By my estimate, there are five cult-pancakes in the Twin Cities: The lemon-ricotta pancakes at Hell’s Kitchen, the corn pancakes at Maria’s, any flapjack at all at French Meadow or Al’s Breakfast, and the buckwheat stack at the Day by Day Café. But have you been able to get any of these at night, with a Belgian ale? Until Hell’s Kitchen moved into the old Rossi’s location, the answer was: Hell, no!
But do you want pancakes with a Belgian ale? Your answer probably neatly dovetails with whether the new incarnation of Hell’s Kitchen, with its nighttime-hours, is for you: For some, pancakes, homemade cinnamon rolls, or an all-American breakfast of eggs, potatoes, and bacon with a fancy beer is the ultimate comfort-dinner, the culinary equivalent of sitting under a big quilt in front of the TV while Mom does your laundry. Those same people will love Hell’s Kitchen’s new semi-nightclub space, with its high ceilings, half-spooky décor of distressed black curtains and grouped Gothic chandeliers, and ink-blot-and-angst Ralph Steadman posters. People who find pancakes and Belgian ale peculiar will no doubt focus on the restaurant’s loud music and the fact that the menu is too long, offering too many options that the restaurant can’t do well, like terrifyingly tough beef ribs.
Still, for folks wanting breakfast for dinner, Hell’s Kitchen is a dream come true. The sweet, creamy Mahnomin porridge is a glorious smash-up of rice pudding and healthy grains and the groaning platter of huevos rancheros is another local cult-dish; comfort foods like the grilled cheese and the BLT are some of the best versions in town. The new Hell’s Kitchen has also, with its move, quietly become the cheapest good restaurant downtown. Most of the huge plates of comfort foods run $9 to $14, and they’ve got an excellent mostly $3 and $4 kids’ menu, which includes one of those light, sweet, rich, crispy, dreamy, creamy, precious, treasured, delectable, even dulcet lemon-ricotta pancakes.
80 Ninth St. S., Minneapolis, 612-332-4700 » hellskitcheninc.com