The Belmore/New Skyway Lounge, in downtown Minneapolis, owes one to Zeke’s Unchained Animal, the proposed East Lake Street eatery. Were it not for Zeke’s unappetizing moniker, the Belmore would officially possess the worst name of any restaurant in town. Forget the first half and you risk being led to the site of a former Hennepin Avenue strip club. The server we asked wasn’t sure how the restaurant got its name: “I think it’s the owner’s inside joke….” Way inside.
The Belmore marks the return of Doug Anderson, the rock ’n‘ roll-steeped restaurateur behind Bakery on Grand and, most recently, Nick and Eddie. The new restaurant looks rather like a college-campus coffee shop, replete with thrift-store furniture, local art, a pool table, and a small stage. At times, service amenities such as water refills make themselves scarce. If the vibe laid back any further, it’d topple out of its chair.
Dinner for four—pierogi, bao buns, tacos, Hong Kong noodles, a steak sandwich—left us with nothing we’d order again, save for the tagliatelle with Italian sausage. It was rich and creamy, with a swift kick of heat. On a second, redeeming visit, I unearthed two more gems: pizza with a terrific crispy/chewy crust and duck ragout topped with semolina dumplings. The dessert list is more reliable. A friend had his first taste of the butterscotch pudding—made famous at Nick and Eddie by Doug’s pastry-savvy better half, Jessica Anderson—and declared, “I could bathe in that!” The banana blintz, a buttery crepe piled with caramelized fruit and creamy ricotta, is arguably better. What he might do with that, I can’t imagine.
25 N. Fourth St., Mpls.