Few things are as off-putting as restaurants that feel too “corporate.” Visiting restaurants with sleek, overly polished dÃ©cor can feel like dining inside of a tastefully upholstered coffin.
For this reason, the new Via, which is located in the former Pizzeria Uno building near Edina’s retail epicenter, had me worried. It has a slick vibe that echoes its owners’ other restaurant, Mission American Kitchen, and a please-everyone menu that veers from Italian to Asian to classic American.
The problem with please-everyone menus is that they often end up pleasing no one. So there was reason for skepticism when I ordered the scallops special. Though slightly under-seared, the scallops had the sweet, tender interior that seafood lovers crave, and they were plated with a lively mix of prosciutto, chipotle hollandaise, fresh vegetables, and shreds of crunchy paprika wontons. The pork tenderloin was even better: Pairing the meat with stewed pear and a tender, salty Swiss chard made for a lovely trio of flavors.
Via’s spirit is as vibrant as its dÃ©cor is beautiful. Chef James Foley, formerly of Tejas and Mission, has made a point of citing “fun” as the restaurant’s signature, and it comes through in dishes like the plate of tiny sugar, peanut butter, and chocolate chip cookies, served with a glass of milk. The mint icebox cake with raspberry coulis was an unexpected delight—it looks simple to the point of being dull, but the flavors ring out.
Via is more versatile than you’d expect for a place that must cater to shoppers and office workers looking for a quick lunch. The Sunday brunch, for example, offers a caramelized-banana French toast that’s playful and perfectly executed. As long as Via keeps serving tasty food on par with its tastefully appointed space, it should continue to attract diners any day of the week.
6740 France Ave. S., Edina, 952-928-9500 Â» Lunch Mon.—Sat.; dinner daily; Sun. brunch. www.viacafebar.com