First Bite: The Lowry

The Blue Plate Restaurant Company has long occupied a special niche in the Twin Cities, operating the area’s most beloved upscale diners in upscale neighborhoods, like the Longfellow Grill, Edina Grill, and Highland Grill. But can they succeed with a fancy restaurant serving oysters in Minneapolis’ most competitive restaurant scene, Uptown?

My first impression is, yes! Because after two visits everyone will start using them as a diner, and not as an oyster-bar-and-fancy-stuff restaurant. My early visits revealed food that was all over the place in terms of quality. Everything diner-ish was either solidly good or truly fabulous, and everything fancy was not right: A pricey $25-a-half-dozen kumamoto oysters were served with an overpowering sweet-and-spicy horseradish sauce. The poutine, the classic Montreal dish of cheese curds, gravy, and other goodies served over French fries, was a disaster, broiled into oblivion such that the cheese curds melted away into invisibility, leaving the fries merely wet-looking, and tasting like fries that got damp somehow but were still pretty okay. You’d think that because it was the restaurant’s signature, “The Lowry” salad would be something truly special. Not so. When I tried it I received, for $9, a vast pile of undressed-tasting greens floating over a few olives, cucumber slices, and grape tomatoes which had sunk to the bottom of the bowl; the salad was not rescued by the dry and powdery croutons that tasted as if they had just come from a box. On the other hand, the Lowry also serves a solidly unobjectionable burger, a truly delicious plate of biscuits and gravy, and a wonderfully various and all but innumerable tap list.

I’ll be back to the Lowry to see how it progresses as the weeks pass, but for now my best advice is when you hear The Lowry, think diner.

The Lowry
2112 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.,