Tuna Crudo at the Bungalow Club in Minneapolis
photos by terry brennan
Joy: Here’s a new Italian restaurant in Longfellow from three industry veterans. Chef Andrew Kraft and Sam Rosen (both formerly of Grand Cafe), plus Kraft’s brother-in-law Jeremiah Dittmann, have brought a cool but languishing space back to life.
Jason: The room feels very similar to its old tenant, the Craftsman: airy and light with an incredible patio. The food matches. It’s sophisticated, but familiar.
Joy: The food befits the elegant room. Start with the crudo: a stunningly fresh piece of fish served with a salty, savory, sunshine-bright bit of citrus. The affordable wine list also had me swooning.
Jason: I dug it, too. The confit pork belly and the chicken liver pâté set the tone for a really fun dinner. The menu is separated by numbers, which at first seems strange: crudo, octopus, grain salad, and meatballs all are number 2. A whole fish and a patty melt are in category number 4.
Joy: It’s set to follow the Restaurant Alma/Corner Table plan of building your own four-course meal. Or, just order à la carte. In these days of everyone making their own pasta, do not skip the pasta. Kraft’s extensive experience shows in every strand: perfect texture, and never belabored.
Jason: 100 percent agreed. That pasta is worth a visit alone. You can go big at the Bungalow Club: I might choose the bright, acidic octopus and fennel dish, then a whole-wheat maltagliati pasta with artichokes, and finish with the juicy, crispy cornflake-crusted chicken. You’ll be super full, and you’re not even spending $50 for those three courses.
Smoked chicken with spritz cocktail
Joy: That octopus salad was a knockout. The texture of the tentacles was just the right balance of chewy and melt-in-your-mouth, with the dance of anise from the fennel and zingy salad dressing. The fried chicken stole my heart but has already been replaced by smoked chicken. The seasonality of the menu means not falling too hard for any one thing and embracing new adventures.
Jason: With so many excellent menu items, I hope they don’t get carried away with change for change’s sake. I was obsessed with the patty melt and its roasted pickled peppers, served with a side of fantastic smashed potato fries. Now it’s a more traditional burger with aioli. The price point is still perfect for the neighborhood: A double burger is $14.
Joy: We can’t go without mentioning the craft cocktails or the gorgeous patio. There are a few days left to sip a Negroni out on that oasis in the city.
Jason: Isn’t it exciting, Joy? This is one of the best new restaurants we’ve visited over the last two years.
The Bungalow Club Quick Tips
Lots of street parking along Lake Street
Recommended Thursday-Saturday, for dinner only
Yes! Kids’ menu has a cheddar panini, homemade chicken tenders, and pastas for $8
4300 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, 612-866-3334, thebungalowclubmpls.com