Review: Nighthawks

photo by tj turner

Nighthawks may boast a big-name chef (Landon Schoenefeld of Haute Dish), hip décor, and an address in Minneapolis’ hottest up-and-coming foodie neighborhood, but it still has the soul of a corner diner. Short-order cooks flip neat rows of pancakes behind the counter, waiters crack jokes, and the kitchen isn’t shy with its portions (the spaghetti blue-plate special comes with massive meatballs that could easily feed two).

While the more upscale Haute Dish turns Midwestern cuisine on its head, the Nighthawks menu is focused on perfecting the classics. Schoenefeld’s chicken noodle soup meets that standard: Thick-cut vegetables, wide noodles, and shredded chicken compete for space in an oversize bowl of broth that’s flavorful enough to stand on its own. The burger is among the Cities’ best, with a housemade bun and deftly seasoned house-ground patty smothered in fried onions, American cheese, pickles, and secret sauce.

Like any self-respecting diner, Nighthawks serves up eggs and pancakes anytime (it’s open ’til midnight Monday–Saturday). A short stack—a steal at six bucks for three plate-size flapjacks—is as worthy of dinner as brunch, whether you opt for the savory chorizo-cheddar-corn variety or the gooey peanut butter–chocolate chip. And Schoenefeld doesn’t shy away from diner desserts. Soft serve is blended into malts and Frostbites (Schoenefeld’s take on a Dairy Queen Blizzard), and a rotating selection of pies is as good as Grandma’s. Of course, the forward-thinking chef can’t help but add the occasional modern spin to the classics—the cream-cheese-and-blueberry slice comes topped by a dollop of cream whipped with dehydrated basil.

3753 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls.