Each month, in our restaurant rumble conversation, MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers review two restaurants and pick a winner.
Jason: Lou Nanne’s sure feels like a steakhouse: veteran servers, clubby-feeling room, giant vintage photos of the former North Star hockey icon. But I had to look past five flatbreads and seven other “specialties” including chicken enchiladas to find the steak.
Joy: One of the first things our server said was, “We opened as a steakhouse, but now we’re kind of moving into another direction.” So I handed him the keys to my ride and let myself get talked out of everything I meant to order, beginning with starters. When I requested the calamari, he steered us to the crab cakes and then insisted we pair them with an order of the pork belly.
Jason: Good crab cakes don’t need pork belly, and these are good crab cakes: barely any bread, almost all sweet-and-tender crab. $19 for two is spendy, but you’re getting a lot of crab.
Baby Back Ribs
Photos by TJ Turner
Joy: I did regret the recommended “farm-cut bacon.” It was a plate of flavorless fat.
Jason: The steak is excellent, though. My 8-ounce filet was expertly cooked to medium rare: great crust, nice and pink inside. The salt and flavor were spot on. This truly was as good a filet as I’ve had in the Twin Cities, served with thin fries and a tasty béarnaise sauce and worth its $39 price tag.
Joy: I was eyeing the prime rib, but after our server downplayed it as too fatty, I went for a burger, assuming a steakhouse would do it right. But Lou’s cheeseburger was not a dish befitting of the legend’s name. The grind was too fine, it was cooked way beyond the medium rare I requested, and completely devoid of any salt or pepper. Worse yet, the cheddar had a congealed skin!
Jason: Too fatty prime rib? Joy, you should have taken the keys back. Order the French dip next time. The sliced prime rib was decadently juicy and ultra-tender (a.k.a. “fatty”), and the au jus had just the right amount of saltiness.
Joy: I will! Our salmon was also over-cooked and all the salt that should have been in the burger was heaped upon the poor fish. The highlight of the meal was the reasonably priced and absolutely delicious bottle of Elouan rosé we ordered.
Jason: We had the salmon too and ours bordered on undercooked. Also, the mustard-crusting flavor didn’t do much for me. I did like the cashew-and-kale salad served on the side. Weirdly, Nanne’s offers a black-and-blue salad that didn’t have anything black on it. Our server told us that it used to have blackened chicken on it, but they changed the dish. Fine, but change the name.
Joy: I’d say if you’re going, bring an expense account and be on the lookout for the upsell. Our steak-less dinner for two cost more than $100.
Jason: That’s because this is and should be a steakhouse. The cost is in line with nearby Pittsburgh Blue and the steak is equally fantastic.
Lou Nanne’s Quick Tips:
Pricepoint: It’s cheaper than Manny’s, but not by much.
Where’s Lou? If you don’t see his white mane of hair at the bar, you can’t miss his giant signature on the wall
Beyond Steak: Flatbread pizzas are a nice shareable snack; kale salad; crab cakes
October’s restaurant rumble pitted the raw-focused, innovative Xavi Restaurant against experimental steakhouse Lou Nanne’s. Find out which restaurant Jason and Joy picked as the winner in the October issue of MnMo.
7651 France Ave. S., Edina, 952-658-7800, lounannes.com