of local restaurants has changed significantly since the Great Recession began. If you’ve been hunkered down in your bunker, here’s the best of what you missed.

➻ Barrio Tequila Bar

Fantastically good tequila drinks and $3 tacos from the previously fine-dining-oriented La Belle Vie crew. 925 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-333-9953; 235 E. Sixth St., St. Paul, 651-222-3250, barriotequila.com

➻ Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza

Local restaurant veteran Jordan Smith bought Minnesota’s first real coal-fired oven and started serving some of the area’s best no-frills New York–style pies, alongside cheap, good house wine and farmers’-market­-driven salads. 600 Washington Ave. N., Mpls., 612-342-2625, blacksheeppizza.com

➻ Blue Door Pub

2009 was the year of the stampede to safety, and the burger was king. The best of the new lot is this St. Paul spot that is fascinated with Juicy Lucys, which they call “Blucys.” Try the Cajun one stuffed with molten pepperjack. 1811 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-493-1865, thebluedoorpubmn.com

➻ Bradstreet Craftshouse

The fine-cooking team from Cosmos showcases small plates in the hottest new bar of the year, renowned for its unbelievably fancy cocktails. Be sure to try the pastries by Khanh Tran. 601 First Ave., Mpls., 612-312-1821, bradstreetcraftshouse.com

➻ Brasa Premium Rotisserie

A bigger, better version of chef Alex Roberts’s all-local, quick-serve Minneapolis spot. Better because the bigger kitchen and dining room allow more specials, some of which are stunningly good. 777 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-224-1302, brasa.us

➻ Cheeky Monkey Deli

Former Goodfellows cook Matt McArthur opened this counter-service spot with a strong suit in pot roast and sandwiches. Be sure to try the meatloaf. 525 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-224-6066, cheekymonkeydeli.com

➻ Crave

This past year saw the perfection of the ultra-upscale corner-diner: Crave. It boasts a wallet-friendly, something-for-everyone-menu: Greek salad? Sushi? Steak? Pizza? Yes, yes, yes, yes! While you dine, feast your eyes on $1 million worth of furniture. Mall of America, Bloomington, 952-854-5000; Galleria, Edina, 952-697-6000; 1605 West End Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-933-6500; cravemn.com

➻ Domacin Restaurant & Wine Bar

The old Cesaré’s has a new name but maintains its winning, thoughtful combination of simple international slow food and brilliantly chosen wine. 102 Second St. S., Stillwater, 651-439-1352, domacinwinebar.com

➻ Restaurant Cru

Unfussy, farm-driven, budget-friendly fine dining in the northern suburbs as good as anything south of I-694. 10340 Baltimore St. NE, Blaine, 763-717-2235, restaurantcru.com

➻ Trattoria Tosca

Adam Vickerman, 24, is cooking his heart out in this temple of farm-driven simplicity, and the results are often truly breathtaking. His rib-eye steak, with a wild mushroom and balsamic-vinegar reduction, sings with harmony and thrums with unity. If he can keep this up, he’ll be our next homegrown superstar. 3415 W. 44th St., Mpls., 612-924-1900, trattoriatosca.com

➻ Victory 44

A corner bar in north Minneapolis with shockingly good salads, a homey Arts and Crafts vibe, and burgers worth pairing with a local pint. 2203 44th Ave. N., Mpls., 612-588-2228, victory-44.com

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